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Using digital twins for sustainable infrastructure

AI and generative AI can automate material assignment. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Rodrigo Fernandes, director, ES(D)G at Bentley Systems, spoke to Technical Review Middle East about using better software for the energy transition process

“We’ve been receiving requests from people from the transmission and distribution industry, in terms of increasing grid resilience and grid infrastructure for electrification of the world. So what we feel is that the world is already upscaling for clean energy.

“What's relevant for us is that we leverage our technology to accelerate the process of energy transition for our clients. And we can be more pragmatic. Even if you're phasing out fossil fuel, you want to make sure that the transition is efficient. 

“We do have software that can support energy efficiency, in any infrastructure asset, whether it's water utilities, electric utilities, power supply, geothermal energy, or district heating systems.

Leveraging the right technology

“In Europe, you see that you can see in France, where they are prioritising nuclear energy as a strategic part of their energy transition process. But then you just move a few kilometres away to Germany and they really don't want to use nuclear energy. We do have software that can support both strategies. It's not up to us [to decide which strategy to use]. 

“What's up to us is to enable and to empower the strategies that they decide to implement with our digital solutions, because we have users that can accelerate net zero and you can accelerate energy efficiency, energy production. And delivery of clean energy by leveraging digital technologies, like infrastructure, digital twins, and using data centricity, AI, IoT and other models in the process. 

Rodrigo also highlighted the innovation of Bentley's platform in aggregating multiple formats for carbon footprint reporting, saving time and improving efficiency. He discussed the challenge of accurately tracking materials in digital models, with up to 75% of models lacking explicit information on materials.

“You want to make sure that you're mapping the right materials, or products that you have there. So there are technologies that can support that. That's the excitement around AI and generative AI itself.”

He also highlighted the potential of AI and generative AI to automate material assignment and carbon reporting, with the ability to group and map materials for more accurate analysis.

“You can use large language models to make automated material assignments. In many cases, large language models can simply identify and interpret an acronym too, like concrete. It can also identify the type of concrete. You can facilitate the carbon assignment to the material assignment, and even group and map. It means that we can automate the grouping of materials, and then you can generate the carbon report based on data.”