Around 785 million people around the world don’t have access to clean drinking water, according to official data. The unofficial figures, experts believe, could be nearly double that. Over a billion more people live in areas where water is hard to obtain. The climate crisis has only exacerbated the looming threat, with dry areas becoming more arid and regions with sufficient water becoming more flood-prone.
Devesh Bharadwaj, the founder of Pani Energy, is among those attempting to address the problem – the company uses artificial intelligence to help industries bring down the cost of water treatment by optimising energy consumption. His is among a growing number of ‘clean-tech’ or ‘greentech’ firms, which are often dubbed as the technology of the future. Devesh, who believes that the commoditizing of water could lead humankind down a dangerous path, says, “One can opt out of using oil-derived products but not out of eating, drinking or breathing. Putting a global price on water comes perilously close to putting a value on human life.”
Pani Energy’s centralised, AI powered and cloud-based learning platform uses the AI Coach to collect and process data from treatment facilities. The insights it provides can leverage the operational insights to optimise the use of both water and energy in industrial plants.
In late 2021, the company raised $8 million in a funding round that saw the participation of major venture capital investors, Sustainable Development Technology Canada and undisclosed government entities. The new funding round, Devesh said, was to “scale up our reach in order to help thousands of treatment facilities become more efficient, ultimately reducing their operational expenses, reducing downtime, decreasing energy requirements and reducing overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the entire industry.”