Aboitiz business units tap data science to curb emissions & sustain product quality

Aboitiz business units tap data science to curb emissions & sustain product quality

Aboitiz companies Therma South, Inc. (TSI) and Republic Cement and Building Materials, Inc. (Republic Cement) are fully harnessing data science and artificial intelligence (DSAI) to create new operational efficiencies that benefit their host communities.

“We are proud of the technology that we have adopted in our TSI and Republic Cement facilities that allow us to explore new possibilities and create greater impact for our customers. Through these innovations, we are able to fulfill our purpose of advancing business and communities through the power of data science,” said Sabin M. Aboitiz, Aboitiz Group President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

TSI, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aboitiz power business unit Aboitiz Power Corporation, is the project company of the 300-MW baseload power plant in Toril, Davao City and Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur. 

TSI uses data science, specifically an automated “control loop system,” to feed regulated amounts of limestone to its furnace in order to help significantly reduce sulfur oxide emissions.

For TSI, adding the precise amount of limestone to the combustion process is essential. Too little limestone and the power plant’s emissions spike; too much limestone and the power plant’s waste ash chemically changes into hazardous waste. Data science plays a crucial role in determining the right amount of limestone usage for optimum results.

As a result, TSI has operated sustainably over the years, supplying reliable baseload power to over 20 electric cooperatives and distribution utilities all over Mindanao – proof that baseload power plants can operate efficiently and responsibly.

From 2017 to 2019, TSI’s greenhouse gas emissions shrunk by an estimated 27%, thanks in part to the controlled and automated addition of limestone.

“With digital transformation being a key driver of AboitizPower’s growth strategy in the next decade, we will continue to leverage data science to ensure sustainable operations for the ultimate benefit of the customers and communities we serve,” said Emmanuel V. Rubio, AboitizPower President and CEO.


Republic Cement’s AI tool

Limestone is also one of the many resources that are efficiently utilized by Aboitiz infrastructure business unit Republic Cement.

Republic Cement has teamed up with Aboitiz banking and financial services unit UnionBank to create an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that predicts cement quality based on historical chemical concentration combinations.

With this data, Republic Cement is able to optimize concentrations of raw materials, including limestone, resulting in better resource management and increased operational efficiency.

This is especially important for Republic Cement’s main product: Portland cement, a complex product obtained from unprocessed natural limestone and clay. The Philippine government and cement industry have set minimum standards for cement quality due to the product’s sensitivity to minimal changes in chemical concentrations.

“Thanks to this, we are hitting two birds with one stone: we are getting more consistent cement while trending closer to the limit (minimum standards for cement quality) and thereby being more efficient with our raw material usage. This case of data science is a perfect example of synergies between the different subsidiaries of the Aboitiz group,” said  Nabil Francis, Republic Cement President and CEO.

For Republic Cement, the precision that data science offers not only provides data-driven insights for internal use but also allows the company to remain steadfast in delivering consistent and high-quality products for the Philippine market and economy.

“Data Science is a key differentiator in deriving value from digital transformation.  AboitizPower and Republic Cement provide two demonstrable examples of Data Science empowering an organization to achieve business value while meeting measurable environmental and sustainability goals,” said Dr. David R. Hardoon, UnionBank Senior Advisor for Data and AI and Aboitiz Group Data Committee Chairman.

A strong advocate of innovation, the Aboitiz Group believes that DSAI will become a permanent aspect of the business landscape of each of the conglomerate’s strategic business units, to develop and support its business models and decision-making capabilities.

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