3 ways software can reduce carbon emissions 

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With a climate change crisis looming, many are betting on new technological solutions, such as carbon capture. We definitely need such solutions and as soon as possible. But if we want to start reducing emissions now, software can hold the key.

About 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases are added to the atmosphere each year, most of it in production and energy. Global producers of commodities such as cement, steel and plastics account for about one-third of the greenhouse gases (GHGs), while the electricity sector accounts for a quarter. While some emission sources are obvious, others result from indirect activity (scope 3), which makes them difficult to measure and, consequently, reduced.

As researchers work to make carbon capture cheaper and more efficient, it is crucial to find ways to reduce emissions today. Software presents such an opportunity. With the help of software, processes can be up to 10% more efficient, reducing the amount of carbon that is constantly accumulating in the atmosphere.

Here are three ways businesses can implement software to reduce their environmental impact:

1. Removes waste

The production of consumer and industrial goods has never been optimized to reduce waste. In other words, a certain amount of waste has always been justified in making products on an economic basis. As a result, engineers tend to be reluctant to churn out low-quality products, which tend to add more raw ingredients rather than less estimates that are really needed.

Software can change this process. Using machine learning, a piece of software can learn the complex manufacturing process of an item in a matter of minutes in a variety of areas: from steel beams to pints of ice cream. Such software can then figure out how to produce the same thing with the minimum required waste – immediately reducing carbon emissions.

2. Optimize energy consumption

In the energy sector, software has already become a major driver of efficiency. Once a small area of ​​investment, software now serves as a tool to control the entire energy process, from production and storage to distribution and consumption. Last year, the power sector spent an estimated $ 3 billion on software to optimize the performance and cost of production and grid assets.

Other industries that rely heavily on fuel and electricity follow. AI software is being used to optimize logistics and trucking pathways. In freight shipping, many companies are adopting machine learning (ML) based route optimization. Such software can design routes based on the most efficient pathways, reduce fuel consumption and help shippers increase profits.

Conventional production also relies on production methods that cause a high percentage of emissions, such as burning coal and fossil fuels. The software can optimize for energy consumption and facilitate the search for more energy-efficient ways of production. Without software, this would be expensive, requiring time and a considerable amount of physical experimentation. With the software, we can shorten the experimental period and launch low-energy approaches to the production of high-quality goods.

3. Reducing resource dependence

In addition to direct emissions, many businesses rely on the addition of materials and resources that require emissions. By using software to determine how to use those resources more effectively, they help reduce emissions across the supply chain.

In agriculture, digital monitoring and planning can apply fertilizers more effectively while increasing crop yields. Similarly, steel producers are reducing their dependence on Mind Alloys by more than a third using new machine learning technology. These efficiency improvements further enhance existing resources, helping to reduce the environmental impact of production.

Software has improved efficiency in many areas. For example, Amazon uses AI-powered software to squeeze functionality from every corner of its logistics system, including inventory management algorithms that are constantly upgraded based on real-time data. The company’s warehouse is a model of efficiency – which leads to higher profits.

By implementing the Amazon model in areas such as manufacturing, shipping and energy, we can see companies using software to make their processes more efficient, eliminate waste and optimize energy use and resources. Increased efficiency Translates into increased profits, the adoption of software will benefit the company’s bottom line as well as the environmental impact.

Across the industry, we should see software as an immediately applicable solution for use with long-term efforts to combat climate change. Carbon capture under development and technologies like this face the barrier of inflation, software has the opposite effect – waste removal, optimizing energy consumption, reducing resource dependence and improving overall driving efficiency which translates into higher profits. With more money in their pockets, executives are more likely to sign future green initiatives.

Burke is the co-founder and CEO of Birand Ferro Labs

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