Tailored Solutions Digital Assistants Customization and the integration of product life cycle data How intelligent systems support decision making for professionals www.siemens.com/pof Pictures of the Future The Magazine for Research and Innovation | Spring 2008 Energy for Everyone Solutions for a Sustainable Energy Supply Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 3 Pictures of the Future | Contents Contents Digital Assistants Tailored Solutions Energy for Everyone Sections 10 Scenario 2020 New World 12 Trends Light at the End of the Tunnel 15 Facts and Forecasts Why Renewable Energy is Needed 16 Renewable Resources Energy for Developing Countries 17 Interview with Prof. Oberheitmann Why China Wants to Conserve Energy 19 Coal-Fired Power in China Olympic Efficiencies 20 Coal Plant Water Without Cooling Fit for the Australian Desert 22 Clean Tech in California Saving Our Planet for Tomorrow 28 Siemens School Competitions 29 Building Automation Buildings with Brains 32 Turbine Materials Preparing for a Fiery Future 36 CO 2 Separation Coal’s Cleaner Outlook 40 CO 2 Sequestration Testing Eternal Incarceration 43 Deep Water Oil and Gas Pumping from the Floor 45 Floating Wind Farms 46 Gas and CO 2 Compression Tapping Remote Fields 50 Power Transmission Smarter and Safer Grids 53 UN Emission Certificates India’s New Light 54 Computers and Energy Low-Carbon Surfing 56 IT Solutions for Power Generation 60 Scenario 2020 Desert Ice 62 Trends Your Wish Is My Command 65 Interview with Prof. Günther Schuh Self-Optimizing Factories 66 Mass Customization The Road to Personalized Production 68 Financing Affordable Municipal Services 70 Siemens One All-Inclusive Solutions 72 Interview with Thomas Dieckhoff Corporate Account Manager for BASF 74 Nuremberg’s Driverless Subway 76 Rail Systems of the Future 77 Locomotives Flexible Family 78 Air Terminals that Come and Go 79 Transformers Power for All Climates 80 Usability Operation Interface 82 IT Solutions Personalized Programs 186 Scenario 2015 One of Us 188 Trends Harvest without End 192 Health Care Digital Decision Support 195 Automated Meaning Extraction Computers Get the Picture 196 Safety and Security Advent of an Invisible Army 199 Facts and Forecasts Electronic Safety and Security Systems Are on the March 100 Financial Sector Tracking Transactions 102 Networks Optimizing Energy and Water Management 104 Interview with Prof. Tom M. Mitchell Expert on Machine Learning at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on: Toward Computers that Can Analyze the Content of Text 4 In Brief Mummy Marvel / World’s First Pocket Ultrasound Unit / Portable Water Purification / Toward Quan- tum Computing /German Future Prize for LEDs /Two Inventors of the Year 2007 7 Siemens Worldwide Hot Strip Rolling Mill in Poland 9 Siemens Venture Capital Combustion Chamber Measurements 58 Research Partnership Predictive Building Management 1 84 Lab Report 3D Silicon Ultrasound 1 106 Feedback / Preview Pictures of the Future | Editorial 2 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 W hat do an ultrasound device, an aspirin tablet, and a Teflon-covered frying pan have in common? The answer is that their areas of application today are far broader than their inventors could have imagined. Ultrasound was originally de- veloped to locate submarines. It was then used to inspect production materials, and now it is the basis of one of the most important diagnostic systems in medical imaging. The active ingredient in aspirin, acetylsalicylic acid, is not only indicated for treating headaches, toothaches, and joint pain, but can also support the prevention of vascular clots that can cause strokes and heart attacks. And polytetrafluoroethylene, Reinhold Achatz heads Siemens Corporate Research and Technologies. technology as well as for the automotive industry and medical engineering. The same holds true for ceramics, whose appli- cations range from turbine coatings to X-ray detectors, and for three-dimensional imaging processes, which can be used for 3-D face recognition, fault analysis for tur- bine blades, and the precise production of in-ear hearing aids. In this issue of Pictures of the Future you’ll find similar fascinating examples of multiple-impact technologies — for example, adaptive learning systems that optimize the use of resources in energy engineering and in industrial facilities and can predict price developments (see p. 102), Cover. The rotor of a carbon dioxide compressor. Such compressors are used in conjunction with natural gas extraction to dramatically reduce carbon dioxide volume and prepare it for sequestration. In a large installation (see page 46), such facilities can cut CO 2 emissions by one million tons per year. also known as Teflon, can do far more than prevent your scrambled eggs from sticking to the frying pan. Because of its smooth surface and low friction, it’s an ideal mate- rial for medical implants and prostheses; it’s also the key element of clothing made of “breathable” Gore-Tex membranes. Ultrasound, aspirin and Teflon are typical examples of multiple-impact technologies that can be transformed into innovations in diverse fields of application. It’s precisely in the white spaces between various disci- plines — whether biology, chemistry or physics, materials science or medicine, power engineering or sensors, transporta- tion or computer science — that many of these valuable technologies can be discov- ered. And the synergies between multiple- impact technologies are a major reason why corporate research activities are a top priority in an integrated technology organi- zation such as Siemens. Researchers at Siemens Corporate Tech- nology promote many of the technologies and processes that make the Energy, Indus- try, and Healthcare Sectors at Siemens the trendsetters they are today. These technologies and processes range from materials research, sensors, and software to communications technology, knowledge management, and innovative production processes. In Pictures of the Future we frequently introduce examples of successful multiple- impact technologies, such as piezo tech- nology, which Siemens researchers have refined for applications in communications and a risk analysis tool that Siemens uses to evaluate subway and power plant projects (see p. 100). Our laboratories also have multiple im- pacts. For instance, in our User Interface Design labs (see p. 80), researchers work with customers and users to optimize the ergonomics of operating room systems, train cockpits, and power plant control centers. In the event of a fault, software not only displays the location of the prob- lem but also provides helpful tips on how to remedy it. This issue of our publication devotes an entire section to these and other digital assistants (pp. 86–105). Here, you’ll read about intelligent software systems that support physicians in making diagnoses and searching medical databases, and others that help the operators of industrial facilities and power plants. For example, with the aid of an array of sensors, com- puters can monitor the functionality of the gear mechanisms in cement mills and wind farms and sound an alarm before machin- ery breaks down. This kind of preventive maintenance helps customers to minimize down time at their installations. Researchers at Corporate Technology are also working on solutions involving wireless, self-organizing sensor actuator systems (see p. 96). Such systems could be used for the remote monitoring of oil pipelines and platforms and for process controlling in industry and building auto- mation — applications that truly deserve to be called multiple-impact technologies. Transformational Technologies Pictures of the Future | In Brief 4 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 5 Quantum Leap Portable Purification T hanks to a portable water purification system from Siemens, clean drinking water can now be provided in even the most remote regions. Known as SkyHydrant, the sys- tem works by pumping water through approximately 20,000 ultra-fine fibers, a process that removes all pathogens with di- ameters of over 0.1 microme- ters. The result: drinking water so pure that it surpasses World Health Organization (WHO) quality specifications. The sys- tem doesn’t require electric power or purification chemicals, and its annual cost of less than 20 euro cents per person is affordable even for the poorest commu- nities in developing countries. One site that has benefitted from SkyHyrant is the Gona Dam in Kenya, where pumps are powered by a small windmill. Previ- ously, residents of nearby villages used water from the dam reservoir — which resulted in outbreaks of diarrhea, cholera, and typhus. Now, residents can sim- ply draw their drinking water from a “Safe Water Kiosk.” Rhett Butler, head of sales at Water Technologies in Australia, and the members of his team won the 2007 Siemens Corporate Responsibility Award for developing the kiosk.sl R esearchers from Siemens Cor- porate Technology (CT) and Munich Technical University (TU) have achieved the world’s first ex- perimental implementation of a neural network on a simple quan- tum computer, coming one step closer to the use of such comput- ers in everyday practice. Quan- tum computers could be used to greatly accelerate pattern recog- nition processes — which would be very helpful for identifying computer viruses, analyzing gene sequences, and recognizing hand- writing. Unlike conventional bits, the “qubits” of quantum computing — in line with the laws of quantum physics — simultaneously assume different states and affect one an- other. The Corporate Technology researchers developed an algorithm that can predict how a real quantum computer with a neural network would behave during pattern recognition. Scientists from Munich Technical University successfully tested the Siemens researchers’ simulation in a magnetic resonance spectrometer with a system of hydrogen and carbon atoms, which represented the qubits. The experts’ aim is to realize a hybrid processor. Here, most operations would be carried out by conventional chips, but certain tasks would be assigned to a quantum processor. sw Ultrasound Anywhere Mummy Marvel Ideal for on-site diagnostics, the Acuson P10 from Siemens is the world’s first pocket ultrasound system. W ith the world’s first pocket ultrasound system — the Acuson P10 — doctors can make an initial assessment of a patient at any location where a quick decision regarding the subsequent course of treatment is re- quired. Small enough to fit into a lab coat pocket and be held in one hand, the system is particularly well-suited for use in emergency situations, ambulances, rescue helicopters, and intensive care units. It can also be used to detect conditions that previously called for in- vasive testing. The device, which can be oper- ated with a thumb, features lithium-ion batter- ies that provide power for up to one hour of scanning. A physician can save the images on the included memory card, which makes it easy to transfer them to any computer (for in- stance in a hospital) running the Acuson P10 viewer software. Developers at Siemens Healthcare not only managed to fit all the sys- tem’s components into the miniature device, but also to create a high-quality display. The black-and-white monitor measures ten centi- meters, and the entire device, including trans- ducer, weighs only about 700 grams.na/ds Osram Honored R esearchers from Siemens subsidiary Osram have won the 2007 German Future Prize for a new process for manufacturing extremely efficient, long-life light emitting diodes (LEDs). German Federal President Horst Köhler presented the researchers with the prize for their “Light from Crystals” project. This honor marks the third time Siemens has won the German Future Prize since the award’s inception 11 years ago. The prize is worth €250,000. The members of the winning team are thin film technology pioneers Dr. Stefan Illek and Dr. Klaus Streubel from Osram and Dr. Andreas Bräuer from the Fraunhofer Institute A conducting measurement needle checks the electrical characteristics of LED thin film chips . SkyHydrant provides drinking water in Bangladesh. Hydrogen and carbon atoms represent qubits. F or the first time, the inside of a mummy has been investigated using mag- netic resonance imaging (MRI). Specifically, a group of University of Zürich researchers took a look inside a 1,000-year-old mummy from Peru. Previously, scientists used computer tomography, in other words x-rays, in such situations. Capturing such images in ancient mummies with MRI tomography was consid- ered technically impossible, but a group from Siemens Healthcare achieved a breakthrough with their new UTE (Ultrashort Echo Time) process. MRI uses pow- erful magnetic fields and electrical pulses to determine the position of hydrogen nuclei, which are found in abundance in water and fat. In dry tissue — like that in a mummy — this is a much more difficult task, because here the signals emit- ted by the hydrogen nuclei are much more fleeting. They can, however, be ana- lyzed thanks to the very fast signal detection of the UTE process, which allows researchers to see the mummy’s intervertebral disks, cerebral membrane, blood vessels, and embalming fluid residue. But this new process isn’t only great for studying mummies — it’s also a big help for examining living patients. It displays tissue that was previously not visible in MRI, and could be used to observe meta- bolic processes in the heart, for example, or identify abnormal changes to the body’s metabolism or the brains of Alzheimer patients.na/ ds Using a new fast echo magnetic resonance process, it is now possible to see even the blood vessels and joints on the arms of a 1000-year-old mummy from Peru — a boy who died at about age 15. for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering in Jena, Germany. The team’s ultra-efficient LEDs can be used in mini-projectors, rear-projection TVs, and night vision equipment in cars, to name just a few applications. The light sources are so strong that they are also suitable for general lighting needs and for headlights in vehicles. A good example is Ostar. This LED has a luminosity of over 1,000 lumens, which makes the little spotlight brighter than a 50- watt halogen lamp. The LED can illuminate a desk surface from a height of two meters, for example. And its small size makes the design of entirely new lamp types possible. LEDs con- sist of semiconductor crystals that emit light when an electric current flows through them. Siemens researchers have been nominated for the German Future Prize seven times and were among the winners in 2004 and 2005. Piezo injection technology for motor vehicles took the prestigious award three years ago, and a mini-laboratory for medical diagnostics won the prize in 2004.na/ds Regions | Steel Production Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 7 Celsius. The furnace opens once every three minutes to disgorge a slab. Depending on re- quirements, these steaming and hissing tongues of raw steel are between six and 12 meters long, 70 to 210 centimeters wide, and 22 to 25 centimeters thick. After the slabs emerge, powerful rollers squeeze and shape them, and the process concludes with steel strips measuring over one kilometer in length being wound into coils. ArcelorMittal produces around eight million tons of steel annually in Poland, making it the country’s largest steel producer. Altogether, it has invested more than $380 million in the Kraków hot strip mill to date, which is the biggest investment the European steel sector has seen in the last decade. With its 4,750 employees, the mill has be- come one of the most important steel manu- facturing locations in Europe. What is more, it meets all European Union environmental norms and stands out thanks to its relatively moderate noise emissions and its energy-sav- ing technology. Furthermore, despite its huge size, the mill still has room for growth, with its infrastructure being capable of of supporting an increase in capacity from 2.4 to 4.8 million tons per year. A little more than three years ago, Arcelor- Mittal decided to abandon its original plan to modernize the old hot rolling mill. Instead, the company opted to build a completely new facil- ity in order to significantly boost productivity and product quality. There was good reason for this decision, as ArcelorMittal expects demand for steel to rise over the next few years, espe- cially in the 12 Eastern EU member states, where the need for high-tensile steel in indus- tries such as the automotive sector is continual- ly increasing. Sensitive Steel. As a leading engineering and plant construction company for the global iron and steel industry, Siemens VAI (now a part of Siemens’ Metal Technologies division) con- structed the complete rolling mill in Kraków in a turnkey project that included all hot strip mill equipment and all electrical and automation systems. The company also built the produc- tion bay, the roll shop, and other facilities, in- cluding a water treatment plant. Siemens is the only company in the world able to offer com- plete iron and steel mills and strip mill facilities from a single source in packages that include training, as well as monitoring services for pro- duction, assembly, and commissioning. That’s why Siemens was also responsible for commis- sioning the Kraków Unit hot strip mill, and why it continues today to train operating and main- tenance personnel as well. Siemens handed over the 73,000-square-meter turnkey facility in the summer of 2007, just 23 months after the contract was signed and four weeks ahead of schedule. Steel is a very sensitive material, which is why many coordinated individual steps are re- quired to shape it properly in a rolling mill. Cracks can form, for example, if temperatures in the individual steps are not exactly correct. But undesired temperature fluctuations can be avoided, for instance, by moving transfer bars into what is called an “isolation tunnel” before the rolling process. Temperature losses are kept low in this tunnel, achieving a homogenous temperature distribution. The ArcelorMittal steel plant in Kraków, Poland, uses Siemens technology to produces 2.4 million tons of steel each year in an efficient and energy-saving manner. 6 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Pictures of the Future | In Brief Less Carbon Dioxide S iemens engineer Frank Han- nemann has further devel- oped the process known as IGCC (Integrated Gasification Com- bined Cycle) to achieve low-CO 2 generation of power from fossil fuels. In doing so, he has also boosted efficiency. The IGCC process does not involve the di- rect combustion of fossil fuels. Instead, these are converted into a synthesis gas, a mixture of hy- drogen and carbon monoxide (p. 36). The gas must be purified of undesirable substances and the carbon monoxide must be oxidized into CO 2 and then separated. All that remains is pure hydrogen, which burns without producing any harmful substances. Lots of chemical energy is lost in the conversion process, however, which reduces efficiency. But in the process invented by Hannemann, the syngas in the turbine is not combusted with air, but with oxygen diluted with CO 2 . The resulting exhaust consists of only steam and CO 2 . The steam is condensed to water and part of the CO 2 is fed back into the turbine. The rest is compressed and separated, as previously. The advantage of this process is that the full en- ergy of the syngas is used in the turbine, which increases overall efficiency. sw Frank Hannemann: New process for low-CO 2 power plants. Lower-Cost Imaging D r. Jian Min Wang has sim- plified the imaging tech- nology of magnetic resonance tomographs (MRT) — making it possible to design the afford- able Magnetom Essenza sys- tem. The product costs several hundred thousand euros less than conventional systems. An MRT uses powerful magnets and coils for signal reception. Basic systems have only one re- ception coil, which limits the scan to only one specific part of the body, for example the head. Wang’s aim was to integrate Siemens’ Total Imaging Matrix (Tim) technology, which makes possible detailed imaging from head to toe, into the Magnetom Essenza. To succeed, his team invented a simplified switching matrix, which is integrated in the examination table. As several reception coils in parallel can be used with the matrix, this modern imaging technology also cuts costs. The Magnetom Essenza is intended to help hospitals and doctors on tight budgets to cover the full range of diagnostic needs. The product was launched on the market in October 2007. sw Jian Min Wang: Developing an affordable MR tomograph. A Polish Steel Plant that’s on a Roll Thanks to Europe’s most modern hot strip mill, which was built by Siemens, the world’s leading steel company, ArcelorMittal, has been able to boost production in Kraków, Poland, and manufacture even harder and more resistant grades of steel. T he architects who planned and built Kraków’s eastern suburb, Nowa Huta, in the late 1940s borrowed heavily from the historic architecture of the city’s older districts. That’s why the rows of apartment buildings lining modern Nowa Huta’s main thoroughfares in- clude many structures adorned by Renaissance- style arcades. At the heart of the city’s 18th district is the former Huta T. Sendzimira steel combine, which covers an area of 1,000 hectares. The combine was fronted by an administrative building with an Italian-style facade that locals nicknamed “The Doge’s Palace.” That’s where steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal has resided since 2005. ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel com- pany, began operating Europe’s most modern hot strip mill at the site in the summer of 2007. The facility, which includes a rolling line nearly 400 meters in length for producing steel strip, is housed in a 580-meter-long hall. Visitors to the building are treated to an impressive view and the warmth of steel slabs coming out of an oven heated to a temperature of 1,200 degrees Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 9 How Lasers Make Coal Burn Better U.S. start-up Zolo Technologies is working closely with Siemens on optimizing combustion processes in coal-fired power plants in order to make such facilities more efficient and environmentally friendly. L as Vegas, December 2005. At the Power- Gen international trade fair, Dr. Rainer Speh, technical director for power plant tech- nology at Siemens, meets Henrik Hofvander for the first time. Hofvander, managing director of Zolo Technologies, a Boulder, Colorado start- up, is at the fair to present a new intelligent, laser-based, measuring technology that has al- ready been installed in several coal-fired power plants in the U.S. The system is being used in boilers that burn a ton of pulverized coal in just 15 seconds at temperatures of up to 1,400 degrees Celsius. Some of these boilers are up to 100 meters in height and more than ten meters in diameter. Failure to achieve optimal distribution of air and coal in such units results in non-homoge- nous combustion, which lowers efficiency and leads to the accumulation of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides. Before Zolo Technologies came up with its innovation, the exact makeup of the air-coal mixture could only be measured in the flue gas a long way from the combustion zone, and was thus inaccurate. “Zolo’s measuring technology has made it possible to precisely analyze the combustion process online,” says Speh, who immediately recognized the potential the start-up’s technol- ogy offered Siemens. That’s because precise measurements of gases like O 2 , H 2 O, CO, CO 2 and NH 3 enable a power plant’s control system to automatically adjust air and coal flows in a manner that optimizes the combustion process. Zolo’s realtime measurements are achieved with a laser beam sent through the boiler. De- pending on ambient conditions, the gases ab- sorb the laser light at typical wavelengths. Gas concentrations and temperatures can be deter- mined because the level of absorption increas- es in accordance with the number of molecules present. The Zolo system uses motorized meas- uring heads that are flange-mounted at various heights on the boiler wall. These probes auto- matically guide the laser beam inside the boil- er, which can expand by as much as one meter when heated. Trajectory guidance is important here because it ensures a line of sight for the laser beam as it travels through the boiler, thus enabling realtime measurements. The meas- urement data collected is analyzed in an elec- tronic compartment linked to the boiler via fiber optic waveguides. This compartment is where the actual optical measuring devices are housed. Lower CO 2 Emissions. Zolo Technologies was originally established in 2000 with the idea of offering its system for use with optical telecom- munication networks. “But in 2003, we defined a new application area and combined the knowledge we’d already gained with the re- sults of fundamental research at Stanford Uni- versity on laser-based measurements at high temperatures,” Hofvander explains. In January 2007, Siemens and Zolo signed an agreement that included funding from Siemens Venture Capital and the El Dorado Investment Compa- ny. This agreement called for the construction of a test installation that would serve as a refer- ence project for Zolo’s measuring technology in combination with control system technology from Siemens. “This investment was very im- portant for us — as was the fact that we were able to get Siemens onboard as a business part- ner capable of providing integrated solutions for power plants,” says Hofvander. Hofvander believes his company’s measur- ing technology and the resulting combustion optimization can improve coal-fired power plant efficiency by as much as three percent. Such an increase in the U.S. alone would re- duce the amount of coal burned by 30 million tons per year, and also lower annual CO 2 emis- sions by 75 million tons. “However, it’s not just the improved efficien- cy that offers power plant operators added util- ity,” says Speh. That’s because burning less coal would also result in lower costs for disposing of ash with excess levels of residual coal. In addi- tion, more accurate measurements would mean fewer temporary plant shutdowns to check boilers. “What’s more, our systems offer huge savings potential for new plant construc- tion,” Speh adds. He also believes that online combustion analyses can drastically reduce the time it takes to achieve optimal power plant operation. Other industries could benefit from Zolo’s technology as well, says Speh: “We could also use our intelligent measuring procedure with gas turbines, refineries, and the cement industry, for example.” Nikola Wohllaib Technicians from Zolo test optical components in a clean room. A new laser-based measuring technology can help to significantly increase the combustion efficiency of coal-fired power plants. | Zolo Technologies 8 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 For instance, the so-called Encopanel tunnel developed by Siemens VAI prevents steel from cooling down too rapidly. “Placing steel in such a tunnel before the rolling process begins al- lows us to roll it more efficiently and use less energy,” says Adam Dziedzic, deputy director of the Kraków hot strip mill. “This generates indi- rect energy savings, since the slabs don’t need to be heated up as much at the start of the process.” Whether the steel ends up flexible for motor vehicle production or rigid for use in construc- tion depends on how fast it cools and how long it remains at a given temperature. Controlled Cooling. Directed cooling is achieved via a complex control system that ap- plies water to the metal strip from above and below as needed. Water is stored in a tank with a capacity of over 900 cubic meters. The tank is down to a final thinness of anywhere between 1.2 and 25.4 millimeters, depending on the steel’s intended application. Very thin bars are used, for example, in white goods and automo- biles — both of which are important markets for ArcelorMittal in Poland. Twenty-five-mil- limeter bars, on the other hand, are utilized in industries such as construction and shipbuild- ing . It takes only a few minutes for the once bulky metal to be transformed into a delicate- looking strip of steel up to 1.7 kilometers in length and as much as 2.10 meters wide. Rollers then transport the steel strips to a 40- meter-long cooling section, where directed wa- ter cooling is used to abruptly reduce the final rolling temperature down to 700 degrees Cel- sius in order to achieve required material prop- erties. sent to an integrated measuring and sampling station, where it is checked for quality. The ex- tensive benefits of the hot strip mill, whose products are used with transformer compo- nents in the automotive industry and as stamped components out of black plate (a low carbon steel that can accept a finish of chromi- um or tin), are clear. “We produce extremely hard and resistant materials that also guaran- tee a high degree of safety, which is important in natural gas pipes, for example, as well as in ships and automobiles,” says Staniewski. The plant’s advanced technology allows it to produce strips with a maximum width of 2.10 meters — among the widest anywhere in Eu- rope. This is important because it opens the door to the key market segment of wide, hard steel strip for the shipbuilding and pipeline in- dustries in particular. After all, the wider the steel, the fewer the welding seams and rivets needed. Staniewski also reports that even better quality assurance than before is now achieved at the new hot strip mill, thanks to the exten- sive use of computer control systems. All pro- duction parameters remain transparent at all times and are continually optimized by process computers. “Still, it’s also a more demanding task to manage a state-of-the-art facility like this one,” says Staniewski. It’s easy to understand why ArcelorMittal has been successful in its search for suitably qualified employees in Nowa Huta. The district, which has a population of 250,000, has always attracted skilled workers from all over the country and will remain the center of Polish steel production in the future. It also helps that the city of Kraków is home to one of Europe’s oldest universities, the world-famous Akademia Górniczo-Hutnica (AGH), which has been Poland’s most respected and renowned center of education and training for the metal- lurgical sector since 1919. Thomas Veser you’re looking for — whether tensile strength, hardness, tenacity, or structure — it can be achieved with extreme precision using a clever cooling strategy.” This means that in addition to making steel for automotive applications, the Kraków Unit is ideal for producing special quality classes for specific customer require- ments. These include steel for containers ex- posed to very high pressure, or extremely re- sistant steel grades for oil and gas pipes in regions subject to extreme temperature fluctu- ations, such as Siberia. Digital Quality Assurance. At the end of the roll line, the steel strip is rolled up into coils and Water is applied to metal strips from above and below at constant pressure (left), thereby enabling the final roll temperature and material properties to be adjusted as needed. In just minutes, a bulky steel slab can be transformed into a metal strip over a mile long. During the next step, the resulting strip is sent to the “heart” of the facility — the finish- ing mill, where the temperature of the steel (previously over 1,000 degrees Celsius) drops to 875 degrees. The finishing mill is equipped with stands weighing 200 tons each that hold work rolls operated by eight-megawatt motors. The six work rolls squeeze the transfer slabs located above the cooling system, which is di- vided into different zones. Thanks to the height difference, the water hits the metal at a con- stant pressure. Siemens developed this cooling system, which is known as QuickSwitch. Jan Staniewski, deputy director of Hot Strip Mills at ArcelorMittal, is very proud of the cool- ing system: “Whatever mechanical property Regions | Steel Production 18 Olympic Efficiencies China has one of the world’s most efficient coal-fired power plants. The Australian desert has a power plant that operates almost entirely without cooling water. Both are innovations made by Siemens. 22 Saving Our Planet for Tomorrow California is leading the way in clean technologies. Its ecosystem of venture capitalists, top universi- ties, and inspired leaders is gener- ating an investment gold rush — and planet-saving solutions. 29 Buildings with Brains Thanks to automation and innovative technologies, the owners of large buildings can save lots of energy — and money. 32 Preparing for a Fiery Future To reach higher efficiencies, tomorrow’s coal-fired power plants will have to operate at 700 degrees Celsius. Materials are being developed that can take the heat. 36 Coal’s Cleaner Outlook Researchers are developing technologies for storing the CO 2 generated by coal-fired power plants in underground depots. 54 Low Carbon Surfing New technologies can drastically reduce the energy consumption of computers, servers, and data centers. Highlights 2020 Pensioner Yun Jang listens to his nephew explain how China is stilling its hunger for energy. An IGCC power plant uses coal to produce climate-friendly energy. The CO 2 it generates is stored underground. Wind turbines feed electricity into an intelligent network, and automated building manage- ment systems are linked with weather fore- casts. People drive to work in plug-in hybrid cars that are fueled by solar energy. 10 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 11 W an, my old friend, do you remember what our life was like just a few years ago? Do you recall the days when our little vil- lage was still one of the few places in China that wasn’t connected to the electrical net- work? I’m sure you’ll agree with me that those were literally dark days, even though there was sometimes a greater sense of community. After the sun went down it was usually impossible to play Mahjong, as the petroleum lamp in your hut was too dim. I’ve come to believe that you actually didn’t mind a bit — you’re simply a bad loser. That’s probably also the reason why you bought yourself a television as soon as we had electricity. Ever since then, our Mahjong games China, 2020. Pensioner Jun Yang has been invited by his nephew to visit the new Ministry of Energy. The small village where Jun Yang lives has been connected to the electrical grid for only a few years, so he’d like to know where the energy that has changed his life comes from. He reports on his experiences in a letter to his friend Wan. New World E n e r g y f o r E v e r y o n e | S c e n a r i o 2 0 2 0 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 13 A stronauts working at the International Space Station (ISS) are treated to a spectac- ular view as they orbit the earth. With each revolution, the earth grows dark, and billions of lights 390 kilometers below join to form a shimmering meshwork that extends across land masses like a spider web. This light is, in fact, the only visible sign of civilization on our planet, at least as seen from space. The sea of light continually expands as the earth’s population grows. According to the UN, there will be eight billion people living on our planet in 2020. As prosperity spreads, these people will seek a higher standard of living, and will thus begin buying more and more electrical appliances, cars, and other products, which in turn will necessitate the construction of new factories and offices. More than any- thing else, all of this will require huge amounts of energy. “Energy is a necessity of life,” says Professor Peter Hennicke, former head of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, and Energy. “But it can also be a curse if you look at it in terms of climate change, resource depletion, and the failure to use and produce it efficiently and economically.” Unfortunately, we’re still far from doing that, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), and things won’t get any better if current trends hold up. The IEA pre- dicts that global primary energy consumption will increase by 55 percent between 2005 and 2030 if the current environmental policy framework remains unchanged (see p. 15). Consumption would thus rise to 18 billion tons of oil equivalent (toe) per year, as compared to 11.4 billion toe in 2005. The IEA study says developing countries will be responsible for 74 percent of this increase in primary energy consumption — with China and India alone accounting for 45 percent. Moreover, both of these countries will meet most of their energy needs with coal because, unlike other raw materials, coal remains abun- dant and is currently cheaper than renewable energy sources. China already has a huge hunger for coal. The country put 174 coal-fired power plants online in 2006 alone, which aver- ages out to one new plant every two days. This is a climate-change nightmare, says Hennicke, especially when you consider the fact that facil- ities built today will remain in operation for the A blanket of illumination as seen from space is a reminder of our planet’s hunger for energy, which is expected to increase by 55 percent by 2030. By 2020, Earth will be home to eight billion people. next 30 years. “In order to contain the associat- ed risks to the climate, we have to exploit the most effective, fastest, and least expensive po- tential solution: energy efficiency.” China is aware of the problem, and has therefore included in its 11th Five-Year Plan strict stipulations for reducing environmental pollution and improving energy efficiency. New technologies from Siemens are pointing the way here. Take, for example, China’s most modern electrical power plant, the Huaneng Yuhuan coal-fired facility (see p. 18). Since November 2007, so-called ultra super-critical steam tur- bine units and generators from Siemens have made possible an efficiency rating of 45 per- cent at Huaneng Yuhuan. That’s 15 percentage points higher than the global average for hard- coal power plants and seven percentage points more than the EU average. This is significant, since one percentage point of higher efficiency translates for a mid-sized power plant into around 100,000 fewer tons of CO 2 per year. “If we use the same technology in future projects, it will make a huge contribution to improving energy efficiency and environmental protection 12 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 have been a thing of the past. You sit all evening in front of that thing, looking at a world that you don’t understand. For my part, I at least want to understand the thing that has changed our little world so much. I’m sure you remember my nephew Li, who is doing well professionally at the Ministry of Energy. He’s a very modern person, and he’s the one who gave my wife all of those electrical household appliances. Ever since then she’s had a lot more free time, and that has also made my life much more complicated. But I’m digressing — pardon me. At any rate, Li invited me to visit him in the Ministry’s brand-new ad- ministration building. Of course I accepted. He thought this would broaden my horizons. By now, dear Wan, my horizons are so broad that I can no longer see their limits. It all began this morning at the train station. Li had said he would send a car to pick me up. The car came very soon, but I couldn’t hear the sound of an engine as it came around the cor- ner. The driver seemed to be amused when I asked him if there was something wrong with the engine. He explained to me that the car was a plug-in hybrid that was powered almost entirely by electricity. It had a small combus- tion engine, but that was only used when the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries were empty. And the batteries could be recharged by simply plugging them into a wall socket. When we reached the Ministry, the driver parked the car in a parking lot under a roof equipped with a solar collector and the vehicle was automatical- ly connected to a docking station power plug. A lot of other hybrid cars were already there, filling up on solar energy — and the driver told me they generated no emissions whatsoever. The administration building loomed into the sky, and I felt a little bit lost in the gigantic entrance hall. A friendly receptionist accompa- nied me to a glass elevator. She told me my nephew was waiting for me on the 40th floor and pressed a button. At just that moment I was catapulted upward, and I felt as though my stomach had stayed on the ground floor with the nice lady in the foyer. The earth became smaller so fast that I had to close my eyes. When I opened them again I saw Li’s beaming face in front of me. “Welcome to our energy management headquarters, Uncle Jun,” he said and led me — I was still a bit shaky — into a big room with a gigantic window. “From here we always have a good overview of the country’s entire energy supply,” he said. “As you know, about ten years ago China passed the U.S. as the world’s biggest genera- tor of CO 2 emissions, and that’s why we had to boost our efforts to preserve the environment. Today we already produce a large percentage of our energy in ways that protect the climate,” said Li proudly as he pointed to the many wind turbines on the horizon. “By the way, all of the wind turbines are linked via Internet with con- tinuously updated local weather forecasts, so that we can effectively predict how much elec- tricity they will produce.” Next, he pointed to a message that ap- peared on the window as though written by a spirit’s hand. “A bad storm has just been fore- cast for our region. Our warning system recom- mends that we turn off all the facilities that will be affected so that power networks won’t be overloaded.” A short time later, it suddenly be- came comfortably warm and bright — just as it does after I’ve had a good cup of plum wine at your house, Wan. But Li assured me that in this case it was due to the building management system. This system is also linked with the weather forecast, and it automatically adjusts the room temperature and lighting according- ly. By the way, there are no lamps in the entire building. Instead, there are highly efficient light-emitting diodes. All that saves a lot of en- ergy and reduces carbon dioxide emissions, says Li. I was surprised to hear that our old coal- burning stoves in the village emit more CO 2 than the gigantic coal-fired power plant not far from this building. My nephew explained that this brand-new power plant was what they call an IGCC facility, which doesn’t burn the coal directly, but in- stead transforms it into a gas containing hydro- gen that then fuels a turbine. The CO 2 is sepa- rated out in the process. You won’t believe what happens next. The gas is collected, re- moved through pipelines, and finally pumped deep into the earth. There, in an underground depot that used to be a natural gas reservoir, it can remain for thousands of years without es- caping to the surface, according to Li. Li obviously noticed my skeptical look, be- cause he laid his hand on my arm reassuringly and said, “That’s really true, but now we’re also building power plants that don’t need any coal at all — for example, facilities that generate electricity only from the ocean waves and float- ing wind turbines that are used on the open sea.” Basically, it’s crazy, isn’t it? What a lot of effort just to operate your TV and my wife’s washing machine! Incidentally, my nephew gave me a very un- usual present when we parted: Mahjong as a computer game. This way, I can even play it alone, he said. Unfortunately, I don’t have a computer, but he said that the game will also work with a TV. Wan, my old friend, are you do- ing anything next Sunday evening? Florian Martini Energy for Everyone | Scenario 2020 Light at the End of the Tunnel The world’s population is growing — as is its thirst for energy, which is increasingly being quenched, especially in emerging markets, by streams of coal. But solutions are in sight. Emissions can be cleaned and CO 2 can be sequestered. Efficiency can stretch supplies and cut pollution. And new, renewable energy technologies are right around the corner. | Trends Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 15 E conomic development and population growth in many emerging markets are causing the global de- mand for energy to increase rapidly. In the World Energy Outlook from 2007, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast that global consumption of energy will rise by over 50 percent by 2030 if current policies are maintained. China and India alone will be responsible for half the in- crease. Fossil fuels will continue to be the key source of primary energy, and will be responsible for 84 percent of the increase in consumption between 2005 and 2030. Above all, coal will experience a boom. Today, China and India consume 45 percent of all coal used globally;by 2030, this figure is likely to reach over 80 percent. Based on these predicted increases, CO 2 emissions will reach double the 1990 level by 2030 (graphic above and Pictures of the Future,Spring 2007, p. 83). To ensure that greenhouse gas emissions will fall despite these develop- ments, 187 countries agreed on the key points of a new climate protection agreement at the World Climate Confer- ence in Bali in December 2007. The agreement should be ready for signing at a conference in Copenhagen at the end of 2009 and become legally binding by 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires. At Kyoto, the industrial nations committed themselves to cutting their greenhouse gases by an average of five percent by 2012 compared with 1990. The new agreement should provide for a reduction of 25 to 40 percent by 2020. To achieve this goal, the in- dustrial countries are to provide more climate-friendly and energy-efficient technology to developing countries. Environmental engineering continues to grow. Accord- ing to the German development organization GTZ, $71 bil- lion was invested in renewable energy in 2006. That was 43 percent more than the equivalent figure for 2005. Of that sum, $15 billion was accounted for by developing and emerging markets. In the future, the use of regenerative energy will expand — particularly in countries such as China, India, and Brazil. A 2007 GTZ TERNA country study reports that a good 80 percent of all power generated in China is produced by fossil plants, most of which run on hard coal. Hydroelectricity contributes between 15 and 18 percent, nuclear energy about one percent, and wind energy much less. According to the China’s 11th five-year plan, this situa- tion is expected to change as follows: by 2010, natural gas, water, wind, and nuclear energy should collectively account for 38 percent of the country’s energy production. By 2020, 20 percent — 290 gigawatts (GW) — should be produced by water alone; today, the equivalent figure is 128 GW. At 676 GW, China’s hydropower potential is greater than that of any other country. Wind power, which also enjoys considerable potential, is to be boosted from 1 GW to 30 GW between the end of 2005 and 2020. The photovoltaic market is also growing —by the end of 2006, it had reached 65 megawatts, around half of which powers households in outlying re- gions. By 2020, some 1.8 GW is expected to be installed in the form of photovoltaic generators. Frost & Sullivan antic- Why Renewable Energy is Needed | Facts and Forecasts ipates that sales in the regenerative energy market will in- crease from $6.9 billion in 2006 to $17.9 billion in 2013. Aside from tax breaks and sponsorship, Beijing has intro- duced other economic incentives to promote renewable energy. “By 2013, photovoltaics will probably even out- pace wind power to become the fastest-growing energy source in China,” says Frost & Sullivan research analyst Linda Yan. Another way of generating power in a climate-friendly manner involves technologies for efficiently separating CO 2 . These include coal gasification, combustion with pure oxygen and CO 2 separation from flue-gas. Although many pilot projects along these lines already exist (pp. 36, 40), there is still some way to go before these technolo- gies can become widely used. According to a forecast made by the IPCC (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) in 2005, the energy produced by all of the plants using CO 2 capture and storage (CCS) technologies will still account for less than three percent of the energy gener- ated worldwide by 2020. From 2000 to 2030, the cost of CCS systems is ex- pected to drop by half from between $50 to $100 per ton of CO 2 to between $25 to $50. As a result, the IEA believes that the proportion of CCS plants could rise to 20 percent by 2030 and to 37 percent by 2050. In this case, the CO 2 emissions resulting from worldwide power generation could be reduced by up to 18 gigatons by 2050. And that would represent an important contribution to achieving the Bali targets.Sylvia Trage 0 5,000 10,000 15,000 1990 2005 2015 2030 Global demand for primary energy Actual and forecast figures Carbon dioxide emissions resulting from combustion of energy carriers 1990 2005 2015 2030 Millions of tons (Mtoe) 17,700 8,755 20,688 41,900 Millions of tons Renewable energy Nuclear energy Gas Coal Oil Gas Coal Oil 0 10,000 20,000 30,000 40,000 Predicted Energy Demand and CO 2 Emissions Data is based on the International Energy Agency’s “Business as usual” scenario. Clear political and technical measures are necessary to reduce CO 2 emissions. Source: IEA 2007. 