Siemens is Helping Companies Meet Sustainability Goals

Siemens Factory Floor
Credit: Siemens


The news is awash with companies pledging to reduce their carbon footprint. Some are announcing that they will be carbon-neutral in the near (or sometimes far) future. The future is green and corporations are falling in line to commit to a new reality. 

Except, that actually hitting those goals is far more difficult than putting out a press release. That's where Siemens comes in, the company has been working on systems that will allow companies to determine how to best reduce their energy and material usage in their facilities and more importantly, help companies track their supply chains to determine how carbon neutral their products are during the sourcing and manufacturing of said items. 

Peter Körte Chief Technology Officer of Siemens told SAE that companies are currently measuring energy efficiency. It's easy to determine the CO2 emissions of a product during final manufacturing. But, there's a lot of estimation about amount of CO2 created during the production. "It's a mathematical model. We need to get away from models and into real measurement. If you want to become a carbon-neutral company, you actually have to demonstrate you're carbon-neutral. You have to measure it." 

In 2021, Siemens put together its SiGreen system. A low-energy blockchain that suppliers can use to share information with their customers. If multiple suppliers of a product are using the SiGreen system, the carbon footprint of said item can be accurately measured and certified.  

"The hot topic in there is batteries." The questions surrounding where a battery has been produced, how it's been used, its state of charge, can it be reused, and other issues surrounding the largest and most expensive element in an EV. For that, there's the battery passport. 

European Union regulations require the tracking of the entire life cycle of a battery, from production to reuse and recycling. The tracking will begin in waves with it beginning in 2026. Siemens is working on that as well. 

Siemens is also working on both circulatory systems to reduce and reuse the same materials for a product. Plus, there are lifecycle assessments surrounding those items with details about the ozone created and water used during production. 

For that, Siemens has created something similar to what automakers have been using to build new factories. A digital twin. With it, companies can determine where inefficiencies lie and how to best maximize the location. Created virtually and fine-tuned, it is deployed in the real world at a production facility. 

All of these require new skills that Körte admits can be difficult to find in potential employees. "It's an emerging field. Everybody is looking for these people." 

The skills needed by employees can also be different for each region. "Regulations are changing so fast. It's so different from region to region," Körte told SAE. 

Körte noted that Siemens' claim to fame is its ability to bring hardware and software together. The company's system culls data from multiple types and brands of hardware into its software to deliver a deep level of understanding of how a factory line is operating and how to best optimize it. It's doing this with battery production with partner, Voltaiq

But like others in the industry, the company is noting that there are not enough electrical technicians. "Go to universities and look who's studying electrical engineering. The numbers are dropping year by year around the world which really makes you how can we sustain that because society needs electricity more than ever," Körte said. 

Siemens does have internal vocational training. Like many moving towards sustainability, the company sees the value in individuals who have a core competency and then trains them on the job to get them up to speed. 

It's easy to make broad proclamations about sustainability. To make those promises a reality, Siemens is ready to help companies dig deep and find out where improvements can be made to deliver a data-certified cleaner system. 

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