Making Industry more sustainable through Smart Electrification

Electricity is driving us towards a cleaner, more efficient, and more versatile world of energy, a world we need to care about individually to manage finite resources, environments, and inhabitants. The backbone of this move towards a cleaner world requires a safe, modern, efficient, and reliable power supply needs; for this, we need Smart Electrification.

The pressures of globalization, climate change and urbanization will shape how and where we live. In a keynote at Hannover Messe 2021, Matthias Rebellius is a Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and CEO of Smart Infrastructure, argues as the world changes at a growing and rapid pace, sustainability will become at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

Sustainability will dominate not just those in advanced countries, presently consuming 30 times more resources than those in developing countries; every one of us will need to become more thoughtful, managing the finite resources we all have around us.

Electrification will allow us to have intelligent power supplies to grow and equally sustain our infrastructures, businesses, homes, and assets. Smart Electrification can enable sustainability through the combination of digitalization and applications.

Matthias goes on to point out we are at a tipping point. It is going to be our ability to accelerate technology to achieve the energy transition we need. The ability to enable our industries to save money, conserve resources, create valuable new efficiencies and do this by reducing the Co2 and achieving greener operations.

As he points out, 35% of our energy consumption is in the industry use. Decarbonization is becoming central to resolve—the need of reducing carbon and replacing it with green solutions based on renewables. We need to combine three levers of decarbonization.

Matthias believes there are three levers for decarbonization.

The first lever is flexibility, tapping into the new technology solutions such as storage solutions and deploying virtual power plants, limiting our resource use.

The second lever will come from digitalization as this will allow us to analyse, pre-empt and manage our industrial assets in more imaginative ways. It provides data that enables different, more valuable insights, predictive analysis, and the ability to scope out existing and future demands.

The third lever is the most important, the one of Electrification. Energy demand is rising as population growth, technology dependence, and increasing reliance on its place in our daily lives continue to grow.  How we handle the energy demand is at the core of having successful decarbonization.

Electrification is increasingly important in an automated world.

In Matthias’s view, electrification grows in importance for industries, buildings, and infrastructures. We need to design electricity systems to be versatile, custom-fit and have an adaptable power supply. To achieve this, we first have to intelligently manage the energy supply that comes into the industrial site or our buildings. The second part of designing a new electricity system is how we go about managing energy within or onsite.

The key is finding new, smarter ways for industrial sites or our buildings to interact with the grid in more efficient and responsive ways. Electrification needs a more holistic approach, more sectoral integration where power plants are more adaptable in their power generation and sources. Solutions where photovoltaic systems (solar) and storage interact and can complement a two-way flow of energy design.

Smart Electrification becomes key.

Siemens offers solutions in related hardware, software, and services to integrate power supply solutions into industrial and building automation systems. These solutions enhance and provide increased resilience, asset efficiency and sustainability. Solutions are designed to protect power distribution, provide power quality and the electrical components to integrate this Smart Electrification into the Digital Enterprise.

Their solutions support the entire value chain from planning, engineering, installation, operation, and continuous optimization to transform everyday energy use. Resilience, resource efficiency, and sustainability need the Smart Electrification environment based on flexibility, combined with a comprehensive digitalization approach.

The ability to manage finite resources has in data an infinite friend.

Having software-guided demand management onsite can provide an opportunity for digitalization and deploying Smart Electrification application solutions.

This ability to combine the physical and digital world opens the door for extracting data from IoT devices, sensors, and software deployment. You gain operating insights—growing confidence in greater operational resilience and asset optimization.

By aggregating and analysing growing amounts of data, you can take the energy system to optimize assets, deploy proactive identification of situations that have been “signalled” as ones that might compromise system efficiency, indicate an earlier warning of possible equipment failure.

Matching your physical assets and operating in the real world with a digital twin becomes a further step in managing your entire power systems. Digital twins combined with industrial automation enables a client to test options, explore different scenario’s, and gain more optimal coordination of system design and services.

Siemens offers a comprehensive portfolio for Smart Electrification.

To achieve this Smart Electrification, Siemens provides a comprehensive range of solutions where they are constantly innovating.