1 Mtoe = 1 million tons oil equivalent = 41.868 PJ (petajoule) Source: Frost & Sullivan, 2005 0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000 14,000 16,000 18,000 20,000 Sales in millions of US$ Average growth rate (2005 – 2011) between 10 and 13% per year Demand for Renewable Energy in Europe In 2011, renewable energy sales in Europe alone are likely to reach almost $18 billion. That’s nearly three times the 2001 level. 2001 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 2011 14 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 in China’s electrical power generation indus- try,” says Hu Shihai, Deputy Managing Director of the China Huaneng Group. Scientists at Siemens’ Energy unit in Mül- heim an der Ruhr, Germany, are working on so- called 700-degree technology (see p. 32) as a means of increasing the efficiency of coal-fired power plants, which remain in great demand. Here, experts are trying to get turbines to with- stand extremely high steam temperatures, since the higher the temperature, the more ef- ficient the system will be. New materials and manufacturing techniques are being studied in an effort to achieve a temperature of 700 de- grees Celsius and pressure of 350 bars, which is around 100 degrees and 65 bars more than the But before such plants can be built, a num- ber of hurdles will have to be overcome. The problem is that the legal framework for effi- cient CO 2 sequestration still hasn’t been clari- fied, and locations where CO 2 might be stored have yet to be found and tested. Today, a hand- ful of oil and natural gas companies pump the CO 2 that reaches the surface as a result of drilling back into the cavities it came from — and they do this mainly to increase gas and oil yields through the increased pressure such pumping creates. of more efficient energy use. Thanks to a clever energy-saving model and building manage- ment system from Siemens, the pool facility now produces around 600 tons less greenhouse gas per year than in the past. The Siemens set- up not only helps the environment; it’s also sav- ing the pool’s operator €200,000 per year on heating and water costs (see p. 29). Siemens has already implemented nearly 2,000 such projects worldwide. It’s a win-win situation for companies and the environment alike, as the savings potential is huge. Accord- norm in today’s power plants. Only at those new high levels can an efficiency rating of 50 percent be achieved. Separation and Sequestration.Develop- ment engineers are also looking at other con- cepts for making coal-fired power plants more climate friendly. One approach involves sepa- rating the carbon dioxide created by the coal- burning process, and storing it below ground to keep it out of the atmosphere. This would amount to nearly CO 2 -free electricity produc- tion (see p. 36). One promising technique is coal gasification in Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plants. IGCC plants transform coal and other fuels like oil and asphalt into a synthetic gas that drives a turbine. This gas is a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide from which the CO 2 can be separated relatively easily, leaving only pure hydrogen behind. “We’re ready to start con- struction of a major IGCC facility anytime,” says Dr. Christiane Schmid from Siemens Fuel Gasifi- cation Technology GmbH, in Freiberg, Ger- many. “Siemens, after all, has been involved in the development of optimized IGCC concepts for years now.” Spain and the Netherlands, for example, already have IGCC power plants with Siemens technology in operation. The world’s most extensive study of under- ground CO 2 -storage possibilities is currently be- ing carried out in the small town of Ketzin (near Berlin) by scientists from the German Re- search Center for Geosciences in Potsdam (see p. 40), who plan to deposit 60,000 tons of car- bon dioxide in special rock strata 700 meters below ground over the next two years. CO 2 SINK, as the EU-sponsored project is known, will examine how the gas reacts after being pumped underground and will deter- mine whether it could threaten to find its way back to the surface. Geologists believe that CO 2 can be trapped for thousands, or perhaps millions, of years, which means commercial CO 2 storage and cli- mate-friendly coal power plants may become a reality. “Still, it’s going to take time before such facilities can operate economically,” cautions Hennicke. “That’s why, in addition to focusing on producing energy more efficiently, we should be trying to use it much more efficiently as well.” A country such as Japan could reduce CO 2 emissions by 70 percent between now and 2050 through more efficient utilization of en- ergy, with only marginal additional costs, ac- cording to Hennicke. Operators of an indoor swimming pool in Vi- enna, Austria, are already reaping the benefits ing to the IEA, buildings account for around 40 percent of global energy consumption and 21 percent of CO 2 emissions. Also in need of an energy diet are the ap- proximately 30 million servers around the world that keep the Internet up and running. According to Stanford University, operating these computers requires the energy generat- ed by 14 power plants in the 1,000-megawatt class. Cutting down on energy consumption here would also produce impressive results (see p. 54). “Computer centers could reduce electricity consumption by more than one-third if they switched over to more efficient tech- nologies,” says David Murphy, who coordinates “Green IT” projects at Siemens IT Solutions and Services. Such projects will become more and more important in the face of rising energy prices and growing CO 2 emissions. For all its negative publicity, carbon dioxide has one positive characteristic: it has led to a huge innovation boom in the areas of energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly tech- nologies. A perfect example is the state of Cali- fornia, whose universities, strict environmental regulations, and venture capitalists make it possible for companies that produce clean technologies, among them Siemens, to flour- ish (see p. 22). Environmental technology is currently the fastest-growing sector for venture capital investment, accounting for one-third of all such investment in the U.S. in 2007. The solutions being developed — ranging from extremely efficient computer chips to plug-in hybrid vehicles that “fill up” on sunlight — are pioneering, says Hennicke. “Moreover,” he adds, “if the U.S. would even come close to exploiting its potential for renewable energy, we would see a huge wave of innovation that would bring us a lot closer to our goal of pro- viding energy to billions of people in a sustain- able manner.” Florian Martini “We have to exploit the most effective, and least expensive potential solution: energy efficiency.” 74 percent of the increase in global primary energy consumption will take place in emerging economies. Energy for Everyone | Trends Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 17 Renewable Energy for Developing Countries The boom in renewable energy sources is benefiting developing countries, especially in remote areas not connected to power grids. It is also leading to environmental projects in large emerging markets such as India and China. Energy for Everyone | Renewable Resources | Interview 16 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 A frica is dark when seen from space — at least at night compared to Europe and North America. There are two reasons for this. Africa is sparsely populated and it lacks electrici- ty. Some 500 million people south of the Sahara live without electricity — that’s nearly one- third of the 1.6 billion people who still heat with wood and use kerosene lamps for light. Power plants and transmission lines are ex- pensive, especially on the poor, but large, land masses of Africa and Asia. In fact, the Interna- tional Energy Agency estimates that expanding electrification to an extent that would halve the number of people living in poverty world- wide would cost around $16 billion a year for the next ten years. Such a reduction of poverty was one of the “Millennium Development Goals” set by the United Nations at the turn of the century. It’s far from being achieved — and sharply rising prices for fossil raw materials haven’t done anything to help. Still, there is hope, as technological advances have made “eco-electricity” more affordable. A mission in Tanzania, for example, now generates electricity with a hybrid facility consisting of solar cells and an engine that runs on oil made from the local jatropha bush, thereby eliminat- ing the need for a diesel generator. In northern China, the GTZ German technical cooperation As indicated by this satellite image, electricity is still scarce in Africa. Small solar power units and environmentally-friendly vegetable oil stoves (below) can help to mitigate the effects of poverty. Economist and China expert Prof. Andreas Oberheitmann, 43, is the director of the Research Center for International Envi- ronmental Policy (RCIEP), as well as a guest professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Oberheit- mann previously worked at the RWI economic research institute in Essen. His activities at RCIEP focus on a program sponsored by the GTZ technical coop- eration organization that seeks to develop practical solutions to problems associated with climate protec- tion in developing countries. Why China Needs and Wants to Conserve Energy How big is China’s appetite for energy? Oberheitmann: China’s current primary ener- gy consumption is 2.4 billion tons of hard coal units (HCU), which corresponds to about 16 percent of global consumption. China is thus second only to the U.S. in total energy con- sumption, and depending on how its gross do- mestic product (GDP) develops, it will be con- suming 6.8 to 11.7 billion tons of HCU by 2020. That’s three to five times today’s figure — a huge increase. What will per capita consumption be like? Oberheitmann:Our energy demand model projects that in 2020 each Chinese citizen will consume an amount of energy equal to that used by the average German today, which is around 6.4 tons of HCU. In terms of per capita GDP, China may wind up being wealthier than Germany is by 2020 or 2030, given purchasing power parity. Still, we believe it will take many years for China to achieve the level of energy efficiency now common among countries like Germany. For example, China currently requires 3.5 times more energy than the global average to generate one euro’s worth of GDP. However, because the renminbi is significantly underval- ued at the moment, the difference is not as great in terms of purchasing power parity. That isn’t good news for the climate... Oberheitmann:That’s right, unfortunately. China is expected to surpass the U.S. within the next two years as the number one produc- er of CO 2 emissions. China already emits 6.1 billion tons of CO 2 per year, and that figure will climb by ten billion tons by 2020. If drastic measures aren’t taken, China will play a key role in pushing up CO 2 emissions worldwide. Does China need to undergo the industri- al revolution process as we know it in the West? Can’t it start using environmentally friendly energy sources now? Oberheitmann:Yes and no. History is repeat- ing itself — but at a much faster pace, with some stages being skipped. That’s an argu- ment to get China to sign up to environmental protection. It’s true that the industrialized countries have largely produced the CO 2 that’s accumulated in the atmosphere to date — with the U.S. accounting for around 27 percent and China only 8 percent. However, China will account for a major share of future emissions. China’s energy policy seems inconsistent at times. The Chinese put a new coal-fired power plant into operation every few days, but the government also addresses environmental issues… Oberheitmann:Economic growth requires energy. To get it, China must install between 60 and 100 gigawatts of new power generation capacity each year. That’s nearly the equivalent of Germany’s current total capacity. More than 70 percent of the new facilities in China are coal-fired plants, which of course produce CO 2 emissions. China’s government is aware of all this, which is why its current Five-Year Plan contains ambitious goals such as reducing spe- cific energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent between now and 2010. China both needs and wants to conserve energy. Its econ- omy is now growing at ten percent a year. Ob- viously its energy consumption can’t grow at the same pace. In response, the country is in- troducing measures that will also improve en- ergy security. And China has produced results. The four-gigawatt Huaneng Yuhuan power facility, for example, has an efficiency rating of 45 percent —a top value for a steam power plant. China is also building the world’s high- est-capacity direct current transmission line, which will be able to supply 5,000 megawatts. In addition, the country plans to limit new resi- dential construction in large cities to buildings that require 65 percent less energy than the level required by today’s standard. Investments are also being made in district heating systems. Can China also make greater use of distributed energy sources such as solar cells and wind turbines? Oberheitmann:Such an approach is good for remote areas not linked to the power grid. Tibet uses a lot of hydro power, for example, and so- lar-thermal facilities for hot water can be found throughout the country. Although photovoltaic systems are still often very expensive, China is the world’s leading manufacturer of solar cells. In remote areas, photovoltaic systems are used mostly as a substitute for biomass, although they also power small diesel generators. Photo- voltaic power isn’t usually channeled into the public grid. The situation with regard to solar power could change over the long term, of course, if oil prices increase dramatically. Interview conducted by Jeanne Rubner. organization is supporting a project that con- verts 5,000 tons of cow dung into biogas every day. And the World Bank invests $3.6 billion per year in energy projects, half of which focus on tapping renewable sources and improving energy efficiency. Recently, in cooperation with a group of partners, the World Bank launched the “Light- ing Africa” initiative. The goal of the initiative is to provide up to 250 million people in Sub-Sa- haran Africa with access to electrical lighting by means of distributed power systems, energy- saving lamps, and LEDs by 2030. Lack of light- ing is one reason why millions of children in Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 19 Olympic Efficiencies Generating capacity has long been regarded as the Achilles heel of China’s boom. But thanks to new technology from Siemens, power generation in the People’s Republic is becoming increasingly efficient, environmentally compatible, and sustainable. endorsed by the entire Beijing administration — is now on display in the Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai, which is home to China’s most modern power plant. The Yuhuan coal- fired plant consists of four 1,000-megawatt generating units, of which the two most recent — Units 3 and 4 — entered service last Novem- ber. The facility boasts an efficiency of 45 per- cent, which is very much a winning perform- ance in this field, even by international standards. The average efficiency of power plants in China is 30 percent, a figure similar to that of the U.S., and even in environmentally- progressive Europe it’s only 38 percent. Not that there’s anything artificially en- hanced about the performance of the Yuhuan facility, which is operated by Huaneng Power International Inc. Such efficiency is possible thanks to the use of so-called ultra-supercritical steam turbines from Siemens (see p. 32), which make it possible to produce temperatures of 600 degrees Celsius and a pressure of 262.5 bars in the main steam line. By way of comparison, the pressure in a car tire is around 3.3 bars. The gen- erators are also from Siemens. “I’ve seen a lot of power plants over the last 25 years, but the de- sign and performance of those at Yuhuan are really special,” says Lothar Balling, Vice Presi- dent Steam Power Plants at Siemens. The plant operator agrees. “We’ve known for a long time that Siemens supplies the very latest technolo- gy and high-quality systems,” says Fan Xiaxia, Vice President of Huaneng Power International Inc. “Huaneng needs this kind of advanced technology to help it develop as a company.” On the other hand, Huaneng is relaxed about the prospect of Yuhuan soon being overtaken in the efficiency stakes. Indeed, it’s firmly hoped Yuhuan, China’s most advanced coal-fired power plant, boasts a record-breaking efficiency of 45 percent — thanks to ultra-supercritical steam turbines supplied by Siemens (small photo). Driving the country’s growth is not only indus- try but also private consumption, with most Chinese households now owning a refrigerator and TV, and many now investing in washing machines and air conditioning as well. Howev- er, per capita electricity consumption is still low by international standards and, according to a study by the International Energy Agency (IEA), was only around 1,780 kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2005, substantially less than in Germany (7,100 kWh) or the U.S. (13,640 kWh). On the other hand, when this figure is compared to economic output, China is anything but frugal: for every unit of GDP, the People’s Republic consumes 3.5 times as much energy as the in- ternational average. As much as 73 percent of the country’s elec- tricity is generated from coal, the only source of energy that China possesses in any considerable that the plant will lead the way for China’s oth- er power generators. That’s because enhanced efficiency, environmental compatibility, and sustainability are a must for China’s electricity industry. “The Chinese administration has cate- gorically said that the country’s economy can’t be allowed to grow at the expense of the envi- ronment,” says Hu Shihai, Assistant General Manager at China Huaneng Group. “That’s why the 11th Five-Year Plan contains very strict tar- gets on the reduction of pollution and improve- ments in energy efficiency.” Energy Appetite. China needs to overcome huge challenges if it is to remain on the path of economic growth. According to official statis- tics, the country's energy demand has risen by an average of 5.6 percent every year since the start of the reform era at the beginning of the 1980s, and last year it leapt by a massive 20 percent. Back in 2003, China had a total installed generating capacity of 400 gigawatts (GW). Since then, this figure has risen to 720 GW and is forecast to top 1,000 GW by 2011. Last year alone, 174 coal-fired power plants in the 500- megawatt class entered service in China — in other words, on average, one every other day. 18 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Energy for Everyone | Renewable Resources China is a major consumer of fossil fuels. Most of its electricity is generated from cheap coal. Africa can’t study at night. With this in mind, Siemens subsidiary Osram has become the world’s first lighting systems manufacturer to replace millions of light bulbs in Africa and Asia with energy-saving lamps. In line with the Ky- oto Protocol, the company will receive CO 2 cer- tificates to help finance the project (see p. 53). “There’s no single way to bring electricity to Africa,” the World Bank concludes. One prob- lem is that more than half the people in Africa live in the countryside, far from power lines. In response, the World Bank plans to install very small but efficient hydroelectric power genera- tors with an output of up to 1,000 watts each. At an estimated price of 15 U.S.cents per kilo- watt-hour in 2015, the electricity from these awareness is due to the fact that the energy shortage caused by the oil crisis of the 1970s led the government to establish a Ministry of New and Renewable Energy; the country now plans to meet 10 percent of its electricity needs with power from alternative sources by 2012. India is already fifth in the world when it comes to installed wind power output. Wind energy facilities make good sense in those areas that already have a power grid. Ac- cording to the World Bank, one kilowatt-hour of wind power will cost around five U.S. cents in 2015 — the same as electricity from a mod- ern gas-fired power plant currently costs. Only electricity from coal will be cheaper, as long as it doesn’t include the costs of climate change. mini plants will be among the cheapest in the future, at least in sparsely populated areas rich in water resources. The World Bank also pre- dicts that the cost of generating electricity with small windmills and solar cells will decline by around ten cents over the next ten years to 35 cents per kilowatt-hour. Ministry of Renewable Energy. Sophisticat- ed technology by itself won’t be enough to get the job done. In the past, people often forgot to service solar facilities, which is why many ex- pensive solar units ended up failing. “Now we’re using integrated solutions,” says Stefan Opitz, head of the Energy department at GTZ. Micro credits, for example, can help a merchant in a remote Bangladesh village purchase and maintain a solar power facility and supply neighbors with electricity for lights, radios, and cell phones. It’s questionable, however, whether such local setups can achieve the goal of across-the-board electrification. “It sounds good in theory,” says Opitz. But in practice the operation and servicing of several micro-net- works is more complicated than managing a big network. Some countries have made progress. In In- dia, for example, many people know about al- ternative energy sources, even though one out of three Indians lives without electricity. This The goal of the Chinese government is to in- crease the share of energy produced from re- newable resources from the current eight per- cent to 15 percent by 2020. Beijing, says World Bank energy expert Amil Cabraal, is taking a well thought-out approach and promoting mainly those energy sources that can compete with coal. China also has a system similar to the one in Germany that requires energy suppliers to pur- chase ecologically produced electricity at a fixed price. Cabraal says that emerging markets are inspired by Europe’s extensive investment in renewable energy sources and the EU’s plans to meet 20 percent of its requirements with envi- ronmentally friendly power and heat by 2020. Still, Cabraal warns, the green energy revolution will require a huge amount of technological ex- pertise and planning. It’s a huge challenge, and mistakes are easi- ly made. The Capgemini consulting firm, for example, claims that Beijing’s plans to increase China’s capacity by 950 gigawatts (or 1,000 power plants) between 2006 and 2020 will re- sult in a 30 percent shortfall. It’s also clear that the global climate problem cannot be solved by micro power plants or distributed solar cell fa- cilities alone. Says Opitz: “It will be some time before the world can stop using big power plants.” Jeanne Rubner F or China, 2008 is just the latest in a whole series of big years. With posters for this summer’s Beijing Olympics plastered across billboards throughout the provinces, the Chi- nese look upon the Games as a golden oppor- tunity to not only put on a huge sporting festi- val but also to showcase their country’s recent achievements. Despite having increased gross domestic product by a nominal factor of 13 over the period since 1990, the People’s Re- public is determined to show the world that it still has a lot of potential. The buzzwords of China’s latest wave of modernization are “efficiency, environmental compatibility, and sustainability” — disciplines in which China intends to excel every bit as much as in this summer’s sporting events in Beijing. The latest demonstration of China’s commitment to these goals — a commitment | Coal-Fired Power in China Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 21 Respect for Aboriginal Culture In the tradition of the Australian Aborigines, people have no right to own land; they are instead merely its users. That applies as well to the site where Siemens erected the Kogan Creek power plant. According to Australian law, the builder must take into account the interests of the Aborigines, who claim the right to use the land. At Kogan Creek, there were five such families. In August 2003, the owner of the plant and representatives of the clans went over the entire area on foot to collect or document archeological evidence of earlier land use, including pits for water storage, stone tools, and markings on trees. During excavation work, there was likewise always an Aborigine present. About 22,000 artifacts were collected. When it was not possible to remove the objects, the layout of the power plant was modified. In the middle of the site, for instance, there is an island with trees scored with markings, and water holes. “Sometimes the discussion was very emotional,” recalls Thomas Scherer, but the respect shown for this cultural heritage was worthwhile. It was the mutual agree- ment that made the construction of the facility possible in the first place. creased demand for energy, and Kogan Creek was given a new lease on life. This particular lo- cation was chosen for the plant because coal was readily available just below ground and there is a major high-voltage transmission line 28 kilometers away. In fact, it’s the main artery for the transmission of power between the fed- eral states of Queensland and New South Wales. Energy fed to the line supplies major cities on the east coast, including Brisbane and Sydney, which account for approximately half of the Australian population. During a tour in Scherer’s all-terrain vehicle, it quickly becomes clear what else makes the power plant so special. For a start, there is Ko- gan Creek, which, like most creeks in Australia, is dry. And where there’s no water, there’s not much sense in having cooling towers — fea- tures that are as much a part of a coal-fired power station as boilers and turbines. The eye lingers not on imposing cooling towers but on a roof the size of a football field that stands on 15-meter-high stilts and has no apparent function, since it serves neither to hold off the non-existent rain nor to provide shade for any equipment beneath it. Scherer climbs up a steel staircase and discloses the an- swer to this mystery. Beneath huge corrugated steel sheets arranged like gable roofs, two low- pressure turbines emit hot steam at 60 to 80 degrees Celsius. Each second, about half a ton of the gas flows through large heat exchangers that resemble giant automobile radiators. Fans nine meters in diameter blow air against the metal sheets from below and cool the steam so that it condenses. Each second, 500 liters of water flow into a collector at the lower end of the heat exchanger clusters and then into a tank, from which the water is fed back into the power plant via pumps and is again heated to 540 degrees Celsius in the boiler. Full Power in an Arid Climate. The huge cooling condenser, which comes from the GEA Group in Bochum, Germany, is not the first of its kind, but it is the largest in the world. And the power plant is not only Australia’s most ef- ficient but, with an output of 750 megawatts, it is also the country’s largest. History is no doubt being written here and Siemens and Babcock Hitachi expect others will imitate Ko- gan Creek. Siemens supplies the turbines, gen- erator, transformers, and control systems while Babcock Hitachi is responsible for the boiler, steam lines, and flue-gas treatment. Australia’s increasingly dry climate is now affecting the builders of power plants. At Tarong Power Station, a coal-fired facility about a hundred kilometers northeast of Kogan Creek, three of the four units have had to be shut down at times because of dryness. There, the cooling water comes from storage dams via two pipelines 96 and 78 kilometers in length. Each second, about 600 liters of cooling water is vaporized in the two cooling towers. Despite cooling problems, however, coal power will continue to form the backbone of Australian power generation, because it is ex- tremely cheap. The reason for this can be seen four kilometers away from Kogan Creek, where hard coal lies in abundance at the surface, cov- ered by nothing more than red loam and with- ered grass. Excavators shovel up to 1,100 tons of coal per hour — 2.8 million tons per year — onto a conveyor belt that leads directly to the boiler. Each hour, 75 tons of ash is mixed with water to form a slurry, which is fed into a sink behind the site, where it hardens. In three years, the ash will be deposited where the coal is being extracted now. Kogan Creek cannot operate entirely with- out water. Three tanks that draw water from deep bores make it available for drinking and fire fighting. They also replenish losses in the steam cycle of the turbines and supply cooling water for electrical equipment that cannot be cooled with air alone. Nonetheless, the amount of water used is low enough to break records. Compared to similar power plants, the air cooler reduces wa- ter consumption by 90 percent. That offers ex- tra reserves in extremely dry periods, during which water-cooled power plants are forced to scale back their output. At Kogan Creek, water can be sprayed beneath the condenser sur- faces for additional cooling. “That means we can operate the plant at its full capacity of 750 megawatts even at temperatures well over 40 degrees Celsius, or tease out a few more megawatts when there are bottlenecks in the grid,” says Scherer. Kogan Creek’s commissioning ceremony took place on November 28, 2007. According to Albert Goller, Managing Director of Siemens Ltd. Australia and New Zealand, it is “the most efficient coal-fired power plant in Australia.” The plant is designed for an efficiency rating of 45 percent for comparable water-cooled facilities, which is one of the highest in the world, even though it gives up a few percentage points of efficiency due to Australia’s climate. Policy makers are satisfied too. Anna Bligh, Premier of Queensland, commented: “Kogan Creek will set new standards in environmental compatibility for coal-fired power plants.” Bernd Müller The world’s largest cooling condenser (left below) ensures that this Australian coal-fired power plant operates with 90 percent less water than comparable systems. D rive straight ahead for 200 kilometers,” says the navigation system. And once the skyline of Brisbane has disappeared in the rear- view mirror, a well-nigh endless road stretches through the dry back country of the eastern coast of Australia. Only after another 250 kilo- meters does a huge power line raise hopes that the destination is near. But another 30 kilo- meters pass before a smokestack emerges near the little town of Chinchilla, indicating the loca- tion of the Kogan Creek Power Plant. In front of a corrugated iron hut, the visitor is greeted by red dust, aggressive flies and Thomas Scherer, who has been directing construction of the plant for six years on behalf of Siemens. “The first ideas for the project date from the early 1990s,” says Scherer, and the first con- tract was signed in 1999. But since there was a glut on the energy market, the project was halted by the government of Queensland, which owns CS Energy Ltd, the plant’s opera- tor. In 2004, forecasts again predicted in- Fit for the Desert In Australia’s Kogan Creek, Siemens has built a coal-fired power plant that requires very little cooling water and is therefore ideal for use in arid regions. Energy for Everyone | Water Demand in Coal-Fired Power Plants 20 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 quantities and which therefore doesn’t have to be imported at high cost. In 2007, around 1.5 billion tons of coal were burned in Chinese power plants. Any improvements in efficiency will therefore have a substantial impact on the country’s consumption of resources, fuel costs, and greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, a rise of a single percentage point in efficiency brings fuel costs down by 2.5 percentage points. For a medium-sized power plant that has an installed capacity of 700 MW and operates for 7,000 hours a year, this translates into an annual reduction of 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide. “Efficient and environmental power plant technology has a big role to play in reducing CO 2 emissions,” says Balling. “Our aim is to real- ize this potential worldwide.” This approach fits perfectly with the political strategy of the Peo- ple’s Republic. The country probably surpassed the U.S. last year as the world’s largest produc- er of greenhouse gases and is aware of the responsibility that goes with this role. During initial negotiations for the follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol, China demonstrated that it takes the threat of global warming very seriously. Record Efficiency. Last June Beijing published its own roadmap as to how to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The target is to raise en- ergy efficiency 20 percent by 2010, based on 2005 levels. In addition, by building more-effi- cient coal-fired power plants, the government plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 200 million tons over the same period. “When you look at the most recent power plants in China, it’s obvious the country’s already long past the stage of being a developing nation,” says Lutz Kahlbau, President of Siemens Power Generation China. “In fact, China’s most mod- ern power plants are among the best anywhere in the world, with great efficiency and compar- atively low CO 2 emissions.” Leading the way is the Yuhuan plant. “It’s the most energy-efficient and environmentally compatible coal-fired power plant anywhere in China,” says Hu. “If we use the same technolo- gy for future projects, it will have a huge im- pact on the efficiency and environmental im- pact of China’s power industry.” Siemens is already targeting new records for future power plants. “The next generation of coal-fired plants will operate at steam tempera- tures of 700 degrees Celsius and pressures in excess of 300 bars,” Balling explains. “That should enable us to break the magical barrier of 50 percent efficiency and thus significantly reduce CO 2 emissions compared to today’s lev- els.” With so much potential for progress, 2008 won’t be the last big year in China’s calendar. Bernhard Bartsch Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 23 Saving Our Planet for Tomorrow Of all the technology challenges we will face in our lifetimes, none will be bigger than the one represented by climate change. Today, California is a leader in providing answers to this threat. With its unparalleled ecosystem of venture capitalists, top universities, inspired leaders, and risk-ready state of mind, the Golden State is generating clean technology solutions at a rate that might just save our planet. Energy for Everyone | Clean Tech in California 22 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 L imitless electricity from solar and wind power; plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that “fill their tanks” at your employer’s parking lot during the day and provide distributed storage for excess energy from alternative sources; buildings that are so efficient they generate their own power and return excess energy to the grid; electronic components that draw up to 75 percent less power than today’s — all of this and much more may be closer than previ- ously thought. Driven by mounting evidence of climate change, politicians, corporations, universities, the science and investment communities and the general public are focusing increasing at- tention and resources on a field known as “clean tech.” The field encompasses everything from energy generation, storage and efficiency in fuels, transportation, buildings, electronics and manufacturing, to advanced materials, and air and water purification. Collectively, developments now in the pipeline in this area hold the promise of transforming carbon- belching economies into climate-friendly re- newable energy societies by 2050. A quantum leap beyond yesterday’s envi- ronmental movements, clean tech has become “the fastest growing category in the venture capital area,” according to Ira Ehrenpreis, Chair- man of the 2008 Clean-Tech Investor Summit Berkeley, one of the hottest locations in California for clean tech, is home to hundreds of start-up companies such as Cyclos Semiconductor (left, top & middle) and Progressive Cooling (bottom), both funded by Siemens. “If we reach the tipping point at which the car- bon dioxide and methane now locked in the tundra of Siberia and Canada is released, that will take us to a very different world,” he says. Carbon Roadmap. Avoiding that bleak future is a cause California has embraced wholeheart- edly through an increasingly focused conver- gence of interests on the part of government, universities, and the state’s world-class start-up community. For instance, in response to Cali- fornia legislation that sets greenhouse gas emission targets (a 20% reduction compared to 1990 levels by 2020) that are comparable to those proposed by the EU, the state Public Utili- ty Commission (PUC) has proposed establish- ment of the California Institute for Climate So- lutions (CICS). If approved by utility customers who would have to pay a few extra cents per month for it, CICS would create a coalition of all the universities in the state to develop a “carbon roadmap” designed to avert climate change. With a proposed budget of some $600 million per year, the organization would award grants to companies that can provide solutions. “The roadmap will be similar to the one devel- oped by the semiconductor industry in the Sev- enties,” explains Dean Shankar Sastry, head of the College of Engineering at UC Berkeley and CICS’s Chief Scientist. “The so-called Silicon and General Partner in Technology Partners, a Palo Alto venture capital company that man- ages some $750 million in investments. Adds Ajit Nazre of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a leading Silicon Valley venture capital company that recently added Al Gore to its long list of distinguished partners, “In the U.S. in 2007, approximately $2 billion — roughly one third of all venture capital investments — went into clean tech. The size of clean tech markets dwarfs traditional IT markets by orders of magnitude, trillions versus billions of dollars. Essentially, the entire U.S. fuel and transporta- tion sector is a potential clean tech market, and it represents about 16 percent of our $14 tril- lion GDP — in other words about $2.2 trillion.” Clean tech is much more than previous gold rushes to computers and communications — it’s a high-stakes cause where the cost of losing is a future no one wants to bequeath to their children. “The development of new, carbon- neutral energy sources is needed to avert disas- trous climate change,” says Dr. Steven Chu, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab- oratory at the University of California (UC) at Berkeley, 1997 Physics Nobel Prize laureate, and co-chair of an international InterAcademy Council study entitled “Lighting the way: To- ward a Sustainable Energy Future; Transition- ing to Sustainable Energy” (see interview, p. 24). Map resulted in Moore’s law because it focused an entire industry’s attention on a single goal. We hope to achieve similar results in the area of carbon reduction.” Sastry expects CICS to fuel the creation of new companies and new technologies. “It’s an example of our Silicon Valley culture — the idea of bringing together venture capital and big industry to invest in promising start-up companies.” At the top of Sastry’s “to do” list for CICS is the development of technologies that will im- prove building efficiency. In this connection, he and others are working with Lawrence Berke- ley’s Chu and the U.S. National Renewable En- ergy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado on devel- opment of “smart building” technologies. “Building efficiency