- Energy efficiency is critical for promoting high-quality development and reducing carbon emissions
- The integration of digital and smart technologies can greatly enhance efficiency and facilitate the transition to cleaner energy resources
- Achieving high levels of efficiency and low carbon emissions requires extensive cooperation and collaborative innovation across industries, society and government
As an important part of ABB’s Energy Efficiency Movement initiative, 2023 ABB China Energy Efficiency Symposium was held in Beijing on March 22. More than 20 experts and representatives from government, academia, and businesses convened to discuss energy conservation and energy efficiency at the event. They shared their experiences and perspectives on improving industrial energy efficiency, highlighting the opportunities and challenges involved. The participants also emphasized the need for closer collaboration to enable a low-carbon society and contribute to a more sustainable world.
Given the various challenges posed by global climate change, increasing energy demand, and limited resources and environmental constraints, energy conservation and efficiency have emerged as one of the most direct and effective means of promoting green development. Enhancing energy efficiency is not only crucial for reducing energy consumption, optimizing energy structures, and achieving climate targets, but also presents an opportunity for industrial upgrading, fostering new momentum, and promoting high-quality development.
In his speech at the event, Dr. Chunyuan Gu, Chairman of ABB China, emphasized that low-carbon development is a global consensus. He identified three main paths to achieving carbon neutrality: increasing the proportion of renewable energy, further promoting electrification, and improving efficiency while reducing consumption. Dr. Gu highlighted that energy efficiency improvement is the most economical and fastest effective "first fuel" with the shortest investment cycle. He also emphasized that technological innovation in electrification, automation, and digitization can further improve production efficiency and resource efficiency, leading to a win-win situation of carbon reduction and development.
To promote energy conservation and address climate change on a global scale, ABB launched the "Energy Efficiency Movement" initiative in 2021. The initiative brings together all stakeholders to innovate and take actions for a more energy-efficient world. It has received a positive reaction from throughout industry, with around 300 companies joining as of today. During the symposium, more enterprises were committed to joining the Movement to improve energy efficiency with joint efforts.
To effectively implement energy efficiency improvements and promote green development, it is key to establish and enhance relevant laws and regulations, standards and regulatory systems. Dr. Li Pengcheng, Chief Researcher in energy conservation and low-carbon at China National Institute of Standardization, shared his expert insights on the topic of "Energy Efficiency Standard and Identification for End-Products".
When talking about how energy efficiency standards can support efficiency transformation, he stated, "Standards play a dual role of 'push' and 'pull': on the one hand, by enforcing mandatory access standard, outdated low-efficiency products are eliminated; on the other hand, by identifying high-efficiency products, top companies are encouraged to lead the overall improvement of energy efficiency level. Energy efficiency standards have become a bridge that transmits policy signals to the industry, which has proven to be a very effective way."
Digitalization and intelligence were a major focus of discussion at the symposium. ABB has recently conducted a survey on energy conservation and efficiency investment, showing that nearly half of the Chinese respondents identified "lack of digital skills" as the primary obstacle to enhancing energy efficiency. Looking ahead to the future development of intelligence and digitalization, Professor Wang Feiyue, Director of the National Key Laboratory of Complex System Management and Control in China and a researcher at the Institute of Automation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, gave a speech entitled "Digital Employees and Parallel Enterprises: Scenario Engineering and Business Big Model Transformation Energy-saving and Efficiency-enhancing Mode".
He pointed out that the future of intelligence will be a combination of human intelligence, artificial intelligence, natural intelligence, and organizational intelligence. The future of enterprises will be a collaboration between three types of employees: robots, humans, and digital employees. 80% of work time will be in autonomous mode, 15% in parallel mode with a combination of virtual and real, and 5% in expert mode for emergency. We have come this far relying on professional division of labor, and now we are pursuing human-machine division of labor. We will enter the future of virtual and real division of labor, gradually moving towards a 6S world: Safety in the physical world, Security in the information space, Sustainability in the ecology, Sensitivity in personalized privacy protection, and Service in high-quality services, ultimately achieving intelligent economy, intelligent society, and intelligent industry.
The industrial sector is one of the most important areas for energy conservation and efficiency improvement. In 2022, China's industrial electricity consumption accounted for 64.8% of the total social electricity consumption. Last year, six Chinese government departments jointly issued the "Industrial Energy Efficiency Improvement Action Plan". The plan aims to significantly increase the utilization of green and low-carbon energy and reduce the energy consumption per unit of value added of industrial enterprises above designated size by 13.5% compared to 2020.
The recently published "Industrial Energy Efficiency Playbook" interviewed institutions including ABB, Alfa Laval, DHL, the IEA, Microsoft, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, providing 10 high-cost-effective actions that a business can take to improve its energy efficiency, reduce energy costs and lower emissions. The recommendations range from carrying out energy audits to right-sizing industrial machines, moving data into the cloud, installing variable speed drives and high-efficiency motors. These mature and widely available technology solutions can deliver rapid results and ROI and are capable of being deployed at scale.
Luping Qi, Lead Business Manager, ABB Motion, China, said: "The mission of ABB Motion is to 'keep the world turning - while saving energy every day'. In the face of the challenges and opportunities brought by the 'dual-carbon' era, ABB will continue to take practical actions to promote and support the green and low-carbon transformation of users in different segments by leveraging its profound accumulation in improving energy efficiency, expertise in various industries and innovation in digital technologies. Through ABB's global advocacy of the Energy Efficiency Movement, we want to build a platform for communication, mutual learning and sharing with all sectors of society, and better cooperate with more local customers and partners to contribute to green development and the achievement of 'double carbon' goals in China."
ABB's efforts to save energy and improve efficiency are specific actions taken to actively implement the company's sustainability strategy. ABB is dedicated to enabling a low-carbon society, preserving resources, and promoting social progress. The company aims to achieve carbon neutrality in its own operations and support customers to reduce at least 100 million tons of CO2 emissions annually by 2030. Additionally, 80% of ABB products and solutions will be covered by circularity approach and achieve zero waste to landfill.
By 2022, ABB has achieved a total greenhouse gas emission reduction in its own operations by about 65 percent compared to the 2019 baseline, and landfill waste reduced by 32%. Five local companies in China have been awarded the "Green Factory" by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. ABB is proactively constructing zero-carbon industrial parks, and collaborating with its customers and suppliers to enhance energy efficiency, decrease emissions, and promote sustainable development, contributing to the green and low-carbon transformation of the economy.
ABB is a technology leader in electrification and automation, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. The company’s solutions connect engineering know-how and software to optimize how things are manufactured, moved, powered and operated. Building on more than 130 years of excellence, ABB’s ~105,000 employees are committed to driving innovations that accelerate industrial transformation. www.abb.com