Chemicals giant to deploy AI in sustainability drive

A leading US-based chemicals company is to deploy innovative, AI-driven technology to help improve the sustainability of its operations.

 

Sasol Chemicals is using the new solution at its Ethylene Unit, part of its Lake Charles Chemical Complex in Louisiana, to measure and monitor energy usage and emissions and identify opportunities to reduce CO2 emissions and improve energy efficiency. Sasol Chemicals will deploy a solution called emissions.AI from UK-based data analytics specialist OPEX with the potential to expand to other units following a pilot program.

 

“Technology and innovation will play a crucial role in helping us achieve our emissions reduction targets,” said André Bonton, Vice President of Technical Services for Sasol Chemicals America. “We collaborate with solution providers like OPEX Group to apply proven technology that can inform our emissions reduction strategies and investments. With emissions.AI, we can get accurate data into the hands of our experts so they can make faster, better decisions that improve our performance and drive more sustainable operations.

 

Sasol is the first company in the chemicals manufacturing sector to introduce emissions.AI, which was originally designed for complex oil and gas facilities. The introduction of the new digital technology is part of Sasol’s roadmap to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent globally by 2030. In addition to increasing its use of renewable energy, Sasol is also focused on maximising energy efficiency across its sites.

 

emissions.AI will continuously monitor energy use at the Lake Charles Chemical Complex Ethylene Unit and highlight opportunities to minimise fuel and power consumption. It will give the company timely access to detailed emissions data and analysis functionality to identify opportunities to lower emissions.

 

“The way companies choose to operate their facilities can have a significant impact on emissions and costs,” added Jamie Bennett, CEO of OPEX Group. “Our emissions.AI solution provides customers with quality data and insights so they can identify opportunities that will have the greatest impact, helping to quickly turn their decarbonisation promises into action.”

 

Sasol’s Lake Charles Chemical Complex employs close to 1,200 Southwest Louisiana residents directly and another 1,000 annually through major Louisiana contractors. The company plans to extract further value from the 2,200-acre (890-hectare) site through potential expansion as a sustainability hub.

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Book of the Month*

The Serendipity Mindset: The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck

By Dr Christian Busch
Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. To other people it looks like “good luck”, but it is more the ability to recognise and seize an opportunity, rather than have good fortune thrust upon one. Finding a wallet stuffed with money on the conference room floor is good luck, whereas holding it up and asking if anyone has lost their wallet might be the beginning of a valuable friendship – that would be serendipity.

Chance encounters, or strokes of fortune, feature in countless stories of business success. This book looks beneath the surface, reveals and teaches the mindset that can transform pure chance into opportunity. The author is director of the Global Economy Program at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, and a lecturer at the London School of Economics.

Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. To other people it looks like “good luck”, but it is more the ability to recognise and seize an opportunity, rather than have good fortune thrust upon one. Finding a wallet stuffed with money on the conference room floor is good luck, whereas holding it up and asking if anyone has lost their wallet might be the beginning of a valuable friendship – that would be serendipity.

The author says “This is a book about the interactions of coincidence, human ambition and imagination”. In the above example: finding the wallet is the coincidence; ambition is the desire to make something of the discovery; add imagination and you open up a whole menu of possibilities: from spending spree to earning a reputation for honesty – or even making a wealthy friend.

Business is typically forged on human ambition and imagination, but early success often feeds an appetite for control – and “control freaks” can be blind to the opportunities thrown up by the unexpected. They only see chance events as distractions. If plans go awry, they may blame the failure on “bad luck” rather than admit their own inflexible attitude.

The author himself admits to being “a German who is used to planning” and prone to feel anxious when something unexpected happens. That makes him an ideal teacher, because he has worked hard to discover and analyse the mindset that enables one to “connect the dots” and cultivate serendipity. He presents a goldmine of examples from science, business and life where an apparent mishap or failure lead to a breakthrough.

Indeed, studies suggest that around 50% of major scientific breakthroughs emerge as the result of accidents or coincidences. A well-known example is Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin, launching the whole field of antibiotics. Other examples include X-rays, nylon, microwave ovens, rubber, Velcro, Viagra and Post-it Notes – where would we be without these!

The book goes beyond the ability to recognise and respond to opportunities in chaos, but the subtitle – The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck – is actually a bit misleading. True, he does show ways to develop better fortune, but it would be better to call it “inviting” or “encouraging” good luck. For example, he suggests better ways to start a conversation with a stranger – ways that will make it more likely to lead to chance connections or shared interests.

The publishers may have chosen the word “creating” to make the book appeal to the human desire to control – for control freaks are exactly the readership that would benefit the most from this book’s wisdom and practical advice.

For the rest of us, it offers a great way to rediscover the sense of play that is so important in life – and too often lost in business.

 

“Following the success of The Serendipity Mindset hardback, a paperback edition has also now been launched under the title “Connect the Dots”.

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