Published on April 13th, 2017 | by The Beam0
Nimrod Knoller: “Our goal today is to bring the wind industry to where the automotive industry is going. Our technology will make autonomous wind parks a possibility.”
April 13th, 2017 by The Beam
The Beam interview series, edition 32: Nimrod Knoller
CleanTechnica is publishing The Beam interviews and opinion pieces twice a week. The Beam magazine takes a modern perspective on the energy transition, interviewing inspirational people from around the world who shape our sustainable energy future.
This week Anne-Sophie Garrigou, journalist at The Beam, interviewed Nimrod Knoller, a former rope access technician in the wind industry. This experience made him realize that technicians and operators had a lot of communication difficulties, which is why Nimrod decided to found Onwrks, a software startup specialised in digital tools for wind turbine data management.
Hello Nimrod. You told me you decided to create Onwrks in order to fill a gap in the industry that you were experiencing in your day-to-day job. Can you develop for us.
The problem with wind turbines is that a single farm operator has several of them, dispersed all over the country, sometimes even all over the world. This often causes a lot of communication difficulties between the technicians and the operators. In addition, I realized that all our documentation was paper based. This means that no analytics can be done on it without having to spend a lot of time digitizing it.
How will Onwrks fill this gap?
Our idea was to build a platform which would facilitate both documentation and communication between operators and technicians.
To our surprise, when we started contacting operators we realized that they didn’t need our platform. Most of them were barely analyzing the data they already had — they couldn’t deal with more. We had to take a different approach. We changed the team to be more machine-learning-oriented. What we are offering operators now is a plug & play system to perform deep analysis on their data using deep learning algorithms. We still want to build our original platform at some point but it will be integrated with our new system.
Our goal today is to bring the wind industry where the automotive industry is going. Our technology will make autonomous wind parks a possibility. This means that wind farms would be able to optimize themselves, predict their own maintenance and commission the work . There is still a long way to go but this is the future that will make the wind industry really flourish.
How does it work concretely?
It’s pretty simple. The turbines continuously collect data about their condition and send it to the operator. We run that data through our algorithm and it detects failures and potential breakdowns that would otherwise be missed. The operator can then plan their maintenance in advance or fix small malfunctions instead of waiting for a full scale breakdown. This can save operators hundreds of thousands of euros.