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UK Government announces latest AI for Decarbonisation projects


UK Government announces latest AI for Decarbonisation projects

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) has announced the latest list of successful projects under its AI for Decarbonisation innovation programme (applications opened in November 2022 – see BEIS launches AI for decarbonisation programme, and closed in January 2023).

Source: TechMarketView

This comes after the Government awarded £13m to fund 13 university projects focusing on AI in an environmental sustainability context as part of a £54m package of delivered to universities through UK Research & Innovation.

The DESNZ programme splits out into two streams: Stream 1 provides £500m (awarded to Digital Catapult) to fund an Artificial Intelligence for Decarbonisation’s Virtual Centre of Excellence (ADViCE), designed to “identify strategic and priority challenges for AI innovation for decarbonisation”.

Stream 2 supports the development of innovative AI approaches to help drive decarbonisation across use cases which span agriculture, industry and the energy sector. Of the £1m available, projects totalling £833k have been awarded: to Future Decisions, for augmenting building control systems with AI; Open Climate Fix, to create an open source model for forecasting hyper-local solar power generation (to provide better energy grid load balancing and scheduling of power generation); the University of Nottingham, to use AI to improve solar forecasts; H2GO Power, to develop an AI-driven management platform for hydrogen systems; Secqai, to develop more energy-efficient AI with a “novel neuromorphic computing unit which emulates the neural structure of the human brain”; Carbon Re, which uses AI to reduce fuel consumption in the manufacturing of cement; FP McCann, aiming to reduce carbon emissions due to waste resulting from variability in concrete quality; and list.io, using AI for grassland monitoring and management.

Although not a hefty funding commitment at this stage, these latest projects are designed to be small scale investments – determining where the bigger bets should go (additional phases of funding are expected to be made available to support priority areas identified by ADViCE). The extent to which ADViCE is able to successfully “coordinate and engage with AI and decarbonisation stakeholders” – and bring in additional funding – is also key to how this initiative can contribute to the Governments wider net zero goals for the country.

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