Forget Cars, Mitsubishi Hitachi Sees Autonomous Power Plants

(Bloomberg) -- Who needs power plant operators? Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Ltd. broke ground last year on a hydrogen-fueled plant in Japan that will be run by artificial intelligence.

“There’s going to be autonomous cars,” Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems America chief executive officer Paul Browning said Monday at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Future of Energy Summit in New York. “There’s also going to be autonomous power plants.”

Artificial intelligence could make power systems more flexible and better coordinated, Browning said. According to the company, the plant will be capable of diagnosing system failures before they happen and dispatching its own power based on weather and supplies in the market.

The facility, scheduled to be finished by 2020, would use power from wind or solar plants to convert water to hydrogen, then burn it when demand rises, Browning said.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems is a joint venture between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Hitachi Ltd.

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