TwinEU, the digital twins project launched with BME participation

One of the largest projects in the EU's innovation framework is the TwinEU project, which aims to develop the concept of a digital version of the European electricity system.

TwinEU will create the basis for a digital twin of the entire European electricity system. 75 partners, 15 countries, 3 years and 50 cents less than 20 million euros of EU funding; that's how much effort is put into creating a digital twin of the European electricity system under the TwinEU project. The Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) plays a key role in the consortium: in addition to the demos produced with the participation of Hungary, we are also responsible for coordinating the communication.

Not many larger ventures have been launched under the EU's innovation framework HorizonEurope than the TwinEU project. As the aim of that is to elaborate the concept for a digital version of the European electricity system. The digital twins will make the entire European electricity system more transparent, manageable and predictable, making energy markets more efficient, which is essential to meet the EU's 2050 climate neutrality targets.

At the TwinEU's kick-off meeting in Brussels on 15-16 January, not only the 75 consortium partners presented themselves, but also representatives of the funding European Commission (EC) placed the project in the current EU target system. As mentioned at the meeting, the EC specifically intended to support one project in this call, ensuring that the project launched will develop a concept applicable to the whole European system.

The point of the concept is not to end up with a single, all-encompassing digital twin, but with a well-functioning confederation of digital twins mimicking the elements of the electricity system, where the interoperability of data sharing between the sub-units is fully ensured. Over the next 36 months, the universities, research institutes, grid operators, energy traders and software developers involved in the project are going to work to build a reliable, resilient and safely operating digital infrastructure through the confederation of digital twins. This will not only allow more renewables to be integrated into the system, but will also open the way to new business models.

A digital twin (DT) is a complex virtual model, in other words, a complex computer simulation of a real system, process, product or even a service; a virtual representation of an object or system in the digital world of metaverses. The system recreates the real, physical world and its conditions in the digital world with the same parameters as the original. By twinning the original and the virtually created twins, real-time data can be analysed using machine learning and monitoring systems. This tool can prevent certain problems, such as design problems, before they happen.

In total, 8 pilots were launched in the TwinEU project, involving 11 countries, including Hungary. The aim is to create scalable solutions that can be applied in different markets and regions, and tested for different uses. Furthermore, the project will also have core elements, which are specifically designed to address the interconnectivity of the solutions tested in each pilot.

The three-layer architecture will be able to integrate the digital twins developed in TwinEU and other frameworks into a single system and ensure interoperability of data exchange. Based on these, different service options will be developed to improve, for example, the cyber and physical resilience of the network, the accuracy of predictions, network optimisation or even network management.

The Department of Electric Power Engineering of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics (VIK) of Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) is a major player in the project consortium. This is clearly showed by the fact that this Department receives €777,500 of the nearly €20 million EU funding, which is the 4th largest amount among all consortium partners. The team of BME’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics led by Bálint Németh is involved in all work packages of the project. Bálint Hartmann plays a key role in the pilots Hungary is involved, and István Vokony coordinates the whole TwinEU communication. Among other things, the task includes creating a communication strategy for the project, the development and continuous updating of communication interfaces, identifying opportunities for presence, coordinating the communication activities of the entire consortium, as well as communicating and discussing scientific results.

The demo set up with Hungarian participation is based on three pillars, that will transform into a complete system over the three-year period. The first part of the demo will increase the capacity of the transmission lines by adding an artificial intelligence digital twin to the dynamic line rating system previously developed by BME’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics in other EU projects (Flexitranstore, FARCROSS), which will make the measurements much more accurate. The second part will focus on the development of an algorithm for calculating the cross-border capacities so as to make use of the increased network throughput. In order for the smooth trading of the systemic services gained with the increased capacity, a market platform is part of the demo as a third pillar.

“The TwinEU project already has a history. It includes the results of several international EU projects and raises them to a higher level. It is extremely exciting to see the drive, enthusiasm and anticipation the European scientific worthies in the field show towards the project. This confirms that together we can indeed create new values and make an impact on the development of the electricity industry. We see that as an opportunity, but also a huge responsibility. As part of the TwinEU project, BME will have the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research and development, which will contribute to strengthening the university's scientific reputation and research features. I am the leader of WP10 and this circumstance empowers the University to influence the direction and results of the project directly. The BME will be able to work closely with other European universities, research institutes and industrial partners. This will not only strengthen international relations, but will also provide an opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience. We will integrate the results and experience of the project into our educational materials thuswise improving our students' study experience and preparation for entering the labor market. Thereby, our University will be able to directly contribute to Europe's social and economic development, especially in the fields led by WP10. This will possibly enhance the University's social responsibility and commitment to sustainable development. Furthermore, as the leader of WP10, I will significantly contribute to the success of the project, which will promote the international visibility and recognition of our University,’ said István Vokony, Associate Professor of BME’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics, about the launch of the project.




Fotó: Dékány Lóránt