Using AI as a tool for environmental protection

Technology powered by AI (artificial intelligence) is being touted as a powerful tool to help solve global crises, such as climate change. However, AI is just a tool, it does not completely replace other solutions.

Help protect trees

Deforestation and land use change cause more than 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and store it for long periods of time, and when they are cut down, much of that CO2 escapes into the atmosphere.

To limit illegal land mining, the nonprofit Rainforest Connection attaches sound monitoring sensors to trees to “eavesdrop” on the surrounding forest and transmits that sound in real time to the cloud.

The data is analyzed by a machine learning model trained to recognize sounds associated with illegal logging, such as chainsaws or trucks. The warning is then sent to authorities on the ground.


Shrink steel’s carbon footprint

Materials such as steel and cement are important components in construction. But they are also heavy CO2 emitters, so decarbonizing these industries is a focus. Steel production alone accounts for about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacturing sector. A large portion of this market share comes from the extraction and transportation of components used in the manufacturing process.

The US company Fero Labs has worked with 5 US steel mills and AI to reduce the amount of raw materials extracted by up to 1/3.

Cut energy waste in buildings

In Hong Kong, energy use in buildings is responsible for about 60% of the city’s carbon emissions. With 7.5 million people, this financial center is one of the most populous places in the world.

About a quarter of total electricity consumption comes from heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in commercial buildings.

Design firm Arup has launched an app called Neuron that uses 5G and ToT (Internet of Things) sensors to collect real-time data from a building’s energy management system. home. It then uses an algorithm to analyze this data and optimize the heating and cooling system, as well as make predictions about the building’s future energy needs.

Smart farming

Agriculture is vulnerable to climate change, with unpredictable temperatures, more frequent extreme weather events and invasive pests all posing risks to crop yields.

Germany-based startup Agvolution has developed an AI system based on data from solar-powered sensors that monitor the microclimate around crops. Devices measure temperature, humidity, radiation and soil moisture in the field, while algorithms use these insights to make accurate recommendations on crop health and government policy. Determine the amount of water and fertilizer to use. This can both increase output and reduce resource waste. The company says this can increase economic and ecological efficiency by up to 40%.

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