A project completed by the Ameren Innovation Center – using University of Illinois student talent in combination with professional guidance — not only solved a critical internal company challenge, it also has received national recognition.
Ameren, a publicly traded Fortune 500 utility company, was faced with the challenge of having to objectively rate the risk of its gas assets.
Gui Maia, the Ameren Innovation Center site leader, said, “We’re trying to come up with an asset management tool for gas that is going to give more visibility about the likelihood of our asset to leak. This is a public safety issue.”
However, the difficulty with this project is that gas leaks are caused by thousands of factors, ranging from population density, whether its a business district, to the soil type.
Due to these factors, it would have been impossible for Ameren to analyze it manually.
By creating a machine learning process, Ameren was able to get a score of over 100,000 risk areas. Due to the innovative application of artificial intelligence to analyze natural gas distribution systems that protected customers and employees, in September 2020, Ameren was awarded the Smartest Digitalization Project by Public Utilities Fortnightly.
Learn more about the Smartest Digitalization Project.
History of the Ameren Innovation Center
Ameren Corporation celebrated the grand opening of its Innovation Center on February 10, 2015. It aims to support an exploratory environment that focuses on innovations to help Ameren better meet the future needs of its customers.
“We also hope to develop a talent pipeline to help us continue to build a skilled workforce. This is important as we transition to smart grid technologies and explore future new energy services that may be wanted and needed by our customers,” said Mary Heger, then Vice President of Information Technology and Ameren Services Center’s Chief Information Officer.