Photo: ABB

You surely remember how, a few years ago, we massively started replacing the classic incandescent light bulb with LED ones, with the former illuminating almost all homes and business premises in our country with their characteristic yellowish light for decades. At the time, it may have seemed to us that the savings would be significant or sufficient and that we had done the right thing. If someone had asked us about the meaning of the term energy efficiency, we would have proudly mentioned the savings made by our new LED bulbs.

However, global changes ensued, and the need for additional resources is increasing while the resources are becoming scarcer. Meanwhile, energy has become expensive, becoming a new strategic “commodity”. When technology companies started looking for all possible ways to save energy, we realized that energy efficiency encompasses far more than we could have imagined. One such company has been developing incredibly innovative solutions for years – the renowned ABB Company. It seems that this time around, they have gone a step further. Milan Jevremović, General Manager of Electric Motor Drives and Local Business Manager at ABB Serbia, told us more about it.

EP: ABB has launched a campaign to raise awareness about the need for rational energy consumption. What were the reasons behind it?

Milan Jevremović: We launched the Energy Efficiency Movement campaign two years ago to bring together companies, scientific and state institutions, and individuals who recognized the need to implement energy efficiency. We wanted to promote this idea and highlight the global need for energy and its efficient use. As the world population grows, the energy demand also increases, but disproportionately compared to the existing production capacities. Humanity faces a severe lack of energy and must undertake all required activities to use existing resources as efficiently as possible.

Furthermore, with the progress of automation, digitization and the new Industry 4.0, the need for energy increases, and thus the consumption of existing resources. All of this has greatly impacted the environment and increased CO2 emissions. When our company, ABB, launched a campaign intending to inform and educate people about the necessity of protecting the environment and reducing CO2 emissions, which is in line with all the values that the ABB Company promotes typically.


EP: State institutions, the media, and the non-governmental sector launch similar campaigns. How did ABB handle this role?

Photo: ABB

Milan Jevremović:  It is pretty logical that technology companies like ABB and our partners participate in the campaign because they are the most knowledgeable about how to make the best use of new technologies. It was also essential to involve scientific institutions so that they could contribute to better and more efficient use of energy with the help of science-based facts. The presence of state institutions was necessary, too, because that’s where the decision-makers are, and they have to react faster, in terms of faster decision-making and passing regulations that would contribute to better utilization and improvement of energy efficiency. Big cities and certain countries already have defined strategies for saving energy and impacting the environment.

ABB launched this campaign before the outbreak of the global energy crisis, which only demonstrated how necessary such an initiative was. The crisis has additionally raised people’s awareness of the need for faster investment in energy efficiency and better utilization of energy from existing resources, and thus contributed to our campaign in search of answers to the challenges of the increased need for energy. The campaign is envisaged to last for four years.

Otherwise, energy efficiency is the cheapest and most available energy resource. More and more segments can apply energy-saving measures, and we see the potential in almost all areas, including homes, industry, and sustainable transport.

EP: Which companies supported your campaign and in what way?

Milan Jevremović: ABB has practically always taken care of energy efficiency, which is not a novel topic for us. For many years, we have had a sustainability strategy and a green agenda on which all systems and services in the company are based. However, the Energy Efficiency Movement campaign was designed as a movement without a direct connection with ABB products.

Over 300 companies worldwide have supported this movement, including Microsoft, Sulzer, Alfa Laval, Wartsila, Iveco, Tata Steel, GEA, and many other renowned firms. The number of partners is growing every day. For instance, the Danfoss Company has recently joined the movement, which I am pleased about because it shows that, although we are competitors in some areas of business, together we feel that we can make a bigger difference by helping the world move towards a greener and more ecologically clean future. The energy efficiency movement is fully committed to raising awareness and expediting the actions needed to increase global energy efficiency, and we encourage all companies and organizations to join in and make a difference.

We plan to locally organize a broader energy efficiency symposium for large manufacturing companies, to which we will invite relevant scientific institutions too. We aim to jointly contribute to implementing the strategy and consider further plans. One such symposium at the European level was recently held in Switzerland for the top management of interested companies. The symposium drew very useful conclusions and gave birth to new and interesting ideas.

EP: Which ABB’s technological novelties would you like to mention as potential solutions for saving energy or increasing energy efficiency?

Photo: ABB

Milan Jevremović: ABB offers a wide range of products and services that directly or indirectly contribute to the increased energy efficiency of our clients. They don’t always have to be completely new solutions. These are often products that have been on the market for a long time. Still, ABB has invested decades of experience and improved them to better contribute to increasing energy efficiency for our clients. As one of the good examples, I would like to mention certain technological advances in the manufacture of electric motors.

In 2021, the European Union adopted a new law that prevents the sale and use of energy-inefficient electric motors. This year, that regulation will introduce even stricter rules regarding the energy efficiency of devices in the EU. No one will impose that regulation on Serbia because we are not an EU member. Still, with current electricity prices, a large number of companies operating in Serbia recognize the potential for savings and will decide to invest in more energy-efficient plants.

ABB is working on developing electric motors with the highest energy efficiency level, far higher than what is currently required by EU legislation. Technologies that were not in widespread commercial use until recently, such as synchronous reluctance motors or motors with permanent magnets, are also used.

I would also like to mention the energy assessment service that we offer to our clients. This type of energy efficiency analysis of their facilities can be done on several levels. The latest option is the so-called digital energy assessment that, in addition to the service itself, also uses certain sensors that provide precise information about each drive. The conclusions indicate opportunities to boost energy efficiency. Thanks to this, we can analyze the electric motor drive even better and propose the best solutions to our clients for certain factory segments or complete factories.

The energy efficiency concept has evolved and has become more comprehensive, so today, we talk about energy-efficient industrial plants, heating, cooling, lighting, etc. ABB can offer state-of-the-art solutions for each of these processes.

For a long time, there has been a lot of talk about switching to electric vehicles in road traffic, and we have a lot of technological solutions to offer in that department too. In the last two years, we have been mainly working on modern technologies in sustainable transport and energy-efficient vehicles for industry, primarily in improving construction machines and tow trucks, but also in railway traffic. That’s the latest step we’ve taken.

EP: You have been doing business in Serbia for many years. Which major energy efficiency projects would you single out in particular?

Milan Jevremović: ABB has been working on the development of modern technology for years, and some of our achievements have been implemented in Serbia. I would like to point out the revitalization of the Bajina Bašta reversible hydroelectric power plant, in which ABB played a significant role and helped the entire power plant work even more efficiently, increasing its operational readiness and better use of the existing hydro potential.

By installing ABB’s static frequency converter, which was commissioned last year, the Bajina Bašta power plant will generate significant

 savings, primarily based on the increased operational readiness of the hydroelectric power unit. In situations where the hydrological situation is favorable, the Electric Power Industry of Serbia (EPS) will be able to use the water in the reservoir much more efficiently and produce additional megawatts of green energy. I would also like to mention the project titled ‘Monitoring and Management of Coal Quality’, which we implemented at the Nikola Tesla thermal power plant. It is a well-known fact that using coal that has constant quality results in better combustion in the boiler, higher efficiency and lower emission of harmful gases. We are proud to say that ABB, together with EP S’ engineering team, has done one such, I would say, referential project because there are very few such projects implemented worldwide.

I especially want to highlight our excellent cooperation with EPS on this and similar projects.

Interviewed by: Milica Radičević

Read the story in the new issue of the Energy portal Magazine ENERGETIC EFFICIENCY