Smart use of data cuts operating costs in renewable energy
By using algorithmically powered, highly personalised knowledge bases, Know.Right.Now is helping owners of low carbon energy installations to repair and service their equipment. Equipment for the production of environmentally friendly, low carbon energy is increasingly complex. As a result, the knowledge required to service or repair this equipment is also becoming more sophisticated. This can make it harder and more expensive to keep installations up and running. This is the issue that Know.Right.Now aimed to address.
Michel Manago, CEO of Kiolis, coordinator for the Know.Right.Now project: “We wanted to develop a technology that would allow the owners of wind turbines and other low carbon energy installations to accumulate knowledge and offer it to their technicians dynamically, as the situation calls for it. Essentially, it’s a smart knowledge base.”
Know.Right.Know was made possible with the financial support of EUROGIA, the EUREKA-Cluster focusing on low-carbon energy technologies. The advanced algorithms that drive the platform were developed with the prestigious engineering school Institut Telecom in Paris and Empolis, a German company specialising in information management.
WHAT HAS WORKED IN THE PAST WILL (LIKELY) WORK IN THE FUTURE
Michel Manago: “With complex industrial equipment, we know that solutions that have worked in the past can help you fix problems in the future. This is the fundamental insight behind “case based reasoning” (CBS), which fixes problems by retrieving past problems that look similar.” This allows businesses to repair problems by slightly adapting a solution that has worked in the past.
The technology reduces the cost of repairs and maintenance in three ways, says Manago. “First of all, our technology helps companies diagnose problems faster. Often, technicians try to fix a problem by repairing a part that wasn’t defective in the first place. In our knowledge bases, you can see that 70% of the people have first tried an approach that did not lead to a successful repair. That allows you to select a solution that will work.”
“EUREKA and EUROGIA helped us evolve from a startup into a credible market player.”
Imagine a wind turbine breaking down at sea. This would normally require a technician to go out by boat, inspect the turbine and come back to get the necessary pieces to repair the issue. If the technician can deduct, based on the previous experiences of his colleagues, that the problem is likely to be caused by one of three parts, he might be able to bring all the necessary parts with him on his first trip out. This reduces the downtime for the equipment, and thus the economic cost of repairs and maintenance. “Finally, it reduces the number of errors in diagnoses. It’s often difficult to find the root cause of a problem, because a malfunction is often the result of a cascade of events. Our technology helps companies go to the root of the problem quickly.”
Today, the Know.Right.Now technology is used by industrial giants like Airbus, ABB, Repower and Bosch Thermotechnik. But back when the project was starting out, it wasn’t easy to sign these kinds of players, remarks Manago. “No customer wants to be first. The support from EUROGIA gave us the prestige and the connections we needed to convince our first clients to start using our technology. It was a matter of life and death at the time, and EUREKA helped us evolve from a startup into a credible market player.”