Experts explain: digital twins

In this new series, POWER editors select a multifaceted topic that may have myriad applications or implications and ask a group of key industry stakeholders for their perspectives. This month’s theme: Digital Twins.

power The magazine is in partnership with sister publications Chemical Engineeringhosts Related Plants Conference, an event focusing on the many connected industrial devices that have become critical to efficient plant operation. Digital twins rank high on the list of event topics, along with 4G sensors, big data, edge technology, and augmented and virtual reality. However, like many power’Readers and attendees of the event pointed out, an explanation of what a digital twin is in the energy industry is much deserved, given the broad scope of how digital twins are perceived and applied.

To get perspective on this situation, power Asked Achaleesh Pandey, Vice President of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Transformation, GE Digital; Lars Drasse, IdentiQ Product Head for Hitachi Power’s Grid Integration Business; Scott Stallard, Chief Technology Officer of Twinify Technologies LLC, a joint venture between Black & Veatch and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME); Carsten Baumann, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Solutions Architect at Schneider Electric; and experts at DTE Vantage, a subsidiary of DTE Energy that operates through several subsidiaries. That’s what the experts said.

What is a “digital twin”?

Ashaleesh Pandey, GE Digital: “A digital twin is a living, learning digital representation of an asset, process, system, or network that is used to achieve specific business outcomes. A twin harnesses the power of data and models to provide early warning detection, continuous forecasting, and dynamic optimization capabilities. It also allows users to run simulations of possible future events and plan for a defined set of potential outcomes, increasing important metrics such as efficiency, productivity and ultimately profitability.”

Lars Sketch, Hitachi Energy: “A digital twin is a virtual representation designed to accurately reflect a physical asset or system, providing insight into systems performance or lifecycle. IdentiQ™ is a game-changing digital twin solution built on our unique domain expertise and leadership in power grid technologies and innovation. It is an important addition to Hitachi Energy’s digital offerings and supports our customers’ efforts to continually improve the efficiency and reliability of their network investment.Specifically, IdentiQ is a digital dual substation solution for high-voltage direct current (HVDC) converter, STATCOM [static compensator]or any other power quality solution.”

Scott Stallard, Twinify Technologies, LLC: “It is interesting to note that there are a number of definitions of digital twins, each usually aligned with a twin’s function or architectural principles. For Black & Veatch, a digital twin is a virtual representation that acts as a real-time digital counterpart to a physical object or process. There are three important parts For twins:

  • object or process model;
  • A sophisticated set of data related to the object or process;
  • A means of dynamically updating or adjusting the model according to the data Digital twins combine the power of a standard architecture in concert with the ability to adapt or refine each “version” of a digital twin as it is applied to a given asset or project. “

Carsten Baumann, Schneider Electric: “A digital twin is not an end result, product, outcome, or technology in and of itself. Rather, it is a dynamic, data-supported framework that acts as a business catalyst that leads to new outcomes, products, outcomes, or technologies. It is a means to an end, and the end is to solve a real-world problem with real-world data. Digital twins give users the ability to model certain processes in a digital environment. Ideally, a digital twin represents the full life cycle of a project. It integrates all seven dimensions of digital contraction. The third dimension is physical, the fourth dimension is cost, the fifth is scale, the sixth is sustainability, and the seventh is operation and maintenance.”

DTE credited: “DTE Vantage views the digital twin as a virtual representation of the operating facility with real-time operation, maintenance and asset information.”

What are the main energy sector applications served by the digital twin?

Bandy: “Digital twins are useful because they take data and match real-time conditions of an asset, process, or network. At GE Digital, we’ve built digital twins for failure prediction and diagnosis, performance prediction, life prediction, dynamic optimization, and real-time control applications. We use twins digital at the asset, system, and network level for the power generation, power grid (transmission and distribution), manufacturing, and aerospace industries.For example, we’ve built digital twins to test scenarios and provide automated recovery to help stabilize the grid during severe weather events, prevent unplanned outages of power generators, and improve Integration and coordination of renewable energy so that electricity is reliable and affordable regardless of its source.”

