Could artificial intelligence help to save our planet?
According to a new Forum-PwC report, released in Davos, Switzerland, there are eight ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) can help save the planet.
The first being the use of autonomous and connected electric vehicles, as the technology will catalyse the transition to mobility on-demand.
Through route and traffic optimisation, eco-driving algorithms, the programmed platooning of cars to traffic, and ride-sharing systems, transportation could contribute significantly less to greenhouse gas emissions.
With distributed energy grids, AI could perfect the predictability of demand – and in turn supply – for renewable energy.
This could amplify energy storage, efficiency, and load management, whilst also integrating renewables for better pricing for market incentives.
Smart agriculture and food systems could be developed through AI, through robotics collecting data, making decisions, and performing corrective actions.
This technology could detect crop diseases with more speed and efficiency, as well as providing timed nutrition for livestock – overall, saving on water, fertilisers, and pesticides, and creating less waste.
With AI integrated weather and climate prediction, the world’s understanding of climate change will be more precise, as well as the cost of the research and equipment will be lowered which will creating more opportunity for scientific productivity.
Another way that AI can help improve the planet, according to the report, is through smart disease response.
The analysis of simulations and real-time data of natural disasters can enhance disaster preparation and response, including early warnings.
Intelligent, connected and livable cities could become the next AI related innovative enterprise, with the technology aiding zoning laws, building and ordinance, and floodplains.
Augmented and virtual reality could also be used to make real-time data available on energy, water consumption, and traffic flows.
AI-infused digital geospatial dashboards could allow environmental systems to be monitored, modelled, and managed to deal with issue such as illegal deforestation, water extraction, and fishing and poaching.
Finally, the report argues that AI could be used, without the requirement of input data, to enable application to real-world problems in natural sciences, such as climate science, materials science, and biology.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.