Experts in AI: Meeting the energy challenges of the future

Steve Eglash from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory talks about using AI to solve the problems of the power grid

27 November 2019

AI technologyies has the potential to revolutionize the energy market, according to Steve Eglash, Director of the Applied Energy Division at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

“We’re seeing AI technologies like machine learning being used to create more viable business models, and ways of matching sources of energy to loads,” he told AI Business. “In addition, AI is being used for the discovery of materials for things like better batteries. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had an electric vehicle that had a cruising range of 500 or 1,000 miles on a single charge, instead of 200 or 300 miles? We’re seeing lots of different applications of AI in the energy space.”

SLAC is a US Department of Energy National Laboratory operated by Stanford University that conducts research in a variety of fields including atomic and solid-state physics, chemistry, biology, and cosmology. To date, research at SLAC has produced three Nobel Prizes in physics.

Eglash has been speaking at AI Summit San Francisco every year since 2016. His latest keynote focused on new, AI-enabled opportunities in energy.

“The energy industry is undergoing a great deal of change right now,” he said. “Some of change is due to AI. Some of the change is completely unrelated to AI, it’s due to things like the increased use of renewable energy, solar and wind, and due to things like electric vehicles that don’t stay in one place. Obviously, that’s the whole point of a vehicle that moves around. It means that from an electric grid point of view, that’s a load, and potentially a source of energy that could be anywhere at any time.

“These kinds of changes, create lots of new opportunities, and AI can be a big part of addressing those opportunities. And in doing that, creating business opportunities as well.”