Digitisation and the Green Transition

Digitalisation can boost the green transition. AI and algorithms can help calculate how we can best heat our homes, produce efficiently, transport with the least possible energy consumption, and make optimal use of the IT infrastructure. 

In DIREC, we are actively building a knowledge base around how digital technology can help combat climate change. We have launched a number of projects with focus on digitisation and the green transition. The projects will help develop the underlying technology that can contribute to the green transition and provide us with new knowledge about the opportunities offered by new advanced digital technologies.  

How can digital techologies help?

The world needs a green transition, where we must go from emissions of 51 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide to zero or perhaps even to a negative emission worldwide. Such transition requires a total adaptation of our society and in this regard digital solutions can and must play a significant role. Various reports estimate that digital solutions can contribute to at least a 15% reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

Explore the reports and our projects below. 

In this report from The Royal Society, an expert group has studied the potential of using digital technology to reduce emissions. The report concludes that nearly one third of UK’s carbon reduction targets by 2030 can be achieved through existing digital technologies.

This resource is a link collection of examples of how digitalization can contribute to reducing CO2 emission, energy consumption and support climate adaption.

Data foundation for the green transition

To drive the green transition, there is a need for data that can ensure that the decisions we make will have a positive effect on the climate. An example could be to develop digital twins of cities, wind farms, factories, electricity grids or buildings, where you can simulate various measures and invest where the benefit is greatest. Satellite data and automatically collected sensor data can provide a data basis that can counteract green washing and show progress in relation to goals. A digital database will also be able guide private consumers towards the most sustainable solutions.

Explore the DIREC projects addressing this topic.

Both society and industry have a substantial interest in well-functioning outdoor and indoor mobility infrastructures that are efficient, predictable, environmentally friendly, and safe. For outdoor mobility, reduction of congestion is high on the political agenda as is the reduction of CO2 emissions, as the transportation sector is the second largest in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. For indoor mobility, corridors and elevators represent bottlenecks for mobility in large building complexes.  

The amount of mobility-related data has increased massively which enables an increasingly wide range of analyses. When combined with digital representations of road networks and building interiors, this data holds the potential for enabling a more fine-grained understanding of mobility and for enabling more efficient, predictable, and environmentally friendly mobility.   

Based on observations of the Earth, a range of Danish public organizations build and maintain important data foundations that are used for decision-making, e.g., for executing environmental law or making planning decisions in both private and public organizations in Denmark. 

Together with some of these public organizations, this project aims to support the digital acceleration of the green transition by strengthening the data foundation for environmental data. There is a need for public organizations to utilize new data sources and create a scalable data warehouse for Earth observation data. This will involve building processing processing pipelines for multimodal data processing and designing user-oriented data hubs and analytics. 


reducing Energy Use and CO2 Emissions

With digitization we can build intelligence into our products and use less energy and emit less CO2. Intelligent software has many advantages: it can ensure that our IT systems use less energy,  it can manage our data centres most efficiently and help us choose the most sustainable freight transport. It can support precision agriculture and eliminate the need for physical meetings by offering effective virtual alternatives.

Explore the DIREC projects addressing this. 

Computing devices consume a considerable amount of energy. Implementing algorithms in hardware using field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) can be more energy efficient than executing them in software in a processor.  

This project explores classic sorting and path-finding algorithms and compare their energy efficiency and performance when implemented in hardware. 

The use of FPGAs is increasing in mainstream computing, and the project may enable software developers to use a functional language to efficiently implement algorithms in FPGs and reduce energy consumption. 

Today, robots and drones take on an increasingly broad set of tasks. However, such robots are limited in their capacity to cooperate with one another and with humans. 

How can we leverage the potential benefits of having multiple robots working in parallel to reduce time to completion? If robots are given the task collectively as a swarm, they could potentially coordinate their operation on the fly and adapt based on local conditions to achieve optimal or near-optimal task performance. 

Together with industrial partners, this project aims to address multi-robot collaboration and design and evaluate technological solutions that enable users to engage and control autonomous multi-robot systems. 

Climate Adaptation

Finally, digital solutions can help mitigate the consequences of climate change by simulating the flows of water and investigating different measures to prevent flooding. 

Explore the project addresing this.  

The rapidly growing application of machine learning techniques in cyber-physical systems leads to better solutions and products in terms of adaptability, performance, efficiency, functionality and usability. 

However, cyber-physical systems are often safety critical, e.g., self-driving cars or medical devices, and the need for verification against potentially fatal accidents is of key importance. 

Together with industrial partners, this project aims to develop methods and tools that will enable industry to automatically synthesize correct-by-construction and near-optimal controllers for safety critical systems within a variety of domains.