Endesa uses AI to create “digital twins” of its hydroelectric plants

Isbel Lázaro.

gemelos digitales centrales hidroeléctricas

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is incorporated into the aquatic field with the initiative of Endesa , which has developed “digital twins” of its hydroelectric plants . This innovation makes it possible to carry out 3D virtual visits and carry out preventive evaluations to analyze the performance of these facilities.

Endesa has 153 hydroelectric plants spread throughout Spain, their management is essential, but their location sometimes generates difficulties, so creating these digital twins has been crucial to improve their knowledge and operation ,” comments Santiago Domínguez, head of of Hydroelectric Generation of the company.

Digital twins in hydroelectric plants: the Endesa project

The pilot project of the “digital twin” to carry out virtual tours was launched in 2023 at the El Pintado hydroelectric plant, located in Seville. Endesa’s Hydro Iberia Predictive Maintenance team led the development, creating a model similar to Street View but intended for the interior of the plant.

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To carry out this initiative, 360º cameras and lidar cameras equipped with the latest technology were installed, allowing the necessary depth to be obtained to generate three-dimensional spaces with high-resolution images.

This application makes it possible to make virtual visits to the facility to observe all the equipment and infrastructure of the plant. The scope of this model is very diverse and includes virtual visits with suppliers or internal personnel, visualization of equipment and instrumentation, taking measurements in the installation, visualization of plant plans and even the three-dimensional model of the complete plant.

In addition, this system allows you to associate relevant documentation (plans, photographs, diagrams, manuals, databases, sensor configuration files for predictive maintenance, among others) to the image of the equipment and systems that make up the hydraulic power plant (turbine, group oil, remote control, etc.), facilitating direct access in case of need for consultation by staff.

Model expansion

After the successful implementation of the pilot at the El Pintado plant, the company has expanded this model to nine other plants. These include the plants of Tajo de la Encantada (Andalusia) and Guillena (Andalusia), Eume (Galicia), Moncabril (Galicia) and Peñadrada (Castilla y León), as well as Canelles (Catalonia), Sallente (Catalonia), Moralets (Catalonia ) and Serós (Catalonia).

But we have not only developed the digital twin to have that 360 view of the facilities, but we have launched a diagnostic twin that receives more than 6,000 analog measurements in real time, such as temperature, pressure, speed, vibration, etc. and on which it estimates future values. These models are adjusted taking the normal behavior of the equipment and warn when the values ​​received in real time do not adjust to the estimated values.”explains Domínguez.

Currently, Endesa has implemented digital twin models for diagnosis in the 38 main hydroelectric plants , covering approximately 70% of the total installed capacity. Monitoring of essential and critical equipment is carried out to allow remote viewing by Operation and Maintenance specialists. The information collected is presented on various screens, where analog data is represented, facilitating more immediate, accessible and dynamic control of the operation of the installation.

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Source: elperiodicodelaenergia.com

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