Repowering Coal

A seed of an idea can become a thriving forest. The Microsoft Global Hackathon, the largest private hackathon on the planet, is coming back again this fall. We’ll be sharing stories of some of the winners in the coming months, and we want to share this one with you.

On a typical Tuesday morning, Conor Kelly, a 15-year Microsoft veteran, stumbled upon another climate change headline. However, instead of feeling powerless, Conor decided to act.

Growing up on a family farm, Conor always understood the delicate balance between humanity and the earth. At Microsoft, he saw the environmental impact of data centers relying on coal power. Inspired to make a change, he assembled a team during the Microsoft Global Hackathon 2021 to tackle this challenge.

The team, supported by Microsoft leaders, developed innovative software using generative AI to visualize the potential of replacing coal plants with Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). This groundbreaking work showcased significant environmental and financial benefits, gaining attention at COP27 and leading to collaborations to decarbonize coal plants globally.

Image of a team of people on a Teams call.

Their mission is ongoing, with a replicable framework poised to decarbonize various industries. Conor’s story illustrates that a single idea, nurtured in the right environment, can drive significant change.

Read the full story here.