General News

  • The European Commission has launched an online survey to find out what do citizens think about which should be the most pressing challenges to face with EU funding.
  • The EU Executive is preparing the implementation of Horizon Europe the new research and innovation framework programme of the EU for the period 2021-2024, with a proposed budget of 100 billion euros.
  • The received responses will be taken into account to prepare the Horizon Europe "Strategic Plan", which will guide, in turn, the work programmes and proposals calls for the first four years of the innovation framework programme (2021-2024).
  • Thus, the consultation will help to identify the impacts (scientific, technological, economic, social) that research and innovation funded by the EU should aim to achieve. This joint design process ensures that Horizon Europe focuses on the most important challenges for citizens and transforms huge challenges, such as climate change, into opportunities for innovation and solutions for a sustainable future.
  • Anyone interested in the EU’s future research and innovation priorities, anywhere in the world, is invited to participate in this consultation, which will remain open until September 8th, 2019.

  • The Centre for Industrial Studies (CSIL), under the auspices of the Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy and the Joint Research Center of the European Commission, has just launched a survey on the assistance provided by the European Union Commission for the design and implementation of Smart Specialization Strategies. In particular, this survey aims to gather the points of view of the entire Smart Specialization community within the framework of delivered support, including, for example, guidance documents, the smart specialization platform, independent experts, etc.
  • The survey is available on this link until April 30th, 2019.

  • Although most of us already know what it means when we talk about the Industry 4.0 concept, we wanted to share with you some lines of an article of interest published in the portal of the factory of the future.
  • As the Industry 4.0 evolves, the concept of Utilities 4.0 also needs to be transformed at a digital level and evolve taking into account the operations, the worker, the prosumer and the citizen.
  • Did you know that this concept was named for the first time at the Hannover Fair (a fair dedicated to industrial technology) in the year 2011?
  • The intention was to launch a project that will carry out the conception and development of the intelligent factory associated with the fourth industrial revolution, a vision of computerized manufacturing with all its processes interconnected making use of the Internet of Things (IOT), nowadays known as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT).
  • A couple of years later, the German government launched this initiative with the idea of addressing the advances in industrial material that were being carried out in emerging countries and, since it was not possible to compete with the production costs, the idea was to overcome them with industrial technology and the ability to manufacture products individually.
  • Among the most significant challenges that companies that want to implement Industry 4.0 must face, we find ourselves with:
    • The development of software and analysis systems.
    • Responding to the current issues in energy saving and in natural resources management.
    • Cybersecurity.
    • Ensure return on investment (ROI).
  • If you want more information, you can consult the page
    www.factoriadelfuturo.com

Sectorials News

  • The fourth report on the State of the Energy Union has been published by the European Commission on April 9th accompanied by two documents showing the progress made in renewable energy and energy efficiency. An accessible, affordable, safe, competitive and sustainable energy for all Europeans is the objective of the Energy Union Strategy, a plan that, beyond the modernization of the energy and climate policy, aims to promote the transition to clean energy in the key sectors of the European economy.

    The fourth report on the State of the Energy Union shows the progress made in the Energy Union since its implementation in 2014. Based on the results achieved so far, the report establishes legal norms, as well as political commitments and objectives for a cleaner and greener world. The report considers that, after almost five years, the Energy Union is "already a reality", and that with the recent approval of the so-called Clean Energy Package, the EU has been given a comprehensive regulatory framework to advance the energy transition, to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement, to make the EU a world leader in renewable energies, to prioritize energy efficiency and to contribute to modernizing the European economy and industry.
  • Energy efficiency objectives
    The report considers that additional efforts are needed to achieve energy efficiency objectives at the EU level in 2020: compared to the consumption declines observed between 2007 and 2014, energy consumption has begun to increase in recent years, being nowadays slightly above the linear trajectory associated with the 2020 target.

    The next report on the "State of the Energy Union" will be published before October 2020.

