Juergen Maier, former Chief Government of Siemens UK and the present Chair of Digital Catapult, delivered a keynote speech on ‘Delivering a Accountable and Decarbonising Made Smarter’ at this yr’s MACH Exhibition.
The British-Austrian businessman began his keynote, which he was initially as a result of give in 2020, with a second of reflection. He joked by saying that having already written this speech, he thought his preparation for this yr can be minimal. The place in precise reality, he needed to tear up his notes from two years in the past and begin from scratch – such has been the change in attitudes, developments and actions round digital know-how and web zero.
“In two years, the world has utterly modified. Power costs are clearly one of many key points lately. However, we have now ready ourselves for this fourth industrial revolution. We’ve got spent 10 years on this nation, investing in Catapults, such because the Excessive Worth Manufacturing Catapult, Digital Catapult and within the Made Smarter programme. I feel we have now created an ecosystem to assist firms in the course of the pressures of needing to work remotely due to COVID. In case you then embody the rising power costs, these issues have gotten all people to concentrate on digital know-how and web zero.”
The digital ecosystem that Juergen eludes to has constructed up growing confidence and experience to navigate by way of the ever altering panorama of technological development. Whereas the UK has invested unprecedented quantities of cash in digital transformation, the dimensions must be elevated, in keeping with Juergen.
“We’ve invested during the last 10 years,” he says. “Most likely greater than we ever have earlier than – when you embody the Catapults and every little thing else, we is likely to be investing round 5/6/700 million a yr. It must be two or three fold that quantity. However look, we’re investing greater than ever. What trade leaders have to do now could be actually present how invaluable this funding has been and continues to be, when it comes to elevating productiveness, enhancing our web zero efficiency and when it comes to elevated exports. If that occurs, I’m certain we’ll persuade the policymakers to maintain investing in us.”
Already this yr, we at The Producer have heard keynotes speeches on sustainability which have argued the case for a selected renewable power supply to speed up the UK’s developments in decarbonisation. Juergen briefly gave reference to the potential of such energies; hydrogen, wind and photo voltaic. Nonetheless, he was extra involved on the how we use them.
He says, “I’m an enormous fan of renewable power sources. Offshore wind is nice and I completely assume we have to scale hydrogen additionally for a lot of manufacturing processes equivalent to in metal vegetation and in glassmaking, for instance. However, we by no means speak sufficient about the place the power is getting used. Industrial power use stands at 30% of the power that’s getting used – that may be reduce dramatically by way of course of optimisation, by way of higher funding, in easy low power motors. Everyone knows what must be accomplished, however we haven’t fairly accomplished sufficient of it.
” However, I do assume that has modified. As a result of proper now it’s a case of survival, isn’t it? Power costs are so excessive, fairly frankly, until you do that now you simply can’t afford the power payments.”
SME and start-up producers have been on the coronary heart of sustainable innovation and management lately. Juergen’s keynote talked about Crystal Doorways, a producer in Rochdale that final yr received a Queens Award for Enterprise in sustainable improvement. The corporate have been talked about in the course of the Sustainability Collection of our podcast. Britishvolt, that has lately accomplished the UK’s first giant scale gigafactory in Northumberland, started this journey as a start-up.
“My expertise has been that that SMEs like to be taught from one another,” says Juergen. “So, to create platforms, like Made Smarter, the place small to medium sized firms can have interaction and be taught, but additionally come collectively and share that information and management and actually enthuse their very own neighborhood is significant. They’ll say present how they’ve made strides with web zero, they usually can say to others, ‘I can assist you obtain this.’ It’s that kind of enthusiasm that we’d like, and I do assume we’re constructing that enthusiasm and that motion, we simply have to do extra of that.”
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