Making Industry Smarter: Energy & Power | “Digital twins will enable energy transition,” says Siemens
The only way the planet will hit sustainability targets is through comprehensive electrification and digitisation of the energy market, and of society at large, reckons German tech giant Siemens.
Consumption of electrical power was 10,000 TWh in 1990 and 25,000 TWh in 2017, and will rise to 40 TWh in the period to 2040. But there are major changes in the way demand for energy is being served, at the same time, as the energy sector embraces decarbonisation and decentralisation of its power resources.
Here, Enterprise IoT Insights caught up with John Nixon, senior director for energy and utilities within Siemens’ PLM software business, to discuss the roles of IoT, analytics, and digital twins in the transition from “the age of hydrocarbons to the age of power”.
How is Siemens helping bring automation and intelligence to the electricity sector?
“Our investment in Mindpshere makes us a leader in IoT. With our investment in Mendix, low code, rapid application development, we can empower the workforce for power generation, transmission, and distribution to automate many tasks to gather and analyse data.”
What role does connectivity play here? What will LPWA / TE / 5G technologies offer?
“Huge volumes of data from countless intelligent devices can be captured and analysed quickly and efficiently. Resulting analytics can be used to continuously optimise production plants, in terms of their energy consumption.
“For predictive maintenance, potential problems can be identified at a very early stage so that the right decisions can be made at the right time. Companies can increase the productivity and efficiency of their entire operation, and benefit from reduced downtimes, increased production, more effective use of their facilities, and higher competitiveness overall.”
How are digital twins being used in the energy sector – power generation, distribution, consumption?
“Digital twins can combine the as-designed twin with gathered IoT and field data to evolve to a strong prescriptive and predictive environment – drive greater power output and optimised maintenance intervals. The evolution from CAD and CAE into generative engineering allows for powerful design space exploration of digital twins.
“This generative engineering capability also acts as a powerful analytics capability as IoT data from a myriad of sensors can further refine modeled digital twins. Other benefits of the digital twin include reduced project delivery and execution times, improved information quality, managed document workflow across departments, providing easy access to documentation at different project sites, and the ability to communicate with vendors with easy access to BOM information in a single source of truth.”
How will digital technology change the energy sector in the next 5, 10, 20 years?
“We are moving from the age of hydrocarbons to the age of power, and digital will enable this transition. The energy sector will see new levels of uptime where digital technologies predictively drive automation in operations and maintenance. The distributed assets of renewables (wind and solar) and the installed cost of distributed generation will continue to fall as digital twins provide powerful modeling and simulation capabilities.”
Check out the new editorial report from Enterprise IoT Insights, called ‘Keeping the lights on – with green power’, which looks at development of IoT technologies in the energy and power market . The full report, free to download, is available here.