David Gloski

3 Powerful Take-Away Messages from EPRI CEMS 2018

David Gloski - 10 May, 2018

The 2018 EPRI Continuous Emissions Monitoring (CEM) User Group Conference & Exhibit, was an excellent event this year! The best part was our conversations with power industry engineers and learning how they are managing their CEMS data. Their message was clear and it makes sense: Utility engineers at the plant and corporate office want to be able to control and manage their data without the need to rely on outside experts for help. Part of the reason they seek control over their data is that more and more people and groups are asking for it than ever before. It seems like the more easily the data is made available to the organization, the use of it grows. For example, CEMS data can help staff better understand overall plant performance as well as the performance of the new scrubber. Increasing use of CEMS data is driven by staff who are more data-management-capable but also suffering from increased regulatory reporting and tighter budgets. To support these challenges, power industry managers and engineers continue to rely on their spreadsheets as enterprise data crunchers.

Learn how a large utility used xOverTime to automate reporting for improved data governance and EPA reconciliation. 

xOverTime sharing Enterprise Spreadsheet Solutions at EPRI CEMS 2018

We have just returned from the 2018 EPRI Continuous Emissions Monitoring (CEM) User Group Conference & Exhibit, where our staff came away with the following three important realizations:

  1. There is still no clearly-dominant leader in delivering CEMS data management solutions ranging from the DAHS (Data Acquisition and Handling System) systems at the plant to the corporate level roll-up and reporting processes. The market is still served by multiple players who have different pieces of the overall solution. Power companies cobble together technologies and vendors to meet their needs.
  1. There is no leading approach for having a central repository of CEMS data for a company. Nearly every possible approach from organized CSV files to SQL databases supported Data Cubes could be found as we talked with different companies. In general, the approaches tended to rely on older methods and not take advantage of new technologies available over the last 5 years. 
  1. Nearly everyone who stopped to speak with us was enamored with a simple Microsoft Power BI dashboard we showed with CEMS data stored in our xOverTime cloud database. Several people left the booth with a new realization that some readily available off-the-shelf technology, Power BI and xOverTime, could form the basis of a scalable corporate repository, reporting and analysis solution.

The ability to apply familiar spreadsheets enhanced with newer collaborative technologies to corporate CEMS data management can reduce the cost of working with this type of data and increase accessibility to users and groups that are able to work with the data without learning specialized systems.

Not only does this approach make the data available to advanced business intelligence tools such as Power BI, but CEMS data in a cloud database such as xOverTime is also able to support access by other corporate systems. For example, xOverTime with Excel supports easy use of the data for overall emission inventory calculations as well emission allowance position reporting.

As companies revisit their corporate approach for CEMS data management, they should be looking at powerful and familiar off-the-shelf technologies that allow their staff be more comfortable analyzing and working with the data. As staff explore the options, it’s likely that a more consistent approach to handling CEMS data across the industry materialize. Once that standard evolves, the industry will be able to leverage their combined resources to open up and further expand the uses and value of CEMS data for operations management, research and policy decisions.

We at xOverTime have been participating in the CEMS data solutions space for many years and are excited to see this recent movement toward standardization. xOverTime will continue to offer its technology and expertise toward a better universal solution for CEMS data. If you have a CEMS data challenge in your organization, we’d be happy to discuss your needs.

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