The world needs more energy. Governments and companies are investing billions of dollars in technologies to harvest, convert and store power1. And as silicon solar cells approach the limit of their performance, researchers are looking to alternatives based on perovskites and quantum dots2. The batteries that store the energy must get cheaper, more efficient and longer-lasting3. And devices need to be manufactured from safe and abundant materials such as copper, nickel and carbon rather than from lead, platinum or gold.
The two biggest societal challenges for the twenty-first century are also the biggest opportunities – automation and climate change. The epitaph of fossil fuels with its dark cloud burning a hole in the ozone layer is giving way to a rise of solar and wind farms worldwide. Servicing these plantations are fleets of robots and drones, providing greater possibilities of expanding CleanTech to the most remote regions of the planet. As 2017 comes to end, the solar industry for the first time in ten years has plateaued due to the proposed budget cuts by the Trump administration. Solar has had quite a run with an average annual growth rate of more than 65% for the past decade promoted largely by federal subsidies.
When living and operating in a market largely dominated by a vendor that isn't you, the strategy you must deploy is one of focus. In the early days of Power, IBM tried to take on Intel head to head and that just wasn't working. You can understand why IBM thought it could do this; it was once the most powerful company in the world. But, like Microsoft, Intel's strength largely came from providing technology to firms like IBM, and IBM's decline in the late 1980s and early 1990s not only weakened it substantially, it collectively strengthened other firms. Much like AMD, which has always been weaker than Intel, IBM needed to pick its battles, and given that the company still pretty much owns the market for enterprise-class AI with Watson, and that this segment is slated to become the most lucrative in the industry for servers over the next decade, it chose wisely to make this one of its critical areas of focus.
To further enhance its research capabilities Eco Marine Power announced today that it will begin using the Neural Network Console provided by Sony Network Communications Inc., as part of a strategy to incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI) into various ongoing ship related technology projects including the further development of the patented Aquarius MRE (Marine Renewable Energy) and EnergySail. The Neural Network Console is an integrated development environment using deep learning for AI creation and has been used in deep learning applied technology development within Sony since 2015. Various functions are included such as recognition technology and a full-fledged GUI (graphical user interface) and these allow for deep learning programs to be developed. Deep learning refers to a form of machine learning that uses neural networks modelled after the human brain and is notable for its high versatility with applications in a wide variety of fields including signal processing, and robotics. An initial area of focus will be on studying how the Neural Network Console and AI can assist with the development of the automated control system for EMP's EnergySail.
Dan Burstein, reporter, novelist and successful venture capitalist, declared Wednesday night at RobotLab's winter forum on Autonomous Transportation & SmartCities that within one hundred years the majority of jobs in the USA (and the world) could disappear, transferring the mantle of work from humans to machines. Burstein cautioned the audience that unless governments address the threat of millions of unemployable humans with a wider safety net, democracy could fail. The wisdom of one of the world's most successful venture investors did not fall on deaf ears. In their book, Only Humans Need Apply, Thomas Davenport and Julia Kirby also warn that that humans are too easily ceding their future to machines. "Many knowledge workers are fearful.
The concept of artificial intelligence (AI) involves machines learning and acting on data sets without human programming or intervention. AI can be broken down into machine learning, deep learning and neural networks. Without getting too technical, essentially the whole premise of AI is a machine mimicking the human brain. The machine can learn and adapt to different scenarios, and as times passes the machine, gets smarter and reacts differently to achieve better results. AI will play a pivotal role in many industries, through business intelligence and solving problems quicker than humans.
New research has posited that artificial intelligence will increasingly automate operations for the wind and solar industries, boosting their efficiencies in areas such as decision making and planning, condition monitoring, robotics, and inspections. The new position paper published this week by DNV GL -- international accredited registrar and classification society headquartered near Oslo -- entitled Making Renewables Smarter: The benefits, risks, and future of artificial intelligence in solar and wind, outlines the advances being made in robotics, inspections, supply chain, and the way we work and showcases a variety of opportunities for the solar and wind industries to embrace artificial intelligence (AI) applications to improve their efficiency. "The use of artificial intelligence in industries continues at an impressive rate -- in manufacturing, engineering, healthcare, transportation, finance, telecommunications, services, and energy," the authors of the report explain. "Artificial intelligence's ability to use machine learning to analyse historical and new data, make predictions, control physical operations, and make decisions at increasingly higher levels is having an immense impact." The report explores ways in which AI applications like machine learning can impact the efficiency levels of areas involved in the wind and solar industries such as decision making and planning, condition monitoring, robotics, inspections, certifications and supply chain optimization, as well as the way technical work is carried out.
The world's largest lithium-ion battery being built in South Australia to store renewable energy is about to enter final testing. State Premier Jay Weatherill has said Elon Musk's Tesla has finished installing the battery powerpacks at Jamestown, in the state's mid-north, where they are linked to an adjacent wind farm. Weatherill said the 100-megawatt battery will now be energised and tested to ensure it meets all energy market and state government regulatory requirements, and will be up and running in time for the Southern Hemisphere's summer season. When first announced in July, the battery came with a guarantee from Musk that it would be working within 100 days of the grid interconnection agreement being signed, or it would be free for the South Australian government. The 100MW/129MWh battery is expected to provide backup and stability services through energy storage to the South Australian grid.
The Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project will be built between the towns of Allen, Emerson and Wakefield, the Sioux City Journal reported . Demand for power from Facebook helped resurrect the project that had been at a standstill since 2013 after its former owners, Trade Winds, couldn't find buyers for the energy the farm.
There is a strange and uneasy tension standing at the base of a wind turbine, amid a power generation farm full of dozens more. The air can seem still even though you can clearly see, and hear, the turbines moving. Indeed, the sound never dies down, although you're standing in precisely the space where you would most expect it to. With all these rotating blades the size of softball fields, it indeed feels and sounds like a place you'd expect to find something called "the edge." There's no methodology for any of the world's power grids to distinguish renewable power, such as wind-generated, from coal-based or hydroelectric power.