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Smart Systems Research Group

To promote sustainability and create resilience in systems, organisations, networks and societies

Clean Energy Award for Smart Systems Group Academics

Awards Logo 2018 Transparent winner

A clean energy project that aims to reduce the carbon footprint of marine vessels has earned scientists from Heriot-Watt University a major honour at the British Renewable Energy Awards 2018

 

Dr David Flynn and Dr Valentin Robu from the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, received the Low Carbon Transport Award at a recent ceremony hosted by Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman, at the Savoy Hotel in London. 

 

They were recognised for their contribution to a business led, collaborative project called the Hybrid Fusion Energy Management System (HyFES), which examines ways to further improve the benefits gained by sea vessels that switch to a hybrid propulsion system.

 

"It’s a great privilege to be recognised with this award and really is testament to the hard work carried out by our team at Heriot-Watt University."

Dr Valentin Robu

Sponsored by Innovate UK and EPSRC, the project measures three key performance indicators namely; energy performance, environmental metrics and asset health. Results from trials carried out on the River Thames demonstrated fuel efficiency savings of up to 80%.   

 

After receiving the award Dr David Flynn, said: “The Smart Systems Group at Heriot-Watt University is at the forefront of Embedded Intelligence in Energy Systems. This award not only recognises how a data driven approach can deliver both immediate and long term strategic value to companies, governments and society, but also how a knowledge based economy can support our distributed SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) community with world leading products and services." 

 

HyFES brings together a consortium that spans the complete supply chain including Heriot-Watt and Southampton Universities, the High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute (HSSMI), Custom and Contract Power Solutions (CCPS), Denchi Power, FM and MBNA Thames Clippers.

 

Dr Valentin Robu, added: “It’s a great privilege to be recognised with this award and really is testament to the hard work carried out by our team at Heriot-Watt University. 

 

“The impact of HyFES is not constrained to the end users but also delivers new technologies throughout the supply chain demonstrating how the renewable and sustainable energy sector can deliver inclusive growth and support the creation of new supply chains.” 

 

More than 350 delegates from across the renewable energy sector were represented at the awards. 

 

Organised by the Renewable Energy Association, the annual ceremony is the industry’s most prestigious event. It celebrates the achievements of companies and individuals who have done most to advance renewable energy and associated clean tech in the UK.

 

Dr Nina Skorupska CBE FEI, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association said: “It’s been another record breaking year for the renewable energy sector, we have seen coal-free days in the UK for the first-time since before the industrial revolution, prices come down significantly and our most up-to-date numbers show that almost 130,000 people are now employed by the renewable energy sector nationwide - and these companies have been at the vanguard of that success here in the UK.

 

“The profile of renewables is rising fast, a clear and ambitious energy policy is now essential in order to back these businesses growth potential and ambition. Although the public’s switch to green energy is not yet complete, I truly believe that with the continued drive and determination of companies like these we will get there sooner rather than later.”

 

The award comes during Heriot-Watt’s Year of the Sea 2018,  a calendar of engagement spanning schools, the public, academia, industry collaborators, funders and policy makers.

 

Keep up-to-date with Year of the Sea on Twitter @HWU_Seas, look for us across all channels using #yearofsea2018, and visit www.hw.ac.uk/yearofthesea.

 

 

Award for web

L-R: Dr Kiara Zennaro, Head of Biogas, Dr Jonathan Scurlock of the National Farmers Union, Dr David Flynn and Dr Valentin Robu. 

 

 

PhD Student awarded 2 days of research time at the Neutron and X-ray Tomography facility (NeXT) in Grenoble, France.

Mr Jamie Blanche, a current PhD student of the Smart Systems Group, has recently been awarded 2 days of highly coveted research time at the Neutron and X-ray Tomography facility (NeXT) situated in Grenoble, France.

Entrée European photon and neutron science campus - GrenobleNeXT, a new centre of innovation, was formed in 2016 as part of collaboration between the Institut Laue-Langevin (a leading neutron research institution boasting the most powerful neutron source in the world at 1.5×1015 neutrons per cmwith a thermal power of 58MW) and Universite Grenoble Alpes, through Laboratoire 3SR, a leading centre in the experimental investigation of porous media and geomaterials.

This invitation has resulted from preliminary findings from a novel investigation into Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) radar analysis of porous sandstones and liquid pore content; a non-destructive and non-invasive technique to interrogate the structure of porous media. This work will take advantage of the neutron radiography/tomography capability provided by NeXT to detect water-filled fractures, providing a complementary and verification analysis to the FMCW response.

