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BP continues AI push with energy management firm R&B investment

Image: BP.

Image: BP.

BP Ventures has bolstered its artificial intelligence (AI) play with a $3.6 million (£2.7 million) investment into Chinese energy management company R&B.

The move is intended to support BP Alternative Energy’s focus on low-carbon power, storage, the digital energy value chain and wider energy as a service offers.

R&B’s software as a service (Saas) applies AI techniques to energy diagnostics and optimization in the commercial and industrial sector, processing data to generate insights and recommendations for improving energy efficiency and enhancing predictive maintenance in buildings. This then enables building managers to optimise energy performance and therefore reduce carbon emissions.

The investment comes as part of R&B’s latest funding round, led by BP Ventures. Other investors in this round were CLP Innovation Ventures, a subsidiary of CLP Holdings and JAFCO Asia.

It comes off the back of BP Venture’s investment into UK AI tech company Grid Edge, which offers a similar software designed to predict, control and optimise a building’s energy profile.

BP Ventures has also made a number of moves into the Chinese market, including investing in PowerShare, one of China’s largest electric vehicle charging solutions providers, as well as a $10 million investment in NIO Capital.

Dev Sanyal, chief executive and executive vice president, regions, at BP Alternative Energy, said BP is “determined to help meet society’s demands for more energy” which is delivered in new and cleaner ways.

“Our investment in R&B, a business developing and deploying innovative technology to improve energy efficiency, is fully aligned with this strategy,” Sanyal said, adding that digital technology alongside smarter consumers and “bold” decarbonisation targets are “rapidly changing the world’s energy systems”.

BP Ventures is actively looking at direct investment opportunities in China in its five strategic areas, it said, the areas being advanced mobility, power and storage, carbon management, bio- and low carbon products and digital transformation.

Glenn Wu, COO & CTO of R&B Technology, said the company is "delighted" to partner BP to empower the energy industry with AI that enables "unprecedented automation and smartness in digital energy".

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