Frost & Sullivan Awards Sentient Science for Wind Prognostics

15 Feb 2018

Frost & Sullivan, a Growth Partnership firm, recognized Sentient Science and its flagship DigitalClone® life extension solution for wind turbines with their New Product Innovation Award for Wind Prognostics.

According to Frost & Sullivan, the award recognizes that Sentient’s DigitalClone software has addressed the challenges in accurately predicting mechanical failure of wind turbines beyond the capabilities of monitoring to a solution that will extend the life of wind turbines past their expected design life and financing models. With approval from NASA and working partnerships with U.S. federal agencies, the company has showcased its ability to create asset actions for life extension as a way to lower the cost of wind energy.

DigitalClone platform is designed to reduce the cost of wind energy today by 13% of revenues, using advances in materials science, over a 1% to 2% savings coming from data science alone. It does this by keeping assets healthy, through life extension of subcomponents and systems, and by incorporating the supply chains in an integrated platform to provide critical parts and services when and where they’re needed. Sentient’s platform is under contract now for over 30GW of GE, Siemens and Vestas wind turbines, and the company is just beginning operations in China.

Sentient Science disclosed that its accuracy measurements for its life extension studies dropped from a high of 98% in 2016 when compared against physical testing to 30% using live data from field assets — a 68% difference between the validation dataset between physical and actual field data. This finding has implications for OEM design of new components used for life extension and why suppliers are looking to partner with Sentient Science.

Sentient had to rebuild its software to include additional environmental inputs to its materials science based lifing models so that loading conditions at each asset were accurately represented in the DigitalClone simulations. DigitalClone accuracy is now measuring between 70%-90% in 2018 on fielded wind turbine gearboxes. This award recognizes the improvements in prediction accuracy on individual assets for Sentient customers. Sentient is now adding additional major components to its solution including main bearings, blades, generators and pitch bearings, and will continue scaling its solution until it has all major systems represented in the platform.

“We learned that there are significant differences between physical testing done in a lab and live data from fielded assets, and those differences are affecting the life of wind assets,” said Ward Thomas, CEO and President of Sentient Science. “We recognize that many of the subcomponents we see in our life extension studies are under-designed and that operators need much more accurate information to make informed buying decisions to extend the life of their assets.”

Continued Mr. Thomas, “Sentient is a trusted third party of wind operators and their investors. Having their best interest drive our platform ensures that the operator will be financially successful in lowering operating costs and creating new work and opportunities for the supply chain. The first and most important step is to move the ownership of the asset bill of materials from the suppliers to the operators, allowing the operators to understand which components are in their assets; what are the risks of failure in those components; then to use that data to make better, more informed decisions regarding upgrading critical components and services to extend life.”

Frost & Sullivan’s global team of analysts rated Sentient Science’s DigitalClone technology 9.3 out of 10, which was 0.5 points higher than any other competitor measured against the same metrics.

According to Kowtham Kumar, Research Analyst at Frost & Sullivan, “DigitalClone Platform,developed by Sentient Science, is designed to perform microstress analysis of wind turbine components at the material grain level to know the earliest possible time that materials begin to fail under actual operating conditions. By knowing the earliest point in time that components begin to fail, actions can be taken for life extension before failure occurs, before that failure shows up on sensors and before secondary more expensive damage occurs. This is achieved by utilizing numerous data points for its computational testing which is a highlighting feature. The detailing of data points has made DigitalClone a well-suited product to study the quality and operational characteristics of materials, such as bearings, gears, and drivetrains, even across industries such as military and aerospace.”

“The quality of Sentient Science’s DigitalClone data library is so commendable that it is utilized by risk managers to analyze the optimal insurance model for wind turbines that could be recommended to utility players and to achieve reduced risk in allotting the insurance premium. The data library is also used by wind industry operators and suppliers to achieve cost reductions by estimating the life cycle costs well in advance and shortening the time designated for wind component prototype testing,” Kumar said.

The Frost & Sullivan recognition is the third major award Sentient Science has won since commercialization in 2013. In 2014, the White House honored Sentient Science with the Tibbett’s Award for its technological breakthrough in decoding the material genome. In 2016, Bloomberg New Energy Finance recognized Sentient Science with the New Energy Pioneers Award for its commercial growth in wind energy.

Sentient Science is joined by eBay, IBM, Google Chrome, 3M, Cummins Inc., KPMG LLP and other industry leaders to accept Frost & Sullivan awards.

Sentient Science was founded in 2001 and took 10 years to develop its DigitalClone technology, which predicts mechanical failure of rotating equipment. NASA validated the approach in 2010, and Sentient Science’s research team, comprising of 17 Ph.D.-level mechanical engineers and materials scientists, continue to work with U.S. federal agencies to improve efficiency and lower costs for the wind, aerospace and rail industries.

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