This work represents the first use of FMCW radar in the geomaterial characterisation field, in addition to the first combined use of FMCW with neutron and X-ray tomography to identify porous media properties. The potential impact of this work is that the FMCW analysis may provide an ability to capture near to real-time deformations and evolution of localised forces within geomaterials that could significantly enhance the accuracy of current geomechanical models. Even a 1% improvement in accuracy would deliver significant value to current reservoir management and carbon capture capabilities.  

 

Smart Systems Group's role in Scotland's first energy strategy

651x366xEnergy jpg pagespeed ic Lj uKdmIvgThe Scottish Government published Scotland’s first energy strategy this week, and Heriot-Watt’s expertise will make a major contribution to its priorities.

The strategy sets out six energy priorities for a ‘whole system’ approach to the use and supply of energy for heat, power and transport. The priorities include improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s built environment, industrial processes and manufacturing; creating a secure and resilient energy supply; investment and innovation in oil and gas, including carbon capture and storage; supporting community-led energy initiatives and championing Scotland’s renewable energy potential.  The strategy also sets two 2030 targets for the Scottish energy system: 50 percent of Scotland’s heat, transport and electricity consumption to be supplied from renewable sources, and an increase of 30 percent in the productivity of energy use across the Scottish economy.  Heriot-Watt University is already conducting world-leading research and teaching in each of these priority areas, meaning it is well-placed to make a meaningful contribution to the strategy. In coming months, the university will be engaging with policy makers to highlight the expertise and innovation already underway at our global campuses in each of these areas.

Dr David Flynn, from the Institute of Sensors, Signals and Systems, contributed to the consultation process and worked with the Scottish Government to ensure the critical role of data and digital technologies were integrated into the strategy.  Dr Flynn said: “The strategy identifies the need for a whole system approach to our infrastructure, and recognises that our energy systems will become much more interconnected. Looking at each vector in isolation increases costs and timescales for delivery, data is omnipresent within this future energy system,from consumer households to offshore generation assets in the north sea, and will be responsible for the security of the future of supply.”

To read the article in full please see Heriot-Watt University's News Page.

Heriot-Watt has been awarded Accredited University status with the IET Power Academy

It’s official! Heriot-Watt has been awarded Accredited University status with the IET Power Academy. The Power Academy is a unique partnership between universities and industry that aims to fill the skills shortage surrounding power engineering. This fantastic status recognises Heriot-Watt as a leader in energy education, opening up a range of scholarship and industry placement opportunities for students. Full details of Power Academy sponsorship opportunities will be made available to eligible students in 2018 through the Heriot-Watt scholarship portal.

Data Analytics in the Smart Grid

Dr David Flynn, Smart Systems Group leader, has collaborated on the Big Data Analytics in the Smart Grid White Paper: Big Data Analytics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in the Big Data Analytics in the Smart Grid White Draft Paper....Working Group on Big Data Analytics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in the Smart Gridig Data Analytics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in the Smart Grid.

Smart Systems Group collaborate with CALCE

UMD HWCALCE has added another world-renowned institution to its list of research collaborators. Heriot-Watt University sought out CALCE for this new partnership, which pairs CALCE with the Smart Systems Group (SSG) at Heriot-Watt.

The collaboration between CALCE and Heriot-Watt began during Prof. Pecht's August visit to the School of Engineerring & Phsical Sciences where he gave a keynote presentation at The Era of Embedded Intelligence seminar. His presentation, attended by global leaders and innovators in embedded intelligence from industry and academia, addressed how prognostics and health management (PHM) influences future product development, business models, resilience of critical infrastructure, and exploration within extreme environments. Prof. Pecht emphasized the importance and impact that PHM has on society and challenged the audience on how to innovate and train the next generation of engineers, scientists, and businesspeople to prosper in this data-driven age. CALCE has added another world-renowned institution to its list of research collaborators. Heriot-Watt University sought out CALCE for this new partnership, which pairs CALCE with the Smart Systems Group (SSG) at Heriot-Watt. The collaboration between CALCE and Heriot-Watt began during Prof. Pecht's August visit to the school where he gave a keynote presentation at The Era of Embedded Intelligence seminar. His presentation, attended by global leaders and innovators in embedded intelligence from industry and academia, addressed how prognostics and health management (PHM) influences future product development, business models, resilience of critical infrastructure, and exploration within extreme environments. Prof. Pecht emphasized the importance and impact that PHM has on society and challenged the audience on how to innovate and train the next generation of engineers, scientists, and businesspeople to prosper in this data-driven age. To read more please see  the CALCE press release 

