AI-driven net zero projects receive large cash injection from UK gov

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The UK government has allocated a total of £3.75 million ($4.78 million) for green artificial intelligence (AI) projects that will work to decarbonize the UK economy and cement the UK’s place as a leader in the field.

Digital Catapult has been allocated £500,000 ($637,812) to launch the Artificial Intelligence for Decarbonisation’s Virtual Centre of Excellence (ADViCE). 

This will act as a virtual hub for collaboration between public and private sector AI experts, and is to be run in conjunction with the Alan Turing Institute and Energy Systems Catapult.

A total of £1 million ($1.3 million) has been awarded to 12 projects in ‘strand 2’ of the program, with a further £2.25 million ($2.87 million) having been announced for future applicants.

Winning firms include London-based Secqai Ltd, which was awarded £100,000 to develop its extreme low-power AI technology that will aim to mimic the structure of the human brain. It is hoped the novel design will lead to new AI energy efficiencies.

“The ADViCE program will drive forward AI’s integral role in solving critical decarbonization challenges,” said Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO at Digital Catapult.

“The program partners sit at the heart of the UK’s dynamic AI ecosystem and are perfectly placed to forge collaborations between the technology community and some of our most carbon-intensive sectors.

“Smart use of AI and data will be fundamental to meeting the UK’s net zero commitment. ADViCE will support those building the algorithms and those investing in AI solutions in the most impactful way possible.”

Open Climate Fix Ltd also received £121,500 ($155,000) to produce an AI system that will use satellite imagery, weather data, and real-time data from the national grid to forecast solar power generation.


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As renewable energy such as solar and wind experiences peaks and troughs tied to the time of day and weather, accurate forecasting allows the grid to provision the right storage to be online. It will also reduce the need for ‘constraint payments’, in which renewable operators are paid to lower energy production that the grid cannot facilitate.

The program is now accepting applications for its strand 3 funding, with software developers, innovators, and companies such as energy firms encouraged to make a submission by the deadline of 10 October.

AI has been identified as a potentially powerful tool when it comes to the clean technology sector and decarbonization efforts. 

The technology is being plumbed for use in carbon storage by Microsoft, and used to perform complex physics simulations that provide scientists with more accurate climate projections than is possible through traditional data science.

Salesforce has also partnered with the Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML) and Green Industries SA (GISA) to provide businesses with insight into how they can net zero goals faster.

Greater energy efficiency will also be necessary for AI itself, as the technology is currently set to massively increase the power demands for data centers. If this is not matched with investments in renewables to produce clean energy at source, AI could quickly have an outsized carbon footprint.

HPE has committed to carbon-neutral AI and other firms have begun work on ensuring the water used to cool AI data centers is part of a renewable system, such as Equinix’s rooftop data center farm and AWS’ aims to be ‘water positive’ by 2030.

Rory Bathgate
Features and Multimedia Editor

Rory Bathgate is Features and Multimedia Editor at ITPro, overseeing all in-depth content and case studies. He can also be found co-hosting the ITPro Podcast with Jane McCallion, swapping a keyboard for a microphone to discuss the latest learnings with thought leaders from across the tech sector.

In his free time, Rory enjoys photography, video editing, and good science fiction. After graduating from the University of Kent with a BA in English and American Literature, Rory undertook an MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies at King’s College London. He joined ITPro in 2022 as a graduate, following four years in student journalism. You can contact Rory at or on LinkedIn.