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UK allocates £1.73M to AI projects for green transition

Written by Tue 19 Mar 2024

The UK Government has announced eight projects will receive a portion of £1.73 million ($2.2 million) to develop and scale up artificial intelligence (AI) technology to support the nation’s green transition.

The funding is split across different pots to address decarbonisation challenges in 3 sectors, including the generation, demand, transmission, and distribution of electricity; transport for decarbonisation; and land use for renewables generation.

UK Minister for Affordability and Skills, Amanda Solloway, said the UK is pushing the boundaries in how AI can help tackle some of the most important challenges facing the nation.

“Cutting-edge innovation like this will help ensure our energy security for decades to come and create hundreds of jobs in the process,” added Solloway.

The funding forms part of the Government’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Decarbonisation Innovation Programme, which supports the development of AI technologies in the UK’s transition to net zero. The programme constitutes part of the £1 billion ($1.2 billion) Net Zero Innovation Portfolio intended to situate the UK at the forefront of AI and decarbonisation.

Programme Director of Data Centric Engineering at the Alan Turing Institute, Professor Adam Sobey, said AI has an important role to play in leading understanding of the transport systems, energy infrastructure, farms, and buildings. 

“These projects will allow the UK to reduce emissions from operations and embedded carbon in production, helping the nation meet challenging climate change targets,” said Sobey.

The Winning Projects

The University of Nottingham will utilise £263,378 ($335,081) to enhance weather forecasting accuracy for solar energy. This project aims to aid in managing renewables on the electricity grid by analysing cloud cover and movement using ground-based cameras and satellite images.

Clio Ventures in London has secured £133,368 ($169,676) to employ AI in assisting financial institutions to identify and validate projects eligible for green finance funding.

Carbon Laces Solutions will be allocated £342,999 ($436,378) to develop smart technology that optimises household electricity usage, improving grid efficiency and helping users cut energy costs.

Optimise-AI in Cardiff is awarded £125,100 ($159,150) to develop an AI system that optimises energy efficiency in buildings by utilising the Internet of Things (IoT) sensor data for precise calibration.

Flexible Power Systems in Kent will receive £209,360 ($266,412) to use AI to optimise electric fleet operations and charging schedules, based on analysing traffic and the locations of chargers. This is intended to minimise costs and cut transport emissions.

EDF Energy R&D UK Centre in London will secure £23,586 ($30,012) to use AI in positioning wind turbines for offshore wind farms. This is intended to maximise energy output while minimising space requirements.

OnGen in Edinburgh has been granted £326,371 ($415,334) to develop AI software recommending low-carbon technologies for buildings to enhance energy efficiency and reduce bills for consumers.

Finally, Open Power in London will receive £313,700 ($399,209) to streamline the process of selling electricity back to the grid, enhancing efficiency and facilitating a faster rate of return.

Last year the scheme awarded £1 million ($1.2 million) to eight winners and £500,000 ($636,132) to establish the UK’s Artificial Intelligence for Decarbonisation’s Virtual Centre for Excellence (ADViCE). ADViCE aims to tackle barriers hindering companies’ use of AI for decarbonisation by fostering collaboration among AI developers, investors, local government, and academics.

“The newly announced Stream 3 projects will show how innovative approaches using AI can have a profound and positive effect on key parts of the UK economy,” said Dr David Pugh, Director of Sustainable Industry at Digital Catapult

In November, The UK Government announced a skills investment of £200 million ($163 million) to support colleges and universities in offering training opportunities in key industries, including the growing green sector.

The Government investment is targeted to address the specific skills needed in each region. Local businesses and employers have identified these needs as priority sectors in their local skills improvement plans (LSIPs), giving them access to the skilled workforce they require to grow.

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Written by Tue 19 Mar 2024

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