HyFES project on track

HyFesThe HyFES (Hybrid Fusion Energy System) is a business led, collaborative project to further improve the benefits (lower fuel costs, reduced emissions) marine vessels gain from switching to a hybrid propulsion systems. HyFES is following an innovative approach of combining multiple battery technologies and sub systems within a vessel which allows existing products to be retrofitted as low carbon hybrid vessels. The consortium will work within this research project to develop the technological foundation which uses data based prognostic algorithms to ensure optimal operation of the system assets. It will also work on the initial system integration and test. A further focus will be to ensure vessels make operational decisions based on through life costs of assets rather than focusing solely on fuel saving. The HyFES architecture is scalable and adaptable to various sectors and represents the next generation of performance and asset management.

The project brings together a consortium that spans the complete supply chain including Heriot-Watt and University of Southampton, the High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute (HSSMI), Custom and Contract Power Solutions (CCPS), Denchi Power (lead partner), Ferguson Marine and MBNA Thames Clippers
The HyFES (Hybrid Fusion Energy System) is a business led, collaborative project to further improve the benefits (lower fuel costs, reduced emissions) marine vessels gain from switching to a hybrid propulsion systems. HyFES is following an innovative approach of combining multiple battery technologies and sub systems within a vessel which allows existing products to be retrofitted as low carbon hybrid vessels. The consortium will work within this research project to develop the technological foundation which uses data based prognostic algorithms to ensure optimal operation of the system assets. It will also work on the initial system integration and test. A further focus will be to ensure vessels make operational decisions based on through life costs of assets rather than focusing solely on fuel saving. The HyFES architecture is scalable and adaptable to various sectors and represents the next generation of performance and asset management.
The project brings together a consortium that spans the complete supply chain including Heriot-Watt and University of Southampton, the High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute (HSSMI), Custom and Contract Power Solutions (CCPS), Denchi Power (lead partner), Ferguson Marine and MBNA Thames Clippers

ORCA Hub: Offshore Robotics for Certification of AssetsORCA Hub: Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets

ORCA HUBThe international offshore energy industry currently faces the triple challenges of an oil price expected to remain less than $50 a barrel, significant expensive decommissioning commitments of old infrastructure (especially North Sea) and small margins on the traded commodity price per KWh of offshore renewable energy. Further, the offshore workforce is ageing as new generations of suitable graduates prefer not to work in hazardous places offshore. Operators therefore seek more cost effective, safe methods and business models for inspection, repair and maintenance of their topside and marine offshore infrastructure. Robotics and artificial intelligence are seen as key enablers in this regard as fewer staff offshore reduces cost, increases safety and workplace appeal.
The long-term industry vision is thus for a completely autonomous offshore energy field, operated, inspected and maintained from the shore. The time is now right to further develop, integrate and de-risk these into certifiable evaluation prototypes because there is a pressing need to keep UK offshore oil and renewable energy fields economic, and to develop more productive and agile products and services that UK startups, SMEs and the supply chain can export internationally. This will maintain a key economic sector currently worth £40 billion and 440,000 jobs to the UK economy, and a supply chain adding a further £6 billion in exports of goods and services. The ORCA Hub is an ambitious initiative that brings together internationally leading experts from 5 UK universities with over 30 industry partners (>£17.5M investment). Led by the Edinburgh Centre of Robotics (HWU/UoE), in collaboration with Imperial College, Oxford and Liverpool Universities, this multi-disciplinary consortium brings its unique expertise in: Subsea
(HWU), Ground (UoE, Oxf) and Aerial robotics (ICL); as well as human-machine interaction (HWU, UoE), innovative sensors for Non Destructive Evaluation and low-cost sensor networks (ICL, UoE); and asset management and certification (HWU, UoE, LIV).
The Hub will provide game-changing, remote solutions using robotics and AI that are readily integratable with existing and future assets and sensors, and that can operate and interact safely in autonomous or semi-autonomous modes in complex and cluttered environments. We will develop robotics solutions enabling accurate mapping of, navigation around and interaction with offshore assets that support the deployment of sensors networks for asset monitoring. Human-machine systems will be able to co-operate with remotely located human operators through an intelligent interface that manages the cognitive load of users in these complex, high-risk situations. Robots and sensors will be integrated into a broad asset
integrity information and planning platform that supports self-certification of the assets and robots.

We are hiring a number of PDRAs for the ORCA Hub – please watch this space for the job advertisment.