represents the lowest of the low hanging carbon reduction fruit,” says Chu. “Buildings account for about 40 percent of U.S. energy use. New technologies could easily result in a 50 percent improvement in this area, particularly in lighting and office machines.” Cool Computing. Just a few minutes’ drive from Chu’s hilltop office, Dr. Alexander Ishii and Prof. Marios Papaefthymiou are working on exactly the kind of energy-saving technolo- gy Sastry and Chu have in mind for reducing computer and office machine energy demand. With financing from Siemens’ Berkeley-based 33% 28% 39% 21% Residential Industry Transportation 18% Commercial Computers 1% Cooking 5% Electronics 5% Washing 5% Refrigeration 9% Cooling 10% Lighting 12% Water heating 13% Heating 32% Other 4% Cooking 2% Computers 3% Refrigeration 4% Office equipment7% Ventilation 7% Water heating 7% Cooling 13% Heating 16% Lighting 28% Other 10% Buildings consume 39% of all the energy generated in the U.S., including 71% of total electricity and 54% of natural gas, amounting to $107 billion in 2003. Siemens’ “High Performance Buildings” plans provide energy-saving solutions for most of the categories shown above. U.S. Building Energy Usage and its Components Source: High-Performance Commercial Buildings:A Technology Roadmap, U.S. DOE, U.S. GBC, DOE EIA, CBECS Database Buildings 24 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 25 California: Innovation Powerhouse Although the growing focus on clean tech is a worldwide phenomenon, no other location outside the U.S. even comes close to Silicon Valley in terms of the magnitude of its venture capital investments in this area. Take solar energy, for example, the largest single clean tech cat- egory worldwide. According to a recent survey by Ernst & Young, in 2007, U.S. investors poured $859 million in venture capital into 25 major start-ups in this area. Of that, $517 million was invested in 15 companies in San Francisco’s Bay Area, and anoth- er $94 million in four companies in southern California. By com- parison, Germany — the world’s second largest location for ven- ture capital in solar energy — invested €70 million in seven start-ups in 2007. Other leading locations, such as the UK and France, invested €12 million and €9.6 million respectively. Califor- nia’s patent registration figures also paint a remarkable picture of innovation, with 44% of all U.S. patents in solar, and 37% in wind technologies in 2006 com- ing from the Golden State, ac- cording to the California Green Innovation Index. Technology-to-Business Center (TTB), the two entrepreneurs have founded Cyclos Semicon- ductor, a start-up that will exploit a novel chip design technology from Papaefthymiou’s re- search lab at the University of Michigan. The new technology — applicable to everything from cell phones to servers — promises to re- duce power demand and associated heat in processors by 30% to 75% by recovering power from a processor’s clock and logic circuitry. “The core concept behind our work is that pow- er can be recycled. Our design technology can be applied to any chip design, allowing chips to Dr. Steven Chu has been director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Califor- nia since 2004. He is also Professor of Physics and of Mole- cular and Cell Biolo- gy at UC, Berkeley. While at Stanford University his work led to the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997. Dr. Chu is active in energy questions and is co- chair of an interna- tional InterAcademy Council (IAC) study entitled, “Lighting the way: Toward a Sustainable Energy Future; Transitioning to Sustainable Energy.” Prescriptions for a Threatened Planet Are we on the edge of a climate crisis? Chu: Climate change is a real threat to our long-term future. The issue is, what will hap- pen if temperatures go up two degrees, four degrees, six degrees Celsius and so on? A 6° re- duction in average global temperature is the difference between what we have today and what was experienced during the Ice Age. And 6° on the plus side would also be a very differ- ent world. The glaciers on Greenland would have a good chance of melting away. Parts of Antarctica would melt. If these things happen, sea levels would increase by seven to ten me- ters. Bangladesh would be half underwater. What’s more, the glacial watershed storage systems that our economies are based on will be threatened. There will be increased species extinction. And there are other things that we can’t really measure at this point. For instance, we don’t know what the tipping point is for the release of the CO 2 that is locked in the tun- dra of Siberia and Canada. This is actually a bi- ological question because there are bacteria in the tundra that will become active at a certain temperature. But we don’t know what temper- ature. When they come back to life they will release methane and CO 2 in such quantities that it will dwarf the amount of greenhouse gases that humans are putting out now. What can we do to avert global warming? Chu:I think the single most important thing we can do is to put a price on carbon. This can be a cap and trade system, a tax or whatever. But it has to be a very clear signal, and it needs to be implemented without loopholes. If the next U.S. president makes energy and climate change an initiative the way Kennedy made it an initiative to reach the moon, this would go a long way to solving these problems. What other steps should be taken? Chu:First of all, we should mandate efficien- cies in things like computers and consumer ap- pliances. Second, we should require that be- fore a house can be sold or even rented, the owner must provide a statement from utility companies certifying gas and electricity usage for the last 12 months. This would allow buy- ers and renters to compare energy require- ments for different buildings. Guess what this would do? It would encourage homeowners at least one year before deciding to sell or rent out their property to seal major leaks, put in more insulation, and possibly install more energy-efficient heaters, air conditioners, etc. This would also help home owners and builders to do a better initial job of making new homes energy efficient because they would appear more attractive to prospective buyers. What would this cost? Almost nothing. The utility companies already have records of electricity and gas use on every home. So why not provide this information to homeowners as a feedback mechanism? What technologies offer the greatest hope for a sustainable energy future? Chu:I think we should take a fresh look at geothermal from the local level with the use of better designed heat pumps, but also at the utility-generation level where you can enhance its effect by introducing a heat transfer fluid such as water or CO 2 . The reason for this is that anywhere you go, if you dig deep enough, you will find heat. Even if you only go down a few meters you get very stable temperatures. The earth is cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. So you can think about heat pumps that will cool you in the summer and warm you in the winter. I think photovoltaics, solar thermal and biofuels are also getting a new look. There are also arti- ficial photosynthetic systems that allow you to take electricity or sunlight and make a chemi- cal fuel. In the long term, artificial photosyn- thesis will supply the world’s transportation fuel needs. While we will soon develop batter- ies to power plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles, it will be a while before we get trains and trucks that work on the same principle. Hence, in the foreseeable future, we will need a high energy-density transportation fuel that can be provided by an artificial photosynthetic system that requires far less water than fuels based on growing plants or algae. This is a technology we are going to have to master. Interview conducted by Arthur F. Pease bon dioxide emissions. “Our vehicle emission standards, our renewable portfolio standard, and our appliance and building standards are more aggressive than those in other (U.S.) states,” says Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, head of the California Energy Commission (CEC). “Califor- nia’s Clean Car Law; the Global Warming Solu- tions Act; the Governor’s climate change, low carbon fuel standard, green building, and bioen- ergy Executive Orders; and adopted limits on the carbon content of new long-term electricity con- tracts are all groundbreaking actions,” she adds (see interview on p. 26). This climate-friendly environment has helped to stimulate the establishment of organizations such as the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS www.citris-uc.org), a public-private partnership headquartered on the UCB campus that has al- ready produced over 500 spin-off companies. The Center focuses the efforts of thousands of students with more than 300 faculty from four UC campuses and industrial researchers from over 60 corporations, including Siemens, which is an Associate Corporate Member. Building on its research in micro sensors, in- telligent materials and advanced controls, CITRIS has embarked on an ambitious partnership with the PUC and the CEC aimed at eliminating spikes in electricity demand. “We plan to replace the Energy for Everyone | Clean Tech in California A single public-private partnership headquartered at UC Berkeley has produced over 500 spin-off companies. function like hybrid automobiles that return power to the battery every time you step on the brakes,” says Ishii. “There’s nothing else like this on the market. Our patented technology is basically ready for market, and we are working with Siemens on first deployments.” Meanwhile, just a few cubicles away, Dr. Ahmed Shuja, head of TTB start-up Progressive Cooling, explains that his company may have an answer to the ravenous electricity demand of server farms. Thanks to rapidly increasing Inter- net usage, the market for data centers, each of which, on average, uses about 500 servers, is growing at 10% per year. Collectively, these cen- ters account for 2.5% of total U.S. electricity de- mand “and that figure is expected to double in the next three to four years,” says Shuja. His solution? A looped “wick” that uses capil- lary force to pump heat away from hot spots on processors and graphic cards. Unlike the heat pipes that often cool today’s processors, which are circular and made of copper or nickel oxide, Shuja’s device is flat and is made of silicon, al- lowing it to cover — or perhaps eventually be- come — a processor’s shell. What’s more, his patented chemical etching technique can pro- duce millions of uniform, densely-packed pores per square centimeter. The result is that heat is channeled away so effectively that fans can po- tentially be downsized, thus cutting power de- mand and noise. “All in all,” says Shuja, “this new technology could enhance data center energy efficiency and opens the door to higher comput- ing power with the same volume.” Sensors and Savings. Siemens’ clean tech start-ups plug into the bigger picture of develop- ing energy-saving technologies for appliances and buildings and the efforts of government, ac- ademia, utilities and the entire private sector in California to provide solutions that will cut car- 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Fuel cells Hybrid systems Batteries Wind energy Solar energy 53% 13% 9% 7% 7% 4% 4% 3% Energy generation Transportation Recycling & waste Energy storage Energy infrastructure Agriculture Materials Other Share of US Green Tech Patents Clean Tech Investment Segments Source: California Green Innovation Index 2008, U.S. Patent &Trade Office, 1790 Analytics, Cleantech Network LLC Venture Capital Investment in Clean Technology, California by Cleantech Segment; Q1–Q2 2007 Patents by green technology: California share of U.S. green technology patents 26 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 27 Jackalyne Pfannen- stiel was appointed to the California Ener- gy Commission (CEC) on April 20, 2004, by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. She was named Chairman in June 2006. Ms. Pfannenstiel was an independent energy policy and strategy advisor with the CEC from 2001 to 2004. Previously, she was vice president for planning and strategy with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). Her earlier work was with the California Public Utilities Commission, where she served as a senior economist from 1978 until 1980. How California is Cutting Carbon Emissions What are you doing to reduce emissions in the transportation sector? Pfannenstiel:The state’s Clean Car Law requires a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles sold in California by 2016 in comparison to today’s average vehicle. With respect to fuels, Governor Schwarzenegger has initiated a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in California with a goal of reducing the carbon content of fuels by 10 percent. While a baseline has not yet been determined, the year 2006 has been recom- mended to the Air Resources Board as the comparison year. Which clean technologies could provide solutions in this sector? Pfannenstiel: Sustainable biofuels are a good option in the near term, because they are generally available and can achieve significant petroleum reduction and green- house gas reduction benefits. We’re excited about the proliferation of hybrid technology in transportation, and particularly about the prospects for plug-in hybrid vehicles to dramatically affect petroleum use. The State Alternative Fuels Plan recommends that 9 percent of California’s fuels come from electricity, biofuels, natural gas, hydrogen, and others by 2012, increasing to 11 percent by 2017, and finally to 26 percent by 2022. We also do a significant amount of research into technologies that can reduce transporta- tion emissions — for example, setting up a Plug-In Hybrid Research Center. A new law being implemented this year in California dramatically increases funding for programs to provide incentives for the development and use of alternative fuels in the state. Can biofuels be developed that will not destroy forests or drive up food prices? Pfannenstiel: Cellulosic ethanol production technology is relatively mature, with production costs similar to those of conventional fuels. We expect that a “proof of concept” cellulosic ethanol plant will be built in the state in the near future. This cellulosic ethanol will not drive up food prices, and can be derived from a variety of sources that will not destroy forests. What legislation is in the pipeline to make buildings more efficient? Pfannenstiel: Our latest update of building standards is expected to result in a 7-15 percent reduction in energy use in new homes and buildings built after the mid- 2009 effective date. With regard to appliance standards, the Energy Commission has been required to adopt new lighting standards by the end of the year aimed at reducing average residential lighting use in the state by 50 percent from 2007 levels, and by 25 percent from those levels in non-residential applications. What are the most promising technolo- gies you see on the horizon? Pfannenstiel: Solar energy is extremely promising in California. Distributed photo- voltaic systems, which require no transmission or land and that provide local grid support, have great promise — and California has a target of developing 3,000 MW of on-site solar by 2016. Desert-located, larger solar thermal electric facilities, which require trans- mission but can provide most of our electrical needs with storage, also have great promise. More recently, there has been immense inter- est in developing our desert solar resources. Contracts for over 30,000 MW of plants have been initiated with California and Federal authorities. The western United States also has extremely promising wind resources that have not been developed, largely because these resources require significant transmission investments to get the power to the areas where it is need- ed. Better energy storage technologies will be a critical piece of developing our solar and wind resources. Finally, while our near-term efforts are concentrated on renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, we believe that there is promise in carbon capture and sequestration technologies. These are important because much of our existing power infrastructure, from natural gas and coal resources, will remain in operation for some time to come. Eventually, we may need to retrofit these plants with technology to capture and sequester the carbon dioxide they produce. Interview conducted by Arthur F. Pease electricity meters and thermostats in 11 million California homes with wireless models that re- ceive localized, real-time energy-price informa- tion that is staggered from community to com- munity and blended with weather information,” say Prof. Paul K. Wright of UC Berkeley’s Mechan- ical Engineering Department and CITRIS acting director. The program also calls for wireless micro sen- sors developed at CITRIS to be adhesively ap- kWh, which would be enough to go 40 miles. To travel the same distance with gasoline, you’d need two gallons, which would cost you $7.” What’s more, Frank predicts that the difference in cost between gasoline, diesel and electricity will become wider as time goes on, increasing to “over ten to one within the next few years.” PHEVs would solve a range of problems. “With only 20% market penetration, they would level the load for power plants, making the en- tire power generation infrastructure more effi- cient, and thus lowering the cost of electricity,” explains Frank. And according to a January 2007 Pacific National Laboratory study, if every car in the U.S. were a PHEV, the current grid could sup- port more than three-quarters of them charging at night without building a single power plant. PHEVs also open the door to personal energy independence. “With less than ten square me- ters of today’s solar panels you could produce a tank of power in eight hours,” says Frank. That’s a proposition that makes sense for many envi- ronmentally-minded companies interested in re- ducing fleet costs and, eventually, in encourag- ing employee use of PHEVs. Plug-in hybrids also offer the potential of collectively storing the huge but unpredictable amounts of energy pro- duced by renewable sources, such as solar and wind farms. Finally, in a fully networked infra- structure, PHEVs could be equipped with dual- direction electricity meters, allowing them to buy and store energy from alternative sources, and then discharge it to a local grid for credit during periods of peak demand. Trained as a mechanical and aeronautical en- gineer, Frank holds 27 patents and has many more pending. He is also co-founder and CTO of Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. a Silicon Valley start-up that sees vast opportunities for its unique tech- nology in the Third World, where two- and three-wheeled PHEVs would not only reduce air and noise pollution, but ensure mobility. Venture capitalist Nazre of Kleiner Perkins agrees: “I think that the plug-in hybrid is the vi- sion that developing countries should go after. And if we combine PHEV technology with ad- vanced solar distributed power, at some point we will see an exponential curve where it will re- ally take off. Sure, we’re here to make money,” he adds, “but the most important thing we can do is to have a positive impact on the place we live — our planet.” Arthur F. Pease Incubating Businesses in Berkeley Anyone who’s ever seen the incubators in which premies are kept warm and fed would know in a flash how perfectly the “incubator” metaphor fits Siemens’ Technology-to-Business (TTB) Center near San Francisco. Just a stone’s throw from the campus of the University of California at Berkeley, and in the heart of the most vibrant venture capital market on earth, the TTB offers a warm and nourishing climate for budding businesses. “We now have 25 technology-based products and businesses, including 10 that are related to clean tech. Fourteen of the 25 were launched in the last three years,” says TTB President and CEO Dr. Stefan Heuser. TTB’s team of venture technologists continuously scouts universities, research labs, start-ups, conference proceedings, and other sources for innovative technologies. “What we’re look- ing for are technologies that are a good potential match with Siemens’ businesses,” says Heuser. An off- shoot of Siemens’ worldwide corporate R&D organization, TTB hires inventors, invests in early stage start- up companies, licenses IP, and helps to validate technologies and business cases. This either leads to prototypes ready for product development or venture-backed start-up companies on their way to becom- ing Siemens partners. For more, visit www.ttb.siemens.com/ Energy for Everyone | Clean Tech in California If 20% of cars in the U.S. were plug-in hybrids, they would level power plant loads and cut electricity costs. plied to major appliances in utility customers’ homes. Powered by ambient vibrations and equipped with LEDs, the sensors will provide on- the-spot feedback as to when power is at a pre- mium. Other sensors now being tested will de- tect human presence through changes in air motion and humidity, wirelessly adjust lighting and climate control systems accordingly, and will optimize these based on learning algo- rithms. “By making consumers aware of the cost of electricity from hour to hour, and optimizing energy use in every home, we expect this tech- nology to eliminate the need for five to ten new power plants over the next decade in California alone,” says Wright. A Tank of Sunlight. Just as the CICS has come up with a kind of global vision for cutting resi- dential electricity use, Prof. Andrew Frank, direc- tor of the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Research Center at the University of California at Davis has devel- oped a global answer for transportation: it’s called the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). Very simply, a PHEV is a hybrid with an extension cord. PHEVs use lithium-ion batteries that typi- cally store 10 kWhs. Unlike today’s gasoline-elec- tric hybrids that merely extend the range of a tank of gas, PHEVs that are now on the drawing boards of major auto manufacturers will be able to travel 40 miles on a “tank” of electricity. Forty miles is important — at least in the U.S. — be- cause it’s the average distance traveled per day. Any additional miles would require old-fash- ioned gasoline or cellulosic ethanol produced from nonfood sources, including a variety of or- ganic, industrial, and domestic waste products. What’s amazing about Frank’s proposal — he has testified before the U.S. Congress and is in- ternationally recognized as the “father of the plug-in hybrid” — is its extraordinary simplicity. “Here in California, a kWh of electricity goes for 10 cents. That’s enough to carry an average American car equipped with a PHEV drivetrain 4 miles,” he explains. “So you’d pay $1 for ten Ideal for commuting, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) can travel 60 km on an 8-hour charge of sunlight. Some employers, including Google (below) are already investing in this vision of the future. Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 29 | Building Automation dows, plumbing fittings and lighting systems, and making use of building automation systems will save the CMHA around $50 million over the next 12 years. Associated energy savings will add up to almost 8,400 tons of CO 2 and more than 250,000 barrels of crude oil. Although regulatory requirements often set the stage for energy conservation, rising energy prices are the most fundamental trigger. Build- ing managers today are truly amazed by how lit- tle it takes to reduce energy and operating costs by as much as 20 percent. “Operators of big buildings generally don’t re- alize how much energy they’re wasting,” says Thomas Baum, head of Energy Optimization Ser- vices at BT. “In order to understand, they need comparative data.” Siemens develops this infor- mation with the help of a site visit and the public data on similar buildings. A Web-based energy management program is used to process the J ust about everyone’s heard of bosses who turn down the heat and turn off lights. These days, however, energy conservation is more than just a question of pinching pennies; in view of climate change, it’s become an urgent necessity. What’s more, it also pays significant financial dividends. For the past 30 years or so, most big buildings have been equipped with automation systems for monitoring and regu- lating a variety of complex equipment, ranging from heating to fire alarms and elevators. The potential for savings here is enormous, as buildings account for around 40 percent of total energy consumption and 21 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide (see Pic- tures of the Future,Spring 2007, p. 83). So it’s not surprising that the European Union has is- sued a directive governing overall energy effi- ciency in buildings (see box, p. 30). The energy conservation wave has also hit the U.S., where Siemens Building Technologies (BT) is a mem- ber of the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI). The initiative’s Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program is designed to make private and public building owners more aware of the need to modernize their building systems. “With its global presence, broad range of environmental- ly friendly building systems technology, and ex- tensive expertise, Siemens is ideally suited to support the CCI,” says Bob Dixon, vice president of BT in the U.S., who is responsible for BT’s worldwide energy and environment activities. Minor Improvements, Major Savings. In re- cent years BT has modernized automation sys- tems in approximately 1,500 buildings in the U.S. For example, in Cleveland, Ohio, Siemens has renovated more than 200 apartments and buildings belonging to the Cuyahoga Metropoli- tan Housing Authority (CMHA). Replacing win- Austria’s Feldkirch hospital — as well as a clinic in Aalst, Belgium (inset) keep their CO 2 emissions to a minimum thanks to a package of energy-saving measures. Buildings with Brains High energy consumption in buildings is not only wasteful, but relatively easy to overcome. A growing focus on automation is helping to achieve substantial savings in new office high-rises, swimming pools, and schools. T he sea is a source of inspiration not only for poets and thinkers, but also for young in- ventors who have set their sights on sustain- ability. Take Aaron Goldin, for example. A Har- vard student from California, Aaron has developed a buoy-based wave power plant that converts wave power into electrical energy us- ing a gyroscope. This has several advantages: the system is watertight and mobile, and it does not contain environmentally harmful liq- uids. Three years ago, when Aaron was 17, he was honored for his invention with the top in- dividual prize and $100,000 in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. Ayon Sen, a 17-year-old regional finalist in last year’s competition, also achieved success with a climate protection project. He used mathematical methods to investigate the boundary surface phenomena of ocean cur- rents, which have a major effect on the cli- mate. And two years ago a prize-winning team from Tennessee caused a stir with an informa- tion technology project for the cost-effective production of bio-ethanol. The Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology will celebrate its 10th year in the U.S. and is well-established as a research competition that is reported on by the media. The number of participants increases with each award. Last year, over 1,600 students regis- tered. U.S. governors and senators frequently pay tribute to the winners. Even First Lady Lau- ra Bush recently honored the recent winners at the White House. Since 2007, this successful concept has also been implemented by Siemens in Germany. Getting Excited about Science Each year, pioneering ideas from the fields of mathematics, natural sciences and technology are honored in Siemens school competitions in the U.S. and Germany. The slogan for this year’s German competition was “Climate Change.” Energy for Everyone | School Competitions “Our goal is to get young people excited about technology and science, and to discover and promote talented individuals as early on as possible,” says Christa Mühlbauer from Siemens Corporate Citizenship, who is the proj- ect manager for the competition. The shortage of engineers in Germany shows that action needs to be taken. Siemens believes that ad- dressing this issue is a social challenge. Climate Change. In contrast to the competi- tion in the United States., German students in classes 11 to 13 are given a predefined re- search topic. Says Mühlbauer, “The slogan should be up-to-date and socially relevant, but it also should be relevant to the company.” And this year’s topic, which is “Climate Change,” was a big hit. “The response has far exceeded our expectations,” says Mühlbauer. Almost 800 students applied, both individually and in small teams. In all, around 400 topics were ex- plored. In particular, many students addressed topics on the research areas hydrogen technol- ogy, biogas, solar energy, and carbon dioxide storage. Many unusual topics can be found among those submitted. For example, one project in- vestigates whether the energy generated by billions of pedestrians on sidewalks around the world can be made usable via piezoelectric generators. Unusual approaches are actively encour- aged, explains Christa Mühlbauer. After all, in the advertisement for the competition, stu- dents were asked to give free rein to their fan- tasy. The task of the contest’s independent jury of experts is to select the cream of the climate protection ideas. Ten renowned scientists from Siemens partner universities, the Technical Universities (TU) of Munich and Berlin and Aachen University, have been involved in de- ciding which projects are worthy of a prize. The winners were selected in April, 2008. They were Rosa Meyer and Christine Mauelsha- gen from Hollenberg High School in North Rhine-Westphalia, who examined how the use of solar energy could cut CO 2 emissions in their local area. Their award-winning study earned them €30,000 in prize money. “We will be awarding a total of €111,000 in prize money, some of which will also go to the departments of the supervising teachers,” re- ports Mühlbauer. The winning students can fi- nance their studies with their prizes and also make a name for themselves in scientific circles before they even enter a university. Hopefully, the prize-winners and their in- ventions will trigger a wave of enthusiasm in industry and business — and go on to prove their potential for climate protection in prac- tice.Andrea Hoferichter 28 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 The 2008 German competition focused on climate change. The first place win- ners (above right) examined how solar energy could cut carbon dioxide emissions. Adjacent are the U.S. prize winners. Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 31 than 6,500 buildings around the world, and has won several awards for its work. The European Energy Service Initiative, for example, named the modernization project for the Brigittenau in- door swimming pool in Vienna, Austria, the Best European Energy Service Project in 2007. Built in 1983, Brigittenau now benefits from annual savings of more than €200,000 on heat- ing and water costs, and approximately 600 tons less CO 2 emissions per year — savings of 45 and 60 percent respectively. All of this re- quired replacing equipment, including the wa- ter treatment unit, the ventilation systems, the fixtures, and the lighting systems. Siemens also installed a new building management system that monitors and regulates all the facilities and equipment. “We’ve substantially reduced heat losses and cut water use by almost half,” says Oskar Böck of BT in Vienna. The facility’s building manage- plaints than before. In the end, all these meas- ures reduced energy consumption by more than 30 percent — and CO 2 emissions by more than 920 tons per year. In addition, the costs of the energy analysis and customized system pro- gramming were amortized in less than a year without need for any new equipment. Investments that Pay for Themselves. A second commissioning isn’t enough for older buildings, however. That’s because the equip- ment in such buildings isn’t efficient enough to operate economically. Replacing the equipment requires a high level of initial investment — but this finances itself through energy-performance contracting, in which the costs are more than covered by the savings achieved. Take, for ex- ample, a customer with annual energy costs of €200,000. Siemens guarantees a 25-percent saving, i.e. €50,000 per year. Over the term of a ten-year contract, that makes €500,000 avail- able for optimization measures and accompany- ing energy services — without the customer having to pay a cent. Siemens has already im- plemented nearly 2,000 such contracts in more ment system monitors all processes, ensuring that waste is avoided. “The pool attendant used to filter the water according to his or her own feeling, then check to see if it was clean enough,” Böck explains. “Now there are sensors that measure water purity, and filtering — and associated data management — are performed automatically.” The water and air temperatures, as well as the ventilation process, are continual- ly monitored and controlled. In addition, a new solar power unit can be used to heat pool or shower water as needed. “As with all swimming pools in Vienna, the base temperature is achieved using district heating,” says Böck. The result is heat savings of 66 percent and a 45- percent reduction in water consumption. Surplus Savings. Brigittenau’s energy perform- ance contracting will run for ten years, and the associated investment of €1.4 million will be paid off through the guaranteed annual savings of €200,000. “Our savings actually exceed the guar- anteed figure, and we’re currently talking to the technical director of the Vienna public swimming pools about how to invest the extra money in ad- ditional energy-saving equipment and systems,” says Böck. “So energy-performance contracting is a way to enable urgently needed investment, es- pecially in the public sector.” To date, Siemens has modernized 24 swimming pools throughout Europe within the framework of such contracts (see p. 69). “Buildings are a key factor in production to- day,” says Hass. “And like any other production factor, they also need to deliver maximum pro- ductivity.” With this in mind, Hass is confident that additional investment in building technolo- gy and energy services will soon become the norm for all large public and private buildings. Katrin Nikolaus Vienna’s Brigittenau swimming pool is one of the most energy-efficient in Europe. A building manage- ment system controls all of the facility’s technology — from sauna to water quality (pictures below). 30 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Energy for Everyone | Building Automation Energy-Efficient Building Automation In January 2008, the European Union officially pledged to reduce CO 2 emissions by at least 20 percent from 1990 levels by the year 2020. Several EU countries, such as France, Sweden, and Germany, have already passed legislation calling for even larger reductions. Back in 2002, the EU put into effect the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). A key stipulation of this directive requires development of a standardized model for calculating the overall energy efficiency of build- ings. To this end, the EU commissioned the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) to define standards for these calculations. Experts from Siemens Building Technologies were able to convince the CEN to include the effects of building automation and management systems in a dedicated stan- dard. “Initially, everyone was thinking about the building shell and individual technical systems like lighting, ventilation, and heating,” says Ulrich Wirth of Siemens Building Technologies, who chairs the CEN / TC247 technical committee for building automation. The fact is, however, that it’s generally faster and less costly to automate building systems than it is to insulate building shells, for example. What’s more, automation leads to a surprisingly high level of energy savings. In order to assess the energy efficiency of buildings, in July 2007, the TC247 committee introduced a standard defining four categories of automation systems. Category D comprises systems that are not energy efficient. Category C corresponds to the standard; category B refers to more advanced systems; and category A comprises highly efficient systems. Efficiency factors for thermal and elec- trical energy for the four efficiency categories are determined based on standardized user profiles for different buildings such as offices, hotels, schools, restaurants, and hospitals. This procedure reveals impressive potential savings. During the construction or renovation planning stage, for in- stance, a contractor can quickly and accurately determine which automation functions can put his building into a higher efficiency class. If, for example, an air conditioning system in a building with many different users is not regulated in accordance with demand, the building automation system’s CO 2 footprint would not measure up to efficiency category A. The directive will be effective thanks to a standardized European certification system. The first products, such as individual room controllers, have already been certified and marked with a logo that confirms their high energy efficiency. and at night, and in all four seasons. His mea- surements revealed that the heat was turned up high on spring and fall mornings, but many of the rooms were already being cooled down again by midday. Demeyer also measured the ef- fect medical equipment had on room tempera- ture, and then wrote algorithms for the climate control system to ensure it would adjust climate in accordance with a given room’s use and the direction it faced. “You can’t do that with a stan- dard program, of course; you have to tailor it to the building and setup in question,” says Demey- data from different locations and years to make it comparable. “This tool can, for example, reveal that a department store’s outlet in Cologne uses much more energy than its counterpart in Munich. Then, with support from Siemens’ ener- gy experts, an analysis can identify the causes of the discrepancy,” Baum explains. Regardless of their age, many buildings are operated with systems that are not optimally set up and not matched to one another at all. “That’s not surprising,” says Wolfgang Hass, who is responsible for Development and Innovation at BT, “since the manner in which individual rooms are used after construction of a building has been completed often deviates from what was originally planned. