Schneider Electric’s CEO unveiled some new technologies at its Innovation Summit in Barcelona today, and urged attendees to join its electric exchange community to collaborate on projects.
Chairman & CEO of Schneider Electric Jean-Pascal Tricoire said the next two decades will be crucial to keep global temperature rise in check and the first step is to increase efficiency by using digital technologies to retrofit existing building and plants. Electricity will increase from 20% to 40% of the world’s energy consumption, creating a huge opportunity for the industry – as much will be invested in the electrical system in the next twenty years as has been spent since its creation in the early 1900s. Renewables and storage will go from 6% to 40% of generation in the next twenty years. “Make no mistake that makes our companies more competitive because efficiency or reduction of carbon emissions is just reducing the waste in our company and making them globally more efficient. Save, electrify and decarbonise is the equation we have in front of us, but it’s not the only place we can innovate for a better world in terms of environmental impact,” he said.
He unveiled Schneider’s new SF6-free switchgear technology for medium voltage applications, which uses air instead of the greenhouse gas.
Schneider also demonstrated new tools as part of its Ecostruxure platform for building energy management which allow property owners to enable facility managers to have observation tools, as well as a ‘connected room’ and an integrated set of workplace services to allow building managers to engage with their surroundings.
Continuous thermal monitoring for medium and low voltage systems, leakage detection and other safety innovations were also on show in the innovation hub at the event. Connected devices have produced an explosion of data, and Schneider has developed an edge computing data 6U microdata centre to help customers manage this.
Manufacturing is also going through a digital revolution. The Ecostruxure plant performance suite helps factories improve operations, for example the pumping performance advisor which tells water and wastewater plants what they need to do to reduce energy, maintenance and operator cost. Just by tweaking pumps up to 15% in operating expense can be cut, Schneider says.
Tricoire gave examples of major energy companies that have used Schneider’s automation technologies to drive efficiency improvements, including Petronas, Acciona, BASF, ADNOC and Saint Gobain. Typically the upgrades can pay for themselves within three years, he said, for example at the IFEMA conference centre in Madrid.
Schneider has been working in partnership with Microsoft on digitalisation for many years, Tricoire said. Microsoft’s executive vice president and president, global sales, marketing and operations Jean-Philippe Courtois said that many companies are becoming software business themselves as they become increasingly digital. “We see the world running on software everywhere we go - in your car, your study, machines are running on software and every company in every country is becoming digital.”
Schneider has set a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025, net zero emission by 2030 and having the entire value chain carbon neutral within three decades.