Limitless Minds: Reducing CO2 with Artificial Intelligence

Jon Sobel, CEO of Sight Machine

How businesses see the future with data

“We’re doing a lot of work in a lot of areas that are creating emissions. But unless we make manufacturing more efficient, we’re not going to make any more progress”, says Jon Sobel, CEO of Sight Machine.

Sobel names the problem that he and his customers can solve together with E.ON: Making manufacturing more efficient. How? By predicting the future.

Greenhouse gases are not the only things that are produced in the manufacturing sector. Industrial production also creates a large amount of data. Sight Machine, an American technology start up, found a way to use this data to mirror production processes with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The weather forecast of manufacturing

Sobel uses the analogy of surfing to explain the approach. To predict the waves, a surfer looks at the weather forecast. It allows the surfer to prepare for the conditions up to three days in advance. It’s the same advantage manufacturers gain with Sight Machine’s technology. The amount of data involved in their processes is so vast that it allows the AI program to precisely predict the production and even identify all the eventual problems that may occur. With all this information at their disposal, they can look into the future - just like the surfer and the weather forecast.

Solving 3,000-year-old problems

Even though manufacturing glass is a more than 3,000-year-old process it has more or less stayed the same over time. The same production techniques have caused the same problems through the years. Now Sight Machine and one of its customers, a global glass manufacturer, are able to predict these problems, prevent them and optimise their processes with the help of E.ON. The benefits of this new approach become clear: “We improve our efficiency, we save energy, we save materials, we save greenhouse gas emissions.” In terms of concrete carbon savings, this saves 4,000 tons per year at each of the glass manufacturers' 25 sites it owns in the UK alone. When it comes to monetary savings, the glass manufacturer doesn’t reveal any numbers but speaks of “huge” value. It turns out, changing from a reactive to a proactive model pays off - for the climate and for the business.

Three companies, one goal: saving the planet

This collaboration went above and beyond the expectation of all three partners. According to Jon Sobel, the key is their diversity. The small technology company, a global glass manufacturer and a leading energy company: three completely different ways to look at the challenges. Together, they are on track to the glass manufacturer’s carbon reduction target: 21% less emissions by 2030. And they even save a lot of money with it. Imagine what could happen if more companies followed their example. 

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