Embedded Intelligence supporting resilient and sustainable systems, organisations, networks and societies

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The sell-out seminar, with attendees from industry, academia, government and funding agencies, focused on three primary themes of embedded intelligence; Supporting Critical Infrastructure, Advanced Products and Systems, and People.  Dr Graeme Coapes, R&D Lead of Siemens, presented their new product line asset guard and how embedded intelligence has enabled them to support their clients in asset management needs within energy systems.  This new product line has delivered significant value for Siemens and has attracted investment from Siemens to create new jobs in the UK based on the ability for the UK to deliver innovation to the market place. Mr David Lofting, Design Engineer of ThistleDesign, explained how Embedded Intelligence is helping thistle enter into new markets such as Navy and Maritime health monitoring. In the context of HMS Queen Elizabeth, whose commissioning cost was £6.3Billion its an anticipated that her lifecycle management will cost over £24 Billion. Thistledesign are looking to provide clients with savings and insure the operational readiness of these critical assets. Hydrason, a spin out company from HW, is managing to provide access to previously inaccessible information thanks to their revolutionary sonar technology. Embedded Intelligence is converting their sonar data into actionable information for a broad spectrum of clients concerned with offshore engineering systems and marine conservation. Prof. Micheal Pecht, presented the challenges faced in global electronics throughout a myriad of industrial sectors in terms of reliability. High profile case studies where used to exemplify the need for improved reliability standards for technology that we have all become highly dependent on.

The closing talks of the day focused on how technology and infrastructure can be tailored to support people. Dr Valentin Robu presented how Artificial intelligence will be critical in resilient and sustainable energy systems of the future. CENSIS outlined how Internet of Things (IoT) technology can be used with embedded intelligence to create new business models and services. Mr STeven Flemming, of santos, presented how over $55Million dollars of investment in santos - the digital human, is transforming how we design and the potential for significant improvements in productivity and fit-for-purpose products and services.

In closing, the seminar, Dr Flynn reminded the audience that " Embedded Intelligence is all about putting people first. Furthermore, the time has come for a transformative change to how we support access to education and wealth creation. With the examples given today, its clear we have the ability to up-skill communities that need our support the most, and to embed innovation within communities where wealth creation and education can have the biggest impact. With sectors vulnerable to the advances in robotics and automation we have a responsibility as a community of industrialists, academics and government representatives to support our society for the challenges we know that we will face. " 

 

Smart Systems Group has made the Top Ten list in The PCB Magazine!

megasonicSmart Systems Group has made the Top Ten list in The PCB Magazine with their article Megasonic Acoustic Surface Treatment Process for Enhanced Copper Electrodeposition in Via Interconnects,” - A printed circuit board is populated with a multitude of electro-mechanical components plus various active and passive devices such as transistors, capacitors, inductors and resistors, which enable the functionality and assembly of the PCB. Increasing the density of the components on the surface of a board enables greater functionality and use. A high-density (HD) design is desirable for technology high end applications, which include automotive, aerospace, space, defense, mobile phones, medical, networking, communications, and computer storage[1]. The current trend in PCB markets is lowtechnology, high-volume demand and is typically supplied by low-cost, large-scale facilities in Southeast Asia, such as China, India and Thailand. High-value, low-volume PCB markets are typically supplied by smaller-sized facilities in western regions such as North America and Europe, but also economically developed eastern locations such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan[2]. The UK PCB demand typically focuses on this latter market. Manufacturing developments bringing increased capability and cost savings to a factory in the UK would be highly desirable and enable increased market competitiveness. For more than four years, Merlin Circuit Technology Ltd (MCT), in Deeside, North Wales, has been working in collaboration with Heriot-Watt University (HWU) in Edinburgh, Scotland, on a UK government project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), looking to improve HD PCB manufacturing capability through enhancements to the electrodeposition of copper using high frequency acoustic, applied within a copper plating bath [3,4,5]. This article outlines some of the key findings from this project.

To read the full version of this article which appeared in the June 2017 issue of The PCB Magazine.

Grasping the opportunities of robotics and AI

Industrial robots for web

A seminar at Heriot-Watt University’s Edinburgh Campus argues that the revolution in robotics and autonomous systems offers massive potential, maximising these benefits will require a new cultural mindset.