  • The 3rd Forum of technological innovation will be held on March 7th at the Cartographic and Geological Institute of Catalonia.
  • This edition is focused on innovations linked to digitization and industry 4.0 in the sectors of circular economy, environment, nature-based Solutions and solutions for industrial sectors.
  • Opportunities that the water sector offers in national, state and European calls by ACCIÓ and CDTI will be presented.
  • Brief presentations about R&D and innovative technological solutions for the sustainable use of water in an elevator pitch format.
  • If you want to sign up, click on the following link.

Projects News

  • The UPC has written a work (Data-driven Approach Prognosis of a LNG satellite plant) for a session on Prognosis (mainly Predictive Maintenance) in the scientific journal ISA Transactions, basically focused on performing the prognosis (prediction) on data for predictive maintenance of a satellite plant of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The origin of the source of the research data source has been provided by NEDGIA. This study is part of one of the use cases (Predictive models and LNG plants) in which they are participating in the ACTIV4.0 project (Operation and advanced asset management).
  • The use of data analysis of the sensors installed in the satellite plants shows that it is possible to anticipate the time remaining to fill the tank of the remote plants.
  • In the proposed approach, a first task of validation and correction of data is presented to transform raw data into reliable validated data. Then, a second task presents two methods for forecasting gas consumption in real time and forecasts the remaining time to fill the plant's tank.
  • The results obtained with real satellite plants show good yields to be directly implemented in a predictive maintenance plan.
  • You can check the whole article here.

  • The European Technology Platform for Smart Systems Integration (EPoSS) Held, on 16 and 17 October in San Sebastian, its Annual Forum 2019 under the title "Mission Smart Systems". The event focused on analyze the challenges related to the integration of Intelligent Systems, Micro and Nano.
  • SENIX (Sensorisation and Inspection Network) was part of the event program through a presentation, thanks to which unveiled to attendees its objectives and actions that the project is being carried out as part of the Community RIS3CAT Utilities 4.0 i Living Services.
  • SENIX aims ensure rapid incorporation of Key Enabling Technologies (KET's) To allow transformation of water distribution sectors and energy to Utilities 4.0. In order to provide better service to citizens and customers.
  • So, SENIX is developing the necessary tools for advanced network monitoring and distribution assets. With the aim of reducing the complexity of monitoring and inspection process, which now is mostly done manually and local.
  • Specifically, in the specific case of water and gas, SENIX is ​​testing incorporating intelligent sensors and systems for detecting gas leaks in pipes; hemonitoring network performance and the intrusion detection or manipulation key service points.
  • On EPoSS:
    EPoSS, the European Technology Platform on Smart Systems Integration. It is a political initiative driven by industry intends to coordinate its activities in the field of smart systems integration. One of its main objectives is develop a vision and establish a Strategic Research Agenda.

  • The project predictive modeling and demand management (MODEM), part of the Community Utilities 4.0 of the RIS3CAT, run part of its activities in the city of El papiol, Bajo Llobregat.
  • I anticipating the start of activities, a group of members of the consortium held a meeting with officials of the City Council to explain MODEM objectives and activities to be carried out in the town, consisting of the deployment of equipment to collect data from gas meters.
  • The MODEM project develops and validates predictive and demand management for implementation in the utilities sector electricity, gas and water models.
  • The project, coordinated by Nedgia and with the participation of Eurecat and other 9 companies, focuses on development of customer-oriented solutions, identifying patterns of behavior and consumption data processing to generate strategies tailored service.
  • During the MODEM project will be tested new technologies in measuring equipment, as well as techniques of artificial intelligence and machine learning to make more efficient use of existing resources, ensuring sustainability of supply.
  • The scope covers development tools balances and loss control (Energy, water, etc.) in the networks, detection and identification techniques losses fraud, Applications analysis and prioritization of network investments, devices and algorithms associated with smart metering for disaggregation of consumption, strategies and systems demand Response, as well as applications demand prediction.

