In response to South Africa’s electricity supply constraints, Eskom Holdings fast-tracked the USD 14 billion Kusile Power Station construction from 10 to 8 years. Group Technology (Engineering) partnered with the Kusile team to prototype 3D visualization and simulation technologies, and create a virtual 3D plant simulator for use in construction, commissioning, operations and maintenance of this first of its kind plant for Eskom, with six 800-megawatt power generation units and flue gas desulphurization (FGD) technology.
The multi-contractor EPC project team integrated complex layout/arrangement designs and 3D model submissions using Bentley civil products and MicroStation to merge models in various formats. Bentley Navigator enabled and fast and efficient checking for construction interferences. MicroStation was the primary platform used to develop and integrate the 3D visualization model. The simulator was deployed to develop operating procedures, training sequences, and commissioning information packs.
The shortened construction timeline required the EPC team to confirm operational readiness — operability and maintainability — during the design phase. This allowed for faster, more efficient commissioning of the plant. Delivering the project in 24 months less time than originally planned significantly reduced the project execution cost and resources expended. Moreover, income could be generated from the plant two years earlier than planned. Eskom estimates the resulting profit at over USD 1 billion.
Using the MicroStation platform allowed Eskom to deliver 2D/3D content including 3D visualizations and simulations to gain a significant return on investment. The platform allowed the multi-discipline engineering and design work to be integrated in the full plant 3D model that was required for the O&M simulation. Faster, safer virtual pre-commissioning, operator and maintenance training, and inspection route development reduced plant hand-over lead times.