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IBM Big Data analytics helping China reduce Beijing's smog

IBM has signed a 10-year agreement to help China clean up its pollution problems by using its big data analytics skills across a variety of worldwide research labs.

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The scheme, which will be rolled out across the country, takes the name “Green Horizon” and focuses on the three key areas of air quality management, renewable energy forecasting and energy optimisation for industry.

Beijing’s Municipal government is one of the first to sign up to a collaborative agreement that will involve solutions that can tackle the city’s air pollution problems. Some of IBM’s advanced technologies will be used including cognitive computing, optical sensors and the Internet of Things with everything based on a big data and analytics platform as well as IBM’s experience in weather prediction and climate modelling.

"Applying analytics and harnessing big data will allow utilities to tackle the intermittent nature of renewable energy and forecast power production from solar and wind, in a way that has never been done before," said Brad Gammons, general manager of IBM's Global Energy and Utilities Industry. "We have developed an intelligent system that combines weather and power forecasting to increase system availability and optimize power grid performance."

The city of Beijing is investing over $160 billion [£93.4 billion] to improve air quality and reduce harmful fine Particulate Matter [PM 2.5] particles by 25 per cent by 2017. IBM will aim to help by creating maps of the city showing the source and dispersion of pollutants across Beijing up to 72 hours in advance.

It is all part of the Chinese government’s plan to focus on renewable energy that includes significant investment in solar, wind, hydro and biomass energy. To that end, IBM is providing a renewable energy forecasting system that uses weather prediction and big data to forecast how much energy can be generated at a certain time.

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IBM will also work with Chinese industries to develop a new system that can be utilised to monitor, manage and optimise energy consumption for the industrial enterprises that make up 70 per cent of China’s total consumption. Its big data and analytics platform will be used to analyse data across the country and work out the sites and equipment that waste the most energy.

Image Credit: Flickr (Kevin Dooley)