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems have not been adapted accordingly.” Climate-Friendly Clinic. According to Hass, until recently, little attention was paid to the op- timal adjustment of systems after a building was handed over to the operator. “Building operators usually didn’t budget for that type of work.” To- day, Hass says, a “second commissioning” of a building can generate major savings. Siemens offers such second commissioning worldwide in the form of its Energy Optimization Services (EOS) package. Energy expert Frederiek Demeyer of BT in Belgium explains how this works in an ideal case, using as an example a clinic at a general hospital that was opened in the city of Aalst, Bel- gium in 2000. “The clinic building and its win- dows were well insulated, and the heating sys- tem appeared to have the proper settings,” says Demeyer, describing his first impression. Never- perature sensors. The water used by the air con- ditioning system for cooling purposes had previ- ously always had a temperature of six degrees Celsius. But that was unnecessary in bad weath- er. Now the temperature of the cooling water is automatically set to ten degrees on cold days, for example. “We save three percent on energy costs for every degree,” says Demeyer. The “human factor” also played a big role in the Aalst project, as all users used to be able to manually raise or lower the temperature in any room by three degrees. “The temperature set- ting then stayed the same until it was changed by someone else,” explains Demeyer, who cut the alteration range in half to 1.5 degrees, but without changing the scale information on the controllers. He also programmed all controllers to reset themselves to the average temperature at midnight. The result was that everyone felt more comfortable, and there were fewer com- Energy use at a clinic in Aalst, Belgium was cut by 30 percent. Costs were amortized in less than one year. theless, the clinic’s technical director said em- ployees and patients often complained that it was too warm or too cold, and the hospital’s ad- ministration felt operating costs were too high. Demeyer analyzed one north-facing and one south-facing room on each of the clinic’s three floors and in the basement — during the day er, who also teaches Energy Management and Automation at the University College of West Flanders. Demeyer also recalibrated the air con- ditioning unit’s control system, which previously operated using a predefined water temperature setting with no regard to the external tempera- ture. That system is now linked to outside tem- Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 33 Energy for Everyone | Turbine Materials 32 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 In a Siemens factory in Mülheim an der Ruhr, scientists prepare turbine materials for ultra-high temperatures (left). Gigantic steam turbines will one day have to withstand over 700 degrees Celsius. Preparing for a Fiery Future To achieve 50 percent efficiency and cut environmental impact, tomorrow‘s coal-fired power plants will use hotter steam. Testing turbine materials at hellish tem- peratures and centrifugal forces is part of the picture. I n a materials lab at Siemens’ Fossil Power Generation Division in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany, metals die a slow death. Weights drag relentlessly at rods made of new alloys, while material fatigue and corrosion race at time-lapse speeds. Materials specialist Hans Hanswillemenke indicates a test behind a plexi- glass sheet, where a pencil-thin metal rod clamped at each end glows a dull red. “That will break in a few days,” he says. The experiment is relentless — and that’s as it should be. After all, it’s better if the metals fail in the lab than later, after they’ve been forged to form steam turbine shafts a meter or more in diameter and are enduring enormous centrifugal forces and temperatures of 700 degrees Celsius. This metallic martyrdom is helping engi- neers prepare for the coal-fired power station of the future, which should be much more efficient and use as little fuel as possible in order to keep atmospheric emissions to a minimum. The need for action is urgent. On average, the world’s coal-fired power plants consume 480 grams of That’s equivalent to a service life of more than 25 years. “We are confident that we can achieve this goal with 700 degrees,” he says. “However, we still have to prove it.” There are good practical reasons why de- signers are determined to leap from 600 to 700 degrees and 285 to 350 bar pressure. “Above 600 degrees, we have to use new materials anyway; traditional metals just wouldn’t be able to withstand the temperatures,” says Pfitzinger. “And we want to make as much use as possible of these materials, so we’re going to go straight to 700 degrees.” The higher pres- sure is necessary to optimize efficiency. The ob- jective is to increase efficiency by four percent- age points over that achieved at 600 degrees, and to cut coal consumption by six to seven percent, thus also reducing CO 2 emissions. Exotic Mix.By new materials, Pfitzinger means nickel alloys, which are a sophisticated mix of high-strength metals like nickel and chromium, with only a pinch of iron. Such al- 2015. Such an efficient power plant would consume only 288 grams of coal per kilowatt- hour, and thus produce only 669 grams of CO 2 . Such a step would have significant conse- quences because each percentage point in im- proved efficiency — if applied to all coal burn- ing power plants — translates into 260 million tons less CO 2 each year . Ordeal by Fire. To achieve this ambitious goal, turbine materials will have to be able to survive extraordinary stresses. A glance at any physics book reveals the principle behind the heat engine — and that’s exactly what a fossil- fuel-fired power plant is. It turns out that the useful energy produced by such plants is deter- mined by the difference between the tempera- ture source and the temperature sink. In other words, the steam entering the turbine should be as hot as possible and the steam leaving it as cool as possible. The blades then have the maximum available energy to convert into ro- tational energy, which is fed into the generator. As a result, the steam temperature needs to be increased from the level currently found in the best power plants (around 600 degrees Cel- sius) to 700 degrees Celsius — the temperature to which the metals are being subjected in the Mülheim laboratory. Only then will it become possible to achieve 50 percent efficiency. “Tem- perature is the key factor,” says Ernst-Wilhelm Pfitzinger, the project manager in charge of de- veloping the 700-degree turbine in Mülheim. But as Werner-Holger Heine, head of Product Line Management for Steam Turbines, is only too aware, the situation is complex. For a steam turbine, customers demand a working lifetime of at least 200,000 hours, he says. coal to produce a kilowatt-hour of electricity. In doing so, they release between 1,000 and 1,200 grams of CO 2 into the air, or some eight billion tons a year. One of the most efficient coal-fired power plants in the world, the Block Waigaoqiao III in China, for which Siemens de- livered two 1,000-megawatt turbines, burns only 320 grams of coal per kilowatt-hour, and thus emits only 761 grams of CO 2 . In a project led by Trianel Power-Projektge- sellschaft, Siemens is building a comparable power plant for a consortium of 27 city utilities on a site at Lünen in northern Germany. The plant is scheduled to go into operation by 2012. However, with an efficiency of around 46 percent, these power plants are not good enough for Siemens Fossil Power Generation Division and the power plant operators. Their aim is to achieve 50 percent efficiency by loys are expensive. After processing — a painstaking process — they cost five to ten times as much as the chromium steel used to- day. That’s not exactly peanuts in a turbine re- quiring some 200 tons of the metal alloys. To reduce material costs, the turbine need not be made entirely of nickel alloy, but instead can be composed of different alloys depending on the temperatures different areas are sub- jected to. For example, the inner and outer housings are to be thermally separated by a layer of cooler steam, so that normal steel will be adequate for the outside, which will have to withstand a temperature of 550 degrees. In ad- dition, the meter-thick shaft can be forged in several pieces, with the nickel alloy only being employed in the hottest area. But even this concept creates new chal- lenges, including how to deal with different Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 3534 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Energy for Everyone | Turbine Materials Turbines that Dwarf other Engines You might think that the new Airbus A380 is relatively large. Take its engine, for example, which has a rotor diameter of almost three me- ters and is 4.5 meters in length, making it the biggest in the world. But at Siemens’ steam tur- bine and generator factory in Mülheim an der Ruhr, you would scarcely notice the mighty A380 engines. Housings belonging to steam turbines twice that size are awaiting assembly here. Close by is a giant wheel that might look like the compressor blades of an airplane engine but is disproportionately larger. Covering 30 square meters, the turbine blade has a diameter of 6.7 meters. At 320 tons total weight, the complete rotor is the largest and heaviest in the world (picture above on this page). The finished steam-turbine set is destined for power genera- tion in a European pressurized water reactor (EPR) that is being built by Areva NP, a company in which Siemens has a minority share of 34 percent, in Olkiluoto, Finland. The project con- sortium also includes the Siemens Energy Fossil Division (for conventional plant components). The complete steam-turbine set tips the scales at over 5,000 tons and boasts a world-record output of 1,600 megawatts. Demands on heat resistance, however, are not as high as in 600-degree or 700- degree power plants. That’s because at temperatures of no more than 300 degrees Celsius the satu- rated steam from an EPR is much cooler than the steam in a coal-fired power plant, while, at 70 bar, the pressure is much lower too. However, the centrifugal force at the 340 kg blades reaches around 1,500 tons at 1,500 rpm. Combined-cycle plants, in which the exhaust heat from a gas turbine generates steam for several other turbines, are not far behind. Siemens is currently building the largest combined-cycle power plant in the world in Irsching in Upper Bavaria. With an efficiency of over 60 percent, it is also the most efficient (Pictures of the Future, Fall 2007, p. 54). The steam in the plant’s low-pressure turbine cools down to under 30 degrees Celsius and in doing so takes up such a large volume that the last two rows of blades, which are made of titanium, need to have a cross- sectional area of 16 square meters each (above). That too is a world record for so-called high-speed steam turbine sets, which turn at the remarkable speed of 3,000 rpm. heat expansion coefficients. In addition, the necessary casting, forging, milling, and testing methods for manufacturing and processing the heat-resistant material have yet to be devel- oped — at least for steam turbine components weighing several tons. The production process used for gas tur- bines, where the use of nickel alloys has long been standard, doesn’t help here. “We can’t simply copy the process,” says Pfitzinger. Gas turbines are delicate in comparison to coal tur- bines and can be built using completely differ- ent techniques. What’s more, although at over 1,400 degrees their temperatures are very high, their pressures are comparatively low, at around 20 bar. To jump from 600 to 700 degrees is no small achievement. In fact, no individual man- The first 700-degree power plant will cost around €1 billion, but will cut CO 2 emissions significantly. Twice as big as an Airbus A380 turbine, the steam-turbine rotor being manufactured in Siemens’ Mülheim an der Ruhr factory is the biggest and heaviest in the world. 1,200 1,000 800 600 400 200 0 500 400 300 200 100 0 1,115 g CO 2 /kWh 480 g coal/kWh Global average EU-wide average Technology available today 880 g CO 2 /kWh 379 g coal/kWh 727 g CO 2 /kWh 313 g coal/kWh 669 g CO 2 /kWh 288 g coal/kWh Specific CO 2 emissions [g CO 2 /kWh]* Specific coal consumption [g coal/kWh]* Mean data for coal-fired power plants (source: VGB) related to a median calorific value of 25 MJ/kg Lünen coal-fired plant * ** Net efficiency: 30 % 38 % 50 % Steam power plant with 700 °C tech- nology (2014) The problem of naming such power plants will certainly be easier than developing their technologies. Because water converts directly into steam at pressures of over 221 bar, design- ers characterized modern power plants as “over-critical” in line with this physical phenom- enon. That not only sounds unnecessarily threatening; it also requires some mental acro- batics in terms of finding names. At temperatures from 600 to 620 degrees Celsius engineers refer to “ultra-supercritical.” For the 700-degree class, there is no designa- tion yet — let alone for anything beyond that. But Heine isn’t interested in the next name combination of “hyper,” “ultra” or “super.” “At present, plants with temperatures of 760 or even 800 degrees are in the realm of fantasy,“ he says.Bernd Müller ufacturer could handle this task alone —which is why producers, plant manufacturers, and en- ergy suppliers have formed a number of con- sortia, within which they are developing the 700-degree technology. These include: ➔ COMTES700. A “Component Test Facility for a 700°C Power Plant” is supported by the Euro- pean Union. The European Association of Po- wer and Heat Generators (VGB Power Tech) is coordinating a dozen international project partners, including Siemens. Since 2005, the 30-year-old F Block at the E.ON coal-fired Scholven power plant in Gelsenkirchen, Ger- many has been in operation using components ➔ NRWPP700. The “North Rhine-Westphalia 700°C Power Plant” is a pre-engineering study by ten European energy suppliers, in which no- thing is being built or tested. Instead, the focus is on technical design concepts for the boiler, pipe work, and other components of a 500-me- gawatt power plant. The feasibility of their transfer to commercial coal and lignite-fired plants of the 1,000-megawatt-class is also being evaluated. ➔ 50plus. Based on the results of preliminary projects, E.ON wants to put the first "real" 700- degree power plant into operation in Wilhelms- haven in 2014. To achieve at least 50 percent also developing a process for the separation of CO 2 downstream from conventional power plants. In the future, it will be possible to fit ex- isting and new power plants with this technol- ogy. The development of more efficient coal- fired power plants could thus become an exciting race between different concepts. In any event, Siemens will be part of it. And what does the future hold in store? “That depends not only on technological devel- opments, but also on political decisions and legislation,” says Balling. “That’s because the development and realization of innovative CO 2 concepts need support.” that could one day be used in a 700-degree po- wer plant. These include a test boiler, main steam lines, and other components currently operating at temperatures of 700 degrees Cel- sius, including a nickel alloy turbine valve made by Siemens. The old turbine is not affected by efficiency, E.ON plans to preheat the combus- tion air and use seawater, which cools more ef- fectively, for cooling — hence the location of the plant in a coastal city. Construction of the 500-megawatt block is expected to start in 2010. CO 2 Emissions in Coal-Fired Power Plants As efficiency increases, coal consumption drops and carbon dioxide emissions decline. any of this. After passing through the test sec- tion, the steam is cooled to 520 degrees Celsius to avoid potential damage. Says Siemens turbi- ne expert Dr. Holger Kirchner, “A recent inspec- tion of the valve was very positive.” The test is due to continue until 2009. But 700-degree power plants are not yet an economical proposition. Today, a power plant in the 600-degree Celsius/800-megawatt class costs over €1,700 per kilowatt. 50plus will cost €1 billion, which will drive costs up to €2,000 per installed kilowatt. 50plus has therefore been essentially designed as a demonstration plant for future series-produced power sta- tions. "When things get uneconomical, cus- tomers are no longer interested," says Heine. But considering the increasing costs of raw ma- terials and CO 2 levies, savings will be possible due to the plant’s improved efficiency, even al- lowing for the 10 to 15 percent higher costs of a series-produced 700-degree power plant. Competing Concepts. The new 700° technol- ogy will compete with other technologies, such as IGCC power plants, in which coal and other fuels, such as oil and asphalt, are converted into syngas and fed into a gas and steam-tur- bine power plant (Pictures of the Future, Spring 2007, p.91). “Today, with modern gas turbines, we achieve efficiency levels of up to 46 per- cent,” says Lothar Balling, head of the Steam Power Plants and Emerging Plant Solutions unit at Siemens’ Fossil Power Generation Division in Erlangen. “By 2020 improvements will enable efficiencies of up to 51 percent without CO 2 separation with our H-class gas turbines.” Several IGCC plants are already in operation, including coal gasification plants in refineries, which produce hydrogen-rich syngas for chem- ical processes. Economically speaking, the IGCC power plants that Siemens is developing for power generation purposes are still at a disad- vantage compared with conventional coal-fired power plants. IGCC can, however, become real- ly competitive if CO 2 is made to play an eco- nomic role, for example through the introduc- tion of a CO 2 tax or use of the gas in old oil fields to further improve their yield. The tech- nology of CO 2 separation from syngas down- stream of a gasification unit already exists and is used in the petrochemicals industry. This technology allows CO 2 emissions to be reduced by over 85 percent to under 100 grams per kilowatt-hour. Together with E.ON, Siemens is 46 %** Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 37 Energy for Everyone | CO 2 Separation 36 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Siemens scientists at the company’s test plant in Freiberg, Germany (below), are developing coal gasifiers (right) and investigating how different types of coal behave during the gasification process. C oal is experiencing a boom. The reasons for this are clear: a growing population and exploding demand for energy. In addition, many countries have their own substantial re- serves of coal, making them independent of other sources of energy. Apart from this, the coal market is charac- terized by a very stable price structure. While prices for crude oil and natural gas have dou- bled in the past three years, the price for hard coal has increased by only around 20 percent. The drawback to this development is plainly ev- ident: per kilowatt hour generated, the CO 2 emissions from coal-fired power plants are al- most twice as high as those produced by natu- ral gas-fired combined cycle power plants. Nevertheless, at this point in time, the glob- al economy cannot do without coal. Around 40 percent of the world’s power is generated in coal-fired power plants — and in China the fig- ure is over 70 percent. In 2006 in China alone, 174 coal-fired power plants in the 500 megawatt-class were connected to the grid. If methods of separating carbon dioxide from other gases generated by the combustion of coal: coal gasification in Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plants with separation before the combustion stage (pre-combustion capture), separation of the CO 2 from the flue gas be- yond a conventional steam power plant (post- combustion capture), and the oxyfuel-process intended for steam power plants. With the oxyfuel concept, instead of using air — as in conventional steam power plants — coal or natural gas are burned with pure oxy- gen. This prevents large amounts of nitrogen, which makes up three-quarters of the volume of atmospheric air, from being needlessly added to the process and then forming nitro- gen oxides during combustion. The flue gas produced is composed mostly of carbon diox- which CO 2 could be separated. Siemens, after all, has been involved in the development of optimized IGCC concepts for years now.” As long ago as the 1990s, IGCC power plants were built in Puertollano, Spain, and Buggenum, in the Netherlands — where Siemens supplied the power plant section and assisted in the integration of the plants — as well as in Tampa, Florida, and Wabash, Indiana, in the United States. “These plants all demon- strate the feasibility of the IGCC concept. In those days, CO 2 separation wasn’t even on the agenda,” adds Schmid. The reasons for the fact that there are not yet any large-scale low-CO 2 power plants in op- eration are many and varied. Guido Schuld, the worldwide FutureGen Initiative, which is planning to realize a 275-megawatt plant by 2012. Plans call for storing at least one million tons of CO 2 from this power plant annually in deep-lying saline aquifers. E.ON UK is similarly considering construction of an IGCC power plant with CO 2 separation, possibly at a loca- tion close to the coast. Locations like these offer the possibility of storing CO 2 in crude oil deposits in the North Sea, thereby improving oil extraction. “In IGCC power plants without CO 2 separa- tion, our technology makes it possible to achieve an efficiency of over 40 percent,” says Schuld. “But in IGCC plants with CO 2 separa- tion, efficiency is generally lower. For econom- The first IGCC coal-fired power plants with integrated CO 2 separation are due to enter service in 2012. Coal’s Cleaner Outlook Coal will continue to be a cornerstone of the world’s energy supply for years to come. New technologies are being developed to rid power plant flue gases of carbon dioxide, thus vastly diminishing the environmental impact of our most abundant fossil fuel. conditions around the world don’t change, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that global consumption of coal will increase by 73 percent between 2005 and 2030. That means that it is now more essential than ever for utilities, as well as the companies that build power plants, to design and operate coal-fired plants in the most environmentally friendly way possible. “In order to cut CO 2 emis- sions, it is necessary to increase the efficiency of existing and new power plants on the one hand, and to separate carbon dioxide from power plant emissions and reliably sequester it on the other,” explains Dr. Christiane Schmid, of Business Development at Siemens Fuel Gasi- fication Technology GmbH in Freiberg, Ger- many, a part of Siemens’ Fossil Power Genera- tion Division. For several years now, ambitious efforts have been under way worldwide to realize what is called Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology (see p. 40). Depending on the type of power plant, there are three distinct ide and water vapor. By simply cooling and condensing the water, the CO 2 can then be separated. With a view to refining this process, power plant operator E.ON has set up a pilot oxyfuel plant in Ratcliff, England. And later this year, power plant operator Vattenfall intends to establish an oxyfuel pilot plant near Dresden, with Siemens supplying all of the plant’s con- trol systems. Tested Technology.In developing the tech- nology, Siemens has focused on the first two approaches, that is, pre- and post-combustion CO 2 capture. “There are big differences in the current stage of technological development of the three methods. Only the IGCC technology has so far been adequately tested, and there are numerous application examples of CO 2 sep- aration from syngas in the gas-processing in- dustry,” explains Schmid. “We could start im- mediately with building a full-scale plant in Managing Director of Siemens Fuel Gasification Technology GmbH, points out that: “There are neither legal nor political frameworks in place — and that is true particularly for the seques- tration of CO 2 . For another thing, the cost situ- ation is not clear for our customers, because it is difficult to project just how expensive IGCC with CO 2 -separation is actually going to be.” As a result of all these uncertainties, it will likely be several years before the first IGCC power plant with carbon dioxide separation is built. German companies are gearing up to play a leading role here. Power plant operator RWE is planning to put a 360-megawatt plant into service in 2014, and it is budgeting around one billion euros for the plant’s construction. In the future, approxi- mately 2.3 million tons of CO 2 are to be sepa- rated there for sequestration in empty gas fields or aquifers. In the U.S., German power plant operator E.ON is one of 12 members of ic reasons, a high level of plant availability is extremely important to our customers as well. This is why our new technologies are being subjected to an extended test phase before we launch them on the market.” Schuld points to the gasifier and the gas tur- bine as key technologies for IGCC. They form part of the Siemens portfolio, with gasifier technology having been added in mid-2006. At that time, according to Schuld, Siemens ac- quired “an absolute jewel,” which is today Siemens Fuel Gasification Technology GmbH in Freiberg, near Dresden. Until 1990 it belonged to the German Fuel Institute. In the early 1970s, in order to use brown coal, the East German government invested in the development of gasification technology. At that time, what was known as the “dry feed system” began to take shape as an ideal solu- tion — and today this is proving to be a deci- sive competitive edge. The reason is that with 38 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 39 Energy for Everyone | CO 2 Separation How IGCC with CO 2 Separation Works In the IGCC process, the conversion of coal into power can be combined with upstream CO 2 separa- tion. First, coal is converted into a combustible raw gas in a gasifier, at temperatures of between 1,400 and 1,800 °C under pressure. The gas, which is mainly composed of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydro- gen (H 2 ), is then coarsely cleaned and the carbon monoxide is converted, with the help of water va- por, into CO 2 and H 2 in what is called a “shift reactor.” In the next step, sulfur compounds and CO 2 are separated out by means of a chemical or physical scrubbing process. The CO 2 is then compressed and transported to a sequestration area. Separation rates as high as 95 percent are projected. The remain- ing hydrogen is then mixed with nitrogen from the air and burned in the gas turbine, which is con- nected to an electricity generator. The fuel gas, which is rich in hydrogen, requires specially designed burners that must be able to maintain stable, low-nitrogen oxide combustion. Siemens has acquired experience totaling more than 400,000 operating hours in the combustion of hydrogen-rich fuel gases in various commercial plants. The hot flue gases — and above all atmospheric nitrogen and water va- por — are also used for steam generation. The steam, just as in a classic combined cycle power plant, drives a steam turbine and a second electricity generator. How a Coal Gasifier Reactor Works Fuel gasification takes place in a cylindrical reaction cham- ber at temperatures above the coal-ash fusion temperature. Finely-ground fuel is intro- duced with a mixture of oxy- gen, and steam if required, via a burner at the head of the re- actor. Within a few seconds the mixture is converted into raw syngas consisting mainly of CO, H 2 , CO 2 , and H 2 O. Part of the liquid clinker solidifies on the cooled wall of the reac- tion chamber and thus forms a protective coating. In the quenching chamber, under- neath the reaction chamber, syngas and liquid clinker are cooled by water injection. So- lidified clinker granules are re- moved via a material lock at the foot of the quenching chamber. this process, almost all types of coal can be used for gasification. Alternatively, coal can be injected into the gasifier in a watery emulsion, which means the ground fuel first has to be mixed with water. “This technology is suitable for expensive anthracite and hard coals, but not at all for brown coal or other coals with low calorific values,” explains Schuld. “But it is pre- cisely these low-grade coal types that are avail- able in large quantities in emerging countries such as China and India, and in the U.S. and Australia as well. Demand for Siemens’ gasifier technology is particularly strong among cus- tomers in these countries.” Omnivorous Plants.Just how great this com- petitive edge is becomes clearer when we look at the service life of an IGCC power plant. “By the time a customer decides on a gasification plant, he has calculated its anticipated operat- ing costs over a period of between 20 and 25 years,” Schuld points out. “However, a fixed- price delivery contract for coal can be secured for only a few years. Where the coal later comes from, what type it will be, and what it will cost is something nobody can determine in advance. But with our technology, the cus- tomer is always on the safe side over the plant’s complete life cycle, because the entire range of coal available around the world can be used and purchased depending on the prices in effect at the time.” At Siemens’ Freiberg location, experts are currently investigating the behavior of very dif- ferent coal types in the gasifier. They are exam- ining slag formation in the reactor, and how the gasifier can best be protected from high combustion temperatures. “With our test plant, we have a facility that is unique, one that helps of the scrubbing process into the overall design of the power plant by our plant designers in Erlangen.” Toward Commercialization. Working in col- laboration with E.ON, Siemens intends to push ahead with the new process to make the de- sign of fossil-fuel power plants more climate- friendly as soon as possible. The company’s initial efforts will be concen- trated on hard coal and brown coal power plants. For natural gas power plants, an adapt- ed version is planned for later application. It may be possible to verify the process under re- alistic conditions as early as 2010, in a pilot fa- cility in an E.ON coal-fired power plant. “The challenge we are now facing is to maintain a high level of efficiency while preventing nega- tive environmental impacts that might arise from traces of harmful scrubbing agent emis- sions in scrubbed flue gases,” Schneider points out. “Our objective is to further develop the new CO 2 separation process to the point where it will be ready for full-scale commercial opera- tion by 2020.” So within the next decade, thanks to oxy- fuel and pre- and post-combustion capture, technologies will be available that will enable us to burn coal without having a guilty environ- mental conscience.Ulrike Zechbauer us to establish an economic framework with the customer before a plant is actually built,” says Schuld. But it’s not only fuel behavior that is tested in Freiberg. The gasifier itself is also being enhanced to make sure that the technol- ogy is ideally suited to meet future market de- mands. “Apart from IGCC plants, this gasification technology is also used in the chemicals indus- try,” Schuld says. “Syngas can be used to manu- facture chemical products, including ammonia, Scrubbers for Existing Facilities.While pre- combustion capture in IGCC plants is wonder- fully suited for new power plants, the third tech- nical method — post-combustion capture — can also be used in existing facilities. In this process, CO 2 is removed from the flue gases af- ter combustion. “This form of CO 2 scrubbing is the only retrofit option for separating CO 2 in existing power plants in the medium term,” ex- plains Dr. Rüdiger Schneider, a chemical process engineer and section manager for power plant chemical processes in the Fossil Power Genera- tion Division. Low-temperature carbon dioxide scrubbing can trap approximately 90 percent of the CO 2 content of the flue gases in an absorber using a CO 2 scrubbing agent — a special liquid — and thus remove it. “Then we feed the CO 2 -laden agent into a desorber and rid it of the green- house gas by raising the temperature, before feeding the regenerated agent back into the ab- sorber. There, the cycle starts again,” explains Schneider, who was previously involved in a range of flue gas scrubbing technologies with Henkel, then with Hoechst, and finally with Siemens spin-off Axiva. In a laboratory located at the Frankfurt Höchst Industrial Park, Schneider and the mem- bers of his team have for the past three years been involved in an intensive study of CO 2 scrubbing agents that bind CO 2 particularly well and release it in response to an increase in tem- perature, while also remaining stable in the flue gas atmosphere. “In our laboratory we succeed- ed in mixing all manner of different gases, and we can vary the conditions independent of power plant operation. This means we can, for example, examine the effect of sulfur dioxide on CO 2 scrubbing in exactly the same way as the effect of oxygen,” says Schneider. “And thanks to our laboratory equipment, we are able to thoroughly analyze all the individual as- pects of CO 2 scrubbing. The result is that our new chemical CO 2 scrubbing process leaves less scrubbing agent residue in the flue gas and uses less energy than conventional processes. What’s more, it is supported by optimized integration methanol, and dimethyl ether, as well as fuels such as diesel and synthetic natural gas. At the moment, it’s not only the electricity producers who are suffering from increases in the prices of raw material such as oil and gas. That’s why alternative fuels such as coal and even biomass are being looked at closely all over the world.” In the chemicals field, Siemens’ Freiberg lo- cation, with its workforce of 70 employees can point to an industrial-scale technology achieve- ment that has been in operation since 1984: the 200-megawatt (thermal output) plant at Schwarze Pumpe in the German state of Bran- denburg. The plant was originally used for the gasification of brown coal. Most recently, it has been used for converting industrial waste into methanol. “It is our aim to establish it as a refer- ence project in the 500-megawatt class, so that our customers have even more confidence in this technology and will then work with us in our efforts to realize the next-generation gasifi- cation plants,” says Christiane Schmid. Starting in 2009, plans call for five 500-megawatt gasi- fiers to enter service at the complex. The facili- ties will produce polypropylene from coal for the Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group in the Chinese province of Ningxia. The plant will be the largest of its type anywhere, with each of its gasifiers converting 2,000 tons of coal every day. In 2009, one of the world’s largest gasifier plants — rated at 2.5 gigawatts — will enter service in China. A CO 2 testing laboratory in Frankfurt. Here, Siemens experts investigate CO 2 separation from flue gas. The CO 2 is bound to an absorber (right) by a special scrubbing agent and thus removed. Fuel Burner Pressure water outlet Cooling screen Pressure water inlet Quenching water Water overflow Outer cool- ing jacket Gas outlet Clinker granules Oxygen, steam Raw gas: CO, H 2 , etc. CO+H 2 O CO 2 +H 2 Air Coal Air separation Gasification CO Shift Cleaning CO 2 separation CO 2 compression Electricity CO 2 to store Sulfur O 2 N 2 Combined cycle power plant Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 41 Energy for Everyone | CO 2 Sequestration 40 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 In Ketzin, Germany, scientists plan to pump 60,000 tons of CO 2 into the earth. Geologists have drilled holes 700 meters into the rock and installed numerous measuring probes. Testing Eternal Incarceration Emissions from coal-fired power plants must become cleaner — which means removing their carbon dioxide content. The best place to store this greenhouse gas permanently is deep underground. That’s exactly what is happening at a test facility near Potsdam, Germany. Moreover, there is an abundance of room underground for carbon dioxide. The capacity for CO 2 sequestration in Germany alone is esti- mated at 30 billion tons. That’s enough for about a hundred years at the current rate of CO 2 emissions from German coal-fired power plants — about 350 million tons. The Intergov- ernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the U.N., a Nobel Prize recipient that galva- nized the political class and the media last year with its reports on climate change, estimates global sequestration capacity to be up to 900 billion tons in oil and gas deposits and at least 1,000, possibly even 10,000 billion tons in saline aquifers, which are sandstone deposits saturated with salt water, like those found in Ketzin. These potential sequestration sites around the world are also often found near large CO 2 producers, where liquefied CO 2 can be easily transported in pipes to storage de- pots. This is the case not only in Brandenburg, but also in the U.S. state of Illinois, where a prototype CO 2 -free power plant is being tested in the Future-Gen project. The dream of a coal- fired power plant with a direct exhaust line into the subterranean rock could become a reality in many places around the world if policymak- ers quickly lay the groundwork and research ef- forts are intensified. Studies show that CO 2 remains under- ground for an extremely long time. It will dis- solve there in saline aquifers, much as it dis- solves in mineral water when pumped by a CO 2 carbonator, and will then be retained in the pores of the sandstone. Over time, more and more of it will precipitate as a mineral com- pound and thus be kept out of the atmosphere forever. It is known that after thousands of years calcium carbonate is produced, as well as other carbonates such as magnesite and siderite. Verifying the underlying models and furnishing proof of whether and how CO 2 can be reliably sequestrated over the long term are among the central aims of the CO 2 SINK project. Underground Laboratory. One essential task of CO 2 SINK is therefore to monitor the three-di- mensional propagation of CO 2 in rock and draw conclusions applicable to commercial CO 2 se- questration at other locations. No other project anywhere is going to such great lengths to gather measurements in this respect: In the project’s two measuring pipes, which are 50 and 100 meters away from the pipe car- rying the gas, chains of electrodes measure electrical resistance in the rock. This array of electrodes is supplemented by electrodes at the surface. Concentrated salt water in the po- res of the sandstone conducts the electrical current very well. When the water is displaced by CO 2 , conductivity decreases and resistance increases. Thanks to this geoelectric tomogra- phy, the gas can be monitored in great detail in three dimensions as it spreads. The project team is also carrying out experi- ments modeled on medical ultrasound. Here, intense sound waves are transmitted into the ground from the surface between the boreho- les and reflected back. Since sound has a lower velocity in pores filled with CO 2 than in those filled with salt water, the spread of the gas can be monitored this way as well. Optical sensors measure temperature chan- ges underground through the scattering of photons and thereby show the flow of CO 2 be- low the surface. In the area of the reservoir around the bores there are narrow tubes with a semi-permeable membrane through which CO 2 can pass. High-purity argon forces the CO 2 upward through capillary tubes to the surface, where its concentration is measured. I t’s raining in Ketzin. A drill tower rises up to- ward the dark clouds; a few gas tanks and a plain shack stand in a green meadow in the middle of the Havelland district, a half-hour west of Potsdam. Professor Frank Schilling from the research facility GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ) points down into a mud-filled hole from which a pipe as wide as a man pro- trudes. A tangle of cables can be seen inside it. “Here’s where we measure the spread of car- bon dioxide underground,” says Schilling, who is a mineralogist. At the other end of the mead- ow, a second hole plunges down, this one also filled with a mass of cables, and 100 meters away there is a third hole. At the latter, pipes from a tank run into the damp soil. Seven hun- dred meters under Schilling’s feet, these pipes will pump up to four tons of carbon dioxide per hour into the sandstone at high pressure, thus displacing salt water from pores in the rock. The GFZ project near Ketzin, a town with a population of 4,000, is called CO 2 SINK. For two years, beginning in the spring of 2008, it will inject 60,000 tons of carbon dioxide under- ground for storage. That’s as much as the 150,000 residents of Potsdam will exhale dur- ing the same period, but it’s nothing compared to the more than 10 billion tons of this green- house gas that are blown into the atmosphere by the human race each year through power plant chimney stacks. And the problem will grow more acute, judging from the forecasts of the International Energy Agency, which indi- cate that fossil fuels will account for 85 percent of the increase in power production over the next 20 years. The capacity of coal-fired power plants worldwide will then be 2,200 gigawatts — about twice what it is today. The trend is al- ready noticeable. China, for example, put 174 coal-fired power plants in the 500-megawatt class into operation in 2006 alone, which cor- responds to the commissioning of one plant every two days (see page 16). Underground Disposal. In view of these de- velopments, CO 2 SINK could, in spite of its mod- est scope, provide important answers to basic unresolved questions regarding CO 2 sequestra- tion and therefore contribute significantly to environmental protection. If the measurements in Ketzin confirm the models, which predict that the gas can be securely confined under- ground in porous rock for thousands if not millions of years, the project would send an important signal worldwide. It would prove that CO 2 from coal-fired power plants, refiner- ies, cement factories, and steel mills can be pumped into the earth and stored there. And if the gas isn’t emitted into the air, it can’t harm the climate. Whatever the results of the measurements, one thing is certain, says Frank Schilling: “Prac- tically nothing travels upward through the rock.” The reason for this is the cap layer of gypsum and clay that lies like a bowl over the approximately nine-square-kilometer dome of sandstone and completely seals it. It served the same purpose over the past forty years, when power companies used a sandstone layer here at a depth of between 250 and 400 meters to store natural gas. This repository was signifi- cantly larger than the planned CO 2 reservoir. What would happen if the CO 2 managed to escape to the surface? Since the gas is heavier than air, critics fear that it could collect in pools where it would suffocate all life. But there’s no risk of this in Ketzin, says Schilling. Even if it were to escape, the CO 2 would be literally gone with the wind. We breathe it in small quantities all the time, and drink it in sparkling mineral water and soft drinks. Besides, the quantity of Sequestration under a cap layer Sequestration in porous strata Increasingly effective sequestration Sequestration in water-bearing strata Sequestration in mineral aggregates 100 % Percentage of stored CO 2 Period of time following CO 2 sequestration (years) 0 50 % 1 10 100 1000 10,000 Impermeable cap layer Reservoir CO 2 monitoring CO 2 CO 2 800 m 700 m Power plant How Carbon Dioxide Sequestration Works In Ketzin, CO 2 is pumped through a pipe into a saline sandstone aquifer that functions as a reservoir. A second pipe is used for the transmission of shock waves, which are detected by geophones. In addition, the pipes are outfitted with other sensors that are designed to detect the electrical conductivity and temperature in the aquifer. This enables detailed monitoring of the spread of carbon dioxide far below the surface. Seismic source Vibration measurement devices (geophones) Geophones and other sensors Seismic source Shock waves Source: GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 43 I n November 2007 off the icy coast of Nor- way it took a robot half a day to position a yellow box on a deep sea oil installation, bolt it down, and connect it to a power cable. The box was a SISOG DPM broadband modem devel- oped by Siemens Oil and Gas, and the installa- tion is part of the Snorre UPA subsea oil pro- duction facility, which lies 350 meters below the surface of the North Sea. The modem now transmits data about bore holes — temperature, pressure, oil flow rate, and sand content — to a platform control sys- tem located at the Snorre A platform six kilo- meters away. “StatoilHydro uses the data to Pumping from the Floor The oil and gas industry plans to build production facilities on the ocean floor. Siemens engineers are helping it to achieve this ambitious goal. Fully automatic deep water production systems (bottom right) are increasingly replacing expensive surface platforms. Deep sea facilities require particularly resistant compressors (left). continually update its oil reservoir model,” says Roy Skogsrud, Vice President of Oil and Gas Offshore at Siemens in Oslo. “StatoilHydro can now monitor the quantity of sand that has been pumped and calculate flow directly on screens in the control room. This feature will help to optimizing production and extend the field’s lifetime.” Instrumentation and monitoring systems with these properties weren’t available when Snorre UPA was put into operation in the 1990s, but the pressure in the reservoirs has decreased over time, and it’s becoming difficult to pump oil out from underground. The oil is | Oil & Gas Systems generally found in tiny pores and tends to ad- here to the bedrock. As a result, only 40 per- cent of a well’s production potential is general- ly recoverable. StatoilHydro plans to increase this figure to 55 percent in the North Sea. But this will require precise knowledge of the phys- ical conditions inside the reservoir. “Interrupt- ing production to upgrade existing systems would be too expensive,” says Skogsrud. The SISOG SSC monitoring system from Siemens is therefore the ideal solution, as it can be quickly installed at existing facilities and can use their power lines to transfer data at rates as high as three megabits per second. 42 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Professor Reinhard Hüttl, 50, is the scientific director of the GeoForschungs- Zentrum in Potsdam, the German Research Center for Geo- sciences. A geo- scientist, Hüttl for- merly worked as an environmental ex- pert in the Council of Advisers of the German Federal Government. Sequestration: A Key Transitional Technology Is underground sequestration of carbon dioxide the solution to the climate- change problem? Hüttl:We have to look at things realistically. Even if CO 2 SINK works as planned, the process chain of removal, transport, injection, and monitoring involves a great deal of effort and is still very expensive. Also, coal-fired power plants with CO 2 removal lose a considerable amount of efficiency, which must be compen- sated for with more fuel or new technologies to increase efficiency. So CO 2 sequestration is a transitional technology. But we can’t do with- out it if we want to act responsibly, because CO 2 stored in two years will merely be equal to the amount naturally generated in the same period by bacteria through degradation processes in the soil in the area above the CO 2 reservoir in Ketzin. Ideal CO 2 reservoirs exist wherever gases or liquids have long accumulated underground. That basically means all petroleum and natural gas deposits, which have manifestly been sealed for millions of years. Some oil and gas producers already pump CO 2 back into such de- posits in order to raise the yield through in- creased pressure. There are three industrial- scale showpiece projects in Canada, Algeria, and Norway. StatoilHydro of Norway, for in- stance, has the most experience here. Since 1996 it has pumped ten million tons of CO 2 down to a depth of 1,000 meters beneath the North Sea. The CO 2 is an impurity that is ex- tracted with the natural gas. But it would cost StatoilHydro dearly to vent it, as Norway levies a tax of $50 on each ton of CO 2 . Toward Affordable Sequestration. The IPCC report calculates the cost of CO 2 capture by low-CO 2 power plants and its transportation and sequestration to be 20 to 70 dollars per ton. That’s worth the price in Norway, but in countries without a CO 2 tax other market mechanisms must come into play. In Europe, the certificates in the emissions trading system provided for by the Kyoto Protocol currently cost less than 20 dollars — not enough to cre- ate an incentive. But in the event of a state sub- sidy or a CO 2 tax of two to three U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour, the technology would pay for it- self, although the cost of electricity would in- crease by 20 percent. Siemens is helping to fund the CO 2 SINK project and participating as an observer. “CO 2 sequestration won’t be one of our core areas of expertise,” says Günther Haupt of Siemens’ Fossil Power Generation division. But since the construction of coal-fired power plants is an important part of Siemens’ business and de- pends on a solution to the CO 2 problem, the company will be involved. Siemens will also play an active role in cases where hardware does not yet exist, as in the Adecos project, which is developing an oxyfuel power plant with CO 2 removal with support from the Ger- man government. Here, Siemens is designing compressors for the CO 2 that will force it under- ground as a gas — but with the density of a liq- uid. These compressors have applications in multiple fields, since they also compress CO 2 from pre- and post-combustion processes (see pp. 36, 46). “So far, CO 2 compressors of this kind haven’t been customized for large power plants,” says Haupt. Bernd Müller most of our power will continue to come from fossil fuels in the foreseeable future. Our proj- ect is therefore an important building block for a more environmentally compatible method of energy production for the coming decades. The process is already of interest for increasing yields during petroleum and natural gas ex- traction. Will the Ketzin project come to an end af- ter 60,000 tons of CO 2 have been stored? Hüttl:I don’t think so. In Ketzin we can still learn a lot about CO 2 sequestration and the short, medium, and long-term behavior of CO 2 underground. The Ketzin test site is ideal for more experiments, for instance for storing the world’s first CO 2 from a coal-fired power plant and for the underground sequestration of CO 2 separated from biomass during gas produc- tion. We also have plans for other projects in Germany and abroad. How has the public responded to the project? Hüttl:Many people, especially in Germany, are skeptical of new industrial-scale technolo- gies. But in Ketzin there used to be an under- ground natural gas storage reservoir at the same spot and people are used to that idea, so we haven’t had a problem with acceptance of this project. And of course CO 2 isn’t poisonous or radioactive. If it does escape at some point, which we don’t expect, we’ll see that with our monitoring system and, if necessary, we’ll be able to just blow it away in the air. Interview conducted by Bernd Müller. Energy for Everyone | CO 2 Sequestration Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 45 | Floating Wind Farms G ale-force winds are whipping waves to dizzying heights as a thin silhouette of an 80-meter-high mast dimly appears through the mist. Driven by the howling wind, the mast’s rotor blades spin furiously in the night air. Al- though it has neither pillars nor stilts for sup- port, the mast stays upright, leaning only slightly. It’s hard to believe, but there it is: a wind turbine floating on the water. Such wind turbines haven’t been built yet — but planning for them is well under way. In fact, beginning in 2009, a first prototype off the southwest coast of Norway will demon- strate whether this technology can stand up to heavy winds and waves. The floating wind tur- bine is a cooperative project between Siemens’ Renewable Energy division — the world market leader for offshore wind farms — and the Nor- equipped with ballast tanks — a concept that has been used with floating drilling platforms for many years. The buoy’s 120-meter-long float is designed to ensure that the structure’s center of gravity is far below the water surface, thus preventing the wind turbine from bobbing to and fro in the waves like a bathtub ther- mometer. The ballast tanks will make it possi- ble to precisely set the center of gravity. And to ensure that the structure doesn’t drift away, it will be held by three steel cables moored to an- chors on the seabed. The power generated will be sent ashore via a marine cable. The simple anchor/steel cable design is the key that makes it possible to install the turbine in very deep waters, unlike a massive pillar design, which would become uneconomical at depths in ex- cess of 100 meters. Future offshore wind turbines will be fixed to a steel tube extending 120 meters under the surface. Along with three steel cables, the tube makes the design robust enough to work on the high seas. Tapping an Ocean of Wind StatoilHydro of Norway and Siemens are developing the world’s first floating wind turbine — opening the door to harvesting the power of the wind on the high seas. wegian energy company StatoilHydro. As Nor- way’s potential wind energy sites are often in nature conservation areas, the country’s ener- gy sector is looking to the sea. Denmark set up its first offshore wind farms more than 15 years ago, but to date, these have all been lo- cated near the coast in depths of less than ten meters, where anchoring is relatively easy. Ex- pansion, however, is difficult, due to factors such as fishing grounds and bird migration zones. But now Siemens and StatoilHydro are tak- ing their Hywind project out to the high seas, where winds are stronger and more consistent than near the coast. