Technology

Anglian Water’s digital twin one of first created for utilities

29 September 2019

One of the world’s first water utility digital twins will be created for Anglian Water as part of its “Future Water Company, Today” initiative, which is using the Newmarket region of its operating area as a proving ground for innovations.

As part of the initiative engineering company Black & Veatch is creating a digital representation of the region’s water treatment and distribution infrastructure and embedding Hybrid Adaptive Real-time Virtual Intelligence (HARVI), an artificial intelligence (AI) provided by its strategic partner EMAGIN, into the digital twin. This enables predictive capabilities and intuitive decision support and intervention.

Anglian Water describes the Newmarket region as a “shop window” for its cutting-edge approach to delivering water services.

The Future Water Company, Today initiative has set seven goals for Newmarket: zero leakage and bursts; 100% customer satisfaction; water consumption of 80 litres per person per day; zero pollution and flooding; 100% compliant and chemical-free drinking water; carbon neutrality; and building a circular economy that eliminates the concept of waste from the processes.

The digital twin is a significant step towards meeting those goals.

“This is an exciting stage for us as this is our first co-developed solution with EMAGIN. The AI-enabled digital twin will be an integrated digital representation of the Newmarket region’s physical assets which provides historical, current and predictive analysis in near real-time,” said Mark Kaney, director of asset management at Black & Veatch Europe.

“What separates the digital twin from a conventional model is that the twin is in constant dialogue with its physical counterpart, enabling Anglian Water to simulate and scenario test options before actioning them in the real world.”

A water utility digital twin offers the prospect of helping to enhance customer experience, without increasing bills to fund improvements, by optimising performance of existing assets and increasing operational and maintenance efficiency.

The twin facilitates “systems thinking” – combining multiple internal and external data sources across the asset base with predictive analytical techniques served through multiple functional views. This enables improved insights that support better decisions, leading to better outcomes in the physical world.

“As we start to see more digital twins manifest in industries like water and power, the next big milestone is about how we can make them more actionable,” said Thouheed Abdul Gaffoor, EMAGIN’s chief executive officer and co-founder. “This is precisely where AI enablement brings the most value – it’s about leveraging data across multiple layers of infrastructure to make the best operational decisions at the right time.”

The interface between Anglian Water’s asset monitoring and control networks, EMAGIN’s AI HARVI and Black & Veatch’s analytics and visualisation tools, will be managed using Black & Veatch’s ECO-X digital ecosystem environment.