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NOVA SYSTEMS INSIGHTS - Digital Twin for Energy and Resources Sectors

NOVA SYSTEMS INSIGHTS - Digital Twin for Energy and Resources Sectors

  • Nov 8, 2018

The 4th industrial revolution is well underway in the Energy and Resources sectors, harnessing digital technology to combine the physical and digital worlds into a new kind   of intelligent operation.

Shane Hemmens, Senior Systems Engineer – Lead Author

Some early adopters have already made the transition to “Smart Operations”, while many others are only now exploring the benefits that digital technology can deliver.  In this rapidly changing environment, Nova Systems has developed digital technologies and capabilities which have the ability to help you remain competitive with, or even be ahead of your competitors.

The challenge of digitalisation is not just choosing the right technologies, but also integrating them seamlessly with the asset in a way that delivers consistent long-term savings. In addition, it’s a complex environment, and operators will need to embrace multiple digital technologies in order to unlock the kind of value needed to keep an asset profitable and competitive until the end of its planned life. The ‘lower for longer’ commodity price environment requires a ‘smarter for longer’ response. But where to start? A key enabler of any integrated approach to digitalisation is the Digital Twin.


“A Digital Twin is a dynamic, virtual representation of an asset that is permanently connected to its physical counterpart through digital data.”


Data collected from the physical asset provides the operational context (i.e. the “experience”) that allows the Digital Twin to mimic the behaviour of the real asset, while allowing the operator to employ digital tools to gain insights, improve effectiveness, and make better decisions about the operation of the asset.

The majority of Digital Twins available in the market today are either simulation-based twins or data-based twins. This is a 1st-generation approach.  Simulation and data analytics are useful for understanding more about the behaviour of the physical asset, and can be used to solve simple or moderate problems that have few interdependencies. Usually, however, the asset operates within a complex operation made up of numerous equipment, people and processes. The operation itself may exist within a complex business that is driven by strategic goals, market factors (financial and commodity) and internal dependencies. Turning useful asset insights into actual business value requires the complexity at all these levels to be captured. The goal is to create a Digital Twin of the enterprise, not just the equipment.


“The Nova Digital Twin combines simulation, modelling and data analytics as well as top-down business modelling into a single integrated platform”


This combination allows for customisation of the Digital Twin to solve specific client problems and provides the capability to address a wide range of issues, including those that cannot be solved by simulation or data analytics alone.

Characteristics of the Nova Digital Twin

  • Created using Systems Engineering methods to focus on high-yield Use Cases (transformational benefits)
  • Capture business and engineering workflows as well as physical assets
  • Enterprise-wide integrated view of choke points and opportunities
  • Provides live insights into performance, safety, cost drivers and asset integrity
  • Strong and stable performance in constantly changing systems
  • Platform to integrate further digital technologies, including Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things (IoT)


The Nova Digital Twin is a platform customised for our clients by building it around specific problems to be solved, called Use Cases. By collaborating with our clients through agile development techniques, we are able to provide a Digital Twin that delivers immediate benefits while providing a scalable solution that will continue to deliver business value in the long term:

  • Subject matter expert (SME) knowledge capture and re-use for improved decision making
  • Dynamic responses (playbooks) for selected scenarios to minimise down time and lost production
  • Real-time monitoring and alerts for asset integrity and process safety
  • Constant predictive look-ahead based on accurate network modelling and simulation
  • Virtual training environment for scenario replay and what-if assessments
  • Improved planning and forecasting for daily production


“The Nova Digital Twin provides a single-source-of-truth reference point that ensures a common set of business intelligence is updated in near real-time and shared across the whole organisation from top to bottom”


The single-source-of-truth principle improves decision making and enhances business agility – the ability for the organisation to respond rapidly to changing internal or external influences in a coordinated manner. When applied to various levels of an organisation, the insights provided by the Nova Digital Twin can deliver specific benefits to user groups at all levels.


The above Insight has been published from Nova Systems Energy & Resources program. For further information regarding Digital Twin for Energy and Resources Sectors, contact Tim Anderson, Program Manager – Energy & Resources


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