採訪
“We Want to Help Shape the Intelligent Gas Networks”

WAGO energy expert Daniel Wiese views the gas industry over the course of the energy transition prior to the upturn and identifies a great need for flexible, especially robust solutions for the Ex area.

The intelligent networking technology from WAGO has already been used in different energy branches for some time; however, the company has only recently opened up the natural gas market to the potential of its products. Why did you decide to do this?

Competition between suppliers is becoming ever more intense. In the gas network too, reliability and a secure supply are important factors. In many cases, technology that is over 30 years old is still installed in the network. This technology has been discontinued, often does not correspond to any standardized protocol such as IEC 60870 or Profibus and has no Internet connection for network management. To close these gaps, the suppliers are now investing heavily in automating their gas networks.

The significance of the so-called sector coupling of electricity and gas is growing? How is WAGO preparing for this new business field?

The energy transition only works with storage systems. The gas networks in Germany offer immense capacities. In parallel, the technology to convert electricity or biogas into natural gas is continually gaining in efficiency. Today, WAGO already supplies manufacturers of such systems. In order to further expand this new business field and gain additional expertise, we maintain close contact with customers. If challenges that we do not yet meet arise, we promptly examine them. We want to help shape the smart grid, the intelligent gas network.

The WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM comprises the basis of their automation solution and is more and more frequently installed in gas pressure control stations. Where is the challenge in this?

The customers confront us with signal lists and installed components. We are also given Ex zone plans. They express their desire for us to plan a seamless automation solution. Once our corresponding departments have realized their wishes, we provide the customers with a pilot station to be set into operation together with WAGO.

The special properties of our systems are their high flexibility and direct application potential for Ex zone 2.

What advantages does the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM offer for a gas control system?

Our systems' unique features are high flexibility and direct application potential for Ex zone 2. This is supplemented by the direct cabling of intrinsically safe signals from hazardous environments on our blue I/O modules, integrated IEC-60870 telecontrol interface, PLC functionality and Webserver. This gives us a system that automates control and coupling stations. An unbeatable cost advantage, when you can save on Ex isolation barriers and separate controls for control functions.

What other application areas for your intelligent networking technology are there in the gas sector?

We introduced our new blue modules for extreme application areas at this year's Hannover Messe. For example, they are ready for temperature ranges from −40 to +70°C and a specific level of condensation. This opens up applications in isolated areas, where heating and other amenities may not be available. As a result, we also tap the areas where it is not yet possible to measure, control or regulate, but where these capabilities will soon be in demand.

Which challenges do you see arising from the gas sector for your company in the near future?

The customers increasingly require us to provide complete solutions. Years' worth of versatile solutions developed for the electricity and heat sectors cannot just be directly transferred to the gas medium. For us, this means building up expertise in planning system distribution boxes for the Ex area and complex software controls. We are rising to these challenges because here too, we want to be available as competent contact partner.

Interview: Editorial staff, gwf Gas + Energie

Photo: WAGO

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