Climate change, limited natural resources, unpredictable economics and volatile markets – all of these factors show that we cannot continue living as before and doing business as usual. We need to transform the way we are eating, consuming, traveling, working. This understanding has driven businesses to focus on sustainability – socially (for people), environmentally (for the planet) and economically (for profits). Transforming operations in process industries like Life Sciences, Consumer Packaged Goods, Polymers and Chemicals, Oil and Gas and in discrete industries like Automotive, Aerospace, High Tech and Industrial Equipment will have a significant impact on sustainability.
So what can we do?
With regard to questionable or unsustainable materials, we can either:
- Manage or treat materials that have already been created, or
- Go back to the start and improve these materials—or avoid them entirely
Examples of the first option are filtering exhaust gases, removing plastics from the oceans and recycling materials (a topic dear to my heart as my thesis was about the thermal degradation behavior of polymers). Examples of the second option are avoiding the usage of toxic or non-degradable materials and minimizing the related consumption of energy or other resources. And it probably makes sense to start with this second!
Now, how can we do it?
Luckily enough, technology can advance sustainability (although some might claim that it is also contributing to the rapid exploitation of our planet). The advancement through is where BIOVIA Dassault Systèmes enters the picture. In fact, for many years BIOVIA has developed solutions that help customers in many industries build more sustainable products and businesses. BIOVIA provides solutions in four major technology areas that can support sustainability:
- Digitalization & Automation
- Replacing paper with a digital solution—saving trees and ink, as well as the storage space and energy required to print and to produce, accommodate and protect the paper
- Automating processes to reduce errors and duplication, which means saving energy, time and even materials
- Managing chemicals with an automated system like BIOVIA CISPro, which helps companies to avoid expired chemicals, over-ordering and unsafe storage of incompatible or hazardous materials
- Replacing physical testing in the lab with virtual testing—reducing the chemicals needed for testing, the energy needed to run equipment and transport samples, even saving lab workers’ time
- Modeling & Simulation
- Predicting the properties of products with a tool like BIOVIA Materials Studio makes it possible for organizations to replace toxic or rare materials in a product with more sustainable or harmless materials
- Predicting behaviors on a molecular level helps with the discovery of suitable materials for specific purposes such as catalysts that reduce energy usage, batteries that last longer, materials that are lighter and stronger
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Replacing physical testing with virtual testing using AI, Machine Learning and Image Analysis technology from BIOVIA and other Dassault Systèmes brands can also have a positive impact on the environment. For example, mines can replace large boreholes required for sampling with smaller coreholes that can be used to acquire images that are then analyzed to identify the presence of coal, and its quality
- Applying AI to monitor manufacturing processes helps to reduce waste, improve yield and avoid scrap
- Helping scientists to make better and more informed decisions also helps them to avoid repeating experiments and reduces waste
These technologies have an impact on all three aspects of sustainability – people, planet and profits:
- People, because BIOVIA improves collaborative innovation and makes work easier, more efficient – and maybe even more fun
- Planet, because BIOVIA helps organizations manage resources better and improve the environmental friendliness of products
- Profits, because BIOVIA can help organizations reduce costs by optimizing processes and materials