UK to fund AI emissions reduction projects

Article by Amanda Jasi

THE UK Government has launched a new programme backed by £1.5m (US$1.9m) to support the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce the nation’s carbon emissions.

The AI for Decarbonisation Programme aims to stimulate further innovation in the nation’s AI sector, to drive growth and help achieve net zero ambitions by encouraging collaboration in the field across technology, energy, and industry. It comprises two separate streams of grant funding.

Stream 1, which is worth up to £500,000, will co-fund a virtual centre of excellence for AI innovation and decarbonisation through March 2025. Next year, Government plans to offer further funding to support net zero priority areas in AI innovation, identified by the virtual centre of excellence.

Stream 2 is worth up to £1m and will fund projects aiming to further develop AI to support decarbonisation. Projects specifically encouraged to bid include those that will use AI to allow a faster transition to renewable energy, decarbonise industry by improving energy productivity and fuel switching, and reduce emissions from agriculture.

The AI for Decarbonisation Programme is already open for applications and closes on 19 January 2023.

George Freeman, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, said “The UK is one of the world’s most advanced AI economies, and AI technology is already having a transformative impact on our economy and society. But there is tremendous potential to do more.

“The AI for Decarbonisation programme offers an exciting opportunity to leverage and develop the UK’s outstanding expertise in the field. Putting this rapidly-evolving technology into action will enable us to save energy costs for businesses and households, create high-value, skilled jobs, and kickstart millions of pounds of private investment while supporting our net zero targets.”

The new programme builds on ideas developed by the National AI Strategy, which was published last year and sets out how AI can support the UK in meeting its decarbonisation targets. It also forms part of the Government’s £1.5bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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