Dig­i­tal­iza­tion: The Path to Sus­tain­abil­ity

Policy - - Contents - Nathalie Pilon

As Canada adapts to the Fourth In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion, the ne­ces­si­ties of clean growth, sus­tain­abil­ity and global com­pet­i­tive­ness de­mand the in­no­va­tion and im­ple­men­ta­tion of con­nected so­lu­tions. ABB is a tech­nol­ogy leader in power grids, elec­tri­fi­ca­tion prod­ucts, in­dus­trial au­to­ma­tion and ro­bot­ics, serv­ing cus­tomers in util­i­ties, in­dus­try and trans­port and in­fra­struc­ture.

We are living through a so­cioe­co­nomic revo­lu­tion amid com­pet­ing pres­sures of sus­tain­abil­ity, en­ergy con­cerns, and the fourth in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion—the mesh­ing of peo­ple and ma­chines as in­ter­net meets pro­duc­tion. Never has there been a bet­ter time for lead­ers to adopt sus­tain­able busi­ness prac­tices by tak­ing own­er­ship of the dig­i­tal space and be­com­ing con­nec­tors, and for the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to sup­port our dig­i­tal econ­omy and its play­ers.

Canada has what it takes to be­come a dig­i­tal cham­pion, and our in­dus­trial sec­tors are flow­ing with un­tapped po­ten­tial. En­ergy is a foun­da­tional pil­lar of our econ­omy. Ten per cent of Canada’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct is due to hy­dro­elec­tric clean power, while the bal­ance of the en­ergy needs of our eco­nomic play­ers in in­dus­trial and in­fra­struc­ture re­lies in­creas­ingly on power sus­tain­abil­ity. The clean elec­tric­ity that hy­dropower sup­plies to Cana­di­ans sup­ports the growth of in­dus­try, com­merce, in­fra­struc­ture and com­mu­ni­ties.

In May 2018, ABB com­mis­sioned a his­toric power in­ter­con­nec­tor in Canada. The Mar­itime Link project, a 500 megawatt (MW) high-volt­age di­rect cur­rent (HVDC) con­nec­tion, en­ables clean, re­new­able en­ergy, gen­er­ated in New­found­land and Labrador to be trans­mit­ted to the North Amer­i­can grid in Nova Sco­tia re­duc­ing de­pen­dence on fos­sil fu­els. The link made his­tory on De­cem­ber 8, 2017, by con­duct­ing the first ex­change of elec­tric­ity be­tween the is­lands of New­found­land and Cape Bre­ton, Nova Sco­tia. The sta­bi­liz­ing fea­tures of ABB’s so­lu­tion al­low Nova Sco­tia to in­te­grate ad­di­tional re­new­ables such as wind power and con­trib­ute to Canada’s emis­sion-re­duc­tion ef­forts.

We should fo­cus on us­ing all the dig­i­tal tools at our com­mand to ex­pand the ben­e­fits of ear­lier in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tions to even more peo­ple while re­vers­ing any neg­a­tive con­se­quences. That means green­ing the grid, elec­tri­fy­ing trans­porta­tion and com­bat­ing cli­mate change with smarter in­fra­struc­ture.

Tech­nol­ogy in­no­va­tion has been the core mis­sion of ABB for more than 130 years and year af­ter year, ABB gen­er­ates dig­i­tal so­lu­tions for its part­ners world­wide, all in the name of clean en­ergy. The ra­tio­nale be­hind this is sim­ple. ABB sup­ports clean econ­omy and sus­tain­abil­ity with a uni­fied, cross-plat­form dig­i­tal of­fer­ing. Our tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions en­vi­sion ways to take our cus­tomers and stake­hold­ers in pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture to the next level.

