Bio-Based Digital Twins (BBTWINS) aims to overcome the challenges faced by the EU agri-food sector’s transition to become more sustainable by developing a digital platform for the optimisation of agri-food value chain processes and the supply of quality biomass for processing.
Towards Sustainable Agriculture
To meet society’s growing demands to provide sufficient, secure, nutritional and healthy food, the EU agri-food sector must transform its industry losses and inefficiencies into optimised, resource-efficient value chains for a more resilient food system.
Coordinated by CTIC-CITA, BBTWINS brings together tech companies, biochemistry specialists, and innovative feedstock producers to develop innovative digital solutions for the EU agri-food sector.
The BBTWINS digital platform is based on ‘digital twins’ technology – creating a real-time digital replica of physical processes in the agrifood industry.
The digital twins can be examined, altered, and tested without disrupting existing value chains and avoiding negative consequences.
Digital twins technology
BBTWINS combines blockchain, artificial intelligence (machine learning and deep learning), big data, software analytics, computer simulation of agri-food processes, and the Internet of Things (IoT), in this single platform.
Blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system. A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain. BBTWINS will profit from blockchain to provide all the stakeholders with a reliable traceability system across the whole value chain, including private (company’s internal information) and public (information available to anyone, including final consumers) data.
Artificial Intelligence, including Machine Learning and Deep Learning, is currently able to analyse anything from time series to outdoor video scenes, providing a wealth of new data and models that can be integrated into the Digital Twin to create the most accurate representation and forecast of systems and processes in any value chain. This includes characterization of feedstock and livestock during their growth cycles, but also during additional transformation steps that they might endure. BBTWINS also comprises the development and deployment of Edge AI systems, where a limited processing capacity is embedded right where the information is being captured via optical or any other kind of sensors.
The use and development of computer systems that are able to learn and adapt without following explicit instructions, by using algorithms and statistical models to analyse and draw inferences from patterns in data.
Any industrial or agricultural environment demands the use of Big Data technologies, which can cope with a large volume of information gathered from a great number of data sources, including streaming data, images, and satellite data. This information is integrated into BBTWINS providing an updated picture of the status of the value chain at any given moment.
Internet of Things
A distributed network connecting physical objects that are capable of sensing or acting on their environment and able to communicate with each other, other machines or computers. The data these devices report can be collected and analysed in order to reveal insights and suggest actions that will produce cost savings, increase efficiency or improve products and services.
The project’s digital twins follow a multi-actor approach, integrating all the processing steps (from crop to final product) together with the valorisation of the bio-streams generated by using innovative processing treatments, all into a single platform.
The use cases are also addressed following a holistic approach including an environmental, social, and economic assessment.
BBTWINS optimises the availability, quality, resource efficiency, and economic performance of PORTESA’s feedstock production.
The project optimises batch traceability both internally and for end consumers, the logistics of their internal production chain, valorisation of waste streams, and the modelling of physical and chemical food processes affecting quality and efficiency.
BBTWINS offers new possibilities for unsold fruit to maximise their valorisation through the extraction of high-added value compounds such as pectin, glucosinolates, proteins and other compounds that are suitable for functional foods and nutraceutical products.
The project works to model the evolution of peach shelf life during storage and utilises smart agriculture to monitor fruit growth and development.
Biomass residues, animal manure and other industrial by-products are often disposed of as waste, either in landfills or by incineration. BBTWINS validates and adapts different technologies to allow for the extraction of nutrients and minerals from this biomass, minimising harmful environmental impacts as well as opening new potential revenue streams while increasing resource efficiency.
The project also supports dialogue with educational institutions on a European level to align industry’s needs for skills and competences, while promoting policy amendments that increase the scope of potential bio-based products.