SIBUR and G-Core Labs launch remote AR maintenance service
The platform was designed by G-Core Labs, and will replace physical visits by engineers with video consultations using augmented reality glasses. Testing of the glasses and cloud systems had been undertaken since 2018 at one of SIBUR’s production facilities in the city of Tobolsk.
The head of SIBUR Industry 4.0 practice, Alexander Leus, explained that the new remote servicing platform contains several technological innovations: “Our AR service is easy to use and includes two large key components: RealWear and Epson augmented reality glasses with pre-installed Android applications developed in collaboration with G-Core Labs and integrated with SIBUR’s own mobile media platform. This platform allows you to fully digitize the entire maintenance and repair process by organizing HD broadcasts in WebRTC format and creating a full-fledged communication platform for effective on-site specialist interactions with a remote expert. Everything is voice-controlled, freeing the hands of the person to work with the equipment”.
In comparison with other solutions currently available on the market, SIBUR’s system is more deeply integrated into the organisation’s tasks and processes, and is versatile enough to be deployed at different production sites.
The solution works using a ticket system, whereby the customer wearing the augmented glasses - typically a site manager or mechanic - is guided through the entire maintenance process, from the initial assessment to providing answers to queries. To date it has been used over 300 times.
The CEO of SIBUR Tobolsk Enterprises, Igor Klimov, commented that the new technology has made a significant impact on the costs of operating the petrochemical organisation: “One session of operational communication through our AR platform helps save several tens of thousands of dollars. These savings result from the reduction in travel expenses, hourly billing instead of full-day billing for experts, and the timely resumption of work”.
Mr Leus, the head of SIBUR Industry 4.0 practice, added that G-Core Labs had played an instrumental role in the success of this new remote maintenance technology: “It was important for us that our future partner had serious expertise both in working with WebRTC and in Android mobile development. The company successfully completed the test task of creating an application for AR glasses, which, by the way, was not performed by all tenderers, and we started work”.
“We’re happy with our collaboration with G-Core Labs. From the very beginning of the project, there was a feeling that we were working not as different teams—a contractor and our own internal team—but as a single team passionate about one big project. The coworkers took part in daily meetings, planning and sprint analyses. We discussed all issues related to technical details and openly shared information. It was very effective”
Form Energy receives funding power for iron-air batteries
Form Energy believes it has cracked the conundrum of commercialising grid storage through iron-air batteries - and some of the biggest names in industry are backing its potential.
The startup recently announced the battery chemistry of its first commercial product and a $200 million Series D financing round led by ArcelorMittal’s XCarb innovation fund. Founded in 2017, Form Energy is backed by investors Eni Next LLC, MIT’s The Engine, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Prelude Ventures, Capricorn Investment Group and Macquarie Capital.
While solar and wind resources are the lowest marginal cost sources of electricity, the grid faces a challenge: how to manage the multi-day variability of renewable energy, even in periods of multi-day weather events, without sacrificing energy reliability or affordability.
Moreover, while Lithium-ion batteries are well suited to fast bursts of energy production, they run out of energy after just a few hours. Iron-air batteries, however, are predicted to have theoretical energy densities of more than 1,200 Wh/kg according to Renaissance of the iron-air battery (phys.org)
The active components of Form Energy's iron-air battery system are some of the cheapest, and most abundant materials: iron, water, and air. Iron-air batteries are the best solution to balance the multi-day variability of renewable energy due to their extremely low cost, safety, durability, and global scalability.
It claims its first commercial product is a rechargeable iron-air battery capable of delivering electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with conventional power plants and at less than 1/10th the cost of lithium-ion and can be optimised to store electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with legacy power plants.
"This product is our first step to tackling the biggest barrier to deep decarbonisation: making renewable energy available when and where it’s needed, even during multiple days of extreme weather, grid outages, or periods of low renewable generation," it states.
Mateo Jaramillo, CEO and Co-founder of Form Energy, said it conducted a broad review of available technologies and has reinvented the iron-air battery to optimise it for multi-day energy storage for the electric grid. "With this technology, we are tackling the biggest barrier to deep decarbonization: making renewable energy available when and where it’s needed, even during multiple days of extreme weather or grid outages," he said.
Form Energy and ArcelorMittal are working jointly on the development of iron materials which ArcelorMittal would non-exclusively supply for Form’s battery systems. Form Energy intends to source the iron domestically and manufacture the battery systems near where they will be sited. Form Energy’s first project is with Minnesota-based utility Great River Energy, located near the heart of the American Iron Range.
Greg Ludkovsky, Global Head of Research and Development at ArcelorMittal, believes Form Energy is at the leading edge of developments in the long-duration, grid-scale battery storage space. "The multi-day energy storage technology they have developed holds exciting potential to overcome the issue of intermittent supply of renewable energy."
Investors in Form Energy's November 2020 round included Energy Impact Partners, NGP Energy Technology Partners III, and Temasek.
In May 2020, it signed a contract with Minnesota-based utility Great River Energy to jointly deploy a 1MW / 150MWh pilot project to be located in Cambridge, MN. Great River Energy is Minnesota's second-largest electric utility and the fifth largest generation and transmission cooperative in the US.
Last week Helena and Energy Vault announced a strategic partnership to identify additional opportunities for Energy Vault’s waste remediation technologies as the company begins deployment of its energy storage system worldwide. It received new investment from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV) in June.
Maoneng has revealed more details of its proposed 240MWp / 480MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in Australia (click here).
The BESS represents hundreds of millions of dollars of investment that will improve electricity grid reliability and network stability by drawing energy from the grid during off-peak periods for battery storage, and dispatching energy to the grid during peak periods.