ABB to “prioritise retrofitting” to accelerate decarbonisation following COP27 pressure

With the recent COP27 climate summit focusing on industrial decarbonisation, ABB Electrification has stated that prioritising retrofitting measures such as replacing outdated circuit breakers, upgrading defective low-voltage breakers, and installing AI energy-monitoring tools are some of the simplest ways the food and beverage industry can achieve carbon savings.

Taking place in Egypt between 6-18 Nov, the COP27 climate talks focused on practical solutions for delivering COP26 commitments made by governments in Glasgow last year. These include the decarbonisation of key industries, including manufacturing, food, cloud computing and energy, by investing in new technologies, making older equipment more energy efficient and changing management practices.

With this in mind, ABB Electrification’s servicing unit has urged food and beverage producers to make better use of widely available retrofitting solutions; not only to become more sustainable, but also to address safety concerns, rising inflation and potential supply chain disruption currently facing the sector.

Stuart Thompson, ABB Electrification’s service division president, commented: “One of the greatest untapped opportunities for carbon and cost savings in the food and bev industry is upgrading existing electrical equipment so that it lasts much longer, uses minimal energy in production and prevents downtime from breakdowns with real-time monitoring.

“In our work, we know food and beverage producers need to have absolute uptime on their services — amid the currently inflationary environment, they can’t afford to have a run long-term shutdown of vital plant equipment like vats. In terms of best practice, early adopters are instead taking a preventative approach, replacing non-digital, older circuit breakers with more intelligent, sensor enabled breakers linked to cloud-computing platforms.

“These can provide real-time data and analysis on asset condition, performance and potential safety issues, helping operators prevent potential hazards before they arise, minimising disruptions to production while extending the lifecycle of an asset by as much as 30 years. At a time when the industry is being compelled to raise safety standards and take tangible action on climate change, the question isn’t how can we afford to prioritise retrofitting but rather how can we afford not to?”

For example, ABB has previously worked with global fertiliser company Yara on a $25m project to install a low-voltage switchgear to one of its production plants in Porsgunn, Norway. Covering a distance of over a kilometre, the switchgear was able to feed into a third-party program the company had recently introduced to increase production by thousands of tonnes of fertiliser each year.

To help the company achieve this, the switchgear included comms protocols designed to boost electrical distribution performance, condition-based monitoring while providing detailed process and electrical information to plant operators in real time.