ABB and Academia Collaborate on Energy Efficiency to Mitigate Climate Change
“This is the first time such a symposium has taken place on this scale. Working on energy efficiency is crucial for sustainable development, and we were able to define challenges and opportunities together. For ABB Motion, it is important to be an enabler for collaboration between industry and academia," says Matti Laitinen, Motion Business Research Manager, ABB.
At the end of March, twelve prominent professors were invited to Västerås, Sweden by ABB for the first of four symposiums to address the role of energy efficiency solutions in the context of climate change. Together with senior researchers from ABB Corporate Research, they spent two days delving into research challenges related to energy efficiency in industry, transportation, and buildings, examining technology and design processes, as well as business models.
“This is the first time such a symposium has taken place on this scale. Working on energy efficiency is crucial for sustainable development, and we were able to define challenges and opportunities together. For ABB Motion, it is important to be an enabler for collaboration between industry and academia,” says Matti Laitinen, Motion Business Research Manager, ABB.
“In order for us to get away from the need for fossil fuels, the electrification of society is extremely important. Either we bury our heads in the sand or we invest in being at the forefront. By investing in industry and focusing on research and education, Sweden can gain an advantage over the rest of the world,” contributed Hans-Peter Nee, Professor KTH.
The opportunities to reach the climate goals exist on many fronts. In parallel with increased use of renewable energy, investments in low-carbon processes and the development of circular business models, energy efficiency stands out as the fastest way for industry to cut energy costs and immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But despite enormous opportunities, little is happening.
“It is important that we spread awareness about the opportunities. It is frustrating when energy-efficient technologies are rejected even though they offer lower costs. They see the investment cost but ignore the operation cost. I hope for better dialog between technology suppliers and customers, leading to better procurement,” says Tomas Kåberger, Professor of Industrial Energy Policy at Chalmers.
“Energy efficiency is one of the most strategically important areas to address in the energy transition. At the symposium, we have worked to find ways forward where we can contribute to society together. And this two-days exercise has been really productive,” added Cathy Yao Chen, Electrification Business Research Manager, ABB.
The twelve leading researchers came from Aalto University, Chalmers University of Technology, Imperial College, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Lunds University, Malardalens University, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and the University of Nottingham.
“We had two days of beneficial and important discussions, where all participants contributed to building on and further developing each other’s ideas. Together we can highlight the importance of working with energy efficiency, find joint research projects and we can influence both national research financing and the EU’s research agenda to invest more in an area where you gain competitiveness and achieve climate goals, says Mikael Dahlgren, Head of Research ABB Sweden.
This symposium event aligns with the Energy Efficiency Movement, a global forum, launched in 2021 by ABB, that brings together more than 320 participants from different industries worldwide to share ideas and raise awareness about the opportunities for increased energy efficiency. Similar events will take place in the US, Germany, and Switzerland in the coming months. Finally, the results of the symposiums will be compiled and used to help research funders and the EU research agenda.