Climate change poses a severe threat to all life on earth and according to a recent UN report, and by 2030, it could take a serious turn. Rising sea levels, long lasting wildfire, frequent hits by powerful hurricanes, and growing health impacts, are all linked to climate change.
The world’s leading climate scientists have already warned us about the catastrophe that we will face if the global temperature rises even half a degree above 1.5°C. It’s now time for us to look towards science for answers on how to fight against climate change.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can play an important role in the battle against climate change by optimising our annual energy consumption; be that in household or commercial space. Initiatives like Ento AI is moving forward with a mission to increase energy efficiency and reduce emission with the help of AI. Governments in different countries are also taking actions to fight back against climate change.
An example of one such action would be the initiative taken by the Government of Australia making it compulsory for every residential and commercial building to have a minimum of 6-star energy rating by 2030.
Let’s have a look at how AI can help resolve the climate crisis on Earth.
Energy conservation: AI blended with IoT
AI, effectively implemented in IoT (Internet of Things), can take leverage the power of modern IT technology taking its scope beyond the conventional limit. For AI to function at its fullest, it needs data. A heap load of data. This data can be fed without any human-to-human or human-to-PC connection with the help of IoT.
You can set up IoT devices in your electric board or the power grid of a small town and gather data on usage and send them to a mainframe device that will be controlled through AI. Also, weather data will be collected, and the AI algorithm will study this information and give a report on how to make use of energy more efficiently.
Smart devices are already making their way into our home and reacting to people’s movement and command. With AI, these devices are starting to learn and adapt. Your house will eventually learn your habits and act to your preference.
Usually, when we study or work, we keep our surrounding lights bright. And when we go to sleep, we dim the lights. AI will eventually learn your brightness preference and change the intensity to just the way you want it. It can also take into account the amount of light outside while giving you the exact lighting you want. Your electricity bill will be much lower than normal, helping you to get one step closer to your desired eco-friendly home and a higher rated energy certificate.
Additionally, by activating AI for home automation, your system would be able to detect when you are within a certain distance from your home. It can open the garage door, turn on the lights, start the air-conditioner set at your preferred temperature, play your favourite music track, and start brewing your coffee. It will be much like J.A.R.V.I.S. from Iron Man that knows all your habits, choices, preferences and can help you manage everything.
Better data handling to reduce emission
The more data you have, the better your AI solutions will be. Google has switched to an AI algorithm to manage the cooling plant at its data centers. During a tornado, the AI changed the cooling plants setting which at first operators thought to be counter-intuitive. But, later it was found that it was the best choice to save energy under such circumstances. It was found that the cooling system was able to save 40% more energy utilizing DeepMind AI.
Predict the accuracy of the weather forecast
The weather forecasts we get are not 100% accurate. Also, the forecast is usually done for a certain region, not for any specific location. Controlling your heating and cooling system with an AI model can play a huge part in reducing energy usage.
Professor Fengqi You of Cornell University developed a model with which he can predict how accurate the weather forecast is. Feeding years of data into the AI system along with a mathematical model considering the architecture, size and shape of the rooms and building, he was able to create a smart system which can reduce energy consumption by 10%.
Optimise power generation
The use of AI at coal-fired power plants can help improve fuel economy while reducing carbon emission. Performance is enhanced through tuning the combustion, increasing auxiliary power, boiler efficiency and other fiscal factors. AI models tune the combustion under different conditions and parameters to optimise the process and recommend changes. A coal-fired power plant in Taiwan used AI models in their system which could save $1 million a year.
Many wind companies are feeding operation and real-time weather data into AI systems to increase electricity produced from the turbine’s propeller per rotation. Adjusting properly with the help of the AI model, it is possible to decrease the loss of efficiency due to the “wake” produced by the front rows.
Improve energy storage
Using up natural resources to power our modern society is increasing the rate at which climate is changing. An AI model can be used to identify vulnerabilities in a grid so that it can to handle power fluctuation, failure and battery storage.
Climate change cannot be controlled in a single year, not even in a decade! It’s a lengthy process that requires multiple sets of actions, performed from different areas of our social system. Use of technological advances like Artificial Intelligence is crucial if we want to reduce our energy consumption and carbon emission. And it should begin from now.