Huawei develops AI for energy sector

  • July 25, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Huawei and partners have launched a commercial artificial intelligence (AI) model for the energy sector.

The aim of the model is to enhance the application of AI in the mining industry and transform workshop-scale AI model development to factory-scale development.

Working with Shandong Energy and Yunding Technology, Huawei has launched the Pangu Mine Model, said to be the world’s first commercial large AI model for the energy sector.

Li Wei, chairman of Shandong Energy.

“Fellow travellers think alike,” said Li Wei, chairman of Shandong Energy. “As a world-leading ICT infrastructure and smart device provider, Huawei shares Shandong Energy’s goal of digital transformation. The two companies are complementary to each other and are mutually reinforcing. We aim to improve the intelligence level of the mining industry by expanding the depth and breadth of AI application in different scenarios, and continually using AI to deliver more automation, achieve greater efficiency, reduce labour intensity, and improve safety in the mining industry.”

Shandong Energy, Yunding Technology and Huawei have begun implementing the first set of AI applications for mining. These were developed based on the pilot verification of large AI models in industrial production. There are 21 application scenarios related to nine operating activities, namely coal mining, tunnelling, primary transportation, auxiliary transportation, lifting, safety monitoring, rock burst prevention, coal preparation, and coking.

Rock bursts are a particularly challenging issue in mining. The primary means of preventing rock bursts is drilling destress holes, the quality of which matters. Shandong Energy has managed to address this in its Lilou and Xinjulong coal mines by deploying the large AI model. With its visual recognition capabilities, the model can intelligently analyse the quality of stress relief drilling, and assist rock burst prevention personnel in quality verification, reducing their review workload by 82%. It used to take three days to complete such checks; now the time has been shortened to ten minutes, with a 100% acceptance rate.

The three companies established a joint innovation centre at the beginning of 2022. To make mines smarter, they introduced the Pangu Model, which features decoupled operation management and intelligent production, in-campus data processing, large-scale replicability, and learning and analysis from small samples. The innovation centre’s AI operation system makes use of central training, edge inference, cloud-edge coordination, learning by using and non-stop optimisation.

The centre’s AI management system consists of group management and coal mine execution. The management of coal production was transformed from being reactive and manual-intensive to being proactive and intelligent.

“AI will continue to power the upgrading of the mining industry, and play an important role in making coal production safer, greener, and semi- or fully-automated,” said Zou Zhilei, chairman of Huawei Mine BU. “Huawei will continue to dive deep into industry transformation, and make the powerful capabilities of the Pangu Model available to a wider range of industries. We will enable partners and work with them to solve industry problems in specific scenarios, creating greater value. The launch of the first commercial Pangu Mine Model has injected new impetus into the high-quality development of the mining industry and the energy sector at large.”