Comtrol’s DeviceMaster RTS Facilitates Hydropower SCADA System Communication

Comtrol Corporation’s connectivity equipment facilitates communication for a number of renewable energy applications worldwide. Recently, a large renewable energy production company needed a solution for connecting multiple sensors to a SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system which would relay the sensors’ data through an Ethernet connection to the control center. The data could then be accessed remotely to effectively manage and monitor the company’s kinetic underwater hydropower system.

The renewable energy system consists of a deployment of horizontal axis turbines underwater, which use tidal and river currents to generate clean energy without restricting the natural flow of water. The system produces cost-effective solutions in a variety of areas, including urban city settings to remote developing countries, and is invisible from the shore.

Sensors are installed directly in the water near the turbines to measure turbulence, temperature, strain and humidity, as well as to detect leaks and ultimately determine the efficiency and performance of the system. These sensors then input data to a SCADA system, which analyzes and monitors system conditions. Comtrol’s DeviceMaster RTS 4-Port and 16-Port play an important role in this data collection and transmission.

The DeviceMaster RTS 4-Port is installed directly into the SCADA interface box, to allow serial communication between the SCADA computer system and the multiple sensors. The sensors communicate through multiple serial protocols—RS-232, RS-422, RS-485—in which the DeviceMaster can reliably interpret and communicate.

The DeviceMaster RTS 16-Port is mounted along with multiple servers and electrical grid interfaces in the control room, which is about 30 feet from the water. An Ethernet connection between the DeviceMaster and the system server eliminates the need for extensive serial cabling, reducing the cost and complexity of the overall SCADA system. The DeviceMaster’s rugged housings, wide temperature rating and port configuration provided this energy production system with the stability and flexibility required.