Technology and Energy, a powerful relationship

Main visual : Technology and Energy, a powerful relationship

Demand for energy is rapidly increasing as the global population heads towards 9 billion. We are at a critical moment when opportunity and responsibility must be packaged together. The commercial and personal impact of our energy consumption is vast. As consumers, we use various different household appliances to make our lives easier and as we approach new technology the demands are only increasing. The popularity in electric vehicles is a great example of the rapid increase in energy consumption which is only going to rise. From a commercial point of view, the increase in IT architecture has a direct impact on climate change. The results are not just represented in energy consumption, but other aspects too such as cooling, lighting and storage.

It’s clear that there will be a time where we are consuming more energy than we can generate or distribute. So how do we resolve this issue?

An easy answer would be to create more power stations and increase the amount of sustainable methods in place to create energy; yes, these options can work however, investment and distribution is a slow and expensive process. Here comes the work of IoT and AI innovations that enable solutions such as smart homes, smart grids and smart cities.

Fujitsu is seizing this opportunity to ensure technology is helping the world consume less energy, become more efficient in use of resources, and decrease carbon emissions. Which is why we have invested and developed products for each of these occasions. Let’s take smart cities for example, SPATIOWL, the name is derived from the prefix “Spatio”, meaning “space,” combined with “OWL,” an ancient symbol of wisdom. It designates a service for the integrated management of many types of transportation-related data using Big Data analytics and Cloud Computing technology.

The service can deal with large amounts of data coming from multiple sources such as public transportations, vehicles, and pedestrians’ smartphones in urban areas through sensors. It aggregates and analyses across various data layers, and provides new insights from the analysed data to identify relevant actions in the user context.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their 169 targets set by the UN Global Compact spell out urgent for action on ‘access to energy’ balanced with ‘responsible consumption’. As Fujitsu is also a responsible business, Fujitsu recognizes SDGs as one of the elements in an ecosystem for achieving its growth strategy of ‘connected services’, seeing new business opportunities through ventures that work to resolve social issues.

As a global company, Fujitsu can create new value; transform businesses and society with the power of IT. Nevertheless, we also need big bold actions to drive forward innovation. It can be tough to get the relevant stakeholders working together at the right time and place to solve complex sustainability problems. Fujitsu are committed to resolve growing environmental issues by embracing technology and by moving in a more agile way. At Fujitsu we want to:

  • Collaborate with Customers
  • Promote Awareness
  • Inspire Government policy
  • Deploy transformational technology

SDG7: Access to energy

For example, consider the single goal of “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” (Goal 7). Who will need to be involved in developing, producing, installing and maintaining the technologies to provide universally accessible energy? Who is involved in determining what is “reliable” and “affordable” for different communities, in different parts of the world? How do governments and the private sector collaborate to design the best system?

This is what we are actually doing: The blades on a wind turbine operate in harsh conditions unattended for many years. As a result high quality manufacturing is critical. Each blade (up to 75 meters in length) needs to be examined minutely for manufacturing defects using ultra sound scans. It takes a skilled engineer over 8 hours to conduct an examination. Using an artificial intelligence technique called transfer learning, engineers can now examine the data from a blade in less than 2 hours. This doesn’t reduce the number of engineers required for this role but it does use their knowledge and skill in different ways – they spend their expertise assessing the critical locations where a defect might actually exist, the AI having reliably eliminated 80% of the tedious work. The industry is up skilling engineers who are now programming the machines that are automating the process. Machines and people are learning together. With 5,000 blades produced every year, that adds up to a saving of almost 32,000 man-hours, which translates into significant cost savings, and reduced production lead times. Helping more people to access energy at low cost from sustainable sources. This solution can help reduce the cost of the manufacturing process, as well as bring affordable, sustainable energy to famished areas.

SDG12 & SDG13: Climate Action and Responsible Consumption and Production

This is a really challenging goal, changing behaviour around responsible consumption. Like the small step highlighted above this can be as simple as turning off your monitor but when you are running massive data centers whose air-conditioning alone accounts for 40% energy use, how do you make a difference? This is where new greener technologies come into play.

At Fujitsu we have a Sustainability Engagement Team (SET) to help quantify environmental benefits of what we do and help share the importance of environmental impact to businesses. Internally SET assessed the effects of the changes in device numbers across the business over the 4-year period, in order to understand changes in power output, energy costs and CO2 emissions. The analysis of power consumption and resulting CO2 emissions from the change in device numbers across the estate showed substantial results. SET were able to reduce the number of required devices which fundamentally created a significant carbon saving of 4,573 tonnes (68%). Furthermore, as a result of changes to the server cooling functions power consumption decreased by 40% – making an overall financial saving of £444,597 to Fujitsu per annum.

  • Fujitsu Finland use 100% renewable energy from hydroelectric power in its data since April 2014
  • Fujitsu Technology Solutions in Germany adopted a flow soldering process with low temperature solder which gives 40% reduction in power usage. This process has now produced over 1 million keyboards.
  • Fujitsu Technology Solutions has a recovery rate of more than 90% with its taken-back products. That is considerably more than the 75% in the legal direction.

Our vision is that we will attract customers and drive our own business growth and work towards creating a more energy efficient planet. We want to collaborate with customers and inspire governments to find new digital solutions. What is your company doing to turn business development into something sustainable? In other words, is your company taking meaningful action today to place itself and the environment on firmer footing for tomorrow?