By creating a digital twin for 3D multiphysics simulation of an industrial furnace that is connected in real time to the IoT ThingWorx platform by PTC and combined with a mixed reality solution, the French energy company ENGIE’s CRIGEN Lab has sought to optimize the operation of an industrial asset on its conversion to hydrogen.
Putting to use the digital twin of an industrial furnace
Since 2020, ENGIE’s CRIGEN Lab is located in Stains (northern suburbs). The lab devotes part of its work to anticipating and supporting industrial developments in ENGIE by gaining a deeper understanding of cutting-edge technologies and enhanced operation of energy assets. Specialized in new energy sources as their uses and their impacts, this laboratory conducts research projects on energy resources linked to gas and runs innovative projects to boost and speed up the energy transition.
In order to reach carbon neutrality, industrial assets must adapt to the different energy sources while maintaining performance and efficiency. 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, the CRIGEN Lab took the decision to study its real-time physical and dynamic behaviours through 3D multiphysics digital simulation.
A data hub based on PTC’s IoT platform, for delivering usable information
ENGIE’s CRIGEN Lab has created a network of specialist partners who pooled their know-how and in-field experience to successfully complete the project. Then, ANSYS created a simulation digital twin that generated millions of data in real time. PTC managed these data and delivered the real-time connection with the industrial facility; and SYNERGIZ made immersive and realistic use of this data with Microsoft HoloLens mixed reality headsets.
Collecting and centralizing data of different types from multiple sources, and standardising and making full use of this data called for a platform that was capable of supporting many industrial communication protocols. The ThingWorx solution was fully able to meet IoT connectivity requirements. Preference was given to the hybrid cloud so as to ensure full control of the system and greater agility in data recovery. The onsite installation and deployment of ThingWorx was straightforward, and the platform allowed ENGIE’s CRIGEN Lab to retain internal control.
The ambition of this project lies first and foremost in its ability to embed a technology in order to demonstrate the relevance of IT/OT convergence and its benefits for those working in the field (operators, maintenance personnel, etc.). This goal was a 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.
What has been done for a furnace can also be done for other energy assets. Thus, ENGIE’s CRIGEN Lab is right on target in its role of thinking ahead and delivering proposals. “This is 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”, explains Guy-Alexandre Grandin, the laboratory Deputy Manager.