VC3T: An answer to the power industry’s skills gap

Today's power industry is facing a critical challenge: an aging workforce and a shortage of qualified personnel to replace them. In order to continue thriving, the market must close the skills gap between the older and younger generations of power plant workers. Achieving this will require training that caters to "digital natives" or those born after 1980 who can easily function in a virtual environment. That's where Saab's VC3T comes in.

The VC3T (Virtual Combined Cycle Crew Trainer), created in collaboration with Trax International, is a next-generation, multi-user power plant operations simulator. The system is designed to accelerate the learning process for a new generation of operators on almost any platform. The VC3T scales from mobile to a fully immersive, virtual-reality (VR) environment that uses state-of-the-art, VR goggles by Oculus.

With the VC3T, users can navigate the virtual environment of an actual power plant. Participants can explore the entire facility, interact with equipment, and have complete access to all control room features. With a high-fidelity, first-order thermodynamic simulation running the plant, users will be able to see real-time changes to plant conditions. Additionally, the cloud-enabled training environment supplements team-building exercises by permitting multiple trainees to work together to solve complex problems.

The VC3T's virtual technology also provides a solution for distance learning. This enables subject matter experts from all over the world to connect with many students, and helps raise the bar on the quality of information being taught.

Power plant workers are crucial in supplying the energy our world needs. With the VC3T, we can close the skills gap and propel the industry – in advanced and emerging countries – into the digital age.