As so­ci­ety ad­justs to the Fourth In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion, which merges the phys­i­cal and dig­i­tal worlds, it’s our col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity to build on the ac­com­plish­ments of pre­vi­ous in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tions, which over the last cen­tury im­proved life dras­ti­cally across the globe. We should fo­cus on us­ing all the dig­i­tal tools at our com­mand to ex­pand the ben­e­fits of ear­lier in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tions to even more peo­ple while re­vers­ing any neg­a­tive con­se­quences. That means green­ing the grid, elec­tri­fy­ing trans­porta­tion and com­bat­ing cli­mate change with smarter in­fra­struc­ture. As the dig­i­tal wave pro­gresses, we should all em­brace it as it be­comes the new nor­mal.

Dig­i­tal sys­tems that run in­dus­trial plants and in­stal­la­tions to max­i­mize up­time, speed, pro­duc­tion and qual­ity, in­dus­trial au­to­ma­tion prod­ucts are specif­i­cally de­signed to de­liver col­lab­o­ra­tive op­er­a­tions, cy­ber se­cu­rity so­lu­tions and dig­i­tal sys­tems to man­age en­tire plants and fac­to­ries.

Canada is one of the largest min­ing na­tions in the world. As such, it is only nor­mal that the Cana­dian min­ing in­dus­try turns to dig­i­tal­iza­tion to in­crease its pro­duc­tiv­ity and join our coun­try’s com­mit­ment to re­duce car­bon emis­sions. ABB is help­ing to build the first elec­tric and dig­i­tal

mine in Que­bec, a Cana­dian first, and has also de­liv­ered North Amer­ica’s most pow­er­ful mine hoist to Mo­saic potash mine in Saskatchewan.

Dig­i­tal mines de­velop econ­omy and build com­mu­nity by re­duc­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact and in­creas­ing safety. The land­scape of re­source ex­trac­tion is be­ing trans­formed with dig­i­tal mines, which in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity and ef­fi­ciency, op­ti­mize re­mote work­ing, re­duce waste and se­cure ac­cess con­trol. Dig­i­tal­iza­tion has the po­ten­tial to un­lock value for min­ing com­pa­nies and can save bil­lions of dol­lars for a fu­ture of sus­tain­able min­ing.

Trans­porta­tion elec­tri­fi­ca­tion is well un­der­way. From its ori­gins with light rail and subway sys­tems, elec­tri­fi­ca­tion is ex­pand­ing to in­cor­po­rate more tran­sit types and ap­pli­ca­tions. The tran­si­tion to elec­tric ve­hi­cles (EVs) is just be­gin­ning and with au­tomak­ers and other coun­tries mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant com­mit­ments to phase out con­ven­tional in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine ve­hi­cles, the fu­ture for EVs is bright. But elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of trans­porta­tion goes well be­yond pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles to in­clude fleet ve­hi­cles (cars and trucks), mass tran­sit buses, light rail, ships and even non-road ve­hi­cles like fork­lifts. De­spite its high vis­i­bil­ity and grow­ing de­ploy­ments, e-mo­bil­ity re­mains an emerg­ing tech­nol­ogy. Ad­di­tional work is needed to bring util­i­ties, man­u­fac­tur­ers and en­ergy mar­ket par­tic­i­pants to­gether in or­der to re­move tech­ni­cal bar­ri­ers to com­mer­cial­iza­tion. With the right level of gov­ern­ment lead­er­ship, Canada can se­cure its po­si­tion as a global leader in elec­tric trans­porta­tion tech­nol­ogy and ex­per­tise. Rail is one of the more prom­i­nent forms of elec­tri­fied trans­port, as lo­cal rail and subway sys­tems have used elec­tric power for 100 years. Now elec­tric rail is poised to be­come more eco­nom­i­cal, thanks to the de­vel­op­ment of sup­port­ing tech­nolo­gies. In ef­forts to cut emis­sions to zero in Canada, Toronto has be­gun con­struc­tion on a new light rail tran­sit line (LRT) to be up and run­ning by 2021. For this $8.4 bil­lion project, ABB is on board to con­trib­ute key power dis­tri­bu­tion com­po­nents that will al­low the tran­sit line to run on nearly zero emis­sions. The Toronto LRT will de­crease green­house emis­sions by about 29 per cent per per­son, and cut 40 per cent of the cur­rent footprint. This ground­break­ing tech­nol­ogy is vir­tu­ally a main­te­nance-free so­lu­tion that will de­liver long-term sus­tain­able trans­porta­tion for the Greater Toronto Area.

