Specifically, for this new project, Google.org will provide the firm with $1.7 million.
The project will work by leveraging the growing global satellite network to observe power plants from space.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology will use the latest image processing algorithms to detect signs of power plant emissions. In order to be full efficient, the project will use data from various sensors, operating at different wavelengths.
In the meantime, the AI algorithms will cross-validate multiple indicators of power plant emissions, from thermal infrared indicating heat near smoke stacks and cooling water intake, to visual spectrum recognition that a power plant is emitting smoke.
Gavin McCormick, executive director of WattTime commented
Far too many power companies worldwide currently shroud their pollution in secrecy. But through the growing power of AI, our little coalition of nonprofits is about to lift that veil all over the world, all at once.
Moreover, the accuracy of the emissions data will play a major role in local environmental activism, in new and effective environmental policy, to the verification that countries are in reality achieving the emission targets, according to the Paris Agreement.
WattTimes will also use the satellite data to enable and refine software that can give billions of internet-connected devices emissions reduction capabilities.