BP Innovation Center

bp spark at Research park

Sparking new ideas: bp’s Research Park innovation center addressing real-world energy challenges and pipelines talent

From designing machine-learning tools for wind turbines to building a program that tracks market-moving events using social media, a group of budding data scientists is helping bp develop digital solutions for complex energy challenges — that is, when they’re not taking classes or cramming for finals.

They’re students working part-time with bp through bp Spark, a program the company launched last year at the University of Illinois Research Park to engage with the next generation of talent.

“bp Spark provides students with opportunities to tackle technology projects that bring real value to our company,” says Bryan Copeland, bp Spark site director. “The goal is to phase their work into our businesses.”

Solving real-world energy challenges

Students in the program work closely with bp experts to develop proof-of-concept prototypes for digital solutions ranging from big data and machine learning to cloud computing. Projects cover multiple disciplines, including basic market and technology research, data analytics and visualization, user-interface analysis and software development.

A project that has been running since the program’s inception focuses on developing data analytics that can predict the remaining operational life of a wind turbine. Students have been working with data scientists and other experts within bp’s wind business to develop a model that can eventually be deployed to its wind farms.

“The site can use that prediction to guide their maintenance activities and prevent unplanned downtime,” says Dr. Ruoyu Li, advanced analytics program manager for bp Wind Energy and supervisor of the bp Spark wind team. “This helps reduce maintenance costs while improving safety and increasing the reliability of the turbine components.”

Read the entire story about bp’s innovation center at Research Park.

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