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Gainesville Regional Utilities Installs TRAX Simulator at JR Kelly Generating Station

Gainesville Regional Utilities Installs TRAX Simulator at JR Kelly Generating Station

TRAX delivered a combined cycle plant simulator to Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) for the J.R. Kelly Generating station in2023. The high-fidelity simulator “provides a realistic and accurate representation of the plant, allowing operators to practice the startup procedure, normal operations, and simulated malfunctions in a controlled environment” according to GRU. A computer simulation system can provide an effective foundation for ongoing operator training as well as qualifying new operators.

Image of Kelly simulator provided courtesy of Gainesville Regional Utilities

Combined Cycle Simulation

The Kelly simulation includes a gas combustion turbine (GT),a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG), and Siemens steam turbine (ST)generator and controls. The maximum unit load is 120 megawatts (MW). TRAX performed the modeling using ProTRAX, its proprietary simulation system. ProTRAX system modules were used to generate the overall plant simulator schematics. The GT model was coupled with an HRSG model to provide training focused on the HRSG steam cycle. This simulator also included a virtual control system for the ABB controls and HMI stations.

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“…the simulator is an investment in the education of new employees as senior staff retires and significantly speeds up the training process for operators. It enables them to make mistakes,build habits, and learn how to respond effectively in various scenarios. The motto displayed on the simulator’s door, ‘Practice until you can’t get it wrong,’ perfectly captures the purpose of this tool.”

Director of Production, Melissa Jones

The Kelly simulator allows operators to practice in widely varying conditions. Operator training can include startup, shutdown, load maneuvering, rundown/runback, and trip scenarios.

Simulators are especially useful for practicing operating conditions that may occur less frequently on the running unit. Operators can train and retrain on any condition instantly using a simulator. This simulation training prepares operators to respond in the safest, most efficient manner to even rare conditions. Critically, operators can safely experience emergency conditions and practice a response.

TRAX would sincerely like to thank the Kelly simulator team for a great project. This is TRAX’s second simulator with GRU, following delivery of a simulator for the Deerhaven plant.

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Gainesville Regional Utilities Installs TRAX Simulator at JR Kelly Generating Station

May 23, 2023

TRAX has delivered a carbon capture simulator for a 150 MW coal-fired unit that models the capture of the full flue gas stream.  The system provides both CO2 and SO2 capture, delivering the captured CO2 to a pipeline for industrial use and underground storage.

TRAX Carbon Capture Model Included:

—CO2 and SO2 capture
—Sulfuric acid plant
—CO2 and SO2 amines filtration and purification
—CO2 compression
—CO2 pipeline and cavern

As shown below, TRAX built a modular simulation replicating the plant layout using our software, ProTRAX.  ProTRAX contains a full suite of modules specific to carbon capture functions and can model a wide variety of processes.  TRAX also virtually replicated the user interface that appears in the plant.  

Model Scope

ProTRAX is a modular software that can easily integrate multiple models for larger projects.


TRAX organizes the simulator model to match the layout of the site or process being modeled.


Depending on the Absorber module selected, the module can remove water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and/or sulfur dioxide (SO2) from an air or gas stream.


Each ProTRAX module is backed by comprehensive documentation, including a general description, module inputs and outputs, and mathematical formulae.


The training value of a simulator occurs in the interactive screens that replicate the site equipment.

Upon initial delivery, the TRAX simulator was used to debug control logic and processes prior to site installation and to provide operations training prior to plant startup.  There was a clear need to begin training operators as early as possible since they had multiple unfamiliar systems to learn.

Thanks to the ProTRAX simulator, our customer gained considerable insight into control functionality and system interactions, resulting in modification to some control logic and correction of simple errors.  TRAX was able to assist with controls tuning, and helped in development of initial plant Operating Procedures.

The latest upgrade brings the model into alignment with the as-built plant condition by updating and tuning the simulator models to match the current plant dynamics. In addition, TRAX has updated the simulator controls and HMI graphics to the as-built state.  Keeping the simulator aligned with the current plant condition is critical to maintaining a positive training value, and is of paramount importance to the customer.