Sentient Science, a provider of digital platforms that lower the cost of energy, has appointed Dr. Amine Chigani as Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Dr. Chigani will lead the team responsible for the DigitalClone platform, a service that enables wind energy owners, operators, and suppliers to understand and predict crack initiation in critical components, optimize designs and extend the lifetime of their assets.
Dr. Chigani joins Sentient Science from GE Current, where, as Chief Architect, he led the development of a ‘big data’ platform targeted at optimizing energy consumption in enterprise buildings and cities. He becomes the fourth former GE employee to join the Sentient Science team as it responds to increasing demand from the wind energy, rail, and aerospace markets.
As wind turbine fleets grow in size and scale, a growing emphasis is being placed on the industry on using operational data to maximize performance, asset lifetimes and long-term return on investment. Solutions to track and analyze performance and equipment failure rates are becoming increasingly common, but many of these approaches are based on data science alone and often fall short when it comes to assessing unique technology-specific concerns that can only be understood with a firm grasp of materials science.
DigitalClone is unique in combining materials science and data science to enable a fuller understanding of what goes wrong, when and where, in a fleet of modern wind turbines. At Sentient Science, Dr. Chigani will head up a team consisting of software engineers, data, and materials scientists as they continue to expand and enhance the capabilities of the platform, currently used by operators of 22,000 wind turbine assets globally.
Sentient Science expects to have 100,000 wind turbines under contract by the end of 2018, and with rapid growth projected for the coming months, Dr. Chigani’s initial objective will be to expand the DigitalClone team by 50 people by March 2018 in order to cater for this demand.
“Sentient customers want to extend the life of their industrial assets to reduce costs up to 13%. From my experience, data science alone cannot solve the life extension requirement needed to reduce costs, but the use of materials science and data science does. I was attracted to Sentient because they’ve solved this unique combination of technologies for asset life extension. They have support from the operator community, and now need a platform team to scale globally and to create supply chain efficiencies and operation cost reduction,” Chigani said.
“We are assembling a world-class management team to serve the needs of equipment owners and suppliers globally,” added Ward Thomas, CEO, Sentient Science. “Dr. Chigani’s industry learnings and experience will be invaluable as we undertake a swift roll out of the DigitalClone service to support the cost reduction and lifetime extension ambitions of wind energy stakeholders worldwide.”
Before his role at GE Current, Chigani worked for the CTO offices of GE Transportation, GE Aviation, and GE Global Research, building Predix-based Industrial Internet solutions for various GE businesses and their customers. He is also one of the founders of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and an original contributor to IIC Reference Architecture.
Chigani holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Virginia Tech and a Software Architecture Professional Certificate from the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon. He received his B.S. degree in Computer Science from Radford University.