Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Spin-out company secures funding boost to revolutionise power generation sector

One-of-a-kind AI-driven software that can monitor the “health” of critical power plant components is being developed for sector use with the launch of a new spin-out company.

MatAlytics Ltd is a University of Nottingham spin-out that has launched following participation in Innovate UK’s (IUK) ICURe programme to identify a market and build a business plan for CITRUS (Component Integrity and Technology Readiness Utilisation System) software, which has been developed over many years of research activity.

A subsequent six-figure funding boost from IUK will now focus on commercialising the system, in partnership with Uniper UK, EDF France, and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in the US.

CITRUS aims to fill the current market gap to accurately monitor the structural integrity or “health” of in-service critical power plant components, in real-time. The system streams plant sensor data, such as temperatures and pressure, and combines advanced material modelling and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to convert this information into a live representation of accumulated component damage and remaining lifespan of the engineering components.

This information offers plant operators the ability to make informed decisions to optimise the balance between commercial output and the longevity of the components, while simultaneously improving system efficiency, which will help reduce fuel consumption and emissions, and enhance plant safety.

“Launching MatAlytics Ltd is the next exciting step towards commercialising a system that has been ten years in the making, and so I’m incredibly proud to be where we are today and of everyone who has been part of the journey,” said Christopher Hyde, CEO of MatAlytics Ltd and Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham.

“Immediate component structural health feedback, based on live power plant operation, is something that operators have not had until now – and that’s the real-world solution we’re looking to provide with CITRUS. Now, this information will be available at the touch of a button.”

While the team will be focusing on the energy sector initially, they will be looking to expand into other industries once CITRUS has been established.

“The possibilities are truly endless for software like ours, but we want to focus on one area at a time and grow from there,” said Benedikt Engel, CTO of MatAlytics Ltd. “We’re already in talks with several potential clients and this will only continue to ramp up in the coming months as MatAlytics Ltd makes itself known in the industry.

“To be able to effectively have component ‘life bars’ that are constantly being updated in real-time, will truly revolutionise the way power plants can operate, and we’re thrilled to have been able to turn our research into reality and give CITRUS the platform it deserves.”

Dan Hatfield, MatAlytics board chairman and investor, said: “The UK has been an early leader in the transition to renewable energy, creating challenges with intermittency and new patterns of demand for existing thermal power plant operators.

“CITRUS can provide operators with ‘decision intelligence’ to plan, operate and maintain critical energy infrastructure in a new era of sustainability.”

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