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the U.S., for instance, wind potential at 5 to 50 nautical miles off U.S. coastlines is greater than the in- stalled generating capacity of all U.S. power plants, which is more than 900 gigawatts. 200 Meters Deep. Norway is ideal for proto- type testing because the seabed drops steeply offshore. At 12 kilometers from land, where the wind turbine will be placed, the seabed is about 200 meters below the surface. StatoilHy- dro is responsible for the underwater part of the facility, while Siemens will supply the tower and the complete turbine. For its Hywind pro- totype, StatoilHydro is using a “spar buoy” con- cept that features a steel and concrete buoy “We hope to be able to use this concept at depths of up to 700 meters,” says Siemens Re- newable Energy Division CTO Henrik Stiesdal, who is based in Brande, Denmark. At greater depths, the costs for steel and anchors would make such facilities too costly. An offshore farm with up to 200 turbines could supply al- most a million households with electricity. The first step in that direction will be to build and test a prototype. The prototype now being planned will be outfitted with an elec- tronic control system to ensure that the turbine doesn’t tip too far and become unstable. The system will make it possible to alter the angle of the rotor blades and thus the structure’s re- sponse to incoming wind, thereby enabling the facility to balance out any swinging motions. It’s also been suggested that the generator and hub could be tipped, which would shift the fa- cility’s weight and compensate for swaying movements. “We still need to test all of these things,” says Sjur Bratland, project manager for StatoilHydro. “What we’re doing here is devel- oping technology for a future market. With its turbine expertise, Siemens is a reliable partner with a lot of forward-looking ideas.” Bratland believes the Hywind solution will be perfect for regions that have few energy resources and little available free land, but good wind conditions at sea.” Candidates include Japan and the U.S.Tim Schröder come into contact with the windings of the electric coil that drives the rotor,” explains Hake. “That would quickly corrode the copper wires.” The rotor is therefore housed in a gas-tight casing made of a specially developed, fiber- reinforced plastic. The innovative ECO-II design has also eliminated the need for shaft seals, which are essential in conventional gas com- pression technology and require periodic re- placement. The Eco II thus requires little main- tenance, resulting in dramatically improved productivity and environmental performance. A prototype system installed in the Nether- lands has already proved itself in field opera- tions that began in the fall of 2006. The ma- chine, which has an output of six megawatts, is expected to operate for five years with no maintenance, which would be ideal for use in an underwater environment. Eco II will be put to the test with wet, impure natural gas at StatoilHydro’s K-Lab in the fall of 2008. The Norwegians plan to install the first underwater compressor units in the Åsgard field to the north of Trondheim by 2013 to maintain pro- duction levels there. A further milestone on the road to underwa- ter oil production facilities will be a deep-water electrical power distribution system, for which frequency converters and transformers will be needed. Frequency converters regulate the de- gree of compression. “The great challenge is to dissipate the heat,” says Skogsrud. Also not an easy task is to transmit several megawatts of electricity over distances above a hundred kilo- meters. “As an electronics specialist, Siemens already has most of the components required,” says Skogsrud. “What we need to do now is to get them ready for deep sea operations.” Ute Kehse 44 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Energy for Everyone | Oil & Gas Systems Raw Materials from Oil Sand Waste Luck and exasperation sometimes go hand in hand in the life of an inventor. “The best ideas of- ten come in the darkest moments,” says Chad Felch, a chemist at Siemens’ Water Technologies division in Rothschild, Wisconsin. Felch, a special- ist in wastewater, experienced such a dark hour four years ago while attempting to come up with a process that would dehydrate a viscous, black, soot sludge waste product that results from a process for creating synthetic gas in the oil sands of Canada. “The soot particulates accounted for only 15 percent of the mixture’s weight: the rest was water,” says Felch. Due to its heavy metal con- tent, the sludge required disposal in a hazardous waste landfill. To make the process cost effective, the quantity of waste had to be cut drastically. A Siemens team led by Felch unsuccessfully exper- imented with different methods for months. How- ever, the soot particulates and water simply could not be separated. The researchers finally attempted a completely new approach. “We tried to destroy the soot particulates rather than separating them,” Felch recalls. They did this by treating the soot sludge using Zimpro wet-air oxidation — a patented Siemens process for eliminating what are usual- ly difficult-to-treat pollutants — such as sulfides, phenols, and pesticides from wastewater. To do so, the sludge is pressurized, heated, and brought into contact with air or pure oxygen. The process was very successful, as it was able to break down the stubborn soot particulates. In fact, Felch’s team succeeded in oxidizing 90 percent of the carbon into carbon dioxide. “The soot contains metals such as vanadium and nickel, which have a catalytic effect,” says Felch. So by manipulating the process conditions, the Siemens team was able to use the metals as a reaction catalyst, which in turn made it possible to lower process pressure and temperature, thereby reducing costs. The left over metal-rich sludge can easily be dehydrated, and potential customers for its use have already been identified — so a problematic waste product has been turned into a new raw material. Such processes for preparing oil sands are ever-more important, as specialists estimate that two-thirds of the world’s current oil reserves are contained in this type of deposit. Felch’s ingenious innovation, which won him the Siemens Inventor of the Year award, isn’t his sole achievement, however. Over the last two years alone, he has come up with 28 inventions, two of which have been patented. Siemens developed the Eco II jointly with Shell and the Dutch petroleum company NAM. The unit is capable of compressing natural gas as it comes out of a bore hole. “The Eco II is es- pecially robust,” says Tore Halvorsen, Senior Vice President of FMC Technologies. Adds Gerold Hake, Sales Director at Siemens Oil & Gas, “A robust machine needs to have as few components as possible.” ECO-II employs a high-speed induction mo- tor equipped with a variable speed drive. The motor rotor is cooled by the extracted gas, as are its maintenance-free magnetic bearings. “The unprocessed natural gas mixture must not and could also channel it into underwater pipelines several hundred kilometers long at pressures of up to 100 bars. Siemens has many years of experience as a manufacturer of com- pressors for the oil and gas industry, so the de- velopment of an underwater compressor repre- sents the next logical step for the company. In cooperation with subsea specialists at FMC Technologies, Siemens engineers are preparing their innovative Eco II compressor for use at a depth of up to 1,000 meters. Later, applica- tions at depths of up to 3,000 meters and wa- ter pressures of up to 300 times atmospheric pressure are conceivable. To exploit deep-water deposits, producers need technologies that can withstand extreme conditions for long periods. “Most of today’s subsea production facilities are located a few kilometers from conventional offshore plat- forms,” says Skogsrud. The trend is, however, to replace expensive platforms with automatic subsea processing facilities. Several compo- nents of these systems are now available, in- cluding devices that separate water and sand from oil, and then inject the water under- ground, where it increases reservoir pressure. Under Pressure. Among the devices still needing further development are underwater compressors — machines that compress natural gas directly at the seabed. Such compressors would increase the amount of gas extracted Siemens researchers are developing compressors that work at depths of 1,000 meters and more. Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 47 Energy for Everyone | Compressors for Natural Gas and CO 2 46 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 The lower section of the housing of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) compressor at a Siemens plant in Duisburg, Germany. These huge units compress natural gas and carbon dioxide. Impellers for carbon dioxide and liquefied natural gas compressors (left and center) are tested at Siemens’ Duisburg plant (right). Below, a complete compressor. Tapping Remote Fields Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is becoming a desirable source of energy. For gas fields in remote regions, where a pipeline would be too costly, liquefaction and transport via tankers offer a viable alternative. Siemens has moved into this booming market, supplying huge compressors for liquefaction and carbon dioxide separation as well as high-power electric motors for the first all-electric LNG plant worldwide. A hook the size of a sumo wrestler glides silently down from the factory roof. Bear- ing the legend “50 t,” it is strong enough to pick up a tank. A worker with a remote-control unit guides the hook until it hangs above a steel contraption that’s about as big as a tractor. The mechanism looks something like a tuba, com- plete with mouthpiece, which has somehow become too large and angular in shape. Once the hook has been securely fastened, the colos- sus is gently lifted and swung over a steel frame as big as a house. This is the test bed the industrial process in question, its operating temperatures and pressures, the corrosive properties of the gases used, and the required volume flows. Liquefied Gas. “We’re able to select from a wide range of components and can thus put together exactly the right product,” says Dr. Thomas Mönk, director of Product Develop- ment and Technical Coordination at Siemens Oil & Gas in Duisburg. Responsible for industri- al gas and steam turbines as well as compres- sors, Mönk is referring to the immense fund of knowledge that Siemens has accumulated in this sector over the years. This includes the use of different compressor types and impellers featuring a wide range of geometries and materials such as corrosion-resistant metals and many kinds of special alloys. Siemens’ compressors also benefit from unique software and design tools with which specialists bring them to life in the virtual world long before they leave the Duisburg facility. Recently, Mönk and his colleagues have fo- cused on one industrial process in particular: the compression and liquefaction of natural gas to make LNG — liquefied natural gas. Thanks to extremely rapid growth in demand for energy over the last few years, LNG has be- itable at lengths upward of 3,000 kilometers. At that point it becomes cheaper to convert gas into LNG and ship it to the consumer in huge tankers. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris, global demand for natu- ral gas is set to increase by about 3.5 percent a year until 2020. By then, natural gas will cover one-quarter of the world’s energy needs, com- pared to around 20 percent at present. Al- though the non-liquefied variety still accounts for the lion’s share of gas sales, LNG is making steady inroads and, according to the IEA, is des- gian energy company StatoilHydro is currently commissioning the first LNG plant north of the Arctic Circle, on the island of Melkøya, near the port of Hammerfest. Siemens is involved in the project. Follow- ing the growing pains so often encountered in a pilot project of this magnitude, the Melkøya plant commenced operation in January of this year and is scheduled to reach full capacity in 2009. In the plant — which is known as Snøvhit, or Snow White — natural gas is pumped into a so-called cold box, a 40-meter heat exchange tower. Here, the natural gas is come an energy carrier worth taking seriously. LNG is nothing other than natural gas that has been liquefied to turn it into a manageable vol- ume for transport purposes. This involves cool- ing the gas to a temperature of minus 163 de- grees Celsius, a process that reduces its volume by a factor of 600. Construction of a liquefied natural gas plant is an interesting proposition for all natural gas fields in remote regions — places such as Nige- ria, Venezuela, Qatar, Indonesia, and Australia, for example. As a rule, pipelines are unprof- Yet before the gas is liquefied, any impuri- ties must be removed — especially sulfur com- pounds — that would interfere with the lique- faction process. This takes place by means of adsorption, using large surfaces of special ma- terials, and absorption in chemical solutions. Natural gas also contains as much as 10 per- cent carbon dioxide, which has to be removed from the liquefaction cycle, because it would otherwise disrupt the cooling process. Siemens Oil & Gas in Duisburg has supplied a compressor that squeezes the carbon dioxide the compressor, person-sized impellers suck in cubic meters of air or gas and compress it to 50 bars or more — the kind of pressure found at depths of 500 meters underwater. Many industrial sectors, including the chemicals industry, manufacturers of plastics and fertilizers, and, above all, the oil and gas industry, need compressed air and gases, in- cluding air separation plants the size of facto- ries. Each compressor from Siemens’ Duisburg plant is a unique example of engineering de- sign. The compressors are precisely tailored to where the oversized tuba — in reality a gigan- tic industrial compressor — is to be put through its paces. Everyone is familiar with the hum of the compressor in the refrigerator at home, and some people have small compressors in their garages for pumping up car tires. However, the unit being built and tested here at the Com- pressor Works of the Siemens Oil & Gas Divi- sion in Duisburg, Germany — in the vicinity of the blast furnaces of the Rhineland steel indus- try — is on a completely different scale. Inside Compressors can squeeze gas to 50 bars — the pressure at depths of 500 meters under water. tined to increase its share of the world’s natural gas market from the current figure of seven percent to ten percent by 2010. What’s more, liquefaction and transport of LNG are also en- ergy-efficient. North of the Arctic Circle. On the face of it, liquefied natural gas production is breathtak- ingly simple. The gas is first cooled and then transported in liquid form. Yet the dimensions of liquefaction facilities are gigantic. Norwe- cooled in a step-by-step process and finally liquefied. Cooling is provided by a refrigerant that flows through the heat exchangers in separate cycles driven by huge compressors. This func- tions in much the same way as does a refrigera- tor. The refrigerant is compressed, releasing its warmth to the environment. In subsequent steps, as it expands again, its temperature falls, and the refrigerant extracts more and more of the heat from the natural gas. Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 4948 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Energy for Everyone | Compressors for Natural Gas and CO 2 to around 200 bars in a separate cycle, allow- ing it to be sequestered. This will mean a re- duction of around one million tons of the greenhouse gas emitted to the atmosphere every year once the plant has begun to operate at full capacity. Another aspect of the LNG process is the re- capture of so-called boil-off gases. The refriger- ated LNG is stored in large insulated tanks until it is ready for shipment in tankers. As in a ther- mos bottle, there is a minimal temperature ex- change between the liquefied natural gas and its surroundings. Heat gets into the tank and causes a small amount of the LNG to vaporize. This so-called boil-off gas is fed back into the cooling cycle or burned as fuel to power the gas turbines. Once again, the compressor for this part of the process is supplied by Siemens Oil & Gas, the market leader for boil-off com- pressors. StatoilHydro plans to ship six billion cubic meters of LNG a year around the world — pri- marily to the U.S., but also to Spain and France. Once at its target destination, the liquefied nat- ural gas is converted back into natural gas — a process that simply involves warming and ex- panding it — and then fed into the national supply network. Today, 12 countries around the globe oper- ate liquefied natural gas facilities, the largest of which is situated on the Persian Gulf, where around one-third of the world’s natural gas re- serves are located. To date, all of these facilities have used gas turbines to power the huge re- frigeration equipment. As is the case in a gas- fired power plant, these turbines are powered by natural gas. They are then connected to huge compressors, which drive the actual liquefaction process in the cold box. On the is- land of Melkøya, however, StatoilHydro and Siemens have opted for an alternative system: an all-electric (“E-LNG”) train. Hammerfest Colossus. On Melkøya, the compressors for the principal cooling cycle are powered not by gas turbines but rather by huge electric motors from Siemens. One of the motors has an output of 32 megawatts and two have an output of 65 megawatts, making them the largest electric motors ever built (Pictures of the Future, Spring 2006, p. 49). Several motors are required, because in an LNG plant a number of drive and compressor trains operate in parallel in order to keep the cooling steps on track. The motors, which are the size of a locomo- tive, were produced in Siemens’ Berlin Dynamo Works. “There are big advantages to an all-elec- tric LNG train,” explains project manager Klaus Ahrens. “Traditional gas turbines can only oper- ate at fixed rotational speeds, are heavily de- pendent on the ambient temperature, and can’t really be regulated. They thus determine the performance of the compressor, which means you can only control the output of LNG to a limited extent.” That makes it difficult to re- spond flexibly to changes in production vol- umes of natural gas or market demand for LNG. “Electric motors, on the other hand, are But electric motors are of little help in LNG areas that — as is often the case — are in areas too remote to have access to grid power. With this in mind, Siemens offers a standalone solu- tion featuring a dedicated power plant to pro- vide the requisite electricity. That may sound excessive, but according to Siemens, the costs of such a power plant are recouped within just a few years. What’s more, even conventional Svein Nordhasli from StatoilHydro knows that the E-LNG plant has broken new ground. He’s therefore glad that Siemens technology was used in the project. “Siemens showed a great deal of commitment, particularly during the motor test phase,” he says. “The company is very aware of its responsibilities, no matter whether we’re talking about individual compo- nents or complete systems.” All-Electric Solution. “The oil and gas in- dustry is watching the Snøvhit project with great interest,” says Ahrens. “It’s a highly con- servative sector as far as new technology is concerned. Mechanical solutions have been used for decades, but the fully electric system represents a sea change.” Ahrens adds that the new technology will need to prove its reliability over a full year before other oil and gas compa- nies climb on the bandwagon. in place.” The Sulawesi plant will be supplied by a gas-fired power plant sited 40 kilometers away. Mobile Production Plants. All in all, Siemens is getting involved in the LNG market in a big way. Indeed, the company has an eye on more than just the major projects. Theodor Loscha, a leading LNG expert in Duisburg, is now looking at systems for smaller gas fields that, unlike Melkøya, will not be pumping gas for the next 30 years. “It’s also possible to build an LNG plant on a floating platform — a barge — that can be towed to the next gas field as soon as the first goes dry,” he explains. This reusability would make it commercially viable to tap smaller nat- ural gas fields, since an LNG plant is a very ex- pensive piece of technology. “Building an LNG plant is an incredibly complex project involving simple to regulate and can also be water- cooled, which makes them largely independ- ent of ambient temperatures,” adds Ahrens. Electric motors have one more big advan- tage: they are virtually maintenance free. Gas turbines have to be shut down several days a year for routine maintenance, which has a sig- nificant impact on output at an LNG plant. “This can mean daily losses of millions of eu- ros,” says Ahrens. By contrast, electric motors can operate for as long as five years nonstop. In addition, Ahrens adds that whereas the effi- ciency of a gas turbine is generally around 35 percent, an electric motor can manage up to 95 percent. And once the efficiency of the power plant that is used to generate the elec- tricity is also taken into account, the facility’s overall efficiency turns out to be around 52 percent. This means reduced raw materials consumption and CO 2 emissions. In spite of such industry hesitation, Siemens was recently awarded a contract for an E-LNG plant for Energy World Corporation on the In- donesian island of Sulawesi, where work is scheduled to commence next year. Siemens is to supply not only the main compressors for Energy World’s liquefaction plant and the powerful electric motors to drive them, but will also provide the entire power supply system, lots of partners working together over a long period,” explains Loscha. Small and flexible LNG plants are therefore an enticing prospect. That said, they need to be designed in such a way that they can be easily adapted to the requirements of a new location with, for example, different gas compositions or production volumes. “Whatever the solution here, an E-LNG-based concept would seem to be ideal for mobile LNG plants — although Siemens can always, if the client wishes, supply other types of drives, such as steam turbines,” Loscha explains. This is because the entire process has to be accommodated in a very small area. On a single floating platform, electric motors are much easier and, in all likelihood, safer to inte- grate than gas turbines, with their fiery hearts. Yet irrespective of just how LNG plants will look in the future, Loscha is confident that Siemens, with its portfolio of powerful gas turbines, elec- tric motors, electro-technology know-how, and, most of all, compressors, is ideally positioned to exploit this developing market.Tim Schröder Snøvhit, the world’s first all-electric LNG plant, was shipped from Spain to northern Norway. The liquefaction facility features gigantic CO 2 compressors and electric motors (pictured right). Electric motors in LNG plants are maintenance-free and can operate for as long as five years nonstop. LNG plants require electricity, which in remote areas comes from generators powered by gas turbines. In fact, the benefits of the stand-alone solu- tion are substantial, not least because such a power plant operates in a combined cycle process, which is substantially more efficient than a solitary gas turbine in an LNG plant. including the frequency converters, which help the power network to remain stable when the motors are switched on. “When you flip a light switch, you know the fuse isn’t going to blow,” says Ahrens. “But when you directly connect a 27-megawatt mo- tor to the supply, it can bring down an entire network if you don’t have the right equipment Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 51 Energy for Everyone | Power Transmission 50 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 New offshore wind farms (left) will provide a wealth of clean power. High-voltage direct-cur- rent transmission insures low-loss transmission over long distances (picture shows a transformer). Tomorrow’s Power Grids — Getting Smarter and Safer Intelligent network technology helps to integrate renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power into the grid. It can also smooth fluctuations in supply and demand by using automatic network control processes and financial incentives. Siemens is the leading developer of solutions for sustainable power networks. I t’s a summer’s evening in 2016, half an hour after the final of the European Soccer Cham- pionship. A rapidly freshening westerly hits off- shore wind farms in the North Sea and onshore wind farms in Denmark, northern Germany, and the UK, funneling twice as much as the ex- pected 20,000 megawatts (MW) of power into Europe’s interconnected network grid. This huge input of power, which is equivalent to the amount generated by 20 nuclear power plants, takes operators completely by surprise. Within 2020 and to increase the share of renewable resources in energy production from six per- cent in 2005 to 20 percent by 2020. In other words, the use of wind power is set to increase. Moreover, if and when a new global agreement on climate change comes into force, the emis- sions reduction target for 2020 will increase to 30 percent. The installed capacity of German wind farms is forecast to rise from today’s figure of 23 gigawatts to 50 gigawatts by 2030. In addi- tion, progressive liberalization of the electricity market will lead to widespread energy trading throughout Europe and increasingly unpre- dictable load flows. In 2007, a total of 1,273 terawatt-hours — two and a half times Ger- many’s annual power requirements — were traded at the EEX in Leipzig, Europe’s largest energy exchange. And that figure is set to in- crease in 2008. Sustainable Power Networks. In response to these challenges, the European Union has un- veiled its smart grid concept, which is designed to transform the current electricity network into a sustainable power system, with a major emphasis on protecting the atmosphere and ensuring security of supply. In particular, the grid must be capable of automatically regulat- ing fluctuations in incoming power supply. This will involve the use of devices to temporarily store excess energy as well as flexible load con- trol systems that activate or deactivate power- hungry devices for a short time. Likewise, blackout prevention systems such as Siemens’ Flexible AC Transmission System (FACTS) will rapidly adjust voltages, buffer grid fluctuations, control the flow of current, and increase the transmission capacity of longer power lines. “In the long term, the only way to ensure trouble-free transmission of large amounts of surplus electricity — from offshore wind farms, Low transmission levels improve efficiency, which benefits the environment. In China, for instance, Siemens is currently building the world’s most efficient HVDCT system. From 2010 onward, it will link hydroelectric power plants in southern China with the country’s coastal industrial centers 1,400 kilometers away. Without the use of HVDCT, it would be impossible to transmit the 5,000 MW of hydro- electricity that the system is designed to carry over such a distance. The system’s transmission efficiency is ex- pected to cut CO 2 emissions by around 30 mil- lion tons per year. Furthermore, HVDCT acts as a firewall, separating individual national grids from one another and thus preventing a cas- cade of blackouts. A further development in this area is the in- troduction of HVDC PLUS (High-Voltage Direct- Current Power Link Universal System). Accord- ing to Weinhold, a member of the project team in this field, HVDC PLUS will enhance the sus- tainability of integrated power systems be- cause it allows for compact power converter stations that can be installed on site and can thus be used to link offshore wind farms and oil rigs to the mainland. Superconducting Current Limiters. Modern grid systems also require the use of power elec- tronics with semiconductor components fea- turing a large current-carrying capacity and a high reverse voltage. “The circuit breakers have to be able to switch large loads reliably and deal with the very high currents that arise dur- ing a short circuit,” says Dr. Roland Kircher from the Power and Sensor Systems Division of Siemens Corporate Technology (CT). To this end, scientists at CT are using simulation pro- grams and complex physical models to develop components with new materials and contact geometries. The aim is to ensure that the arc a matter of seconds, there is a major overload, chiefly impacting the high-voltage transmis- sion lines and substations that form bottle- necks between various countries in the Euro- pean grid. The grid fails, at first locally, and then throughout the entire network. Night falls prematurely across all of Europe… Experts have long feared such a scenario. On November 4, 2006, a partial blackout plunged half of Europe into darkness. What’s more, the planned construction of large wind parks in coming years, especially in the North Sea, will mean that almost 40-year-old net- works will have to cope with huge power surges during storms. Then the only way to avoid major grid failure will be to rapidly ramp down output at conventional power plants. “Europe’s interconnected grid needs to be- come smarter so it can handle surges in power caused mainly by the fluctuations associated with wind and solar energy,” explains Dr. Michael Weinhold, Chief Technology Officer at the Siemens Energy Sector. “We have to make power transmission failsafe between the vari- ous control zones within the German and Euro- pean grids even when they are operating at higher loads.” Time is running short, however, not least because of a package of proposals to fight cli- mate change presented by the European Com- mission on January 23, 2008. The proposals are designed to cut greenhouse gases emis- sions by least 20 percent relative to 1990 by for example — is to enhance the extra-high voltage system,” predicts Dr. Wolfgang Woyke, a grid expert at power company E.ON. “One so- lution here is to exploit high-voltage direct-cur- rent transmission (HVDCT).” This can be used to transport large amounts of electricity at low losses over distances of more than 1,000 kilo- meters. Siemens is a leader in the development of HVDCT technology and is involved in major projects in this area around the world (Pictures of the Future, Spring 2006, p. 20). produced during switching is rapidly extin- guished, thus protecting the device in ques- tion. “In the future, superconducting current lim- iters could provide an alternative to conven- tional switches,” says Kircher. “These compo- nents have practically no electrical resistance at temperatures of around minus 196 degrees Celsius.” But if the current in the grid rises above a particular critical value, the response is immediate and the current limiter’s resistance Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 53 | UN Certificates By trading in their old incandescent bulb for a modern energy-saving light source, the Radheyshyam family will save about €55 on electricity over ten years and help preserve the environment. India’s New Light In India, Osram is offering free energy-saving lamps in exchange for energy-hungry incandescent bulbs. In doing so, it has become the first lighting manufacturer to participate in the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism. protect the environment.” A maximum of two bulbs will be exchanged in each household, so that better-off Indians will have no advantage over poorer ones. Osram is collecting the old bulbs and recycling them in an environmental- ly compatible manner. “Our methodology is de- signed to ensure that the old bulbs aren’t used any more,” says Bronger. In addition, specially developed measuring instruments will be in- stalled in 200 households to record average daily use of the lamps for the UN. The data will be documented in regular reports. The German Technical Supervision Association (TÜV) will verify the details, which will be sent to the UN. Ideal for Emerging Markets. The top part of each lamp is manufactured in Germany, while the bottom part, with its complex electronics, is made in Italy. The lamps are assembled in In- dia. Ultimately, the international division of work makes no difference in the product. The Dulux EL Longlife, one of Osram’s most innova- tive lamps, is ideal for use in emerging markets. T he Radheyshyam family, from the Indian city of Visakhapatnam, has no extravagant designer lamp shade. Even so, it has a special lamp that is so innovative that you won’t find it everywhere in Europe yet. It’s Osram’s Dulux EL Longlife energy-saving lamp. Together with partner RWE, Osram started offering 700,000 of these lamps to India’s households in April 2008 as part of the United Nations’ ”Clean De- velopment Mechanism” (CDM). In comparison with conventional incandescent bulbs the new lamps consume 80 percent less electricity. “The idea is to reduce carbon dioxide emis- sions in developing and emerging markets sub- stantially with the most modern lighting tech- nology — for the benefit of everyone,” says Project Manager Boris Bronger, of Osram. This is a win-win situation. On the one hand, partic- ipating households benefit. They get the newest technology almost as a gift — the Rad- heyshyam family paid no more for the energy- saving lamp than for a conventional bulb, but thanks to the lamp’s reduced power consump- tion, it saves them cash every month. On the other hand, power supplies are im- proved because there are fewer demand peaks, which in turn reduces power failures in the somewhat unstable Indian power supply net- work. In addition, the project will help the envi- ronment. Specifically, the new lamps will cut CO 2 emissions by around 400,000 tons over ten years as compared with use of their con- ventional counterparts. And Osram itself will receive emission certificates from the UN, which it can resell freely to refinance the proj- ect. Osram is confident, despite the high initial investment of the project, that a new business model can be created in this way. The pilot region for the exchange of bulbs is the Federal State of Andhra Pradesh on India’s east coast. “The response to the information events that Osram mounted in cooperation with the local power supply company was very positive,” says Bronger. “Residents are happy that they are not only saving power and money with the new technology but also helping to How Much CO 2 Does a Lamp Save? The UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was enshrined in the Kyoto Protocol. Its calcula- tions are based on how much greenhouse gas a region would produce if everything were to continue as it has up to now. How much of this could be avoided using energy-saving lamps is then calculated. The savings actually realized must be verified by independent organizations accredited by the UN — for example by Germany’s TÜV. This is a complex process. Osram submitted its methodology in 2004, and it was approved in 2007. Since April 2008, Osram has been the first lighting manufacturer anywhere to replace incandescent bulbs with energy-saving lamps in accordance with this concept. The first port of call is India, but future plans include other countries, principally in Africa and Asia. To calculate the amount of CO 2 saved, a random survey of Dulux EL Longlife lamps’ lifelong electricity use is conducted. Osram experts estimate that the lamp will save roughly one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity dur- ing its service life. In India, because of the large number of coal-fired power plants, CO 2 emissions per MWh vary according to region between 0.85 and 1.0 tons (the global average of all power plants is 0.575 tons). In countries such as Brazil, which rely heavily on hydro-electric power, the CO 2 -saving ef- fect would be considerably less — which is why not all countries are suitable for such CDM projects. For each ton of CO 2 saved, Osram receives an emission certificate from the UN. Since these certificates can be traded freely, the price they can command is variable.Schwarzfischer / Lackerschmid It can be switched on and off countless times, and can handle power failures. What’s more, its mercury content is extremely low, which is an advantage for the environment. For all the complicated organization in- volved in the campaign, the Radheyshyams do not have to concern themselves with the process. While watching the new energy-sav- ing lamp being installed, the father merely has to sign a form, which he also marks with a cross to indicate which lamp was replaced. In the next ten years, he’s unlikely to have to buy a new lamp, and will save money in the bar- gain. Given that a kilowatt-hour of electricity costs around 5.5 euro cents in India and that a single lamp will save up to a megawatt-hour over ten years, the family’s electricity bill will be cut by €55. “For the lamp itself the users pay a small symbolic amount, so they get the feeling that they have invested in progress,” says Bronger. The Radheyshyams pay 25 euro-cents for the Dulux EL Longlife. Even in India, that’s a bargain. Daniel Schwarzfischer The Future of Power Networks In a study entitled Electric Power Transmission and Distribution: The Backbone of a Sustainable Energy System, the Siemens Energy Sector has taken a detailed look at the social, technological, and consumer-driven developments that will shape the markets for power transmission and distribution over the next 15 to 20 years. In addition to projecting the impact of global trends such as climate pro- tection, diminishing resources, and growing urbanization, the researchers also predict the advent of more efficient power transmission technology. The study employed the “Pictures of the Future” methodology used by Siemens for strategic planning. Specifically, experts from Energy Transmission and Distribution as well as Corporate Technology con- ducted over 100 interviews with external specialists and identified new market trends and key tech- nologies, whose impact on regional markets was subsequently investigated. On this basis, they came up with detailed scenarios for various fields, which were developed into new business ideas. The study determined that grid optimization will be driven by three overriding objectives: sustainabili- ty, security of supply, and efficiency. For the period until 2020, researchers forecast a growing propor- tion of decentralized generation, with more and more electricity being produced either by small power plants serving individual towns and communities or by buildings fitted with generating systems such as photovoltaic panels. Similarly, an increasing share of our electricity will come from CO 2 -free energy resources. And thanks to the use of intelligent network technology, it will be possible to feed power generated by decentralized renewable energy sources into existing networks and to transmit the elec- tricity from remote power plants such as offshore wind farms to major centers of consumption with minimal transmission losses. High voltage direct current transmission technology will be used to connect power plants into large generating networks. Likewise, so-called microgrids will link smaller municipal power plants to the grid, and generating facilities of varying sizes will join forces to function as a virtual power plant. Additional trends include increased use of IC technology, featuring a mix of sensors and sophisticated data-processing systems to measure, monitor, manage, and enhance power generation, transmission, and consumption. Energy storage systems will also play a major role in guaranteeing a secure supply. At the same time, the development of enhanced power electronics and new materials will do much to increase the efficiency of power transmission and distribution — an area in which the use of environ- mentally compatible products and solutions is increasingly becoming the rule. 52 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Energy for Everyone | Power Transmission rockets in less than a millisecond, thus limiting the current and minimizing the risk of a black- out. Following such an event, the current lim- iter returns to a superconducting state and is again fully functional. In 2007, CT successfully tested a self-reactivating high-breaking-capaci- ty fuse, which used these types of supercon- ductors and was rated for currents of up to 300 amps and voltages of up to 7,500 volts. Storing Power in Cars. Innovative approach- es like this will soon be in demand. After all, the pressure on the power grid could rise fur- ther due to measures designed to promote the use of battery-powered cars equipped with ei- ther a plug-in hybrid drive system or an electric motor (see p. 22). Such vehicles not only draw power from the grid but could also feed it back in. It would therefore be possible to use the batteries