Erik Maqueda Moro, BSc in Industrial Engineering by the E.T.S.I. Bilbao and a MSc in Gas Turbines from the University of Cranfield (United Kingdom) and currently studying a Master in Data Science from the University of Aston (United Kingdom). He is currently part of the Digital Energy team in the Energy and Environment Division of TECNALIA. Previously, he worked for 4 years in the department of predictive maintenance in Rolls-Royce (United Kingdom), which accumulates an experience of more than 25 years in that field. He has recently served as the representative of the department for the Trent 1000, currently the most problematic engine of the company. Its main function was to represent the department in weekly meetings where they identify opportunities and needs of the client and lead the development and implementation of new models of predictive maintenance. He has also done big data analysis using descriptive techniques and has worked on the implementation and validation of digital twin models. Moreover, he has worked on the development of the “Forecasting and Planning” system that allows predicting the state of the engine in the future based on the current operating conditions. Finally, he also worked as a researcher for Lufthansa Technik in the development of a new methodology to estimate the effect of engine operating conditions on the maintenance cost.

Erik, what is your organisation’s role in PLATOON?

TECNALIA is the technical coordinator of the project and the leader of WP4 that includes the development of the PLATOON Data Analytics Toolbox.

How does PLATOON relate with you and your team’s background and interests?

TECNALIA will participate in the project through Digital Energy and OPTIMA teams.  On the one hand, Digital Energy is a transversal department which brings together experts in data analytics from the ICT department and experts from the energy domain from the Energy and Environment department. The Digital Energy team has got a proven record of developing and implementing data analytics solutions in the whole value chain from energy generation and distribution to final use of energy. On the other hand, the OPTIMA team brings their experience from previous projects into the PLATOON project, f.e. big data architectures and data sharing/data privacy knowledge.

How will PLATOON digitalise and contribute to the development of the energy sector (e.g. with big data, edge computing and AI) in your opinion?

Our project will effectively integrate and enhance already existing digital platforms in the energy sector by developing an interoperability layer, data governance modules and easy to use data analytics toolbox. PLATOON will enable a truly digitalised and integrated energy sector where the data from different actors is shared and exploited. This will further enhance the increasingly efficient network management, boost consumer participation and create new data-driven business models and services.

Which stakeholder groups can benefit from PLATOON?

In principle, any company from the energy sector (and other sectors) can benefit from PLATOON by using the PLATOON reference architecture. It will enable companies to monetise or gain access to bigger datasets by sharing their data with other actors from the energy value chain while ensuring data sovereignty and privacy. In addition, it will allow them to extract value from data by using the PLATOON Data Analytics Toolbox that contains a set of data analytics tools which are user friendly, f.e. for energy experts (without the need of knowledge in coding and data analytics). This Toolbox can also be used for different applications (e.g. predictive maintenance tools, optimisation tools, visualisation tools, among others) and different fields (e.g. energy generation, distribution and transmission and final use of energy). Finally, thanks to its distributed architecture, PLATOON will allow the companies to make the most of their big data infrastructure by optimising the cloud, on-premises and edge processing as well as storage capabilities.

How do you expect the energy sector to be like in the future?

I see it as a highly decentralized system governed by electric mobility and distributed energy generation. Moreover, new actors such as prosumers and aggregators will play a key role in the future energy market. In this context, energy efficiency from generation to distribution and consumption will be a crucial success factor that can be achieved by digitalisation of the energy sector.

Which are the most significant challenges and opportunities related to the digitalisation of the energy sector in your opinion?

In my opinion, the most significant challenges and opportunities are the data sharing and the democratization of data analytics. Currently, most of the companies only have access to their own data and to that of some SMEs (which is not always the case). However, this is not enough to extract the full value of the data. On the other hand, there are many people that have experiences in the energy sector but have no knowledge in coding and data science which is what prevents them from leveraging the full value of data.

What are your expectations of the PLATOON project?

TECNALIA foresees to develop and exploit three products related to the project:

  • Electronic device embedding edge computing and real time processing capabilities dedicated to maintenance actions of renewables and end users of energy-critical equipment.
  • Analytics toolbox implementing machine learning functions easy-to-use for energy experts which is what is proposed in the PLATOON project.
  • ICT connectors following the PLATOON reference architecture standards dealing with the data governance aspects in between the data owner and the analytic solutions provider.

Thank you, Erik, for this interesting interview!