A global energy player, with significant UK investments in renewable energy and storage, has used a ‘digital twin’ to help make a significant breakthrough in its Net Zero journey.
ENGIE, which is Headquartered in Leeds and employs over 1000 people across the country, is committed to optimising the operation of industrial assets on their conversion to hydrogen and required support for an exciting project at its corporate R&D Centre in Paris.
ENGIE Lab CRIGEN created a digital twin based on a 3D multiphysics simulation of an industrial furnace that it wanted to convert to a hydrogen-based cleaner fuel to prove that it was possible and could still deliver the same level of energy performance.
Generating millions of data, this digital twin operated in real time, was physically accurate and led to a perfect synchronised interaction using Mixed Reality technology.
The project was supported by three strategic partners – ANSYS for the real-time simulation, SYNERGIZ for the development of a dedicated software based on Mixed Reality technology and the use of HoloLens 2 and PTC, who focused on the management of all information and live connections with the industrial facility through its ThingWorx platform.
This industry leading IIoT solution was chosen due to its ability to collect, centralise, standardise, and make full use of data from multiple sources, with its connectivity and hybrid cloud ‘offer’ providing greater agility with data recovery and ensuring ENGIE Lab CRIGEN retains internal control.
“In order to attain carbon neutrality, industrial assets must adapt to the different energy sources, while maintaining performance and efficiency,” explained Guy-Alexandre Grandin, the Deputy Head of the R&D Lab dedicated to Industrial Energy-Challenges.
“Based on the notion that an industrial furnace could provide a first-rate experimental basis for digitally reproducing the hydrogen conversion of industrial facilities whose core process is combustion, our Lab took the decision to study its real-time physical and dynamic behaviours through 3D multiphysics digital simulation.”
He continued: “The ambition of this project lies first and foremost in our ability to embed a technology, to demonstrate the relevance of IT/OT convergence and its benefits for those working in the field, such as operators and maintenance personnel. An ambition that has been achieved!
“This is at the very heart of our technological innovation mission and, in the present context, it is a huge plus to be able to chart the path ahead for revised energy consumption, thanks to the enhanced management of industrial assets.”
PTC’s Elliot Clarke, UKi Director at PTC, added his support: “ThingWorx is one of the world’s leading Industrial Internet of Thing platforms, working across tens of different industries.
“It’s work with ENGIE is helping the company prove the feasibility of hydrogen energy sources, a vital step forward in cutting emissions and helping the world move to Net Zero.
“This project in the ENGIE Lab CRIGEN has been a huge success. Everything is ready, the value chain is operating, and the collection of digital twin data through 3D simulation is meeting expectations. The user in the field – donning the Microsoft HoloLens headset – now has access to real-time information from the digital twin.
“And since what has been done for a furnace can also be done for other energy assets, ENGIE Lab CRIGEN is right on target in its role of thinking ahead and delivering proposals that the company can implement in the real world.”
Reading-based PTC fosters industrial innovation though tried-and-tested solutions that enable companies to make their products and services stand out, aim for operational excellence, and improve the productivity of their personnel.
With PTC and its ecosystem of partners, industry can harness the opportunities offered by new technology to drive their digital transformation – on site, in the cloud, or by adopting a fully SaaS approach.