Space - Cosmic Data, Clean Energy:

By 2030, it is predicted that 70% of China’s population will live in cities. That’s why IBM researchers are helping China transform its national energy systems and support its needs for sustainable urbanization, with a focus on Air Quality Management, Renewable Energy Integration, and Industrial Energy Efficiency. Based on IBM’s unique data assimilation and cognitive modeling technologies, researchers are drawing on data generated by environmental monitoring stations, traffic systems and meteorological satellites to forecast renewable energy availability, generate quantitative policy decision support, and optimize industrial energy consumption that adds up to over 70% of China’s total energy use.

Sun - Personalized Solar System:

IBM scientists in Johannesburg, South Africa are bringing a whole new meaning to the expression “solar system.” They are launching a free, web-based tool, called the IBM Research Empower Solar app, that designs a personalized solar photovoltaic system, including solar panels, storage batteries, the controller, and inverter, for homes or businesses. This is based on the direct sunlight at the location, the direction of the roof, and a list of electrical appliances to be powered. It uses the solar radiation data for each location to recommend the type of solar system needed based on the average needs over the year. The app also provides an overall cost estimate for the installation, giving users all the information they need to know in order to adopt solar energy.

Air - Pollution Solution:

As Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city, continues to grow, IBM researchers are determined to ensure that its growth is not at the expense of environmental and public health. That’s why they partnered with the local government to use machine learning and IoT sensor data to create cognitive models that uncover insight about the nature and causes of air pollution, and to model the effectiveness of intervention strategies. The system can produce an air quality index so officials can alert citizens and the data models can be overlaid on top of a city map to spot real-time trends.

Land - Internet of Farms:

With nearly 160 million hectares, India is home to the second largest concentration of agricultural land in the world -- which means inefficiencies in pesticide applications can quickly escalate into significant environmental issues. Farmers often pump a cocktail of chemicals into crops in hopes of warding off pests and diseases. But this comes at a cost to them, as well as the ecosystem. Enter Plant Pathologist, an IoT-based project devised by IBM’s India Research Lab designed to help small-scale farmers better care for their crops. In a 2017 pilot program, farmers sent cell phone pictures of ailing plants to an AI model that used machine vision to identify the hallmarks of disease. Researchers paired these insights with forecasted Weather Company data to predict when certain pest or disease attacks might occur. Instead of using the chemical cocktail, farmers bought -- and applied -- exactly the cure their plants needed.

Water - Plankton Microscopes:

By 2025, more than half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. IBM researchers are building small, autonomous microscopes that can be placed in bodies of water to monitor plankton—water's natural, biological sensors of aquatic health. The data can be used to better understand how plankton respond to changes to their environment caused by everything from temperature to oil spills to run off, which in turn could be used to predict threats to our water supply, like red tides.