  • Within the RIS3CAT Community, and as part of the MODEM project (Predictive models and demand management, of the Utilities 4.0 strategy), Smilics Tecnologies (@Smilics_Tech) has already started the campaign to collect data on the electricity consumption of premises of the tertiary and industrial sector.
  • Data on general consumption but also from the main sub-consumptions (submetering) are collected. This information will feed a new pattern recognition algorithm that is developed within the project, which is known as "Virtual submetering". The usefulness of this technology is to allow to know specific electrical sub-consumptions without having to deploy measurement hardware for each line but only with the measure of general consumption. The ultimate goal is to be able to make energy radiographs in non-residential environments at low cost.
  • The photos illustrate the measurement of the main consumptions of an electrical panel that incorporate some of the equipment that is being used. The electrical panel corresponds to a bakery in the city of Terrassa, in Catalonia.

  • The SENIX project, Sensing and Inspection of networks, continues to make progress in the actions that will lead to more efficient energy and environmental networks and infrastructures, thanks to the implementation of a real-time monitoring and communication system. Along these lines, the project managers visited the facilities and environment of the Nedgia laboratory in June where the different devices and sensors to be used in the project will be tested.
  • The sensors currently being tested at the Nedgia facilities will serve to:
    • The detection of leaks in gas and drinking water distribution networks, both by direct sensorization (methane, odorization, humidity, etc.) and indirect (temperature, noise, etc.).
    • The detection of anomalies in monitoring and sensor systems in networks or sections of cathodic protection in steel pipes of the gas network and in the drinking water / drainage network using sensors that allow monitoring and computer vision.
    • Signaling and monitoring of critical points (repairs, complex crossings with other facilities or underground infrastructure ...) for gas, water, electricity and drainage networks.
  • The visit was attended by personnel from the National Center for Microelectronics, Sensotran, WorldSensing, Eurecat and Nedgia. All these entities are part of the RIS3CAT Utilities 4.0 Community, which seeks to implement the industrial paradigm 4.0 in the provision of basic services and resources in Catalan society.

  • The ACTIV4.0 and SENIX projects visited, at the beginning of June, the Technical Services of Nedgia Catalonia to specify the execution of one of the ACTIV4.0 use cases: "Permanent monitoring of the network trace", which has the objective to improve the diagnosis of operating anomalies and errors in the network, as well as the development of optimization and support methodologies.
  • Specifically, the consortium members analyzed the gas network section between the municipalities of El Papiol and Sant Cugat del Vallés, with the aim of identifying the sensors and the most appropriate image analysis systems to integrate into the project.
  • The visit was attended by members of ACTIV4.0 and SENIX, being both part of the RIS3CAT Utilities 4.0 Community, with the aim of optimizing resources, since both projects share synergies between use cases for asset identification and sensing.

  • The University of Lleida, an entity framed within the SECUTIL project, Security and cybersecurity solutions in Utilities for the protection of critical infrastructures, has published a minutes book of the XV Spanish Meeting on Cryptology and Information Security:
    • Authors: Ricard Garra, Santi Martínez, Josep M. Miret, Francesc Sebé
    • Title: La millora d’un sistema de mesura intel·ligent fent servir corbes el·líptiques i retirar el distribuïdor de confiança
    • Publication: Actes de la XV Reunió Espanyola sobre Criptologia i Seguretat de la Informació, pp. 62-65 (2018)
    • Summary: Fine-grained electricity consumption information has been proven to be able to infer people's habits from their consumption patterns. Hence, smart metering systems need a secure way to regularly transmit the electricity consumption to the supplier in such a way that the customers privacy is preserved. Several proposals can be found in the literature.

      Some of them, classified as aggregative solutions, organize the meters into groups and employ homomorphic cryptography in such a way that the supplier only obtains the aggregated consumption values of the meters in each group.