Ap­prox­i­mately 12 per cent of Cana­di­ans use pub­lic tran­sit, with the ma­jor­ity of that per­cent­age us­ing the bus as their main source of trans­porta­tion. Cleaner tech­nol­ogy is now com­mon in Cana­dian cities, but many tran­sit ve­hi­cles con­tinue to run on car­bon­based fu­els. Elec­tric buses are on the rise and the next step is the launch of the na­tional Pan-Cana­dian Elec­tric Bus Demon­stra­tion & In­te­gra­tion Trial, led by the Cana­dian Ur­ban Tran­sit Re­search and In­no­va­tion Con­sor­tium (CUTRIC). This project is funded by fed­eral and provin­cial gov­ern­ments, and will span cities across Canada. This trial is the kick­off to bring elec­tric, zero-emis­sion buses across Canada pro­vid­ing stan­dard­ized and in­ter­op­er­a­ble e-buses and charg­ing sys­tems. ABB will be con­tribut­ing their 450 KW over­head elec­tric charg­ing sys­tems with in­verted pan­to­graph to make pub­lic trans­porta­tion greener and more cost ef­fec­tive for Cana­di­ans. This project will un­fold over the span of many years and phases with the start of Phase 1 val­ued at $40 mil­lion.

The Toronto LRT will de­crease green­house emis­sions by about 29 per cent per per­son, and cut 40 per cent of the cur­rent footprint. This ground­break­ing tech­nol­ogy is vir­tu­ally a main­te­nance-free so­lu­tion that will de­liver long-term sus­tain­able trans­porta­tion for the Greater Toronto Area.

While EVs are cur­rently in the “early adopter” phase of the prod­uct life­cy­cle, they hold tremen­dous po­ten­tial. As of 2017, EV sales in Canada have in­creased by 68 per cent and there are ap­prox­i­mately 50,000 plugin ve­hi­cles cur­rently on Cana­dian roads. New sales records are con­sis­tently be­ing bro­ken each year as the idea of green trans­porta­tion gains na­tional mo­men­tum. In con­junc­tion with EV sales, there is a ris­ing de­mand for re­liant charg­ers that have the abil­ity to quickly and ef­fi­ciently recharge bat­ter­ies. ABB’s new Cana­dian head­quar­ters cam­pus in Mon­treal is home to a $90 mil­lion in­vest­ment, the Cen­ter of Ex­cel­lence in E-mo­bil­ity, with the in­stal­la­tion of two 50kW Terra 53 DC elec­tric ve­hi­cle charg­ing sta­tions. Un­der nor­mal road and weather con­di­tions, the charg­ers are ca­pa­ble of en­abling a driv­ing range of 60 km (37.3 miles) with 15-30 min­utes of charg­ing. ABB has also re­cently un­veiled its in­stal­la­tions of the 350kW DC charg­ing sta­tions that are cur­rently in op­er­a­tion. These fast charg­ers are de­signed for high­way and en-route charg­ing to pro­vide the high­est pos­si­ble up­time. The elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of ve­hi­cles is a cru­cial com­po­nent to com­bat cli­mate change for a more sus­tain­able fu­ture.

