This year we’ve been privileged to take part in a number of forums focused on transforming our world with innovation, including the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos (which you can read about here), CERAWeek in Houston, an IMA (Institute of Mathematics and its Applications) event at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, an oil and gas FPSO Forum in the UK and the SET Tech Fest in Berlin. The energy transition and digitalisation were recurring themes in both fossil fuel and renewables spaces.
CERAWeek is one of the highest level energy events in the world, with phenomenal content that covers everything from market trends and geopolitics to technology and finance. Digitalisation was a central theme and many speakers referred to digital twins, so I was pleased to share our predictive twin technology with conference attendees in the Agora Sessions.
Each lunchtime keynote speeches including Mary Barra from General Motors and Bob Dudley from BP, centred around the energy transition in one way or another. Mary Barra talked insightfully about the impact of electric vehicles while Bod Dudley shared details of BP’s RIC initiative; a change programme to reduce emissions from BP’s operations, improve products to help customers reduce their own emissions, and to create low carbon businesses across the piece. Moving to a low carbon economy is a problem we will solve with many different and complementary solutions, often involving technology. It’s the same approach we took when building a fossil fuel economy: singular focus, government policies, and an emphasis on innovative tech – all to power human society while managing our planet’s resources.
The energy industry’s senior leaders are more focused than ever on digital transformation, and this was emphasised by how often digital twins were mentioned in the panels I attended (no surprise given Goldman Sachs recent estimate that digital twin tech in manufacturing alone could be worth $90bn by 2025). The drivers behind this are many, but clearly top execs have now realised that to attract new talent, to lower OPEX, and to extend the life of assets (in both oil and gas and renewables) a fully digital operating model is the only approach that will lead to success.
Akselos’ CTO, Dr David Knezevic, was invited to present Akselos’ vision for digital twins at a recent IMA event entitled ‘Integrating Machine Learning and Predictive Simulation: From Uncertainty Quantification to Digital Twins’. The conference was supported by ExxonMobil, Siemens, Medtronic, MIT and John Hopkins University, and looked at applications and potential impact across a wide range of industries, including oil and gas, automotive, aerospace and healthcare.
The event was extremely well suited to Akselos because it brought the computer modelling and simulation community together with the machine learning community to address industrial design, engineering and operations challenges. The combination of these two methods is of course exactly what we do; merging our simulations (or digital twins) with sensors, machine learning and data analytics to create living digital models that update and change along with their physical counterparts.
David’s presentation led to a lively discussion about the power of Akselos’ approach and how it enables predictive digital twins of even the largest infrastructure.
SET TECH FEST
The Start Up Energy Transition (SET) tech festival happened in Berlin on 16 April. Akselos was named as one of 100 top innovators in the energy transition by the SET judging panel. We’re passionate supporters of the startup ecosystem so our senior tech developer, Jonas Ballani, was there to meet with fellow innovators in the network.
The SET is a joint initiative from the German Energy Agency (DENA) and the World Energy Council (WEC), that aims to give young companies focused on sustainable energy solutions a global platform to connect with like minded companies, investors and the public sector. Each year the SET makes awards to recognise the best young companies who are contributing to the energy transition.
Of the 18 very impressive finalists this year, Rated Power really caught our attention because like us, they are focused on bringing engineering into the future. The company’s software combines tech and engineering to improve the design of utility-scale solar PV plants to accelerate the energy transition. Their application puts the entire process from location analysis to implementation into an innovative workflow that results in engineering in minutes rather than weeks. A great example of next generation engineering, that’s aligned with our ethos of speeding up traditional processes to bring science fiction to life. Our technology has done just that, speeding up conventional engineering traditionally used in design, to optimize operations.
By Thomas Leurent, CEO