      In this paper, a technique is presented, which allows to remove the presence of a trusted dealer in one of the most efficient current proposals. Furthermore, the overall performance of the resulting system is increased by employing elliptic curve cryptography. The resulting system only requires a single message sent from each smart meter to its substation, without needing the meters to communicate between them. With the use of elliptic curve cryptography, the only relevant computation that the smart meters need to perform is a single elliptic curve point multiplication by a scalar. The system has been proved to be feasible and practical even for large neighborhoods even for several thousands of meters.
  • More information can be found in this link

  • The University of Lleida, an entity framed within the SECUTIL project, Security and cybersecurity solutions in Utilities for the protection of critical infrastructures, has published in the International Journal of Information Security.
    • Authors: Ricard Garra, Dominik Leibenger, Josep M. Miret, Francesc Sebe
    • Title: Repairing an aggregation-based smart metering system
    • Publication: International Journal of Information Security (pp. 1-10, 2019)
    • DOI: 10.1007 / s10207-019-00435-0.
    • Summary: Smart meters inform the electricity suppliers about their clients energy consumption in short intervals. Fine-grained electricity consumption information is highly sensitive as it has been proven to infer people's habits like, for instance, the time they leave or arrive home. Hence, appropriate measures have to be taken to preserve clients' privacy in smart metering systems.
  • In this paper, a recent proposal by Busom et al. (2016) was firstly analysed, which shows how a corrupted substation is able to get the individual reading of any arbitrarily chosen smart meter without needing the collaboration of any other party. After that, a way to fix the mentioned security flaw is proposed, which is based on adding an additional step in which the substation proves that it has properly followed all the protocol steps. The solution is analyzed and shown to be computationally feasible for realistic parameter choices.
  • More information can be found in this link

  • The SENIX project, networks sensing and inspection, part of the RIS3CAT Utilities 4.0 Community smart specialization strategy in Catalonia, has started the traceability tests of subsoil assets with the objective of transforming and improving the maintenance and planning of the distribution networks.
  • For the tests, carried out in the National Center of Microelectronics - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CNM-CSIC) of Cerdanyola, two types of soil have been used: ground and gravel.
  • Now, with the identification plates (tags) already underground, there will be follow-up to get to detect where each of the assets has been buried. Each time, 20 centimeters of ground or gravel will be added to check if detection is still possible. The detection will work by posing an anther on the ground or pointing with a gun.

  • Naturgy combined-cycle power plant, located in the Port of Barcelona, serves the projects ACTIV4.0, Advanced assets operation and management, and SENIX, networks sensing and inspection, as a pilot plant for the implementation of new technologies in the framework of the Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialization of Catalonia (RIS3CAT).
  • Those responsible for both projects have made a joint visit to the plant to identify cooperative synergies between the applications and use cases they are working on, such as the use of noise sensors.
  • Specifically, SENIX will perform, in the plant, the implementation of new technologies for leaks detection, while ACTIV4.0 will integrate intelligent systems for the predictive detection of operation incidents in combined-cycle plants and distribution assets, as well as the study of behavior patterns that will allow the anticipation of possible breakdowns.
  • The consortium members involved in the visit were:

    • Eduardo Laguna (Naturgy, Chief Generation of Central)
    • Regina Enrich (Centre Tecnològic de Catalunya - Eurecat)
    • Julian Cayero (Centre Tecnològic de Catalunya - Eurecat)
    • Joseba Quevedo (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC)
    • Jacobus Cornelius (Centre de Visió per Computador - CVC)
    • Igansi Garcia-Milà (Worldsensing)
    • Belen Fernandez (Nedgia)
    • Adoración Molina (Nedgia)

  • The SENIX project: networks sensing and inspection, part of the RIS3CAT Utilities 4.0 Community, has been presented at the World Micromachine Summit, held from May 6th to 9th, 2019 in Xi'an (China), in the presence of the main global research centers dedicated to the micro and nano manufacturing of electronic components.
  • Two members of the Spanish Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), Carlos Cané and Luis Fonseca, were in charge of presenting the first results of the SENIX project, whose objective is to transform the operation, maintenance and planning of distribution networks by using sensors and devices of signaling, traceability and integration of new systems for pipes inspection.
  • The World Micromachinery Summit, which celebrates its 25th edition this year, has as its main theme intelligent manufacturing, with special interest in the collection and storage of micro/nano scale energy, biochips, optoelectronic devices, soft electronics, advanced printing, etc.

