Columnists: Hans Nilsson, Fourfact

Published on: 23 Feb 2024

Could AI help energy efficiency?

AI has emerged as a perceived threat to many of us. Some claim that that AI could replace many present jobs, regardless of skill.. It is also obviously a threat in being able to produce text, speeches and faces of recognisable characters such as politicians and even relatives of ours.

When used in that way AI could send messages produced to fool us to believe and act in ways that could harm us or the society. That is the downside of AI. 

But AI could also have an upside. According to one definition: “Artificial intelligence is the science of making machines that can think like humans. It can do things that are considered "smart." AI technology can process large amounts of data in ways, unlike humans. The goal for AI is to be able to do things such as recognize patterns, make decisions, and judge like humans”.

Isn´t that what we need to make energy efficiency more effective and applied more often?

I have stated before that energy efficiency is not difficult, it is only complicated!

It is not difficult because almost all people know that you have to change some objects that are energy consuming to some that consume less – how difficult could that be? It could be complicated because you have to find a proper substitute and it could be even worse since this change might not be enough.

A typical case could be that a change of a pump in an industry could be a good idea but the system might also need a reconfiguration of the piping system to save even more and you may also find other similar pumps in the pipes and you may have to change your routines to exchange these other pumps.

Such thorough reconfigurations of entire systems and routines are rare – and complicated even if motivated to harvest the full potential of energy efficiency. This is where AI could be a useful tool since it could be trained to find more possibilities, to calculate the consequences and to keep track of sequences in work over a longer period.

Should we make friends with AI and train the technology to be a partner?


The views expressed in this column are those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the views of eceee or any of its members.

Other columns by Hans Nilsson