Organiser Dr David Flynn believes that, despite negative reporting on the potential negative effects on jobs and incomes, if robotics and AI do actually become a threat to society, then that would be a threat of society’s own choosing,

The market impact from robotics and autonomous systems  is estimated to be £1.6-£6.4 trillion per annum by 2025, but a recent report from the Sutton Trust underlined a widespread fear that this could lead to a two-tier society, with ‘An elite high skilled group dominating the higher echelon of society and a lower-skilled, low-income group with limited prospects of upward mobility and an irremediably broken social ladder’.

This, says Dr David Flynn, is a worst-case scenario which could be avoided if government, business and Academia face up to their responsibility to prepare our current and future workforce for the imminent and dramatic changes to come. 

“Technical innovation has always had an impact on the status quo, and that stirs up fears of what that change might bring. Currently the fear is that the owners of the means of production will become rich, while the rest of the world will see their jobs and livelihoods taken over by robots.

“I strongly believe that, contrary to this apocalyptic scenario, the future is all about people: after all the value of such technologies is in the knowledge we embed within them and how we interact with them, not the machines themselves. But for that to work we need a more agile, future-ready workforce, ready to embrace a data driven world in partnership with robotics and autonomous systems.

“Heriot-Watt University is ready to play its part in revolutionising industry and education. We are reaching out to government and industry to engage in a People First ethos where our Centre of Embedded Innovation concept is reaching out to all of our communities.”

July 2017

Embedded Intelligence supporting resilient and sustainable systems, organisations, networks and societies

Keynote speaker: Professor Michael Pecht, University of Maryland

embedded intelligence flyer

Hear from global leaders and innovators in Embedded Intelligence from industry and academia on how this field of research is influencing future product development, business models, resilience of critical infrastructure and exploration within extreme environments. This seminar aims to promote the importance and impact this area is making to society, and to engage the audience on how we innovate and train the next generation of engineers, scientists and businesspeople – to prosper in this data driven age.  See full agenda.

The event is free to attend with lunch provided for delegates. Event organised by: Dr David Flynn, Director of the Smart Systems Group.Sponsored by the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Embedded Intelligence;

Further details and to register

Embedded Intelligence CDT & the Digital Economy’s Summer School

CDT2The Digital Economy Network’s (DEN) 2017 Summer School was hosted by the Embedded Intelligence Centre of Doctoral Training (CDT) at Loughborough University’s London Campus.The theme for this year’s Summer School was “Innovation insights for the digital workforce of tomorrow” and held over three days (4th-6th July) it focused on three stages: 1) Learn with seminars, 2) Do with workshops and 3) Practise with practicals. A breakdown and more details about the Summer School can be viewed here. Around 75 students from a wide range of the DEN CDTs attended including: Embedded Intelligence, My Life in Data (Horizon), Cloud Computing, Digital Civics, Intelligent Games & Game Intelligence, Media and Arts Technology, Web Science and HighWire. There was also representation from Cyber Security at Royal Holloway. It was great to see everyone instantly getting along and really immersing themselves in their sessions.

There was such a variety of activity for the attendees – ranging from panels, speed networking, playing with Lego (we promise there were learning outcomes from this), producing films, pimping out social media presence, practising elevator pitches and creating posters. Everyone definitely left the Summer School with new knowledge and skills. You can view the tweets from the Summer School using #SSEI17. Our friends at Tableu (who ran a workshop on “The beautiful science of data visualisation”) have prepared a data analysis on the event’s hashtag, which can be viewed here.

The DEN would like to thank: EPSRC, Professor Paul Conway, Dr Carmen Torres-Sánchez, the CDT-EI Manager Donna Palmer, DEN Manager Felicia Black, event support and organisers Siobhan Horan and Finn,  the speakers, panellists, attendees,  and Loughborough London (for letting us takeover their space plus all their lovely staff) for making it such a memorable and fun Summer School!

 

There was such a variety of activity for the attendees – ranging from panels, speed networking, playing with Lego (we promise there were learning outcomes from this), producing films, pimping out social media presence, practising elevator pitches and creating posters. Everyone definitely left the Summer School with new knowledge and skills.

You can view the tweets from the Summer School using #SSEI17. Our friends at Tableu (who ran a workshop on “The beautiful science of data visualisation”) have prepared a data analysis on the event’s hashtag, which can be viewed here.

The DEN would like to thank: EPSRC, Professor Paul Conway, Dr Carmen Torres-Sánchez, the CDT-EI Manager Donna Palmer, DEN Manager Felicia Black, event support and organisers Siobhan Horan and Finn,  the speakers, panellists, attendees,  and Loughborough London (for letting us takeover their space plus all their lovely staff) for making it such a memorable and fun Summer School!