Government steps up investment in green AI projects

The Government has announced a further £2.25 million for AI projects designed to accelerate industrial decarbonisation in industry. 

Simultaneously, they have announced the eight successful green AI projects, from an earlier round of funding bids, who will receive a share of £1 million. They have also previously announced £500,000 of funding for an AI research centre.  

This brings the total government budget for green AI projects to £3.75 million.

Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance Lord Callanan highlighted that the UK’s position as a world leader in both AI and decarbonisation “means we must now push the boundaries in how this technology can enhance our rapidly-growing clean energy sector.” 

All of this funding forms part of the AI for Decarbonisation Innovation Programme which comprises three streams. 

  1. Stream 1 created the AI for Decarbonisation’s Virtual Centre of Excellence (ADViCE) centre, a virtual, cross sector collaboration unit bringing together researchers and businesses in the field. This received £500,000 of funding and will be run by Digital Catapult, the digital arm of the Innovation Agency.  
  2. Stream 2 provides £1 million to eight projects with a focus on using AI to facilitate the renewable energy transition, enable fuel switching and decrease carbon emissions from agriculture.

  3. Stream 3 will provide £2.25 for AI innovations to cut emissions in the energy sector with a focus on electrification and the grid, land use to produce renewable energy and transport. 

This programme is part of the £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio which aims to accelerate the commercialisation of projects which can be used to cut carbon emissions.  

The funding in Stream 3 is or projects at at maturity levels of between TRL 3 and 7. You can read the eligibility criteria and apply for funding here. 

Delivering transformative change across sectors 

Lord Callanan emphasised that the successful projects serve a multi-purpose function saying they will not only “take us to the next step on our ambitious journey to becoming net zero” they will also be responsible for “boosting our energy security and creating a new wave of skilled jobs for the future.”

This sentiment was echoed by Minister for AI and Intellectual Property, Viscount Camrose who said “AI is delivering transformative change in the UK.”

He added: “Whether backing projects to help us slash emissions or supporting research to revolutionise healthcare for patients, we’re harnessing the enormous potential of AI technologies to improve people’s lives.”

CEO of Digital Catapult, Dr Jeremy Silver, which is running the ADViCE programme highlighted that “Smart use of AI and data will be fundamental to meeting the UK’s net zero commitment.”

He suggested the centre will “drive forward AI’s integral role in solving critical decarbonisation challenges” describing it as sitting “at the heart of the UK’s dynamic AI ecosystem (...) perfectly placed to forge collaborations between the technology community and some of our most carbon intensive sectors.”

The winning projects 

The successful AI projects who receive funding as part of Stream 2 are:

  • Optimal Prime from Future Decisions Ltd. which uses AI to provide sustainable building management solutions. 
  • A State-of-the-art solar PV forecasting user real-time PV and satellite data from Open Climate Fix Ltd. which will use AI to improve forecasting of times when solar power should be sold back to the grid. 
  • HyAI4RES from H2GO Power Ltd. an AI driven software management system for hydrogen which is working towards fueling a town with hydrogen energy.
  • AI machine learning for solar forecasting for improved grid management and decarbonisation by the University of Nottingham which will use AI to better predict solar power production. 
  • Neuromorphic computing: ultra-low power AI for cross-industry improved energy productivity from Secqai Ltd. which uses AI to make computers performing AI tasks more energy efficient.
  • Adaptive AI for total substitution rate of alternative fuels in cement manufacturing by Carbon Re Ltd. which is using AI to create an optimum alternative renewable mixture to replace cement.
  • Improving the utilisation of raw materials in concrete using artificial intelligence by FP McCann Ltd. which uses AI to ensure concrete mixes are of the same good quality, reducing waste.
  • AI for grassland monitoring and management to support decarbonisation by Ltd. which uses AI tools to monitor soil and crop health creating data which can be used to support dairy farms in reducing carbon emissions.

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