For years now, sustainable energy has been a significant area of study for scientists, fueled by the ever-increasing need to slow down climate change with innovative effective technologies.
Luckily, there are advanced technologies that have the potential to halt emissions in the energy sector by enhancing the scheduling of renewables, forecasting demand, and supplying the grids.
While advanced technological systems, such as AI, are among the most fascinating and promising solutions that our society can adopt to reduce the impact of pollution on the environment adoption of this, especially when it comes to sustainable energy sources has not been easy. This can be attributed to the slow uptake and the continued reliance on fossil fuels. Additionally, inadequate technologies, high initial setup costs, and other factors such as political barriers have also contributed to slow adoption.
Aleksandr Blyumkin, is among the people leading the charge to fight climate change through technological innovation. Blyumkin is the Chairman and CEO of Petroteq Energy Inc (PQEFF), a Canadian-incorporated holding company specializing in oil production with ancillary offerings in mining and sand remediation.
“We are more than just energy; we produce oil without any significant waste, emissions or water use. We have removed the unwanted externalities from oil production that can be seen in other oil sands operations, fracking, and even conventional wells. So instead, our process functions more like remediation of oil-bearing near-surface sands that are cleaned to EPA Tier 1 quality before being returned, leaving the world a little cleaner than we found it.”
Petroteq is globally recognized for its sustainable oil production process with technologies that clean oil sands of all hydrocarbons, creating purified sand. Blyumkin has always had a passion for sustainable energy, which led him to pursue alternate methods of oil sand extraction that weren’t damaging to the environment. He joined Dr. Vladimir Podlipsky, a chemist, and together they founded Petroteq Energy in 2010 as MCW Energy Group. By 2018, they were already producing over 1,000 barrels daily at their facility located in Utah, at the Asphalt Ridge.
These technologies are helping to not only protect but also restore the planet. They’re doing so by helping reverse the damage caused to the environment over the decades of oil production process with technologies that clean oil sands of all hydrocarbons, creating purified sand.
As a renowned expert in sustainable energy, Blyumkin has watched the sector adopt many advanced technologies over the years, including AI. His perspective is that AI will be the key to making impactful decisions and mitigating climate change.
For instance, AI has proved to be a great resource in predicting climate by harnessing swarths of data from satellites and sensors. This will be important moving forward, especially now that the world is attempting to adopt sustainable energy sources.
There is also a need to improve weather monitoring algorithms, achieved by taking into account climate patterns and local weather. Additionally, AI is very instrumental in measuring where carbon is coming from and in showcasing the effects of extreme weather.
However, a key part of the discussion of AI in sustainable energy is the debate surrounding the role of technology in combatting climate change – a debate that Blyumkin is very familiar with, being a leader of one of the most technologically advanced climate solutions available.
“Petroteq recognized the inherent shortcomings of the hot water-based oil extraction process and developed a different extraction process to overcome these shortcomings that uses solvents within a closed loop system, instead of water, to recover the oil from mined oil sands. Our technology consumes no water, has no waste tailings ponds, produces no emissions, and cleans oil sands ore of hydrocarbons, returning cleaned sand as part of an overall ESG strategy.”
Blyumkin continues, “While I am incredibly proud of our technological innovations, I also understand my role as a technologist in this fight is limited. We also have to consider how much we can depend on technology to solve the climate crisis, or if there are other factors such as corporate responsibility that need to be prioritized.”
Corporate responsibility is a huge factor in the fight against climate change, and it can make a significant difference. According to a 2017 study, it’s only 100 companies that are responsible for over 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The top offenders are ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, and Chevron.
Due to a lack of corporate accountability, even as advanced technologies are being developed, mass adoption of sustainable technologies has proved to be difficult. This disconnect is a huge reason why the presence of AI in sustainable technologies is limited and not often discussed. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the pathways to sustainability must be incorporated into almost every aspect of life. This includes not only energy but public infrastructure like “water resource and supply systems, power systems, bridges, roads, as well as communications and transportation facilities.”
As a forward-thinking sustainable energy company, Petroteq is leading the charge in incorporating AI in every aspect of their business. By doing so, they are setting an example for the need to use the best technologies available in order to address the greatest challenge humans have faced.
Brilliant minds are working every day to combat the damage already done, and alleviate future challenges. Perhaps most encouraging, is that the world has yet to see everything AI is capable of.