The role of industrial efficiency in fighting the climate emergency

With more than 300 million motors and drives in daily use around the world, the time to make the most of their environmental and sustainability benefits is now, says Morten Wierod, President of ABB Motion, in this latest edition of ABB Decoded.

In terms of ubiquitous technology, motors and drives must come near the top of the list. There is hardly any aspect of our daily lives which is untouched by them. “Electric motors and variable speed drives really enable our modern way of life,” explains Wierod, “even if most of us don’t think about them on a daily basis.”

Wierod’s main topic in this podcast is the role that energy-efficient motor and drives can play in the fight for a more sustainable future. Electric motors consume about 45% of global electricity, he points out, meaning that there are huge energy savings to be made. “In 2020 ABB’s installed bases or motors and drives saved over 198 terawatt hours of energy. By 2023, it is estimated that expanding this installation will help our customers save an additional 78 terawatt hours annually.”

One example of a project where significant savings were made was in Queensland, Australia, where a food and beverage manufacturer realised reductions of 14% in their energy consumption thanks to modern synchronous reluctance motor technology.

Industrial energy efficiency has the single greatest capacity for combating the climate emergency

For Wierod, there are two central elements in fighting global heating. The first is using technology to increase efficiency. Although renewable energy sources also have an important role to play, we cannot use them to replace carbon-based energy sources quickly enough. Therefore, improving the efficiency how we use energy is also required. “One of my main goals is to continue to set higher standards and make this technology available worldwide, so that we can really get the savings that we need to be able to create the future that we all want,” he says.

Secondly, cooperation between businesses, industry, decision-makers, and regulators is vital. “We can’t do this alone. We need commitment, collaboration, and action from all stakeholders. We need to be aware of the opportunities.” Wierod states, “I believe industrial energy efficiency, more than any other challenge, has the single greatest capacity for combating the climate emergency.”

Listen to the podcast here.

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