This is the first in a series of blogs on the “AI is here.” podcasts. Each blog in the series will highlight the insights from a specific industry leader as they describe how their organization is deriving significant value from AI today.
In the “AI is here.” podcast with Dan Faggella, Founder and CEO, of market research and publishing company Emerj, Daniel Jeavons, VP Computational Science and Digital Innovation at Shell Oil, discusses how he sees the use of AI in energy as one of the most important tools in managing the pressing need to transition the energy sector to a lower carbon future.
The energy sector is going through a fundamental transformation. Going beyond simply producing and delivering energy in the form of hydrocarbons, the industry is unlocking new forms of energy, which are delivered with greater efficiency, all while reducing their carbon footprint.
When discussing how transformative AI is, Jeavons said that, “AI is going to be an absolutely fundamental capability for the energy system that I believe is emerging very quickly”.
According to Jeavons, there are three core areas where AI has impacted energy:
- Making existing processes more effective and efficient. Jeavons discusses how Shell has used AI to improve existing processes to reduce CO2 emissions from heavy industrial processes by 37%. They have been able to reduce the impact of liquified petroleum natural gas by 130 kilotons annually, which is the equivalent of taking 57,000 vehicles off the road.
- Using AI to design the next generation of energy production. AI is being used to design the next generation of energy production, including wind and solar, as well as hydrogen and biofuels.
- Managing the changing landscape of energy production and delivery. While previous energy systems utilized a centralized design, the future of energy production will be more diverse, complex, and distributed. The only way to do that is by leveraging digital technology and AI to optimize the system to make it maintainable and manageable.
Achieving the benefits of AI required the use of massive volumes of data, collected across multiple locations, globally. This includes structured data, such as telemetry and log data, and unstructured data such as images, all aggregated into a massive dataset which contains 2.7 trillion rows of data today. Shell uses AI to analyze these functions globally and to drive better conditions for each process. They then apply these technologies to change how they operate today and in the future.
According to Jeavons, to take advantage of the opportunity that AI has provided, Shell launched the Shell.ai program which has over 5000 participating in the use of AI, including over 400 data scientists, computational scientists, and AI engineers, as well as partnering with a number of companies.
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