Artificial intelligence to calculate hydroelectric development in the Amazon River

The hydroelectric power generate electricity Harnessing the power of moving water, like water flowing over a waterfall, using the Kinetic energy of the water that falls on mechanical energy.

It is essential to use hydropower for the zero net movement expansion that occurs in all sectors. However, it can have great consequences for the natural environment that surrounds it, if it is not planned properly.

They propose more than 350 hydroelectric dams for the river

Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) for sustainable hydropower development throughout the Amazon Basin, researchers will demonstrate AI computational advances to identify dams that have been damaging the Amazon environment when they were first built.

Using AI, they will be able to uncover the lost environmental benefits of the 158 existing hydroelectric dams in the basin, which were first placed with minimal coordinated planning and now cause cumulative negative effects.

This work, the researchers suggest, may exemplify how AI could be applied to other renewable energy projects, potentially helping other industries move away from traditional fossil fuels.

Published in the journal Science, more than 40 co-authors from more than 20 academic institutions in the US, Europe, and South America have compiled research and incorporated insights from NGOs, including resources from The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Hydroelectric development on the Amazon River

The project has created six socio-environmental criteria for the optimization of the more than 350 hydroelectric dams proposed in the Amazon basin, considering conditions such as:

  • River flow
  • river connectivity
  • sediment transport
  • fish diversity
  • Emissions of greenhouse gases
  • Energy production

This use of AI, and this proposed criteria, emphasizes the importance of strategic planning, especially given the size and environmental importance of the Amazon Basin, it highlights the importance of stopping the detriment that selected dams in the Amazon Basin are causing currently, as well as with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from both the original and newer dams.