Optimizing Agri-Food Value Chains with Digital Twins

BBTWINS project optimizes the agro-food industry with ‘digital twin’ technology. Courtesy of BBTWINS.
BBTWINS project optimizes the agro-food industry with ‘digital twin’ technology. Courtesy of BBTWINS.

BBTWINS project addresses challenges in the EU agri-food sector. It unites tech companies, biochemistry specialists, and innovative feedstock producers to create a digital platform based on ‘digital twins’ technology.

The EU is already the largest producer of food and drink worldwide. However, as the demand for food increases, the agri-food sector faces mounting pressure. To tackle this issue, the Bio-Based Digital Twins (BBTWINS) project aims to transform agro-industry losses and inefficiencies into optimized, resource-efficient value chains. This will create a more resilient and environmentally friendly food system.

The BBI-JU-funded project will develop a digital platform using ‘digital twins’ technology. Moreover, this technology provides a real-time digital replica of physical processes for safe testing and optimization.  BBTWINS aims to integrate the entire agri-food value chain by focusing on meat and fruit production. This integration spans from crop to final product, enhancing efficiency and sustainability.

Agri-food and Feedstock Value Chains

As BBTWINS focuses on the fruit (peaches) and meat (pork products) sectors, researchers are developing digital twins for each. These digital twins aim to enhance agricultural processes and increase efficiency in a single value chain.

The work carried out in each sector of the study is presented below:

  • Dimitra: Peaches in Velventos, Greece

BBTWINS maximizes the valorization of unsold peaches by extracting high-value compounds like pectin, glucosinolates, and proteins. Researchers use these compounds for functional foods and nutraceuticals. Additionally, the project models peach shelf life during storage and employs smart agriculture to monitor fruit growth and development.

  • Portesa: Pork products in Teruel, Spain

BBTWINS optimizes the availability, quality, resource efficiency, and economic performance of PORTESA’s feedstock production. The project enhances batch traceability and internal logistics. It also valorizes waste streams and models physical and chemical processes to improve quality and efficiency.

Increasing Resource Efficiency

The project will also repurpose agri-food waste to integrate agri-food and feedstock value chains. This approach aims to minimize losses and achieve more sustainable production. Furthermore, it will develop and optimize biorefinery processes to extract valuable resources for reuse throughout the agri-food value chains. For example, the figure below illustrates some examples:

Enhancing resource efficiency by harnessing the nutrients and minerals within the biomass of the agri-food sector. Courtesy of BBTWINS.

Enhancing resource efficiency by harnessing the nutrients and minerals within the biomass of the agri-food sector. Courtesy of BBTWINS.

Digital Twins Technology

To achieve the project’s objectives, BBTWINS integrates blockchain, artificial intelligence (including machine learning and deep learning), and big data. Additionally, it incorporates software analytics, computer simulations of agri-food processes, and the Internet of Things (IoT) into a unified platform.

  • Blockchain: Offer stakeholders a reliable traceability system across the entire value chain, encompassing private (internal company) and public (consumer-accessible) data.
  • Artificial intelligence: This is useful to analyze data, enhance digital twins, characterize feedstock and livestock, and deploy edge AI systems.
  • Machine Learning: Allows systems in BBTWINS to improve performance over time by learning from processed data.
  • Big data: Provides an up-to-date picture of the value chain’s status at any given moment, enhancing decision-making and efficiency.
  • Internet of Things: The data collected from IoT devices is analyzed to uncover insights and suggest actions. These actions drive cost savings, enhance efficiency, and improve products and services within the agri-food sector.
  • Software analytics: They support the modeling of processes and logistics within the agri-food sector.

In conclusion, the BBTWINS project leverages cutting-edge technologies to address the pressing challenges faced by the EU agri-food sector.By integrating blockchain, artificial intelligence, big data, and IoT within a unified platform, BBTWINS optimizes value chains for increased efficiency and sustainability. Specifically, focusing on the fruit and meat sectors, the project enhances agricultural processes through digital twins, transforming losses into valuable resources and reducing waste.

By Laura Gonzalez | June 12, 2024

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay updated
Each week, receive a summary of all the latest news from the world of Plastics
Choose Language