Feature

The robot-operated power plant of the future

This in-development Japanese power plant doesn't need a single person to run it

Each week, we spotlight a cool innovation recommended by some of the industry's top tech writers. This week's pick is an AI-driven power plant.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems has broken ground in Japan on a hydrogen-fueled plant that will be run by artificial intelligence, said Jim Polson and Naureen Malik at Bloomberg. The plant will dispense with the need for human operators and run autonomously, according to Paul Browning, the chief executive of the operation. AI will be able to better coordinate power systems and make them more flexible, Browning said.

If all goes to plan, "the plant will be capable of diagnosing system failures before they happen and dispatching its own power based on weather and supplies in the market." The company says the facility will use power from wind or solar to convert water to hydrogen, then burn it based on demand. "There's going to be autonomous cars," Browning said, "There's also going to be autonomous power plants." The facility is scheduled to be operational in 2020.

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