Part of ABB’s role as a fron­trun­ner in sus­tain­able trans­porta­tion is to equip the ma­rine in­dus­try with elec­tric, dig­i­tal and con­nected so­lu­tions that max­i­mize the full po­ten­tial of ves­sels and ul­ti­mately en­able a safe, ef­fi­cient and sus­tain­able mar­itime in­dus­try. Diesel-elec­tric hy­brid ships have been oper­at­ing on the high seas since the 1990s, and the tech­nol­ogy has now be­come the in­dus­try stan­dard for cruise ships, LNG tankers, po­lar ice­break­ers and more. In 2017, ABB was awarded a con­tract by the Van­cou­ver Fraser Port Au­thor­ity to pro­vide a tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tion that will en­able a shore to ship power sup­ply for Canada’s largest con­tainer port lo­cated in Delta, Bri­tish Columbia. This will al­low for ships at the Global Con­tainer Ter­mi­nal to con­nect to the elec­tri­cal grid of BC Hy­dro, in­stead of us­ing diesel gen­er­a­tors. The abil­ity to plug into the grid when berthed and shut down en­gines will cur­tail pol­lut­ing sub­stances such as ni­tro­gen and sul­phur ox­ides and will also mit­i­gate noise and vi­bra­tion lev­els, to sup­port the ter­mi­nal’s sus­tain­abil­ity goals. A large cruise ves­sel run­ning its aux­il­iary en­gines on diesel, to power its loads while in port, emits the equiv­a­lent amount of ni­trous ox­ides as 10,000 cars driv­ing from Toronto to Que­bec City. ABB’s so­lu­tion en­ables ships to shut down their en­gines and plug into an on­shore power source, with­out dis­rupt­ing on-board ser­vices.

In ad­di­tion to on-land ef­forts, ABB ex­tended the op­er­a­tional life of Cana­dian Coast Guard (CCG) ships by an­other 20 years by suc­cess­fully mod­ern­iz­ing its first CCG ice­breaker, in­stalling the lat­est hard­ware and soft­ware on­board the 38-year-old CCGS Pierre Radis­son as part of the com­plete up­grade to the ship’s propul­sion power dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem. Ul­ti­mately the project kicked off a fleet life ex­ten­sion pro­gram that will see the up­grad­ing of 10 of the CCG High En­durance Multi-Tasked Ves­sels as well as Heavy and Medium Ice­break­ers, which con­duct ma­jor search and res­cue op­er­a­tions and play a vi­tal role in keep­ing ship­ping lanes of north­ern Canada ice free.

Air qual­ity is a na­tional but also highly lo­cal­ized con­cern. The ma­jor­ity of Cana­dian cities are well above na­tional stan­dards, rank­ing Canada as one of the coun­tries with the high­est qual­ity of air. Prob­lems arise in spe­cific lo­ca­tions such as ur­ban ag­glom­er­a­tions where trans­porta­tion emis­sions are the pri­mary cause of air pol­lu­tion.

The trans­porta­tion sec­tor ac­counts for over 23 per cent of Cana­dian green­house gas emis­sions. Canada’s GHG emis­sions rep­re­sent about 1.6 per cent of the global to­tal and puts the coun­try amongst the top 10 global emit­ters. In an ef­fort to re­duce and ul­ti­mately elim­i­nate emis­sions through use of elec­tric ve­hi­cles, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted to re­duce an­nual GHG emis­sions from the cur­rent level of 726 mega­tons (Mt) to 622 Mt in 2020 and 525 Mt in 2030. Elec­tri­fi­ca­tion is the key tool for de­car­boniz­ing trans­porta­tion.

En­gag­ing with the sus­tain­able re­sources we have across Canada is only half the bat­tle. We must look fur­ther to­wards the trend of dig­i­tal­iza­tion and mod­ern­iza­tion with col­lab­o­ra­tion across the coun­try and in­vest in sus­tain­able tech­nol­ogy to en­sure our fu­ture gen­er­a­tions’ abil­ity to be com­pet­i­tive play­ers and prof­itable in global mar­kets.

Nathalie Pilon is Pres­i­dent of ABB Canada and mem­ber of the ex­ec­u­tive board of ABB, the Americas Re­gion.

ABB photo

From elec­tric ve­hi­cles in pub­lic tran­sit to clean re­new­able elec­tric­ity, Canada can se­cure its po­si­tion as a global leader.

ABB photo

Equip­ping the ma­rine in­dus­try with elec­tric, dig­i­tal and con­nected so­lu­tions is key to the in­dus­try’s fu­ture.

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