Draw: “I created Hitachi Energy ID As the digital twin of an HVDC converter station, STATCOM or any other power quality solution. Main applications:

  • Providing relevant asset information, analytics and operational data in an intuitive and easy-to-navigate dashboard, which users can customize to suit their needs.
  • Include an interactive 3D visualization of the full asset
  • One-click access to all plant and equipment related information, including: engineering documentation; operation and maintenance procedures; and safety training
  • Live operational data for monitoring and analytics.
  • Schedule functions to plan and document maintenance and other asset-related activities.”

stallardBlack & Veatch has deployed various forms of digital twins over the past 20 years, principally in the area of ​​power plant performance and power/water asset portfolio strategies. In each case, digital twins consisted of a combination of analytics (i.e. first principle or engineering), machine learning, diagnostic logic, and simulation.The key is being able to leverage an analytical perspective consistent across different needs and situations – to provide insights into the best course of action, risks, opportunities, etc. More recently, Black & Veatch has embarked In modernizing and expanding digital dual-use through a combination of platform development and strategic partnerships. Twinify Technologies, LLC was incorporated by the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME) and Black & Veatch Corporation to develop and publish high-resolution digital twins. “

Bowman: “There are many applications in which Schneider Electric and our customers benefit from digital twins. Modeling of industrial manufacturing, startup and commissioning provides flexibility, accuracy and simplicity. In data centers, which represent more complex power architectures, digital twins are often used in training that prevents disruption of the environment Production.ETAP [an energy management software platform] is a good example of where energy flow and breaker coordination can be simulated. All of this improves speed-to-market, reduces resources required on site, and reduces performance and project risk. “

DTE Vantage: “DTE Vantage Dearborn Central Power Station At the Ford Research and Engineering Center, the digital twin is used as “the only source of truth”. This means combining the following: operational data, asset database, computerized maintenance management system, and inventory management in one location. Essentially this includes everything from calibration records to standard operating procedures, spare parts all in one place rather than being spread across multiple systems. We’ve also integrated our digital twin with our advanced pattern recognition and drone software.”

What challenges and misconceptions related to digital twin deployment would you highlight?

Bandy: “Business process integration and change management are the most challenging tasks in deploying and reaping the full benefits of digital twins. Some of the technical challenges are data quality issues, model management, asset configuration tracking, etc. The benefit of digital twins is their predictive capabilities with deeper insights. These predictive capabilities and deeper insights are used to drive actions through business workflow integration or close loop control.These digital twins are also used in study/simulation mode to run tests on your assets or on your processes and networks on a replica, excluding digital space.Simulations enable you “This digital twin allows you to make many adjustments to see how an asset, process or network responds to different events. The more data you provide, the more digital twin can help you predict future outcomes.”

Draw: “The challenges facing power grid stakeholders relate to being more sustainable and environmentally efficient by enabling comprehensive remote analysis and support and by digitizing paper-based information on aging installations; flexible by adapting to ever-changing asset performance needs over the entire lifecycle; security By complying with industry-leading cyber security standards and protecting all asset data and information from misplacement or destruction; and more securely by providing virtual training on on-site procedures, required clothing and evacuation routes before employees visit the site.

Key Benefits of IdentiQ Deployment:

  • improves the safety of people working on site in hazardous high voltage areas;
  • Reduces time spent searching for information in multiple documents and locations and eliminates clutter and clutter with papers and folders;
  • Provides everyone (including those with less experience) with the tools and information they need to improve their decision-making and reduce their dependence on the expertise of others;
  • Records all actions taken on an asset and results achieved to ensure lessons are learned and shared;
  • Makes videos, photos, documents, and data easily accessible to operations and maintenance personnel; And the
  • Ensures that the solution meets customer requirements for data ownership, security, integrity, and privacy. The fact that using this sophisticated visual interface is also fun and easy is another advantage and something that current and future engineers can expect in the modern work environment.”

stallard: “We believe that the full power of digital twins will be enabled by different twins and analytics systems working in concert with each other, in essence, to combine intelligence and insights, fully addressing the situation at hand. This will allow digital twins to radically improve capabilities in the context of the assets themselves and also in The context of the systems and markets they are served in. It is therefore critical that modern digital twins are designed to engage across a wide range of needs and platforms.”

Bowman: “I think there is a misconception of what a digital twin should look like. Too often, clients think of a digital twin as a visual model of a physical asset. However, this is not always the case. From an energy perspective, a single line chart can be used To model and simulate the performance characteristics of a power distribution structure.Hence, it is not a 3D model that rotates in virtual space.In addition, after initial modeling, keeping the model updated to reflect any changes that may occur during the implementation and operation of the system is critical.Otherwise, It will break down and its value to learn, adapt and improve.Changes have to happen in the digital twin first, before changes are implemented in the real environment.”

DTE Vantage“It takes a dedicated team to integrate and normalize the use of new technologies, especially in power plant settings. However, once a digital twin is established, the benefits of the system are enormous, as it becomes self-sustaining. At DTE Vantage, we have found that this technology allows us to continually improve and improve processes.” There are many new possibilities and capabilities that facilities can combine to suit specific needs.”

Sonal Patel He is a senior associate editor at POWER (@employeeAnd the @employee).

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