of such cars to buffer power generat- In the future, electric and hybrid cars could serve as a gigantic battery to store surplus electricity. ed by wind farms. There is huge potential here. If the 45 million cars currently on German roads were all hybrids, the maximum com- bined charging capacity would be around 270 GW. That’s enough to temporarily store surplus electricity from the grid, which could then be released when required. What’s more, the sys- tem could be controlled by state-of-the-art power electronics. This would create millions of “prosumers” — producers and consumers of electricity, who would feed power into the grid and also use it economically. Intelligent Grid Infrastructure. Naturally, such a constellation will require development of flexible billing rates as a means of influenc- ing energy consumption —and thus making it easier to control power movements in the grid. In other words, electricity will be cheap during times of surplus generation and more expen- sive when supplies are stretched. This will allow attentive customers to tailor their consumption accordingly and save mon- ey. “We need an intelligent grid infrastructure featuring information and communications technology that is capable of remotely control- ling energy-hungry devices such as refrigera- tors and washing machines,” says E.ON grid ex- pert Woyke. An integral part of an intelligent network concept will be the use of financial in- centives, involving so-called smart meters equipped with communications capability. “In the future, we will be able to send a mes- sage to consumers saying, for example, that power currently costs only five cents a unit. This will enable customers to adjust their elec- tricity consumption correspondingly,” says Frank Borchardt, head of Smart Metering at E.ON Energie. “We might even see intelligent home automation systems that switch on ap- pliances when the price of power falls below a certain level. That way, consumption can be spread more evenly around the clock and pow- er grids used much more efficiently.” Siemens has already fitted 1,000 households in Austria with smart meters (see p. 82), and according to current plans, hundreds of thousands should follow over the next few years. Harald Hassenmüller Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 55 T he world of bits and bytes is in need of a strict diet. Environmental experts have been adding up the watts used by the IT branch and want it to significantly reduce its energy consumption. They have confirmed that servers are the biggest energy eaters. Altogether, there are now more than 30 million servers world- wide. They provide networks with a variety of services and are usually found in data centers stacked to above head height. According to a recent study by the Berlin based Borderstep Institute for Innovation and Sustainability, data centers in Germany alone use enough energy to power two and half mil- lion households and are therefore responsible for around six million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Jonathan Koomey, a pro- fessor at Stanford University, calculated that a total of fourteen 1,000-megawatt power plants would be required just to power the world’s servers. “This figure will get even bigger because more and more people are staying online longer,” suggests Dr. Claus Barthel of the Insti- tute for Climate, Environment and Energy in Low-Carbon Surfing Internet usage plays a significant role in global CO 2 emissions. New strategies for making computers, servers and server farms more efficient are in the pipeline. Energy for Everyone | Computers and Energy 54 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Siemens Computers information, the world’s most economical server. “The work involved in reducing the energy requirements of computers, servers, and data centers and their infrastructure is difficult and complicated,” says Dr. Wolfgang Gnettner, who oversees the “Green IT” project at FSC. He points out that you first have to acquire compo- nents that are especially energy efficient; for example, multicore chips that use several modest processors but perform just as well as chips with only one high performance, power- hungry processor. Power supply units are now also available, at affordable prices, that can convert a hefty 80 percent or more of power. This compares to a modest 50 percent conver- sion factor for earlier units. ods, and then automatically allocate the lower demand for computing resources to as few computers as possible. “This kind of control sys- tem also needs to be able to anticipate when unscheduled demand for additional computing resources might occur. And the system must have adequate resources in reserve to cope with any scenario,” says Gnettner. Appetite for Energy. Another important recipe in an energy-saving diet is called virtualization. This can make large numbers of servers redun- dant, meaning that they can be taken out of service. Gnettner explains the principle behind virtualization: “Specific tasks, which are currently handled by individual computers, for example print or email servers, are implemented in soft- particularly big appetite for energy. Cooling systems are responsible for around half of a com- puter’s energy requirements. This isn’t surprising considering that bits and bytes are capable of generating a lot of hot air. “An average server working at full capacity can generate as much heat as several heating stoves,” explains Gnettner. With this in mind, FSC engineers have developed a sensor system that measures temperatures at different locations within a com- puter. A controller then ensures that cooling is carried out only where it is needed, depending on the thermal output of different components. There are many recipes for an energy-saving diet, and the technology to implement them already exists. But SIS expert Murphy warns against getting bogged down in details while los- Experts at Fujitsu Siemens Computers are exploring how to improve the energy efficiency of computers (below). Data centers in Germany alone produce six million tons of CO 2 annually. Wuppertal, Germany. He said that internet us- age has more or less doubled during the past five years and has been accompanied by a corresponding increase in energy consumption by servers. “Energy consumption within the IT branch will depend mainly on the seriousness and success of the efforts being made in ener- gy-saving technologies,” said Barthel. The potential for savings is huge. “Equip- ping data centers with more efficient technolo- gy can shave around one third off their energy bills,” estimates David Murphy, who coordi- nates “Sustainable IT” projects at Siemens IT Solutions and Services (SIS). He adds that a new data center built for optimal energy effi- ciency would use only half as much energy as older centers. That’s a particularly attractive proposition for data center operators because increases in energy prices could soon add up to annual electric bills that are as high as the cost of the hardware itself. Under the title “Transformational Data Cen- ter,” SIS engineers are drawing up detailed plans for energy savings and are overseeing their implementation. They work closely with IT experts from Fujitsu Siemens Computers (FSC), who are developing energy-saving equipment and new technologies. Indeed, FSC manufactured one of the world’s first comput- ers with an Energy Star 4.0 rating — up to now the only globally acknowledged energy certifi- cation for computers. Thus, the Esprimo E5615 EPA consumes half the energy required by reg- ular PCs. And FSC now manufactures seven other similar energy-stingy models. FSC monitors from the ScenicView and ScaleoView product lines also now wear the Energy Star badge. What’s more, during the summer of 2008, FSC will introduce the world’s first zero-watt monitor. Thanks to a built-in condenser that stores power for up to three days, the monitor uses no power in standby mode. The monitor is automatically switched on via a signal that is relayed to it from the connected computer. This feature saves several euros per year in electricity. Mention should also be made of FSC’s TX120 office server. At 163 watts, it consumes only a third of the energy required by standard servers, which makes it, according to Fujitsu Computer energy consumption does not depend alone on the energy efficiency of its components but also on how such compo- nents are managed. “An average PC running at just 10 percent of its capacity still consumes 70 percent of the energy it needs when running at full capacity,” says Gnettner. Green IT experts at FSC are therefore developing management sys- tems that deliberately cut back processor chip ware and thus isolated from the hardware.” These programs then all run on the same com- puter, but entirely independently from one an- other. Gnettner said that virtualization also en- ables the programs currently running on a desktop PC to be transferred to a central server. This means that current desktop computers could be reduced down to the format of a school atlas. These “thin clients” can still access the re- ing sight of the big picture. “For example, it does- n’t make much sense to re-equip an entire data center with more efficient computers and then to discover that you don’t actually need a lot of the equipment anyway,” he says. Consolidation plans should always have the highest priority. Murphy says that SIS has been able to reduce the number of its backup servers by 90 percent with- in the last three years. SIS engineers also came up with imaginative plans, which were then implemented, for its cen- ters’ energy-intensive air-conditioning systems. For example, naturally occurring groundwater is used for cooling at an SIS data center in Munich. Murphy says that this results in energy savings of 50 percent over the conventional system. The Siemens data center in Paderborn cools its com- puter rooms with a refrigeration system that uses the waste heat from a neighboring block heating power plant. If such plans and holistic solutions are imple- mented, the beneficiaries will not just be the cli- mate and the IT industry’s energy bills. It may also help clean up IT’s image as an environmental polluter.Andrea Hoferichter Worldwide, servers consume as much power as the output of fourteen 1,000 megawatt power plants. performance and rapidly turn processing pow- er back up again as and when required. There is an additional fundamental problem with servers and data centers. The amount of computing power available is not exploited to its fullest extent. On average, less than one fifth of total available power is utilized. IT spe- cialists at FSC have therefore come up with centralized control systems that can shut down computers during the night and holiday peri- quired programs at any time via a network but, according to the Fraunhofer Institute for Environ- ment, Safety and Energy, they use around two thirds less energy. FSC has already been supply- ing thin clients for several years. Virtualization and thin client solutions are right at the top of the list of Siemens SIS energy-saving strategies too. FSC engineers have also set their sights on computer cooling systems because these have a CPU 31% 10% 16% 20% 13% 10% Memory Hard disk Power supply Cooling fan Mainboard Where Server Power Goes Distribution of energy usage for an RX 300 server from FSC. The central processor has the biggest appetite. Optimized Planning Siemens provides solutions for optimal operational planning at large power plants and for decentralized energy generation. Software helps plant operators make the right decisions and plan daily operations. Energy for Everyone | IT & Power Generation 56 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 E very day, power plant operators have to make decisions based on a range of variables. Say, for example, the weather fore- cast is predicting blustery conditions, then the chances are that lots of wind power will be fed into the grid, capping demand for energy pro- duced from fossil fuels. On the other hand, will the wind farms be able to cover peak demand over lunchtime, or is it better to rev up a gas- fired plant? Alternatively, it may even be cheap- er simply to purchase the extra energy on the electricity market, although prices fluctuate continuously there… Other considerations that must be weighed include commitments to purchase power from certain types of energy sources, the general state of the grid, and the trade in CO 2 emission credits. The operator’s fundamental objective here is to balance output against demand. In the past, this was largely a matter of experi- ence, though there were also fewer factors to be taken into account. That was back in the days before market liberalization, when it was possible to predict the loads to be generated with a fair degree of accuracy, and when there terministic weather and load forecasts, long- term planning also includes probability distri- butions that take uncertainty into account,” Fuchs explains. The resulting data is collated online and processed in the power plant opera- tor’s control center. In an ideal situation, both solutions will be in operation. In the short term, for example, it may be more economical to start up a power plant and burn fuel. On the other hand, the long-term planner might report a limited amount of fuel available for the coming year and advise buying power. If run in combina- tion, the two help to cut costs. “Putting a pre- cise figure on the cost-cutting potential is diffi- cult because of the very different types of power plants in operation,” says Dr. Thomas Werner, product manager at Siemens Power Distribution Division in Nuremberg. Yet given the vast amounts of fuel involved, even a few tenths of a percent can deliver big savings. Control room of the Bugok combined cycle power plant in South Korea. Control systems supplied by Siemens help to reduce operating costs and improve safety at the facility. Virtual Power Plant. In the wake of deregula- tion and the advent of new technology, decen- tralized power generation is becoming more and more important for the European electrici- ty market, where there is now an increasing fo- cus on renewable sources of energy as well as cogeneration of heat and power. With renew- able energy, however, it is difficult to make pre- cise predictions regarding generating capacity. After all, who can say with absolute certainty how long the sun will shine or how powerfully the wind is going to blow over the next few days? One way of cushioning such fluctuations is to combine several small generators into a virtual power plant. In addition to increasing market clout, this also makes it possible to achieve more accurate predictions and more flexible control of output. To fully exploit such advantages, however, a virtual power plant requires an intelligent ener- gy management system. “That’s where the De- centralized Energy Management System comes in,” says Werner. DEMS is used to enhance an area’s power supply on the basis of predefined economic, environmental, and energy-related considerations. If a virtual power plant is made up of a number of wind farms, the operators are supplied with weather forecasts for wind strength and direction at their particular loca- tion. DEMS then draws up an operating plan on the basis of this data and other parameters used to predict the probable generating re- quirements for a specific region. The system takes into account all the various options for controlling demand and then suggests differ- ent strategies, such as powering plants up or down, enhancing buffer capacity, and many other options. The operator can model a vari- ety of scenarios and has a clear onscreen view of all the parameters involved. These include forecast loads, supply and purchase commit- ments, and the operating schedules of all plants under consideration. “This way, the op- erator can assemble an optimal operational strategy for all of his plants,” explains Werner. DEMS initially entered service in 2003 at SAPPI Austria Produktions-GmbH & Co. KG, an Austrian paper and pulp manufacturer that uses its own small virtual power plant. An intel- ligent software package was urgently needed due to the company’s obligation to conform to supply contracts for electricity and gas, its com- mitment to purchase certain amounts of coal and lignite, and its need to use biomass pro- duced during its own manufacturing. DEMS calculates individual load forecasts on the basis of a production schedule as well as the manu- facturer’s own forecast production of power for a maximum of seven consecutive days, in 15- minute intervals. This has made operating schedules much more exact. Green Power. “There has been a significant in- crease in the number of customers inquiring about our Decentralized Energy Management System,” Werner reports. However, the use of such a solution and the business model behind it are dependent on the national energy policy of the country in question. In Germany, for ex- ample, the future is promising. The country’s Renewable Energy Act of 2000 is intended to promote use of power plants that run on re- newable sources of energy. As part of a range of measures designed to reduce Germany’s re- liance on fossil fuels and imported energy, it also serves the purpose of protecting the at- mosphere. The German government plans to increase the proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources to at least 20 percent by 2020. By way of comparison, this figure was at around 12 percent in 2006. In the same year, total domestic revenues generated with renew- able energy — whether from biomass, the sun, or wind — amounted to approximately €22.9 billion. “We’re not going to see a global solution for energy production,” Werner predicts, “but de- centralized power generation is set to play a major role alongside the large power plants.” And one thing’s for sure. “Such plants will need an intelligent energy management system.” And that will ensure optimal use of all the ener- gy sources available. Gitta Rohling was neither price fluctuation nor power from renewable sources of energy, where capacity is difficult to forecast. Today’s power plant operators have to fac- tor in many more variables — but they also have IT support. “Siemens has been supplying IT applications to help large power plant opera- tors with load management since the begin- ning of the 1990s,” explains Erich Fuchs, head of the business segment Decentralized Energy Management at Siemens IT Solutions and Ser- vices (SIS) in Vienna, Austria. One such solution is used for planning peri- ods ranging from one day to a week. Another, called Resource Optimization, was developed in the mid-1990s and is designed to cover peri- ods between one week and 15 months. This helps operators make fundamental decisions regarding the type of fuel to buy and the right maintenance intervals for their power plants. “Whereas short-term planning is based on de- In Brief Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 57 California is a leader in developing climate- friendly technologies, and clean tech is the fastest-growing sector for venture capital investments.The combination of an environ- mentally far-sighted government, top univer- sities, and an aggressive venture capital community, including companies such as Siemens that are financing start-ups, has triggered a boom in innovation. (p. 22) China’s dramatic economic growth is primarily fuelled by coal. In 2006 alone, 176 coal-fired power plants went on line — an average of one every two days. Thanks to new technologies from Siemens, however, power generation using coal is becoming increasingly efficient and sustainable — as shown by the Yuhuan plant, which achieves a world-record efficiency of 45 percent. (p. 19) Siemens is developing 700-degree Celsius technology in order to further boost the effi- ciency of coal-fired power plants and thus cut CO 2 emissions. This higher steam tempera- ture is expected to make it possible to achieve 50 percent efficiency. (p. 32) Experts worldwide are working on con- cepts for generating power from coal without releasing CO 2 into the atmosphere. Siemens is investing in the IGCC process, which re- moves CO 2 before combustion, and flue-gas purification methods that separate CO 2 after- wards. Scientists based in Potsdam are study- ing how carbon dioxide can be sequestered underground and what happens to it there. (pp. 36, 40) Buildings are responsible for around 40 percent of global energy consumption. Sophisticated energy-saving models and Siemens’ high-efficiency building manage- ment systems can contribute to substantial savings in CO 2 emissions and energy. (p. 29) Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is becoming a popular energy carrier. Siemens is establish- ing itself in this booming market with gigan- tic compressors and the world’s largest elec- tric motors, which will be used in the first all-electric LNG plant. (p. 46) PEOPLE: Clean-tech in California: Stefan Heuser, CT TTB email@example.com Energy-efficient buildings: Wolfgang Hass, Industry firstname.lastname@example.org Thomas Baum, Industry email@example.com CO 2 separation and storage: Dr. Tobias Jockenhövel, Energy firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Rüdiger Schneider, Energy email@example.com Dr. Christiane Schmid, Energy firstname.lastname@example.org Steam turbine technology: Lothar Balling, Energy email@example.com Dr. Ernst-Wilhelm Pfitzinger, Energy firstname.lastname@example.org Raw materials extraction: Roy Skogsrud, Industry email@example.com Compressors and electric motors: Dr. Thomas Mönk, Energy firstname.lastname@example.org Klaus Ahrens, Industry email@example.com Smart grids — intelligent networks: Dr. Michael Weinhold, Energy firstname.lastname@example.org IT for energy production: Erich Fuchs, SIS email@example.com Energy consumption and IT: David Murphy, SIS firstname.lastname@example.org LINKS: Siemens Energy Sector: www.siemens.com/energy California Energy Commission: www.energy.ca.gov CITRIS California: www.citris-uc.org Energy Agency IEA: www.iea.org EU project CO 2 SINK: www.co2sink.org World’s first electric LNG plant: www.statoil.com/snohvit Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 59 T here are some ideas that take a long time to mature. A good example is the concept of using our increasingly accurate weather forecasts to optimize a range of building func- tions. Heating, for example, could be automati- cally increased when a cold front is on the way and reduced as soon as warmer temperatures are predicted. This would ensure a comfortable room climate and save on energy. But today’s building automation systems usually measure only current ambient values such as the outside temperature and incident solar radiation to control heating, air- conditioning systems and window blinds. At most, a smart building manager might occa- sionally adjust these systems as appropriate depending on the forecast and personal experi- ence. But today’s systems are not set up to per- form such adjustments automatically. That is expected to change in a few years. To facilitate this change, Swiss researchers intend to combine modern weather forecasts with innovations in building technology and control engineering in a project called “Opti- Control.” One member of the project is the Research Partnership | Predictive Building Management 58 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 The project also includes three Siemens em- ployees. In addition, Siemens BT developed the basic outlines of the project and contributed its knowledge of the market for control engineer- ing in buildings. Self-Sufficient Alpine Hut. A first impression of OptiControl will be provided by the Monte- Rosa Alpine Hut of the Swiss Alps Club (SAC), which will open on July 1, 2009. The hut is a joint project of ETH Zurich and SAC, with sup- port coming from numerous sponsors and partners. The hut’s automation system is being supplied by Siemens. Since the hut will be lo- cated at an altitude of 2,795 meters, it must be largely self-sufficient. Power will be supplied by a photovoltaic system supported when neces- sary by a combined heat and power unit oper- ated with liquefied petroleum gas. OptiControl will be used to help manage the building. “For instance,” explains Tödtli, “when the battery and the wastewater tank are half full and sunshine is predicted in the near fu- ture, the control system might initiate the wastewater purification process, which con- Control mechanism adjusts the system. To do this, it uses not only the implemented rules and models, as well as sensor readings, but also the weather forecast for the next three days. “Unfortunately, no one knows the exact cost-benefit ratio of all of this,” says Project Manager Dr. Dimitrios Gyalistras from the Sys- tems Ecology Group at ETH Zurich. It is there- fore not really known at this point how much energy can be saved with predictive control system. Researchers hope to establish more clarity in this regard. An initial simulation indi- cates a potential of 15 percent in a typical of- fice room with integrated control of heating, air-conditioning, window shutters and lighting. By mid-2008, a large-scale study will provide more numbers for hundreds of differ- ent scenarios and about a dozen locations — figures for one-room offices and for suites in Zurich, London, Vienna and Marseille, for ex- ample. The EMPA is contributing its expertise in building modeling. “In practical applications, the expense of installation and operation must be as low as possible,” says Thomas Frank, a Senior Scientist in the Building Technologies department. In this regard, one issue that must still be resolved is how simple the models can be while still achieving satisfactory operation of the control system. “Probably about a dozen parameters will be needed,” Frank estimates. “All of that can theoretically be calculated from the blueprint of the architect. What we still don’t have are standardized interfaces between the architects’ CAD programs and the building management software.” Weather Data Via the Internet. Since early 2008, MeteoSchweiz has been using a weather model with a spatial resolution of 2.2 kilo- meters. Based on ground-level grid squares with this edge length, 60 layers of the atmosphere are defined, and MeteoSchweiz’s computer cal- culates the future weather for each cell. This makes local forecasts much more precise than previously, when the model had a grid resolu- tion of seven kilometers. “The objective of saving energy is worth almost any amount of effort,” says Dr. Philippe Steiner, who oversees the development of models at MeteoSchweiz. The organization’s meteorologists provide infor- mation on 24 weather parameters, each of which can predict conditions for three days on an hour-by-hour basis. The data includes tem- peratures and information on wind speed and solar radiation. In the future, it will be transmit- ted directly into buildings via the Internet. “Processing the data to generate forecasts involves a huge amount of mathematical calcu- lation,” says Professor Manfred Morari, head of the Automatic Control Laboratory of the ETH Zurich. “As it plans the next control command, OptiControl has to take into account the fact that more, as yet unknown information will be added in the form of new weather forecasts.” For each additional step of advanced planning, the number of possibilities increases by a factor of ten to 100. The trick is to get a simple micro- processor to perform these complex calcula- tions. “OptiControl makes no sense if you need a supercomputer for it,” says Morari. “The issue of what the market will accept is essential.” This understanding of the customer’s needs is con- tributed by Siemens, with its worldwide pres- ence and many years of experience. The OptiControl project will end in 2010, and its first products aren’t expected to appear before then. “Ultimately, the software could run in a small automation station on the wall,” pre- dicts Tödtli. “No special PC will be required and the hardware for building control won’t be ex- pensive either.” But plenty of work lies ahead. Field tests are taking place at Siemens BT’s labo- ratory in Zug. There, entire rooms are being set up to analyze the effects of a huge climate con- trol system that generates artificial environ- mental conditions. The scientists can thus measure how well a building control system re- acts to fluctuating outside temperatures and how precisely it can adjust the required room climate. OptiControl will also have to demon- strate its potential in that setting. “More than anything else, a good cost-benefit ratio is im- portant,” says Tödtli.Christian Buck Forecasts that Come Home Regional weather forecasts are becoming increasingly detailed. Researchers in Switzerland hope to use this data to automatically optimize energy use in buildings while keeping costs to a minimum. Siemens engineers are providing practical help. Siemens Building Technologies Division (Siemens BT) in Zug, near Zurich. “Our objec- tive is maximum comfort with minimal energy costs,” says Dr. Jürg Tödtli, who manages the European research activities for heating, venti- lation and climate-control products at Siemens BT. “Of course, before the project ends, we won’t know how beneficial weather forecasts are, but I see a major opportunity here.” Since May 2007, about a dozen researchers and five institutions have been involved in OptiControl. In addition to Siemens, the latter include the Swiss Federal Office for Meteorolo- gy and Climatology (MeteoSchweiz) in Zurich, the Research Institute for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) in Dübendorf, and two in- stitutes of the Swiss Federal Institute of Tech- nology (ETH) Zurich: the Automatic Control Laboratory and the Systems Ecology Group of the Institute for Integrative Biology. sumes electricity.” This way, the system pre- vents solar energy from remaining unused due to premature charging of the battery. On the other hand, when bad weather is forecast, the purification process would be stopped, because otherwise there would be a risk of using up the power reserve in the battery and having to switch to the precious liquefied petroleum gas. In addition to such “rule-based” processes, OptiControl offers “model-based predictive control,” in which it uses a model for the ther- mal behavior of the building. In this case, the automatic control mechanism must be fed with data such as the heat transfer coefficient of the walls and the heat storage capacity. In combi- nation with the weather forecast, prior user settings, and measurements for the tempera- ture inside and outside, the control system can then calculate the optimal profile for the tem- perature of the heating water, for example. Functions of this sort are not possible without powerful electronics. “I wrote the first essay on the use of weather forecasts for building au- tomation over 20 years ago,” recalls Tödtli. “But only now are there processors that have enough power and are cheap enough; our method demands a lot of memory and compu- tational capacity.” Every 15 minutes, the Opti- Weather predictions and building automation will be tested in a pilot facility at 2,795 meters. Siemens researcher Dr. Jürg Tödtli (photo below) and partners are key players in the project. 65 Self-Optimizing Factories Prof. Günther Schuh from RWTH Aachen University explains how factories will change to accom- modate personalized production. 66 Personalized Production At this year’s Hanover Trade fair, Siemens showcased the advan- tages of flexible production and of combining real with virtual manufacturing environments. 68 Affordable Municipal Services Providing complete customized solutions — along with a suitable financing model — for airports, hotels, hospitals, and even entire city districts is one of Siemens’ many strengths. Pages 68, 73 74 The Future of Transportation Recent innovations in rail technol- ogy include driverless subways and locomotives that can be adapted to a range of uses. Pages 74, 76, 77 80 Operation Interface Usability experts are applying advanced ergonomics and ease-of-use to the development and optimization of products for professionals. 82 Personalized Programs Whether it’s border security, tax fraud detection, or billing electricity by the second — tailor-made software is the key to meeting customers’ needs. Highlights 2020 Project manager Jimmy Cargon from the World Solutions technology consortium takes journalist Filippo Celentano on a train trip that reveals the secrets behind Iceworld. Thanks to a modular concept, virtual development, advanced simulations, and close cooperation between the individual segments of the consortium, Cargon and his team were able to meet all the demanding technical specifications. 60 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 T a i l o r e d S o l u t i o n s | Scenario 2020 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 61 May 2020. Iceworld, a miniature replica of Iceland, has just opened at a desert location. Project manager Jimmy Cargon is showing a journalist the gigantic hall’s many technological refinements. Desert Ice A n icy paradise complete with ski lifts, gey- sers, and mountain hotels in one of the hottest places on earth? “How did you manage it?” asks Filippo Celentano, who can hardly be- lieve what he’s seeing beyond the train win- dow. “With a mixture of precision, creativity, and artificial intelligence,” answers project manager Jimmy Cargon, from the World Solu- tions technology consortium, with a smile. “Once the client had outlined his vision in the course of a couple of consultation sessions, it was simply a question of putting together the Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 63 Customers’ wishes are becoming increasingly individualized. Manufacturers must thus achieve fast, flexible production cost-efficiently. For Siemens, this means focusing on platform strategies, key account management, and the virtual world. Cost-efficient production and advanced simulation make it possible to tailor light-rail vehicles to the specific needs of customers in Budapest (upper left), Vienna (bottom left) and Lisbon. companied by a reduction in the length of time from the design of a product to its production. Individualized products and solutions need not be more expensive than their conventional counterparts, provided they have been intelli- gently designed. This begins at an early stage, with modular product planning and assembly. The principle by which customers assemble their personal solutions from pre-fabricated modules can mean huge cost benefits for man- ufacturers. The latter can respond to customer demands with suitable products but don’t have to develop these products from scratch, thanks to their assembly kit model. This principle is best illustrated by an exam- ple from Europe’s rail transport sector where no less than 26 train control systems installed in 31 European countries used to demand spe- cially designed locomotives. Often, trains traveling from one country to the next must have their locomotives replaced at border crossings in what amounts to a costly and time-consuming procedure. To solve this problem, Siemens’ Mobility division offers the Eurosprinter, a locomotive based on a common platform (see p. 77). Here, the customer choos- es everything from the voltage supply system to the train control system — and that goes for cross-border traffic spanning several countries. The advantages of this strategy for Siemens as well as for rail operators is clear. For Siemens, the modular system means lower development and marketing expenses. For the customer, it means an attractive purchase price and loco- motives that can be flexibly distributed over a wide geographical area. This also adds up to a reduction in waiting time during border cross- ings of at least 30 minutes, which is time that can be crucial in freight-transport competition with trucks. Special Support for Large-Scale Projects. The advantages of customization also apply to projects of an entirely different sort, such as airports, hospitals and hotels. To relieve cus- tomers of the laborious effort of having to seek out and assemble the individual components of such complex, large-scale projects them- selves, companies are increasingly offering what is called key account management. Here, special support for the customer includes both all-around subject expertise and coordination of business dealings. The idea of the key ac- count was first adopted in the early 1990s by IT companies such as HP, IBM and Xerox, whose customers — usually international companies from the automotive, finance or petrochemical 62 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 necessary components from our portfolio: motors, trains, water technology, the complete software, and so forth.” “Sounds pretty complicated to me,” says Celentano. “Not at all,” Cargon replies. “We put together a project group comprising one specialist from each of the areas involved and representatives from all our partners. We then combined the various elements on a computer with the help of special planning software and went on for as long as it took until all the required features functioned perfectly in our simulation.” Celentano points to the red armband that he received at the entrance to Iceworld. “I bet it didn’t take you long to design that.” Cargon laughs. “If only you knew!” he say. “Not only is there a standard chip in there, which turns the armband into a universal payment device as well as the key to your room; there’s also so- phisticated biometric software that enables cameras to compare a 3D image of your face and the geometry of your hand with the data on the chip. That’s what makes the whole thing absolutely foolproof against forgery.” While Celentano is marveling at the tech- nology, Cargon moves smoothly on to the next highlight, saying, “And then there’s the intelli- gent train control system, which ensures that we can move safely and smoothly through the hall without the need for a driver. Or take the airships up above us that have been converted into luxury suites in line with the client’s wish- es. That’s where the sheikh and his family go to get away from it all!” Just then, a geyser erupts in a huge column of steam right beside the train. “Just take a look at that!” whoops Cargon. Celentano raises his eyebrows. “Not bad! But when I think about how much electricity the whole thing must use…” “Believe it or not,” his host interrupts, “we’ve been able to radically reduce our energy consumption and only use green power. An IT solution we developed analyzes how much electricity individual systems are using and automatically controls items like the geysers, so that they are only activated when the power consumed by other items of equipment declines. Besides, all the electricity we use is generated by a series of solar power plants. In other words, the icy temperatures that reign in here are produced by the scorching desert sun outside.” “Well, I must say, I’m really impressed,” Celentano admits. “But it must have cost a for- tune to develop this artificial winter world?” “You better believe it,” Cargon agrees. “That said, we’ve also been able to develop a modular concept. That means that the systems behind the scenes — for example, the control technology, the heating and cooling systems, and the power generation — form a replicable framework. In contrast, the visible items, such as the geysers, the snow cannons, and the ski lifts, are all modules that are plugged into this framework, as it were, by means of compatible interfaces. The tropical world, which we’re cur- rently building in one of the other emirates, has therefore been much cheaper to develop, because we already had the framework.” The train glides past an ice stadium still un- der construction. “So, new things are being added all the time?” Celentano asks. “That’s right,” says Cargon. “But because of space limi- tations, many of them are only temporary. For example, this ice rink, which boasts a light- weight design and has seating for 2,500 peo- ple, will host an international figure skating championships in around four weeks. After the event, we’ll simply dismantle it.” “It all sounds like a pretty straightforward project, then,” Celentano remarks. “Well, there were certainly a few tough problems to crack on the way,” Cargon reveals. “For example, Ice- world was planned, developed, built, and com- missioned in record time. In addition, one of the conditions stipulated that every user inter- face — whether the systems behind the scenes or the new ordering terminals at restaurant tables — had to be self-explanatory. We can thank the planning software that the commis- sioning procedure ran so smoothly. It enabled us to simulate the entire facility until all the various systems were working in perfect har- mony. The user interfaces were designed with the help of a new software tool and a number of test candidates. At the moment, we’re feeding the database with information we’ve gathered from the ex- periences made by real-life visitors to Iceworld. That way, the software can learn on the job and continue to enhance the performance of the user interfaces...” “This is a passenger announcement. We will be arriving shortly at the terminal station,” says a voice from an invisible loudspeaker. “Before I go, you must tell me what the whole project cost,” says Celentano. “Well, let’s say it cost enough to warren our putting together a fi- nancing model, despite the client’s wealth,” replies Cargon, as the two men move toward the door of the train. “In addition to receiving fixed payments, our consortium also holds the rights to operate the power plants for the next 25 years. And that’s a very lucrative proposi- tion. On that note, let me treat you to a mulled wine in the winter market. I bet you’ve never tasted better, even if it is alcohol-free here!” Sebastian Webel Tailored Solutions | Scenario 2020 Your Wish Is My Command I t’s the same thing day in, day out. You open the newspaper, and a whole sheaf of adver- tising leaflets for various products falls out onto the floor. From bed linen to porcelain to high- tech gadgetry — the merchandise seems end- less. But the most important message of the newspaper supplements is that products are being pitched at almost unbelievably low prices. Slogans like “Penny-pinching is cool” from a German electronics chain, and “Save money. Live better.