Overheard at the 2017 Exelon Innovation Expo in Washington, D.C.:
“This feels like a super grown-up science fair...only nerdier.”
“Is that one of those underwater robots from SeaQuest?”
“What do you mean ‘carbon scrubber’? Is that like a Roomba?”
The Innovation Expo brought together more than 2,000 Exelon employees, industry innovators, scientists, engineers, makers and energy leaders to demonstrate the best ideas and inventions that address the challenges facing the energy industry. They did not disappoint. It was tough to pick only six winners from more than 500 teams – each one had great ideas.
This year, the final six presentations were livestreamed to Exelon sites around the country and to our audience online through Facebook and YouTube. For the first time, Exelon employees around the country could participate and vote for their favorite ideas, all without having to travel to the Expo. Here are a few great examples of what it means to be an innovator at Exelon:
Smoother Storm Response
Thunderstorms frequently change and can often become very strong, very suddenly, making it hard to predict exactly what the impact to an area will be.
SLIQ (Storm Live Interactive Qlik), from Senior Business Analyst Dan Butcher and his team at PECO, uses hyper-local data from past outages and current weather conditions to respond to an outage rapidly and predict where one is most likely to occur. This allows crews to stand ready to respond when it is safe to do so, ensuring the shortest outages possible. Although outages might never be completely unavoidable, the SLIQ Platform will improve response time, reduce downtime and create a more reliable customer experience by leveraging QLIK Sense technology, business intelligence software, to enable real-time analytics.
Scrubbing our Atmosphere
As the nation’s leading provider of clean energy, Exelon is constantly striving to reduce our carbon footprint — and the carbon footprint of our customers — through zero-carbon energy from our nuclear plants and renewable energy from solar and wind.
Most people think about reducing our carbon footprint by reducing what we emit and using fuel sources that don’t contain carbon in the first place. But what if we could scrub carbon already emitted from the atmosphere? That’s where IT Analyst Nate Bender and his fellow Constellation employees come in. Their Air Carbon project removes carbon from the atmosphere and collects it for other uses. Using giant fans, air is pumped through a chemical process that removes the carbon dioxide. The pure CO2 can then be converted to transportation fuels in a secondary process, or sold as an industrial commodity. Innovation like this will help us get us closer to our goal of becoming carbon neutral.
Peek Inside: Digital Plant Viewer
Nuclear plant employees use a vast array of mapping, telemetry and other data systems to run the plant on a daily basis, but those systems aren’t available in one spot. The Digital Plant Innovation Team wanted to change that.
Digital Plant Viewer was developed by Innovation Specialist Brian Carroll and was first implemented at Exelon Generation’s Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant. It brings information from several of the nuclear plant’s most vital systems into one place, in one app, available on just about any device. Developmental Manager Cliff Gray now leads the implementation team, and the app is being enhanced to include electronic survey creation and display in the same interface. This app allows everyone on site to see information on an interactive map from all around in the plant. This tool allows us to work safer and smarter, while delivering clean, emission-free electricity to our customers.
At Exelon, we see every challenge as an opportunity to innovate and create the solutions that matter most for our customers. These ideas won’t just affect the way we operate — they’re changing the entire industry, making the world around us cleaner, smarter and more efficient.
Thank you to all our innovators at Exelon. We’re excited to see where they go with the ideas they presented, and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next year!