Unlocking the hidden potential in biogas plant data
Setting the scene
BayWa r.e. created BioRecs back in 2018. Its core is a smart data platform for our biogas plants that gave our teams expanded analysis, reporting, and visualisation capabilities. Following conversations with site and portfolio managers as well as service partners, we learned how hard it had become to gauge and keep track of a site’s status and KPI, especially when comparing to how others are doing.
We envisioned a better way, one where we weren’t limited by manufacturer bias. Something which would work with any equipment from any manufacturer. With no such capability on the market, we set out to create a platform solution which ensures a solid working environment for our teams.
Meeting the Challenges
Legislation in Germany requires plant's data to be kept in an operating log. Prior to BioRecs, metrics got recorded manually, usually on paper first, before being entered into a digital spreadsheet. This meant that everything had to be recorded at least twice, leading to inefficiency, human errors or format and conversion conflicts.
Standardising that data was also very challenging. Each biogas plant has an individual layout and different operating units, keeping an overview across a full portfolio was complex and time consuming. In case one needs to change anything about the plants central control system or its visualisation, you had to reprogram plant by plant. A massive and expensive operation just to stay compliant or up to date.
We knew we could do much better. So, we developed BioRecs to record and track data from multiple plants using equipment from different manufacturers. Everything had to be accessible in real time from one central dashboard.
The platform gave us a new way to visualise all our data at a hugely reduced cost while having a fast pace to integrate new plants. When our clients and customers started asking if they could reap the same benefits for their own portfolios, we were more than happy to share.
BioRecs is now being used in more than 30 plants across Europe. Portfolio managers are enjoying greater clarity and faster access to essential data. Technical teams are getting to the root of problems in record time. Data can easily be shared across internal departments or with external specialists like biological consultants.
Moreover, we are able to connect additional sensors and information without having to access the plant's control system, ensure a fast and cost-efficient integration.
In an industry that relies so heavily on data, improving the quality and security of that data is a huge step forward. With the BioRecs platform, we are now going the extra mile and are able to develop tailor-made solutions for customers as add-ons to their systems (e.g. individual reports).
On top of that, we are actively working on solutions that not only will allow to show the current status of the plant but also to identify future demand like overdue maintenance services or predictive maintenance recommendations. Alerts in case of foreseeable shortfalls in production are another upgrade feature. The ability of customisation allows operations managers to exactly pull the information they need, when it’s needed, to make critical decisions.
As the platform evolves, we look forward to unlocking even greater cost or time savings for these vital pieces of infrastructure.
BioRecs enables finding practice-oriented digital solutions in close cooperation with our clients for the challenges we face in our daily work. We are looking forward to exploring the full potential and numerous possibilities of evolving this powerful platform with all of you, our market partners