IBM teams up with The Climate Service
IBM and The Climate Service have formed an alliance to work with financial institutions and corporations to better measure and quantify risks associated with climate change.
The companies are now making the TCS Climanomics software platform available via Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Cloud.
The alliance will also leverage the experience of IBM Services in financial risk, analytics, weather risk, and compliance, to use the Climanomics platform to provide climate risk analytics to clients across all sectors, including energy providers. The Climate Service provides climate risk analytics to investors and businesses.
"At a time when markets and investors are demanding climate risk transparency and quantification, IBM is committed to providing cloud-based climate risk solutions to the financial services sector and critical infrastructure industries such as industrial, consumer, energy, and utilities," said Dr. Murray Simpson, IBM's Global Lead for Sustainability, Climate & Transition.
"This collaboration with The Climate Service will provide clients financial insights that are based on the most advanced available science and technology. As we work with clients to integrate critical insights into their business decision-making, our goal is to inform their strategy and help them remain competitive and resilient."
James McMahon, CEO of The Climate Service, said: "With IBM's advanced technology and global experience, this work will scale quickly so we can accelerate progress on our mission to embed climate risk into global decision-making. Climate change presents the markets, as well as society as a whole, with an exponential challenge. Through this collaboration we will offer solutions using the power of world-class science and technology."
IBM and TCS signed their alliance agreement in October 2019, and the two companies have been collaborating for the past year, building a go-to-market strategy. This announcement is made on the heels of the collaboration reaching several milestones that enabled the TCS Climanomics software platform to be available on Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Cloud, as well as the commencement of a joint effort to find ways to help global financial and energy companies measure climate risk.
Accelerating solar transition with robotics and automation
Professor Tadhg O’Donovan, Head of the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University Dubai, shares his views on how robotics and automation can deliver a real impact in leading the Middle East’s transition to solar energy and in advancing the overall sustainability agenda
As the world grapples with diminishing supplies of oil and the need to reduce carbon emissions, the adoption of disruptive technologies such as robotics and automation can be an important catalyst for the proliferation of renewable energy. Current applications and research show that robotics and automation help simplify the processes involved in support of renewable energy generation, especially for solar energy sources, which results in increased productivity, and cost savings.
Solar panel placement
Robots and automation can help unload and place solar panels onto racks at huge utility-scale sites. Thanks to outdoor, autonomous robotic technology, the process for solar field assembly can be made more efficient. Moreover, due to the fragile nature of solar cells and wafers, high-speed impact robots are more suitable and gentler than manual handling which helps ensure higher throughputs with better yield. Robots support solar construction crews, not replace them which means utility-scale contractors are able to reduce large amounts of repetitive tasks and improve productivity, bolster worker safety, and produce more MegaWatt-hours, faster.
Solar panel cleaning and maintenance
Crucial tasks such as removing dust from solar cells can be automated with the help of self-cleaning robots which is otherwise risky for people. Dust removal is critical in high dust-density regions such as the Middle East to maximise the irradiance incident on the panel and to ensure the solar panels provide maximum power output and energy yield. Water-free autonomous cleaning system can save billions of litres of water over the lifetime of a plant situated in arid regions.
Manufacturing of solar power systems
Robots in the PV manufacturing process make a significant contribution due to their ability to reduce costs considerably and enhancing precision and accuracy when compared with human intervention. Manufacturers can deploy robots and automation to make smarter and swifter production decisions, which ultimately increase precision, reduces the cost of production, and improves productivity. Silicon ingot, silicon modules, solar cells, and silicon wafers are some examples of delicate components that can be produced with high precision through robotic automation.
Integrating robotics into the renewable energy industry comes with a few of challenges too. One of the largest challenges being the power grid itself which is primarily designed to transport energy from large, centralized power plants fuelled by non-renewable sources such as natural gas and oil. Hence, the current power grid requires an overhaul before solar and other forms of distributed renewable energy can be truly integrated as a viable source of power.
Fresh power grid designs
Propelling the energy industry into the future requires fresh approaches to the power grid design. The answer lies with smart power grids that can integrate various renewable energy sources and help utility companies achieve greater efficiency and sustainability.
An increase in the integration of robotics and automation in the renewable energy industry could lead to an eventual total shift from other sources of energies such as oil to greener alternatives such as solar. Finally, this will spur the creation of “jobs of the future” – especially in high-growth data, digital and robotics engineering.