AI could optimize hydroelectric dams in the Amazon | FIU News

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not only transforming the world, it is helping to protect and preserve the future of the Amazon River.

The rapid expansion of hydroelectricity has radically altered the Amazon River. When the natural flow of a river is altered, there are often severe cascading changes. Now, AI and other IT tools can help reduce these harmful and devastating effects on the environment, according to a new study published in Science.

FIU Researcher Elizabeth Anderson was part of a collaborative team of scientists from the United States, Europe and South America who examined how cutting-edge technology can inform more sustainable and strategic planning. Their aim was to inform the planning of hydroelectric dams in the Amazon Basin – a timely question, as there are currently over 350 proposed hydroelectric dams in the Amazon Basin.

“The Amazon is the largest and most biodiverse river system in the world, home to more species of freshwater fish than any other place on Earth. At the same time, around 47 million people live in the Amazon Basin, and their lives are intertwined with rivers in many ways – socially, economically and culturally,” said Anderson, FIU associate professor in Earth and environment and researcher in Institute of the Environment.

AI and other technologies have illustrated and examined the trade-offs between power generation from proposed hydroelectric dams and the critical ecosystem services provided by rivers throughout the Amazon Basin. The team focused on several criteria for the optimization of proposed hydroelectric dams in the Amazon Basin, including river flow and connectivity, sediment transport, fish diversity, greenhouse gas emissions greenhouse and energy production – and also defined key strategies to reduce the environmental damage caused by the future construction of dams. .

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