Press release 2018-11-28

Digital twins pave the way for innovations in water purification

IVL Swedish Environment Research Institute has launched a Vinnova sponsored project in which the mapping of a physical asset to a digital platform leverages understanding, prediction, and optimization. The project will explore how an open digital copy of a water treatment plant can contribute to innovation in the form of new products and services for efficient and sustainable water treatment.

– Having a digital copy of a water treatment plant is advantageous from several perspectives. Updated and current information is immediately available and can easily be deployed to simulate new process steps and different operating conditions that can be linked to new research results and data from other facilities around the world. For example, an operator is able to rehearse events that may be infrequent but which are important from a socio-economic perspective. This delivers a huge savings potential, says Fredrik Hallgren, project manager at IVL.

Many of Sweden's water treatment plants are in dire need of rehabilitation. Climate change and growing cities are other major challenges that these facilities will have to deal with. According to estimates from Svenskt Vatten, Sweden alone will require investments of SEK 12-17 billion annually over the next 20 years to build new facilities with the capacity that is deemed necessary.

Here digitalization can play an important role and save costs in connection with new construction and the upgrading of existing waterworks.

– Sharing designs, models, drawings, services and software and reusing data from multiple sources, will encourage the creation of new innovative products and services. There is great potential for linking digitization, innovation and sustainable development, says Eva Stattin, project manager at IVL.

Digital twins leverage data from hydrological models and water quality measurements that can be combined with estimates and scenarios for population growth as well as information about new rules and purification requirements – providing support for efficient, sustainable planning, construction, management and development of water treatment plants.

– To be successful, wide-ranging and multidisciplinary partnerships are required where actors from the entire water treatment value chain are represented. We call these “innovation ecosystems”. Together we will evaluate opportunities and scrutinize challenges and issues caused by new business and security solutions – other important dimensions for the development of digital twins for community-critical infrastructures, says Eva Stattin.

For more information, please contact:
Eva Stattin, eva.stattin@ivl.se, +46 (0)10-788 67 10
Fredrik Hallgren, fredrik.hallgren@ivl.se, +46 (0)10-788 67 83

About the project
The Open data, shared design and digital twins in the innovation ecosystem for community-critical infrastructure project, is led by IVL Swedish Environmental Institute and conducted in collaboration with Rise Interactive, the Department of Information Technology at Skövde University, the Department of Integrated Product Development at KTH, Ramboll Sweden, Virtual Cities of Sweden, Hagström Consulting, Gothenburg City and Trollhättan Energi.