Siemens has recently added 3WA air circuit breakers combining all electrification components’ functions. Greater recorded/integrated data solutions into their industrial automation, IoT and medium-voltage systems, so they provide further optimal protection in decentralized networks. They offer new engineering software in Control Panel Design, new technologies based on SIPROTEC and Reyrolle protection technology, and SICAM energy automation and power quality application for an advanced power supply.

In the digital enterprise approach of Siemens, the energy infrastructure offers design, digitally and intelligently to operate more reliably, sustainably, and efficiently due to this continuous innovation.

The opportunity is how we manage in the future.

How we manage the energy supply is one of the essential factors in decarbonizing industries. Smart Electrification, based on renewables, will be one of the key levers to achieve this transformation. The smart solutions will offer flexible production, lifecycle optimization and performance. The opportunity for a better ecological footprint comes from green energy supply and having an intelligent set of digital solutions to offer a reliable and stable electricity supply.

Reference link to the Electrification offering.

Siemens is paying for my engagement, not for promotional purpose. Opinions are my own.

Energy’s data-driven world

The value of digitalization within the Energy Systems will dramatically evolve in the next few years. The more the operating system and each of the assets become connected up through the application of sensors or other smart devices, the value of the automation, software and new solutions and services combine in new value-adding ways.

Collecting data across the system enables four radically different advanced capabilities to evolve. Data becomes the essential thread to build out the future end-to-end foundation of future energy systems.

The four are

1 Data Transparency– to connect up all assets, you suddenly have open access to your data, you become less reliant on others. That increased level of insights gives a completely different dimension to managing the system. In predicting possible failure, in modelling alternative scenarios, in moving towards predictive maintenance

2. Technological Evolvability.- Technology evolves at a constant rate; by building an Energy System on a platform, you do not need to be locked into technology. You can build in flexibility in design by keeping open standards

3. Business Process Adaptability– Business processes are changing, but they will evolve differently with greater insights. The design process can evolve; it can detach itself from the existing constraints of the system as it can experiment, pilot and simulate the data, often in a digital twin so it can initiate physical change in the system by its ability to be opening in a dual world of separation to plan change but also on the actual world of establishing the best optimization.

4. System Customization.- At any point in time, the design of the system is likely to be unique. As a business or assets change and evolve by having the data captured within a digital platform, you can implement and test without impacting the existing, customize for alternatives and well before making the final physical commitment of new plant or assets. Using your data within the existing system, you can explore and exploit alternatives in new designs and options before any actual investment decision or commitments

The power of data of building an energy digital twin enables a radically different energy system.

You become increasingly comfortable in a data-driven world

When you combine data and analytics, you have the opportunity to explore different disruptive models that can potentially change the nature of your competitive position. These are

  1. Achieving data-driven discovery and innovation
  2. The ability for more radical personalization or uniqueness
  3. Build out even more enhanced decision-making opportunities
  4. Provide hyper-scale real-time matching for managing the dynamics and flows with the system
  5. Orthogonal data sets.  An orthogonal model means that all independent variables in that model are uncorrelated, so they can be independently models
  6. Massive data integration.

Those become machine learning possibilities and can eventually have broader cutting edge applicability in many common work activities.

For instance, the outcomes may be in 1) recognizing known patterns, 2) generating natural language, 3) understanding natural language, 4) enhanced sensory perception, and 5) optimizing and planning.

As data ecosystems evolve, the value will accrue for viewing, planning, and integrating the system and giving growing value as analytics and learning grow through human and artificial learning.

Making data run in parallel to your systems today and in the future opens up new business opportunities.

Today many Energy Systems lack real-time data; they are not connecting up all the assets and remain in less than a sub-optimal state, highly reliant on a failure or on established human intervention approaches that only aggregate and generalize performance. Data taken directly from a series of sensors or smart devices calibrated to the asset profile and needs gives real-time or near real-time performance understanding.

Digitalization of your energy assets, designed on a platform, opens up a new age of digitalization of the Energy System to a radical set of new options that provide increased productivity, efficiencies, visibility and simulation that become more future-ready rapidly changing energy mix and its operation. Having your “actual” data and the ability to predict future patterns, designs, demands, and investment options open up the Energy system to considering and investigating new business options and revenue possibilities.