  • The SENIX project, networks sensing and inspection, advances in the implementation of sensors that allow online monitoring of water quality.
  • The SENIX Sensors Platform was designed and built by Aigües de Barcelona and Cetaqua in 2014. This new infrastructure allows the simultaneous validation and comparison of up to 8 devices in different configurations and being fed by 2 types of drinking water with very different qualities, has received the visit of Sandra Colom, an ACCIÓ technician, and one of the responsibles for the development of the prototype of biofilm optical sensor belonging to the Higher Council of Scientific Research - National Center for Microelectronics (CSIC-CNM), accompanied also by the project leaders, Nedgia and Cetaqua leaders.
  • The platform is located next to the laboratory of Aigües de Barcelona to facilitate the performance of accredited contrast analytics. Since its creation, it has been possible to create a robust and versatile test bench that allows the realization of sensors validation for controlling water quality, before deciding to incorporate it into the transport and distribution network.
  • Currently, the in situ monitoring of biofilms growth, the predominant mode of microbial growth in drinking water distribution systems in distribution networks, is studied, thus trying to differentiate between organic and inorganic deposition, as well as providing information on the degree of systems fouling by microorganisms and the effectiveness of the treatments carried out.
  • The SENIX project is part of the RIS3CAT Utilities 4.0 Community of Catalonia, which is composed by more than 20 service and technology companies and research organizations. The initiative has a total budget of 9.8 million euros, from which 3.8 million come from the FEDER funds allocated to Catalonia to boost investment in R&D.

  • The SENIX project, networks sensing and inspection, was presented at the Smart Systems Integration International Congress held on April 9th in Barcelona. The attendees had the opportunity to know the activities that are being developed in this project, which is part of the smart specialization strategy "RIS3CAT-FEDER: Utilities 4.0 Communities".
  • The SENIX project focuses on the investigation of new micro/nanoelectronic devices for capturing environmental vibrational energy applied to various use cases related to assets monitoring and gas distribution networks.
  • The activities are carried out in collaboration with researchers from the National Microelectronics Center (CNM-CSIC), under the umbrella of two projects with European funding: the RIS3CAT-FEDER and ECSELH2020: "ENSO: Energy Solutions for Smart Objects", both coordinated at the in Nedgia by Adoración Molina and Ramon Jané, respectively.
  • The Smart Systems Integration fair, conference and international exhibition on intelligent systems, was a great opportunity to present the progress made by the project to date. In this event, numerous international system manufacturers acting in the fields of microsystems and nanotechnology, microelectronics and mechanics, sensors and wireless communication technology, presented their latest products to a broad audience, composed mainly by experts from research and development institutions or even industry users. The congress offered a comprehensive vision of current applications, trends and future visions.

Technological News

  • IoT Networks: according to the latest industry trends and research reports, the global Internet of Things market will grow at an annual rate of 28.5%. Companies will depend on more data points to collect information and at the same time obtain detailed business information.
  • Predictive analytics: more predictive analysis that continues to set trends in Big Data in sectors such as finance, health, automotive, aerospace, pharmaceuticals and industry.
  • Dark Data: processing of unexploited data, greater need to understand that any data that has not already been explored is a lost opportunity and can generate a potential risk.
  • Demand for CDOs: greater demand for CDOs profiles (Chief Data Officer).
  • Quantum Computing: a new paradigm that introduces new programming techniques, improves data encryption, predictions and the resolution of complex problems (algorithms, applications and SaaS software tools).
  • Open Source: more free data tools and software that will be available in the cloud.
  • Edge Computing: the data produced by the IoT devices are processed closer to where they were created instead of being sent to the cloud. Processing takes place in the IoT device itself or in the Edge data center.
  • If you want more information, you can consult this article in this link