“ from U.S. discount giant Walmart have become part of the vernacular. The reason for the low prices is the huge num- ber of suppliers crowding into the market in the age of globalization. Manufacturers that want to satisfy cus- tomers and remain competitive against low- wage countries have only two means of doing so: innovation and customized products, ac- | Trends Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 65 | Interview Prof. Dr. Günther Schuh, 49, has been Chairman of the Production Systems department at the RWTH Aachen Uni- versity in Germany since 2002 and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Tech- nology (IPT). He de- veloped the concept of the “virtual factory” and has played a key role in motivating the discussion on “lean innovation.” His most important research results include defini- tive methods and instruments for com- plexity management. Toward Factories that Optimize Themselves There is a growing trend toward individu- alized mass-market products. Why? Schuh: “Global products” sold to customers in identical designs everywhere on earth are now only seen in the luxury segment, such as in expensive watches and cars. But all standard products are subject to regional and cultural influences. There are two broad trends that are dependent on the economic environment of a country. One trend is “design to cost” produc- tion in great volumes for large markets where the buyer has little money. Here, the principle of economies of scale takes effect. But in high- income countries like Germany, differentiated quality products take precedence. Here, the economies of scope come into play — in other words, customized products. But even in pros- perous countries, customers don’t want to pay much more for their customized products. How do you resolve this dilemma? Schuh:Manufacturers strive for “mass cus- tomization” or individualized mass production. This means that kits or platforms pre-fabricat- ed to the greatest extent possible are then refined. A prevalent notion here is the “degree of commonality” involved; this is the reuse or multiple use of components, which can be seen quite clearly in the automotive industry. There, to an Increasing extent, many models are built on the same platform. Customers don’t care whether their drive trains are identi- cal in construction to those of another model. However, they are interested in the special op- tions that make their cars seem individual. We can still tap into a great deal of potential in this regard, both organizationally and technologi- cally. Development costs can be cut by at least a third over the medium term with a compre- hensive commonality strategy. So there is an effort to achieve greater effi- ciency through prefabricated mass-market products, while there is also increasing demand for customized products. To what extent can these interests be reconciled? Schuh:When it comes to individualized pro- duction, manufacturers must be able to con- vert the intricacy of customer demands and competitive conditions into manageable com- plexity. For that, they need advanced standard- ized assembly kits and production machines that can be used flexibly, allowing product variation without added costs. Product design and process layouts have to be tailored to this. In the past, for example, a house had to be built around standard windows, because an in- dividually dimensioned window would be a one- off production and thus too expensive. Today, you can manufacture any kind of window in a standard process and buy it at a standard price. What does this mean for manufacturing? Schuh:In high-income countries, the ideal target for specifically configured products is 90 percent of production. Getting a smooth production program ironed out for that isn’t a trivial matter. If you want to set up a system of affordable customized production, virtual pro- duction is crucial. Virtualization makes it possi- ble to reduce planning and preparatory work considerably and achieve process stability for all configurations and combinations. How will manufacturing change over the next 30 years? Schuh:The manufacturing hall of 30 years from now will look much like what we have today, but the systems will mesh with one another differently. Virtual production and process planning will be integrated into the production process. That means that during production, the product can simultaneously be tested, optimized, simulated, and improved. Machining centers will become more versatile, and the same goes for assembly lines. More and more software agents will monitor cus- tomized production processes. Ultimately this will give rise to a factory that can optimize it- self, adapting quickly and efficiently to new constraints — a factory that is therefore agile, anticipatory, and adaptive to a high degree. Will this be an advantage or a disadvantage for high-income countries? Schuh:This trend, which of course applies above all to products and goods on the luxury end of the scale, will ensure the viability of manufacturing in advanced economies. I think this is precisely where our hopes lie — in highly developed capacities for managing complexity. Interview conducted by Klaudia Kunze. the virtual and real worlds and thereby create entirely new opportunities for individualized production (see p. 66). Demand for customized production is grow- ing at an enormous rate, says Prof. Dr. Günther Schuh, a university professor specialized in pro- duction engineering at RWTH Aachen Universi- ty. (see p. 68). According to Schuh, who is an international expert in this field, virtual produc- tion is an important element when it comes to setting up an affordable system of customized production. Until this system of customized production is in place, however, “mass customization” is one way to achieve individualized production. Here, prefabricated assembly kits and plat- forms are individualized or refined at the end of the production line. And increasingly, other industries are showing interest in a formula that has long since proved its value in the auto- motive industry, where packages of options have been available for years. Indeed, Schuh believes that consumers will expect to see an increasing number of products that are tailored to their individual needs. Sebastian Webel 64 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Tailored Solutions | Trends industries — wanted all of their products and services to be compatible and based on the same standard. Today, particularly with regard to rapidly expanding global companies, stan- dardization is a bigger issue than ever —espe- cially when it comes to the key issue of cost ef- ficiency, which can vary significantly among a At Siemens, 100 account managers serve customers representing one third of the company’s business. our MDBs bring together customers from vari- ous industries,” says Rapp. “This combination of industries not only gives us broader expert- ise regarding the businesses our customers are engaged in; it also boosts our cost-efficiency.” In addition, Siemens offers many clients customized financing models. For example, the on platform concepts, companies use a third method to make their products flexible, mar- ketable in a short period of time, and in tune with customer expectations: simulation. Spe- cialized software packages allow products to be fully designed, simulated and tested in three dimensions on a computer (Pictures of the Future, Fall 2007, see p. 13–26). This often re- duces development and planning costs by 20 percent — in addition to shortening the start- up phase for production. According to Boston- based consulting company AMR Research, 20 percent of all product and manufacturing changes already occur in the virtual world instead of on the drawing board, and that number is increasing. This is true at Siemens too, which is now one of the world’s largest suppliers of industrial simulation software. The objective on the near horizon is to use these planning tools to merge important business today,” says Dr. Hajo Rapp, head of Account Management and Market De- velopment at Siemens One. “Companies may think primarily in terms of their products, but customers are mainly intent on solutions that satisfy their needs,” he adds. To provide this service, there are 13 Market Development Boards (MDB) at Siemens. In each of them, representatives of the various Siemens divisions together develop solutions adapted to industry- or even customer-specific processes, such as those in use at airports and in the automotive, metal and mining indus- tries. The drivers of this development are often the customers themselves, who discuss their needs and preferences with a Siemens key ac- count manager and receive appropriate sup- port from him or her. The account manager, who works with an MDB, ultimately analyzes which components from which divisions are needed to best realize the solution desired by the customer. The MDBs see a difference between Siemens and its competitors in this regard. “We don’t just specialize in individual customers; through a concession that allows it to levy fees on airlines and passengers (see p. 69). Focusing on Major Customers. The signifi- cance Siemens attaches to key account man- agement can be seen simply by counting the number of key account managers at the com- pany. Over 100 employees now support large, globally-operating companies, from Nestlé and BMW to Chinese steel giant Baosteel. The cus- tomers who are the focus of account man- agers’ attention represent approximately one third of all sales at Siemens. Rapp underscores the importance of this commitment: “The busi- ness of the MDBs is growing at a disproportion- ately high rate relative to the company as a whole. We intend to continue to take full ad- vantage of this excellent growth potential in the future.” In addition to key account management and the principle of modular manufacturing based Simulated versions of planned products improve speed and flexibility in meeting rail sector needs (left). Customized solutions also make production at a VW plant cheaper and more flexible (right). company’s locations depending on which sys- tems and service contracts are in effect . Since the 1990s, Siemens too has placed a greater focus on its customers. In 2004, the company developed a special initiative called Siemens One (see p.70). “Providing customized solutions instead of individual products is an City of Freiburg, Germany is paying for its power-saving LED lamps from Siemens with the energy costs it saves. And at Bangalore Air- port, which was fully equipped by Siemens, the company actually has a 40 percent stake in the airport operator through a subsidiary. The op- erator consortium is financing the investment Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 67 Tailored Solutions | Mass Customization The Road to Personalized Production As the world market leader for automation systems, Siemens is addressing the next challenge on the path to super-flexible production systems: achieving complete integration of all product lifecycle data so that information can flow optimally. A live demonstration with the VW Tiguan at the 2008 Hannover Fair offered an example of the company’s work in this area. At this year’s Hannover Fair, Siemens illustrated the entire process chain for the VW Tiguan in both the real and virtual worlds. The goal was to highlight the benefits of linking these two environments. 66 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 presented the range of complementary prod- ucts and solutions offered by its Industry Auto- mation (IA) and Drive Technologies divisions at a stand measuring 160 meters in length. The focus here was on linking real and virtu- al factories. “We depicted the entire factory process chain at the Hanover fair,” says Tino Hildebrand, who helped organize the trade fair presentation and is also responsible for VW at Siemens IA’s Automotive Competence Center. “Some of the things shown were real, while others — like the press plant, paint shop, and powertrain assembly line — were presented only virtually.” Use of the word “only” betrays a certain modesty here, since the virtual aspect is exact- ly what Siemens is working on so intensely at the moment as it moves to integrate the for- mer UGS software company (now Siemens PLM Software) into the services offered by IA (Pictures of the Future, Fall 2007, p.16). The importance of all this has to do with the fact that an accurate virtual depiction online of all data pertaining to a product’s lifecycle enables T hese days, it’s hard to imagine there was once a time when people had to wait up to two years for a new car ordered with special features and options. “Today’s customers want to have their dream car the very next day and be able to change options right up until the last minute if possible,” says Harald Gmeiner, Siemens Global Account Manager for Volks- wagen. Customers’ wishes for quick, tailor-made solutions place substantial demands on automakers, which need to be able to alter products and production processes at more or less the same time and flexibly adapt them to changing requirements. They are therefore working hard to keep up, and are being assist- ed by Siemens as a key systems supplier to the automotive industry. Siemens and VW provided a look at today’s challenges and the state-of-the-art technology required to meet them at the Hannover Fair, the world’s largest industrial fair, which took place in Hannover, Germany, in April 2008. Using the VW Tiguan as an example, Siemens Half a Century of Simatic Success Simatic, the world’s most successful automation system,has made its mark on industrial processes like practically no other technology. Its success story began in 1958, when Siemens launched its first fully wired electronic regulation and control systems under the name Simatic ( Pictures of the Future, Spring 2005, p. 86). The system’s second generation was introduced in the mid-1960s. This was equipped with silicon transistors that made the system faster, more reliable, and less temperature-sensitive than its predecessor. The early 1970s marked the beginning of the fundamental transition from hard-wired programmed controllers to programmable logic controls. The first PLC, the Simatic S3, was as big as a wardrobe cabinet — but the development of microelectronic systems quickly made memory storage and logic devices much smaller. A breakthrough was achieved in 1979 with the Simatic S5, and the next milestone was reached in 1996 with the Simatic S7. The latter device marked the step from PLC to totally integrated automation, which focuses on integrated solutions rather than the performance features of individual devices. At the same time, the foundation was laid for integrating process con- trol technology, and with the launch of Simatic IT in 2002, information technology became a funda- mental component of automation systems. The Simatic Automation Designer, which will be intro- duced in mid-2008, represents yet another key advance in digital engineering. a company to more rapidly and effectively in- corporate product and manufacturing process changes even if production has already started. “That’s the ultimate vision — to obtain a com- prehensive digital depiction of the complete product lifecycle in order to turn a serial process into a parallel process,” says Gmeiner. “This would save time and money, and also pre- vent errors.” Spotlight on Software. Mid-2008 will see the launch of a milestone in the effort to integrate virtual product development, production process planning, and simulation, as provided by Siemens PLM Software, with production automation as provided by the Simatic-line solutions. “Our Simatic Automation Designer tool suite creates conditions that make digital engineer- ing possible within the framework of the digital factory,” says Dr. Wolfgang Schlögl, product manager for the new system. “Engineers will thus be able to take data directly from the plan- ning phase, adapt it without any intermediate conversion process to the automation system, and even carry out virtual commissioning. An- other benefit offered by the Automation De- signer is that it can be individually integrated into existing system environments. This makes all data across the board accessible, thereby al- lowing continued use of existing software tools.” Automation Designer also makes it pos- sible for all planners and developers, regardless of their area of expertise, to work on projects together. Although Siemens presented a setup in Hanover that’s the only one of its kind any- where, a lot of work still needs to be done. “We need to further align the individual data worlds for mechanical, electrical, and automation sys- tems,” says Schlögl. Data still doesn’t always fit together. Specialists in Nuremberg are there- fore working closely on this issue with Dr. Ulrich Löwen and his Systems Engineering department at Corporate Technology. Teamcenter, Siemens’ universal software for product data management, collects all data from the product-development process and 68 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Tailored Solutions | Financing Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 69 Making Municipal Services Affordable Government agencies are increasingly working with private-sector investors on infrastructure renewal projects and new construction. Here’s a look at why Siemens has invested in many such projects. T he earth’s major metropolitan areas are growing and developing rapidly. But there is one thing that all of them have in common: the need for modern infrastructures. With many public budgets strapped, individualized financing solutions are often required to en- able the construction of airports, hospitals, and power plants. Siemens Financial Services (SFS) division provides financing concepts that get many of the projects implemented by Siemens off the ground. One example is a new airport that will soon enter service in the Indian city of Bangalore. Also known as the “Silicon Valley of India,” Bangalore has been booming over the last few years, which is why the city’s government has committed itself to expand urgently needed infrastructures. The new airport is expected to accommo- date more than 15 million passengers per year by 2015, at which time it will be handling one flight every two minutes. Close cooperation with Siemens One’s Airports Market Develop- ment Board organization (see p. 63) enabled Siemens to enter a bid on the project that would precisely meet the airport’s require- ments through the utilization of innovative technology. The city of Bangalore opted to finance the prestigious project through a long-term public- private partnership (PPP). The owner and oper- ator of the airport is a project company known as Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL). Along with supplying and installing all of the technology for the airport, Siemens also has a 40 percent interest in BIAL through its Siemens Project Ventures (SPV) subsidiary. An additional 17 percent each is held by the Larsen & Toubro Ltd. construction company and Unique Zurich Airport, with the latter pro- viding airport operation expertise. The remaining 26 percent interest is split between the Indian state of Karnataka and the Indian federal government, thereby ensuring that governmental authorities have a say in the strategically important infrastructure project. Siemens Project Ventures Managing Director Dr. Wolfgang Bischoff explains that, “the 26 percent holding gives the government a minor- ity veto according to Indian law.” Commercial responsibility lies mostly with BIAL, however, whose $460 million investment will be recouped through a concession for shar- ing passengers and airline fees. The concession will run for 30 years and can be extended for an additional thirty. Airports and Hospitals. The Bangalore Air- port project stands out as a result of its huge financing scope, but it’s by no means the only project of its kind. Siemens Financial Services is currently working on financing plans for more than 300 projects involving Siemens technolo- gy worldwide. Public-private partnerships are becoming an increasingly important part of this business. “Closer cooperation between governments and the private sector makes it possible to imple- ment many infrastructure projects even in the face of tight budgets,” explains SFS Managing Director Johannes Schmidt. Support from Siemens Financial Services, which is provided through offices at Siemens locations world- wide, is thus becoming increasingly important. shell) — will completely own the facility, which means that, along with guaranteeing its technical availability, they will also bear all technical risks. “Kiel University Hospital will operate the fa- cility and pay a monthly fee to do so,” Bischoff explains. The hospital will also ensure that the facility operates at optimal patient capacity utilization. Ownership will be transferred to the hospital after 25 years. digitally manages it in a standardized manner. “Teamcenter is a collaborative network that establishes a seamless link between all data,” Gmeiner explains. The software thus makes it possible to net- work various units at a company, such as prod- uct development, with a digital representation of production using Siemens’ Tecnomatix digital manufacturing software solution. Third- party solutions can also be integrated via the open PLM concept and other standards. Siemens experts are already working on the next step, which will be to incorporate supplier management systems and after sales units. Transparent Production. “Teamcenter,” says Gmeiner, “will form the heart of the intelligent factories of the future.” It will enable each com- ponent in the process chain — in other words the entire value chain from product develop- ment to process and factory planning, the raw materials chain, suppliers, and production de- partments — to access centrally managed data, which will make the entire process truly integrated. Teamcenter software is already being used by many leading automakers (including Volks- wagen since 2007) to make product-develop- ment processes more transparent, and thus en- able legally binding information on the degree of product development and on productivity and costs to be received at any time. The proj- ect at Volkswagen, which will last for several years, will result in a system that will be used by up to 45,000 people when completed. These solutions will enable Siemens to move much closer to its vision of mass cus- tomization. “While it’s true that passenger car customers currently have the greatest tenden- cy to request product alterations until shortly before delivery,” says Gmeiner, “we’ll definitely soon be seeing this phenomenon in other sec- tors as well.” Although Siemens is essentially concentrat- ing on developments for the automotive indus- try at the moment, other sectors that need to deal with rapid product alterations and a high degree of flexibility could also profit from its systems. Just imagine, for example, customers at a department store being able to design and order a personalized pair of pants using a com- puter. They could select fabric and button types, have their body shape scanned in to de- termine measurements, and be able to make minor alterations right up until one day before scheduled delivery — all at a price only slightly higher than that of a pair of pants off the rack. High fashion would then no longer be a luxury. Klaudia Kunze mentally friendly lighting technology for traffic lights. A total of 53 traffic lights were equipped with LED technology in Freiburg. LEDs con- sume much less energy than conventional light bulbs, and also last a lot longer. The technology reduces annual electricity consumption by 350,000 kilowatt-hours and also significantly lowers maintenance costs. As a result, Freiburg is saving €155,000 per year, which it is using to pay for the technology in installments that will run for a total of 15 years. After that, the sav- ings will flow into the city’s coffers — without the project ever having put a strain on the mu- nicipal budget. Around a dozen towns and cities in Ger- many have installed LED technology in similar projects. In Memmingen, for example, Siemens re-equipped 18 traffic lights with LED technolo- gy, and the city was able to pay for the whole project with the energy savings achieved by the time the first bill was due. Additional savings on maintenance also enabled SF&L to shorten the term of the energy-saving contract. “Invest- ments like these really pay off for municipali- ties, which is why many similar projects are now being planned,” says Stefan Fleischner, head of Region South at SF&L. Whether it’s small contracts or major projects, Fleischner is sure that financing concepts tailored to the needs of individual governments will help the public sector to continue to invest in infra- structures. Katrin Nikolaus Cities can pay for new LED traffic lights through savings, putting no additional strain on budgets. Siemens’ experience with large-scale proj- ects was one of the reasons it was awarded the contract for the Kiel University Hospital. The company is also playing a major role in construction of a particle center in Heidelberg, Germany that will go into operation in October 2008. Lots of Light. Public-private partnerships can also have a major effect in what at first appear to be relatively minor projects. SFS subsidiary Siemens Finance & Leasing (SF&L), for exam- ple, has teamed up with Siemens Enterprise Communications (SEN) on projects in Mem- mingen and Freiburg, Germany that enabled municipal governments to invest in environ- Whether it’s Bangalore Airport (left) or energy-saving LEDs for traffic lights (right) — many projects would not be possible without sophisticated financing models from Siemens. In Germany, for instance, a contract for the biggest public-private partnership in the coun- try’s healthcare sector has just been signed. The contract involves the construction of a new type of cancer treatment facility at Kiel Univer- sity Hospital. The planned facility will house a particle treatment center where protons and carbon ions will be accelerated to high speeds and guided precisely into tumors in order to de- stroy them (see Pictures of the Future, Fall 2007, p. 33). The cost of the facility, which is being planned and built by Siemens Health- care, will be around €250 million. Unlike Bangalore Airport, the two private consortium partners here — Siemens and con- struction specialist Bilfinger Berger (building by Siemens played an important roll in convinc- ing the clinic operator to award the contract to Siemens. Unlike competitors, who can offer only individual products, Siemens was able to provide a competent key account manager, ex- ceptionally well-coordinated liaisons between fields, a common corporate structure, and well-practiced cooperation among individual divisions. Welcome to the New Wembley. Siemens’ many years of experience with comprehensive technical solutions were put to good use by British property developer Quintain Estates and Developments for a project in London. At the site of the redeveloped iconic Wembley Stadium, Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 71 Tailored Solutions | Siemens One All-Inclusive Solutions Thanks to the Siemens One initiative, Siemens is offering customers complete, made-to-measure solutions — for airports, hotels, hospitals, and entire districts such as the four-billion euro New Wembley construction project in London. A British real estate developer is building a residential and entertainment district — incorporating the latest Siemens technologies — around the new Wembley Stadium (center of picture). 70 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 C hildren’s wish lists have hardly changed at all over the years. Near the top, they still include building kits as one of the most cher- ished presents for birthdays and Christmas. But whether they’re working on a pirate ship, a space station or an entire urban landscape, youthful builders achieve the best results when they put all the separate, very different parts together according to assembly instructions. In a certain sense, companies like Siemens are like toy manufacturers. Their products are building blocks that can be combined in a vari- ety of ways. But companies are usually known for individual products and less often for com- plete building kits including instructions. If a potential customer would like to build an air- market. One of them is Michael Hartmann him- self, who previously worked at the Kempinski Group and has attended various hotel manage- ment colleges. All of this expertise is paying off. Today, Siemens’ hotel activities generate some €210 million in annual sales revenues. Large chains such as Hilton account for about one third of this amount. “This is a market where we can still do quite a lot,” says Hartmann. Lisbon’s Hi-Tech Hospital. Siemens also sees great potential in hospitals, since more and more organizations are opting to have their fa- cilities maintained and run by private entities. Such entities, because of their economic inter- Wecker, who represents the Siemens health- care field in this reference-project. Moreover, the da Luz project demonstrates what Siemens can provide all by itself. The list includes lighting systems, electric installations, power distribution, and a complex monitoring system with roughly 13,000 sensors for light, air, and temperature conditions. The building includes a large number of technical refinements, such as HiMed Cockpit, a cross between an entertainment and exami- nation system that can be used to surf the Internet, watch television or make a phone call. Doctors can use HiMed monitors during bed- side visits to access a central database and retrieve a patient’s electronic file, along with lab data, x-rays and reports on diagnostic find- ings. This development from Siemens revolu- tionizes the workflow of a hospital. The hospital’s Soarian system from Siemens is the most prominent example of workflow acceleration. “Soarian is the real centerpiece of da Luz,” says Wecker. “With this digital work- flow solution, doctors and nurses anywhere in the hospital can access patient files, instead of having to gather them together piece by piece in a prolonged and costly search of the archive.” This makes internal hospital processes much more effective. Wards can better plan their work processes, bureaucracy is reduced, and the staff is relieved of many time-consum- ing burdens. All of this results in fast, patient- oriented processes. Patients therefore benefit from shorter stays, which is a boon to hospital operator ESS. The high degree of efficiency promised by the combination of the many systems delivered has proven to be a success. In over 40 coun- tries, Siemens now presenting itself to cus- tomers with one face, nevertheless demon- strating its diversity in the context of complex projects such as airports (see p. 69), hospitals, and hotels. “To date, Siemens has supplied equipment for 5,900 upper- and luxury-class hotels,” says Michael Hartmann, Senior Vice President for Corporate Sales on the company’s Hospitality Market Development Board. An outstanding example of that experience is the Hilton Molino Stucky project in Venice, Italy, which has over 380 rooms in ten buildings. “In this hotel, we managed to integrate a large proportion of the Siemens disciplines,” says Hartmann. port, for example, he often collects the re- quired components piece by piece from several companies and then combines them into an overall solution. Not infrequently, however, it turns out that some of the components of such projects are not compatible with one another. The consequences are added costs and a schedule in disarray. Siemens has therefore set itself the goal of offering solutions from the customer’s point of view and putting more emphasis on its com- prehensive range of products and services. The result is an initiative established in 2004 called Siemens One. The initiative is a mixture of sys- tematic key account management and market cultivation across sectors. So far, Siemens One Indeed, the individual building blocks that Siemens bundled together into a single pack- age for the American Hilton Group’s Molino Stucky are impressive. They include integrated entertainment system for the guest rooms, fire protection systems, security technologies such as surveillance systems, building management and communications installations that provide guests with maximum security and the great- est possible comfort. The challenge in the Hilton contract was not just the technical furnishings, however. “We have to know how the industry ticks,” explains Hartmann. “The customer doesn’t formulate technical solutions when he tells us what he wants; he only discusses with us the desired re- sult.” Whether the customer demands comfort for the guests or energy efficiency, Hartmann’s team ultimately has to know which solutions will meet those needs. Extensive meetings between the hospitality representatives of the individual Siemens divi- sions and the customer are therefore a must for understanding what the hoteliers want and have in mind. This process is facilitated by nu- merous Siemens experts involved in the project who have extensive experience in the hotel est, prefer a comprehensive approach, as this is the only way they can optimize their operating processes and function economically over the long term. A prime example of this is da Luz Hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, which Siemens furnished and equipped on behalf of Portuguese clinic opera- tor Espirito Santo Saúde (ESS) and which repre- sents one of the largest Siemens projects in the healthcare field. Opened in 2007 as an “integrated health- care campus,” da Luz includes not only a gener- al hospital but also a nursing home and a re- tirement home — a unique combination of services in Portugal. Outpatient and inpatient treatment is offered in more than 30 depart- ments and practices, primarily with technolo- gies from Siemens. “As far as the diagnostic equipment goes, Siemens supplied almost everything in its product range, including com- puter and magnetic resonance tomographs and mammography equipment,” says Dr. Klaus A comprehensive approach is the only way hospitals can function economically over the long term. Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 73 What are your responsibilities as Corporate Account Manager for BASF? Dieckhoff: Primarily, I serve as BASF’s contact partner for all solutions offered by Siemens. I therefore also examine Siemens’ extensive portfolio to find the technologies BASF needs. In this regard, I have to make sure that Siemens understands and can meet BASF’s requirements, even when these don’t exactly correspond to a specific standard solution. To me, corporate account management means getting my own company to focus more and more on the customer. So you could also say that I act somewhat like an advocate for BASF vis a vis my own employer. What type of skills did you need to have in order to be selected for your position as a CAM? Dieckhoff:In general, an account manager has to have a great deal of experience working for Siemens, as well as the ability to deliver the right technologies to a specific customer. That means a CAM needs to have worked in diverse fields. He or she must also understand people and possess the necessary leadership experi- ence, because as an account manager, you need to bring together people with different interests and cultural backgrounds. A good CAM makes both sides of the argument clear and reconciles opposing interests. What sort of added value do you offer your customer, BASF, and your employer, Siemens? Dieckhoff:There are two types of added val- ue here. For BASF, it’s important to know who to turn to for consultation on all issues relating to Siemens products and services — and the person they come to is me. At the same time, my team and I provide added value to Siemens by striving to ensure that each project we conduct also pays off for the company. How do you determine what BASF needs? Dieckhoff:In order to analyze BASF’s require- ments, I first need to understand the company. This isn’t always easy if, like me, you’re not a chemist. When I talk to the head of Technical Plastics at BASF about future plans and projects, for example, I need to have a basic under- standing of that field. To obtain such an understanding, I consult with the appropriate Siemens specialists, such as those at Corporate Technology. The knowledge I gain in this manner enables me to better understand what BASF wants and needs. How do you go about comparing all this information with available Siemens products in order to come up with the right package for BASF? Dieckhoff:With knowledge and experience, whereby I get a lot of help from the Chemicals Solutions Market Development Board at Siemens — a body whose members consist of representatives from different Siemens divisions. These members meet to discuss and develop products, systems, and solutions for the chemical industry. The board provides me with a quick and simple overview of the latest technologies available, and also offers me the specialized support I need in order to present these solutions in a professional manner. What kinds of solutions has Siemens provided for BASF? Dieckhoff:Just recently, we delivered a Simatic PCS 7 process control system to BASF in the U.S. The system included a 15-year Life Cycle Service agreement. But there’s a lot more in the Siemens portfolio that we can of- fer BASF, like products and services from the Mobility Division. At its Ludwigshafen head- quarters, BASF operates one of Germany’s largest freight rail stations, for which Siemens, among other things, supplied switching de- vices and automatic train control systems. So as you can see, even divisions that appear to have little to do with chemicals are also quite active in business with BASF. What’s the difference between your job and the work carried out by other account managers? Dieckhoff:There are some big differences. For example, some account managers work for only one division and customer. Others deal with the entire Siemens portfolio, but are responsible for customers with only one or two locations. We, on the other hand, represent eight divisions and have offices at six BASF locations around the world. So the differences in what we do individually are sometimes extreme. What could be improved at Siemens Corporate Account Management? Dieckhoff:In my opinion, we account managers need to have stronger ties with the various Siemens units and regions. Such links will definitely be easier to establish with the new sectors and an associated consolidation of Siemens’ business operations. That’s why I’m confident we’ll be seeing improvements here very soon. Interview conducted by Sebastian Webel BASF’s main plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany is Europe’s largest integrated industrial complex. 72 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 which was completed in 2007 in what is still a run-down industrial quarter, Quintain intends to surround the new stadium with a residential, shopping, and recreational complex with hotels, bars, movie theaters and about 5,000 residen- tial units — in short, a city within the city, as it were. As far as Quintain is concerned, the sustainability of the new district is especially important, because the developer is also the future manager of the site. Fit for the Future.For example, Quintain wants the technical solutions for the new site to be among the most modern on the market for many years to come, even following the com- pletion of this mixed use development, which is scheduled to be completed in 2015. With this in mind, Quintain brought Siemens on board. Siemens is giving Quintain and its partners advice on a range of technological issues and helping to realize the required solutions with its own products and services. Although the gigantic project is still in the early stages of construction, Quintain has already made the first important technology decisions, thanks to help from Siemens. For instance, fiberglass cables to the home will provide residents with leading edge telecommunication services, while ultra- modern building technologies will reduce the energy consumption and carbon footprint of the new site to an absolute minimum. Addi- tional solutions such as IT and traffic control systems are already being contemplated. “I’m sure that over the coming years we’ll supply a wide range of Siemens solutions and services for the New Wembley project,” says Gordon Carmichael, Siemens One project head. As recently as the summer of 2007, Quin- tain and Siemens signed a 15-year agreement laying out a strategic partnership. Almost all the Siemens divisions in the UK are taking part in the project, including Siemens’ Research Center in Roke Manor. Carmichael reports that the potential contract volume is expected to reach several hundred million euros over the first ten years alone. Quintain anticipates a total investment of more than four billion euros in the construction project. And Siemens One manager Carmichael is sure that the expense will be worth it. “The site will be one of London’s main attractions, with ten to 20 million visitors per year, not least because of Wembley Stadium and the nearby Wembley Arena for concerts and events,” he predicts.Sebastian Webel Tailored Solutions | Siemens One To date, Siemens has equipped over 5,900 hotels in the upper and luxury class with state-of-the-art technology. The Hilton Hotel Molino Stucky in Venice, Italy with more than 380 rooms, is among them. At da Luz Hospital in Lisbon, Siemens provided everything from its Hi-Med Cockpit, which gives doctors access to patient files from every bedside (left) to lighting, advanced sensing, and power management. | Interview Thomas Dieckhoff, 55, has been the Siemens Corporate Account Manager (CAM) for the world’s leading chemicals company, BASF, in Ludwigshafen since 2002. Dieckhoff, who has a Masters Degree in Engineer- ing, has worked for Siemens since 1980, most recently as the spokesman for the Chemical Industry sector team. He’s one of more than 100 Siemens CAMs who support companies such as Coca-Cola, Daimler, and Shell. Inside Corporate Account Management ter monitors train-car interiors via video cam- eras. Passengers who activate an alarm are au- tomatically put into direct contact with the control center via digital voice radio. Control center staff can immediately dispatch mainte- nance or rescue services to the train. “In general,” says Trummer, “the trend in Eu- rope is toward fully automated systems — at least for closed systems like subways. Unlike streetcars or buses, subway trains don’t have immediate contact with street traffic, which means it’s much easier to monitor and secure them.” The “driverless future” is about to be- come reality in Nuremberg — and the seats with the best view of the tunnel will likely be the most popular ones. Dagmar Braun Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 75 Tailored Solutions | Driverless Subways Driverless in Nuremberg Nuremberg’s subway system will be the first in Germany to use trains without driv- ers. It will also boast the first line anywhere to share automated trains with conven- tionally operated ones. The concept is ideal for the custom conversion of existing lines. Siemens is providing the project’s unique technology, systems, and trains. Driverless subway trains will enter service in Nuremberg in summer 2008. To date, they have been operated only in test operation. The trains are monitored from a control center (right). 74 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 S ummer 2007. It’s one o’clock in the morn- ing at the Sündersbühl subway station in Nuremberg. A red and white test train pulls in. You get on and the train heads out. At first, it looks like any other modern subway train. But then you take a second look and notice that there’s no driver’s cab. All you see is the sub- way tunnel stretching out ahead of the train’s windshield. “The view from the front car is the only visible difference for a passenger traveling in a driverless train,” says Georg Trummer, who heads Siemens’ activities in Germany’s first dri- verless subway. Trummer’s team manages the test drives, which were originally limited to the three hours available at the start of every night when the Nuremberg subway shuts down. monitor and control subway train movements completely autonomously. Passengers need not be aware of any of this. What they will be aware of, however, is that the train begins moving smoothly as if guided by a magical hand, brakes slightly, then accelerates once again to its top speed of 80 kilometers per hour, and seems to float to a stop at the next station. “The trains travel at an optimal speed in accordance with the time- table and the distance between the stations. That’s one reason they drive so smoothly,” explains Trummer. The result is greater com- fort, along with a unique view into the subway tunnel. Other benefits of the driverless system include shorter train intervals — 100 seconds The VAG Nürnberg control center is located just a few kilometers from the test line. Staff at the space center-like facility can monitor all au- tomated operations on computer screens in semicircle formation and on large wall moni- tors, so that they can intervene in the event of an emergency. In such a case, the various com- puters will provide diagnostic information and video images. Control center staff can then take over control of the system. The control center also monitors messages from the safety systems, which represent pioneering joint developments from Siemens and Honeywell. “Normally, automated sub- ways are equipped with platform doors that block the dangerous area at the edge of the platform until the train has stopped. This wasn’t possible in Nuremberg due to the mixed automatic/driver operation, and because the platforms of some stations are curved,” explains Trummer. Safety First. Absolute safety is ensured by video monitoring and a new high-frequency transponder system that sends a dense grid of sensing beams out over the tracks from trans- mitter and receiver rails installed underneath the platform edge. If a person or object falls onto the track or between a train coupling, the system will immediately stop all trains in the area. Solid sills extend from doors when trains are in stations to ensure that no one can get caught in the gap between train and platform. When it’s time to go, an infrared sensor in the rubber edges of the door halves registers even the slightest pressure — the seam of a coat stuck in between is all it takes to keep the train from leaving the station. The control cen- in European cities such as Lille, Toulouse, Lon- don, and — since 2006 — Turin for more than 20 years. Nevertheless, what Siemens is doing in Nuremberg is unique, since the new U3 line will run initially on part of the route used by the conventionally operated U2 line. No other sub- way in the world has such mixed operations of trains with and without drivers. The Nuremberg project is pioneering in an- other respect as well. In 2009, the U2 line is also expected to be converted to driverless op- eration over its entire length, thus putting an end to mixed operation. And all of these changeovers are to take place without any in- terruption of normal subway service. “Nobody’s ever done that before,” says Trummer as he Exhaustive training is devoted to operations such as automatic starting, braking, and pre- cise stopping, opening the doors, securing the tracks, switching and automatic coupling as well as putting trains into and taking them out of service. Final test operations have been run- ning since the start of 2008 — in close harmo- ny with the future timetable, but as yet without passengers. Official commissioning is sched- uled for June 2008. At the end of 2001, the city of Nuremberg and VAG Nürnberg — the local public transport operator — decided to equip the U3, and later the U2, subway lines for driverless operations. Automated subway systems are nothing new. Driverless subway trains have been operating opens a door at the end of the platform. Be- hind the door are key components of the ATC (Automatic Train Control) system developed by Siemens: computers for the routes and the sig- nal boxes. These computers continually ex- change data with those in the higher-level con- trol system, as well as with train computers, via fiber optic cables and inductive loops embed- ded in the tracks. The data includes the desti- nation and speed of each train, track switching information, and the side of the train that will face the platform in the next station. Digital Drivers. An onboard computer (Auto- matic Train Operation) in the subway train it- self uses this data to control the entire driving process. A second computer (Automatic Train Protection) monitors the actions of the first and makes corrections if necessary. The ATC system registers all train movements via a retransmis- sion channel, which means it always knows where each train is at any given moment and how fast it is moving. The latter capability is made possible by Siemens’ two-car train sets equipped with navigation units and transmis- sion and reception antennas, among other things. Thanks to these, the ATC system can instead of 200 — and the possibility of quickly putting additional trains into service, for exam- ple for major events. “Although investment costs are higher, the new system is more economical. One reason for this is that it takes less time to get trains moving in the opposite direction at terminal stations, which means we need fewer trains and we don’t need to hire additional person- nel,” says Konrad Schmidt, who heads the proj- ect for VAG Nürnberg. Experience in other cities with automated systems has confirmed this. In Paris, for exam- ple, where Metro line 14 has been in driverless operation since 1998, the system has proved it- self primarily through improved capacity and safety. As a result, the Paris Metro’s historic Line 1 is also to be automated by 2010. Anoth- er driverless subway line is currently under con- struction in Barcelona, and a third is taking shape in Uijeongbu, Korea — all of them with technology from the Siemens Mobility Division. Nuremberg is the only place where conventional and driverless subway trains share a track. Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 77 | Locomotives Flexible Family The locomotives of the Eurosprinter family can be flexibly adapted to each customer’s requirements. They have been designed to support cross-border rail traffic — and thus benefit railroad operators and passengers alike. Eurosprinter is not only the world’s fastest electric locomotive (center, below), but also a platform that can be adapted to the needs of operators such as (from left) Railion, ÖBB, and Arriva-Vogtlandbahn. W hen it comes to rail traffic, Europe is still far from united. On the continent there are several different track gauges, five voltage systems, and as many as 26 different train pro- tection systems. “It’s like in the Middle Ages, when every city used different measuring units,” laments Ulrich Fösel, product manager for locomotives at Siemens Mobility in Erlan- gen. “No uniform standards, just a mishmash of European particularism.” This patchwork system meant that trains had to stop at national borders and change locomotives before they could travel on. Such delays were not only costly for passengers, but resulted in a competitive handicap for freight transport in comparison with trucks. Since the 1990s, Siemens engineers have been working intensively on this problem. Their solution is called the platform concept. The principle behind that name is a family of The youngest member of the Eurosprinter family is the first version to conform com- pletely to the platform concept. The ES64U4 consists of the basic locomotive — the locomo- tive body, bogies, and motor — plus additional packages the customer can select individually. These options contain everything the locomo- tive needs to operate in a given country, such as a voltage adapter and a train protection system, plus a signal lighting system. To ac- commodate the wide range of specifications of various railroad companies and the large num- ber of special signals used — for instance for train shunting or wrong-way travel — Siemens developed a combination of halogen lamps and LEDs that can meet all requirements with respect to signal brightness and color. To date, Siemens has developed country- specific packages for Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, locomotives that can be easily adapted to the requirements of individual countries and cus- tomers. With an auxiliary equipment set, such trains can operate with as many as four differ- ent voltage systems, and are thus capable of cross-border travel. These convertible locomo- tives, known as Eurosprinters, are now used by numerous European railroad operators. Although the concept seems obvious, it could not be implemented for a long time due to political conditions. “Up to the 1980s, state- owned railroads developed locomotives them- selves and merely issued production orders to manufacturers,” explains Thomas Eisele, the Siemens platform manager responsible for the latest version of the Eurosprinter. “Today, on the other hand, locomotive development is done entirely by the manufacturers, so it’s im- portant, particularly for economic reasons, to support multiple markets at the same time.” Tailored Solutions | Rail Transport Study 76 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Rail Systems of the Future — Lighter, Smarter, Faster In collaboration with the Siemens Mobility Division, Siemens Corporate Technology has analyzed the requirements of rail traffic for the next ten to twenty years in a study called “Picture of the Future Rail” that focuses on the Indian, Russian, Chinese, U.S., and European markets. The study basically em- ployed the methodology of the “Pictures of the Future” procedure that Siemens uses for strategic planning, whereby the project team organized workshops with customers, operators, scientists, and other experts, defining key technologies and deducing detailed scenarios that incorporate mega trends such as urbaniza- tion, demographic change, security, environmental protection, and the depletion of raw material resources. Thus a picture of the future was created that extends to the year 2025. The study shows that rail traffic will increase substantially all over the world. The reason is that the number of large cities and urban areas will grow dra- matically, and track infrastruc- ture forms an important base for the economic prosperity of a region. Forecasts suggest that by 2025 passenger rail traffic will increase by more than 30 percent worldwide, and freight traffic will grow by over 65 per- cent. Passengers will benefit from shorter waiting times, bet- ter service and more attractive and more comfortable vehicles. The trains — often fully auto- mated — will no longer stay a specified distance apart, but will instead maintain spacing in accordance with their relative speeds. This will lead to major savings in time and energy. High-speed passenger trains operating at speeds of up to 450 km/h will shorten travel times between major cities. In addition, separate corridors will be established for freight traf- fic. This will lead to improved transportation capacity as well as to faster pas- senger traffic, as slower freight traffic will run on its own tracks. In China and India, for example, double-decker container cars could run on newly constructed roadbeds. Driverless freight cars could operate along selected routes. The cus- tomer specifies the destination, the car hooks itself into the traffic flow and reaches its destination completely on its own. Of course, demand will not be the same everywhere. Priorities vary from region to region, focusing either on expanding local transport services (the U.S., Europe, China, India), the targeted expansion of long-distance passenger and freight traffic (China, India) or modernizing existing railroad systems (Russia). In all of these areas, environmental protection will have very high priority. In 2025, trains will be lighter in weight and their drive systems will use less energy. Experts have high hopes concerning wheel hub motors. In this technology, the wheel, motor, and brake are combined into a single unit, and an electric drive is located directly in the wheel. Transmissions and drive shafts are thus obviated, along with associated losses in power transmission. One option for non-electrified lines is the use of trains that are powered by fuel cells that would be refueled at hydrogen filling stations along the railway line. All of the energy would be generated directly on board the train and without producing any harmful emis- sions. And thanks to the combi- nation of lightweight construc- tion and onboard energy storage for braking energy, trams may be able to manage without any overhead lines in inner cities. Moreover, light- weight train design will reduce wear and tear on rails and thus also cut maintenance costs. Researchers expect that by 2025 materials will have been developed that, in case of fire, are either self-extinguishing or non-flammable. These materi- als will utilize nanoparticles in- corporated in metals, ceramics, and polymers, in the form of an oil or a gel, for example. Thanks to precise location identifica- tion, the European satellite navigation system “Galileo” will make it possible to reduce the distances between trains. In this way, it will be possible to transport many times more traffic volume over the same railroad infrastructure than is possible today. The Pictures of the Future re- port finds that improved mobility of freight and passengers will in particular be facilitated by the intelligent networking of transportation systems and the inte- gration of all modes of transport. Thanks to telematics, standardized communi- cation systems, and uniform interfaces, all of the various transportation modes will be optimally harmonized with one another and associated information will be interlinked — whether it’s about individual or rail traffic, parking garages, train stations or airports. Passengers and motorists, for example, will have access to a wealth of information that relates to their own specific travel plans. A single ticket will then be valid for all transportation operators, and passengers will be able travel in comfort from door to door by bus, train, plane, or subway. Evdoxia Tsakiridou Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 79 | Transformers Power for All Climates Siemens transformers are in service all over the world. Whether in the desert, the tropics or at the Arctic Circle — they are optimized for their locations. Even at minus 50 degrees Celsius, Siemens transformers (left) provide reliable service. Thanks to laterally-mounted fans, snow and ice are not a problem. A snowstorm whips across the fields in the north of Finland. Even steel high-tension cables sway in the fierce wind. The cables lead to an installation that defies even the hardest winters in the province of Oulu — less than 200 kilometers from the Arctic Circle. At the heart of the installation is a 400-MVA trans- former. While the blizzard rages outside, the 392-ton colossus is transforming electricity at 400 KV to lower voltages as reliably and effi- ciently as it has for the last three years. Winter temperatures here reach minus 50 degrees Celsius. Ordinary steel becomes brittle at minus 40 degrees, so Siemens designers rely on a specially alloyed cold-resistant steel. It would also work at temperatures below minus 60 degrees, which means it could even be used in the Antarctic. The sealing materials too must be extremely resistant to the elements. “Here too we rely on very robust components,” ex- plains Project Manager Christian Ebert of the Siemens Power Distribution Division. Since snow could fall into the fans and — in the worst possible scenario — stop the opera- tion, the transformer fans are installed to blow from the side. Another factor is that the trans- former must never be switched off during its entire service life; at the very least it can ramp down to an idle. That’s the only way to prevent it from cooling down too much. But it isn’t only the icy temperatures that pose a challenge for the transformer’s opera- tion and materials. Stress variations caused by temperature differences are just as critical. In summer, the sun can warm the surrounding environment up to as much as 40 degrees Cel- sius. For the transformer oil, which serves as an insulating medium that conducts away the heat that is generated, designers use 85 tons of a high-quality special oil. Although there are many conditions to adapt to, frigid regions such as Finland have one tremendous advantage. “In principle, cold isn’t a bad thing for a transformer,” says Ebert, “since transformers get very hot and have to be cooled down in any event.” A low ambient tem- perature is in fact better for the working parts of a transformer than a high temperature, as for example in desert locations. Surviving Sun and Sand. That’s why trans- formers in countries such as Saudi Arabia have far larger cooling systems. These units need a big surface area to radiate heat. In addition, special roofs protect machinery against direct exposure to the sun. Also used are radiation protection panels fitted to the sides of switchgear cabinets, allowing a gap of a few centimeters, which lets heated air rise and es- cape separately. Apart from heat, dust and dirt can damage machinery — which calls for the use of etched, scratch-resistant stainless steel to stand up against sand grains blasted against machinery by sandstorms. Despite all the modifications for the widest variety of climatic conditions, basic transformer technology is much the same everywhere. “The same type of transformer is found in the desert sands as out on the tundra,” says Ebert. “It is in use all over the world.” And the design type has proved to be a great success. In the far north, for instance, Finnish power utility Fin- grid recently placed a follow-up order, which will be Siemens’ biggest order ever from Fin- land. By 2010, Fingrid wants to have five more transformers installed at various nodes in the national power distribution grid. No matter where it is destined to go, every transformer has to undergo a battery of test procedures. This ordeal begins at Siemens’ transformer factory in Nuremberg, where ma- chinery is subjected to days of measurements in a high-tension test-field. This can include heating tests and lightning strikes at up to 1.3 million volts. Then, when the transformer ar- rives at its destination, it is tested for a two- week period before it enters service. That’s actually relatively brief, when you consider that around 18 months can elapse from the start of production (involving about 500 employees) to a facility’s actual commis- sioning. “But the transformer can then be relied on to supply power for far longer,” says Ebert. “Assuming proper maintenance and operation is carried out, a transformer’s service life will be approximately 40 years.” And that’s true re- gardless of how many blizzards blast across the arctic tundra, or how many times the desert is swept by sandstorms. Daniel Schwarzfischer Custom Terminals that Come & Go At the Asian Games 2006 in Doha, Qatar, passengers landing at the airport were ushered into an enormous Arabian tent. It was an airport terminal spanning 8,000 square meters, erected especially for the world’s second-largest sports event, only to be taken down afterwards. This achievement was made possible by CapacityPlus from Siemens. The tent accommodated arrival and departure areas, baggage handling and sorting, an extensive electronic security system for passengers and baggage, check-in counters, sanitary facilities, climate control, and an energy supply. ”We have the right solu- tions for such a complex project readily available. And we can custom-fit these to the specific needs of airport operators — with regard to size, design, equipment, and integration into the airport’s logistics,” explains Christian-Marius Wegner, head of Infrastructure Logistics — Customer Service. In 2007 Siemens implemented a new concept with the CapacityPlus solution for Terminal 2 in Lisbon. To over- come capacity bottlenecks until the completion of a new airport, the airport operator ordered a tem- porary departure terminal in a lightweight design to handle all domestic flights in the next few years. Spanning 7,700 square meters and complete with restaurants, shops, and spacious waiting areas, the terminal also sets new standards in terms of airline passenger comfort. It was built in the record time of only five months. “Time is the critical success factor in all CapacityPlus projects — in addition to the ability to respond flexibly to frequent changes in customer requirements,” notes José Arsénio, General Manager Infrastructure Logistics in Portugal. Siemens has a proven track record in this sector. The company is responsible for the equipment and logistics in many of the world’s airports. It therefore has abundant experience and can create optimized solutions for customers. Another advantage is the pos- sibility of virtual modeling. Even during the planning stage, the customer can view the terminal on a computer screen in 3D and envision clearly what it will look like, inside and out. Gitta Rohling 78 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 and Hungary. Other packages are in the plan- ning stage. To transport goods or people across Europe, a company purchases the appropriate packages and switches over from one to the other at the border. No locomotive exchange is necessary. These customer packages make it possible, despite a high degree of standardization, to in- dividualize each Eurosprinter. The result is cus- tomized locomotives that consist of preexisting components in different combinations of the basic locomotive with the appropriate country- specific or customer-specific packages. “It’s much like the auto industry, where the cus- tomer can order many extras,” says Eisele. But without advances in technology, all this would have remained a pipe dream. Having multiple voltage and train protection systems in one locomotive would have been too expen- sive and bulky. In Germany, for instance, loco- motives are low and wide, but in Switzerland, because of the many different tunnels, they are narrow and tall. Thanks to more compact tech- nology, Siemens can now produce locomotives that are both slender and low in profile, so they can travel in both countries. Special on Locomotives. Manufacturers and customers alike benefit from the modular ap- proach. For Siemens, the advantage is that de- velopment costs are lower and the locomotive can be produced and marketed economically — a significant advantage when production quantities are small. Customers also benefit from short delivery times, since 90 percent of the locomotive is composed of standard parts. And rail operators can implement joint mainte- nance concepts and be confident that replace- Tailored Solutions| Locomotives ment parts will remain available for many years to come. But above all, the Eurosprinter creates new opportunities for freight rail traffic. “This loco- motive provides its owners with a great com- petitive advantage,” explains Werner Buchber- ger of ÖBB Traktion. “So we’ll be able to serve our markets fast and without hassles” — mar- kets like Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. “Rail- road operators can therefore use entirely new business models based on cross-border traffic.” Eurosprinter is also important in maintaining or gaining market share. Thanks to the locomo- tive’s multisystem capability, ÖBB can, for ex- ample, guarantee its customer Audi just-in- time delivery, with a scheduling uncertainty of mere minutes, on the rail line between the The Eurosprinter benefits from low development costs, a low sales price, and short delivery times. Audi plants in Ingolstadt, Germany, and Györ, Hungary. “Without such an assurance, these shipments would probably have been shifted to trucks,” Buchberger concludes. The adaptability of the Eurosprinter is also very important to locomotive leasing compa- nies such as MRCE Dispolok GmbH in Munich. “We can respond flexibly to market changes, for instance when the flow of freight traffic changes,” says Alex Dworaczek, head of Dis- polok Fleet and Technology Management. “Then we can convert the locomotives and equip them with another set of appropriate country packages.” And this flexible concept reduces the risk for the operator. “You can use a plug-and-play approach as you install individ- ual components in different locomotives. With- out the platform concept, our business would certainly be more difficult,” says Dworaczek. Passenger traffic benefits too, as delays for locomotive changes are eliminated. For in- stance, on the Vienna-Prague-Berlin line there are still three locomotive changes, because there are two different voltage systems in the Czech Republic alone. “With Eurosprinter, it will become possible to save 40 to 50 minutes on that line,” Buchberger says. “In 2008, we’re expecting approval for the Czech Republic. In 2009, the through train could be a reality.” The platform concept will incorporate fur- ther advances in the next Eurosprinter genera- tion. “The locomotive can be delivered either as a fast passenger locomotive or as a slow freight version,” says Ulrich Fösel. What’s more, it will be available for several gauge sizes. The first customer — this year already — will be the Por- tuguese railway company CP.Christian Buck input system. By looking at a certain portion of monitor, for instance, a user could trigger a specific action. “This is something we’ve al- ready studied,” says Scheurer, “but we’re still struggling with a few problems. For example, a situation where the system falsely interprets a more or less coincidental glance.” This problem could be alleviated by a brain- computer interface, whereby an electrode cap worn by the user reads thoughts in the form of electrical activity in the brain. CT experts are al- ready investigating what it would take to link these systems appropriately with conventional interfaces. The principle that applies to today’s mouse, keyboard and voice command applies equally to the eye-tracking control, brain-com- puter interface, gesture input, and haptic feed- back of tomorrow. “The crucial thing is having a mixture that’s well adapted to a given user situ- ation,” says Scheurer.Rolf Sterbak Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 81 Tailored Solutions | Usability Operation Interface Attractive design, ergonomics, and ease-of-use have long been important in consumer goods. Usability experts are applying these factors with scientific precision to the development and optimization of products for professionals. Simple operation and intuitive interfaces can play a major role in avoiding errors in operating rooms, where specially-shaped control consoles are a big help. Power plant control rooms (right) also benefit. 80 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 A procedure is being performed to correct a case of atrial fibrillation. The doctor punc- tures the patient’s femoral artery and slides a thin catheter into the opening, his fingers cov- ered in sterile gloves. He feels for the joystick on the control panel, also kept sterile beneath a covering of film, carefully guides the C-arm of the Axiom Artis medical imaging system — an interventional cardiology system that makes blood vessels visible — around the patient, and presses the foot pedal to make an X-ray fluoro- scopic image. With a glance at the monitor hanging next to him, the doctor sees how the catheter is moving through the artery. Slowly, he slides it into the heart. The doctor and his team work with great concentration for two hours until the afflicted region is treated with a high-frequency current and the heart is beat- ing normally again. No sooner have they fin- ished than the next patient is wheeled in. concerns with knobs, switches, and the like. “In the case of the Artis system, software accounts for about half of the development cost. The reason for this is that in the future these med- ical imaging systems will be increasingly linked online with other medical equipment, making radiology workflow more seamless and effi- cient,” explains Quaet-Faslem. For example, re- sults from examinations can be immediately analyzed by other systems, allowing critical decisions to be made more quickly. More Icons. In addition to optimizing the usability of medical systems, experts are also working on ergonomics in other fields. For instance, in rail technology, Siemens’ Mobility Division is developing a train control system for a new generation of commuter trains in which, among other things, the display software for the driver benefits from a simpler architecture. all the available technical tools for a compre- hensive assessment of the situation. Werner Höfler, a usability engineer at Power Distribu- tion, has a simple explanation: “When a person miscalculates, the reason is almost always a us- ability problem.” The operating structures were simply not adapted to the situation, he says. This is why Höfler considers it crucial for usabil- ity specialists to be involved from the very be- ginning in system analysis when new products are developed. “We should first think about the operation of a system, and then, as a second step, analyze its engineering process — not vice-versa,” Höfler says. Usability experts at Siemens Power Distribu- tion therefore rely on analyses of work proce- dures as well as on-site evaluations and user tests; these are studied in the lab of the Georg- Simon-Ohm College in Nuremberg, for exam- ple. The lab investigates reciprocal connections between man and machine, sometimes using sophisticated techniques like eye-tracking. In this process, a camera films the face of the user at a simulated operator console in a control room. Software using image recognition calcu- lates which monitor messages the operator is looking at when he or she deals with certain tasks. “One thing we can see from this is whether we’re giving the user maximum sup- port with his work,” says Höfler. Triggered by Vision. “In the future, it will be possible to control and guide some devices without even touching them,” predicts Dr. Heinz Martin Scheurer, head of the Usability department at CT. Some Axiom Artis functions can already be activated by voice commands. At Siemens, researchers are also contemplating new interactions that turn eye-tracking into an and use the controls intuitively.” Achieving that seemingly straightforward goal is, however, a time-consuming job for usability specialists like Quaet-Faslem. “We worked on improving the operation of the Axiom Artis system for over a year,” says Dr. Judith Regn, head of Ease of Use at Siemens Medical Solutions in Forchheim, Germany. Many hours of video material were evaluated; improvements were drawn up in sketches and implemented in prototypes. In the lab, medical procedures were tested with product man- agers, application specialists and, later, with the customer — all with the aim of making the system adapt to the user and not vice-versa. Workflow analysts uncovered weak points, such as in the control panel at the patient table. “Many of the elements, such as joysticks and knobs, looked very similar and were easy to confuse. This is further complicated by the So it goes for eight hours — all while a quiet observer in the background documents every- thing with a video camera. The observer is Philipp Quaet-Faslem, a usability specialist from Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) in Munich. Quaet-Faslem’s job is to watch how doctors and their assistants work with medical equipment. His goal, and that of his colleagues in 12 hospitals in the U.S. and Germany, is to find out what irks doctors while operating de- vices. They look for possible operating errors, for muted curses uttered by a doctor who reaches for the wrong joystick, trips over ca- bles, or awkwardly cranes his neck to concen- trate on monitors that are suspended uncom- fortably high. “Anything that distracts the medical team is bad,” explains Quaet-Faslem. “They shouldn’t have to think very long about how to operate equipment. They should be able to understand fact that the panel has to be covered with a sterile plastic film during procedures,” says Quaet-Faslem. It was his idea to give the con- trol levers different shapes. As a result, the con- trol elements now look markedly different from one another. The doctor thus knows at a glance which knobs are used for which tasks. For the Artis zeego and Artis zee family, which were presented in November 2007 at the Radiology Society of North America, usabil- ity specialists developed a special robotic con- trol module for the C-arm. The module allows a doctor to move the arm with six degrees of freedom. Field tests are now underway. Specialists also optimized a touchscreen that projected out of the control console — a potential impediment for doctors. “We built it into the panel in reduced form and replaced the old display messages with easy-to-under- stand symbols and characters,” reports Quaet- Faslem. That was made possible by changing the underlying navigation software. He consid- ers this kind of software ergonomics to be an important new trend, in addition to standard “The trend is away from text-laden displays and hierarchically organized tree structures toward a flatter hierarchy with more icons,” says CT us- ability expert Martin Kessner. The monitor at first shows the train driver only the information he or she needs for a normal trip. Drivers have quick, direct access to systems such as brakes and doors. And in the event of a fault, the soft- ware not only shows the location of a problem but also provides tips on how to remedy it at the touch of a finger. A possible outcome of poor user guidance was made plain on November 4, 2006, when the electrical grid collapsed in various parts of Europe. Fifteen million people were without power for almost two hours. A report from the power company involved stated that a power system control center in northern Germany, working under deadline pressure, failed to use “When a person miscalculates, the reason is almost always a usability problem.” Siemens’ AMIS System includes all of these elements. In addition to offering electronic multifunction meters for individual house- holds, it includes load switching devices that communicate with data concentrators at trans- former stations. These collate the data from up to 1,000 meters and load switching devices. The data is then transmitted to the utility com- pany’s data center. Moreover, AMIS provides interfaces to sophisticated billing systems and network control systems. “The system thus makes it possible to derive billing information that is accurate to the second and reflects actual consumption from residential electricity usage,” says Kapp. Tomorrow’s Electricity Meters. Take for ex- ample Energie AG in Austria. Currently about 1,000 households in its service area have been equipped with AMIS meters, and the upstream network levels have been fitted with AMIS components. The meters communicate directly with a higher-level system via the electric grid. “Our Powerline process is the result of many years of research,” says Alexander Schenk, busi- ness segment manager for AMIS System at Siemens’ Power Distribution Division . In Powerline, the data is transferred through the electricity grid within the frequency band from nine to 95 kilohertz. “As a result of this, remote meter reading becomes highly accessi- ble, secure, and economical,” says Schenk. The meter readouts in other existing pilot projects in Europe are often subject to failures due to the high error susceptibility of commu- nications in the electric power environment. What’s more, Schenk adds, readouts via a GSM wireless network cost more and make utility companies dependent on telecommunication companies, which want to take over the read- out process and provide it as a service. Never- theless, AMIS offers wireless interfaces and can integrate all types of electronic meters. Energie AG is slated to install 100,000 inno- vative meters in households by the end of 2009 and about 400,000 by 2014, while upgrading its real-time billing network. Such investments open up opportunities for the future. “For instance,” says Schenk, “electric utility companies will be able to integrate de- centralized energy suppliers into their distribu- tion network.” Known as the “smart grid,” this concept is based on the premise that house- holds too can generate energy, for example by means of fuel cells or photovoltaics, which can be fed into the grid. “Solutions for this ap- proach may not exist for another eight to 15 years, but the basis is already being established for intelligent, optimized power grid opera- tion,” adds Schenk.Nikola Wohllaib 82 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 A s of June 2009, new passports issued to citizens of the European Union and Switzerland will include a machine-readable radio frequency identification (RFID) chip that will store a coded digital version of the owner’s face and fingerprint. The RFID chip is concealed in the cover of the new ePassports and can be read contact-free. The Biometrics Center of Siemens IT Solu- tions and Services (SIS) has developed tailored solutions for many countries. In Switzerland and the Czech Republic, for example, hundreds of registration centers have been equipped with cameras. “We create individualized solu- tions for each country,” says Gerd Hribernig, head of the SIS Center in Graz, Austria. crossing, cameras automatically recognize license plates and vehicle types. Net for Tax Evaders. For Turkey’s Ministry of Finance, SIS is implementing a tailor-made solution designed to handle tax returns more efficiently. Says Kemal Güven, project manager at SIS in Turkey: “We are equipping 448 tax offices in 81 cities and more than 500 smaller offices with new computers, integrating them into a powerful infrastructure with up to one megabit per second. We are also installing our Web-based software solution.” This solution will make it possible to ex- change tax data among all offices in the country. The system also provides encoded links to 25 banks and other government of- fices. Three new computer centers ensure round-the-clock operation. “At peak times, about 200 employees are engaged in activities ranging from software development to training tax officials,” says Güven. To consolidate all information, Siemens is establishing an IT center. In addition to catch- ing more tax evaders, the Ministry of Finance also expects the Siemens solution to increase efficiency, cut costs, and improve service for A biometric passport stores its owner’s data on an integrated RFID chip. A camera can then compare the bearer’s face with data on the chip. the taxpayers. For example, new legal regula- tions can be fed into the system online, and will then be immediately available for the calculation process. Siemens also delivers tailored solutions for the energy industry. One example is the Smart Meter, which enables precisely timed metering of power consumption. Customers can use the resulting data to monitor and adjust their con- sumption and thus reduce their bills. Electric utility companies, on the other hand, can offer their customers lower-priced electricity at specific times of the day, thus providing an in- centive to consume power outside of peak-load periods. That is also the aim of a new European Union directive concerning energy efficiency and energy services. “Smart Metering requires much more than the replacement of existing meters by a new generation of electronic residential meters,” says Josef Kapp, SIS executive in charge of Business Development and Strategy in the Utili- ties business area. “You also need technologies for managing the data from the meters plus upgrades at different network levels of the util- ity companies.” Tailored Solutions | IT Solutions Personalized Programs Flexible IT solutions from Siemens are changing the way people live and work. They range from secure border crossings and simplified tax returns to real-time electricity billing in the smart grid. The basis of SIS’s ePassport solutions is the Siemens Homeland Security Suite, which can read biometric travel documents and check facial images and fingerprints. Face recognition software is one of the modules. In this process, the camera system orients itself on facial features such as eye position. “The software corrects for eyeglasses or hairstyle,” notes Hribernig. The check is completed in ten to 30 seconds. “This software makes it possible for the first time to automatically determine at a border crossing whether the passport belongs to the bearer or not.” Other hardware, such as fingerprint scan- ners and reading devices, can also be integrat- ed into the Homeland Security Suite. Unautho- rized persons can’t access sensitive biometric data, because the chip automatically checks whether the reading device incorporates the required authorization certificates. In Switzerland, Siemens has also installed checking stations for the public, where people can check their own stored data. “That’s impor- tant, because we want to gain public trust,” says Hribernig. In Croatia, a border control system is used to check the validity of visas and other documents, and at the Bajakovo border In Brief Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 83 Mass customization is the wave of the future. Siemens and VW have teamed up to show visitors to the 2008 Hannover Fair industrial trade show how individual customers’ wishes can be realized. The answer lies in the combination of the real and virtual manufacturing environments. (pp. 65, 66) Whether it’s for an airport, a hotel, hospital or complete new city district like New Wembley in London — the Siemens One corporate initiative brings together the company’s wide-ranging expertise to deliver complete solutions and appropriate financing models that fulfill customers’ wishes. (pp. 69, 70, 72) Regional passenger traffic worldwide will grow by more than 30 percent over the next 20 years, and freight traffic by over 65 percent. Examples of innovations in this area include modular locomotives that can be adapted to their area of operations and driverless subway trains that share tracks with conventional lines. (pp. 74, 76, 77) Usability is essential to the success of many systems, which is why Siemens has a usability team. The team’s main job is to analyze and optimize user interfaces. And experience has taught the company’s usability experts that equipment as varied as medical angiography systems, locomo- tive controls, and power plant control rooms should all have one thing in com- mon: a human-machine interface that can be operated easily and intuitively. (p. 80) Tailored IT solutions represent a growth area — for example, when it comes to eGovernment applications. Here, Siemens has developed solutions for the manufac- ture and machine reading of biometric passports and for dealing with tax returns. Thanks to Web-based software, a high- performance network, and an IT Center, Turkish tax offices can now process applications more rapidly and discover tax cheats more effectively. (p. 82) PEOPLE: Flexible manufacturing: Dr. Wolfgang Schlögl, Industry email@example.com Tailored financing: Dr. Wolfgang Bischoff, SFS firstname.lastname@example.org Stefan Fleischner, SFS email@example.com Siemens One: Michael W. Hartmann, Industry firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Klaus Wecker, Healthcare email@example.com Gordon Carmichael, CD firstname.lastname@example.org Driverless subway: Georg Trummer, Industry email@example.com Locomotive platform: Thomas Eisele, Industry firstname.lastname@example.org Ulrich Fösel, Industry email@example.com Temporary airports: Christian-Marius Wegner, Industry firstname.lastname@example.org Usability: Philipp Quaet-Faslem, CT email@example.com Dr. Heinz Martin Scheurer, CT firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Judith Regn, Healthcare email@example.com Werner Höfler, Energy firstname.lastname@example.org IT solutions: Gerd Hribernig, SIS (Biometrics) email@example.com Kemal Güven, SIS (Turkey) firstname.lastname@example.org LINKS: Maastro Clinic: www.maastro.nl RWTH Aachen:www.rwth-aachen.de Simatic Automation Designer: www.siemens.com/automation-designer Rubin:www.rubin-nuernberg.de Division Mobility: www.siemens.com/mobility Biometrics:www.siemens.com/biometrics Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 85 A doctor places a small scan head on a pa- tient’s breast and pushes a button, instant- ly creating an image. The resulting data is transmitted to a computer, which scans the im- age for suspicious millimeter-sized objects that could develop into breast tumors. Although this might sound like mammogra- phy, the system requires no X-rays, yet provides high-resolution 3D images. Even though this examination method is not yet available, the Silicon Ultrasound technology developed by Siemens could make it a standard procedure in just a few years. Ultrasound images are generated using the echoes of sound waves that are reflected or scattered at the boundaries between different types of tissue within the body. In most of the systems used today, piezoelectric ceramic ele- ments in the ultrasound scan head transmit short directed signals and record the resulting echoes. The depth of the reflecting structure is computed from the signal’s travel time. “As is the case with all examinations using waves, resolution is dependent on wavelength,” says Peter-Christian Eccardt, who for many years has been responsible for the development of new types of micromechanical ultrasonic trans- ducers at Siemens Corporate Technology. “The shorter the wavelength, the higher the fre- Lab Report | 3D Silicon Ultrasound 84 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 From Silicon to Ultrasound The future of ultrasound may lie in devices that can generate three-dimensional high-resolution images in real time. Such devices will rely on transducers that consist of tiny vibrating membranes that are applied to a silicon wafer. quency and, consequently, the greater the de- tail. But the piezoelectric ceramic elements, which are up to 250 micrometers in size, can’t be made much smaller. It’s also difficult to arrange them in the two-dimensional arrays that are required for the generation of three- dimensional ultrasound images,” adds Eccardt. The ultrasound devices in doctors’ offices use frequencies between 2 and 15 megahertz and work in two dimensions. They use up to 250 separate piezoceramic elements arranged next to each other on a scan head. The ele- ments take vertical measurements of the sec- tion of the body located directly beneath them. This requires the doctor to move the scan head across the patient’s body to measure each indi- Kirti Patel, co-founder of Sensant Corporation, which was acquired by Siemens in 2005, tests a silicon wafer with oscillating membranes — the heart of a new ultrasound system. Anatomy of a MEMS Scan Head Thousands of tiny sound generators can be manufactured using a micro- electro-mechanical system (MEMS), in which thin layers are applied to the surface of a silicon wafer (1) and sub- sequently treated using lithographic processes. The first layer to be ap- plied is an insulated metal layer, which serves as the lower electrode (2). This is followed by a hexagonal chromium block (3), a second insulat- ing layer of silicon nitride (4), the sec- ond electrode (5), and a final protec- tive layer of silicon nitride (6). The chromium is then etched out through small holes (7) and the resulting hol- low space is sealed off. The final product is a free-floating membrane that can be made to vibrate using an alternating voltage. However, to achieve this, there also has to be a continuous direct voltage between the electrodes to prevent them from continuously attracting each other. vidual section. “But in the future we’ll no longer use a linear scan head to measure a two- dimensional section. Instead, we’ll use a flat head to make a 3D snapshot of a complete volume in real time,” predicts Eccardt. In addition to largely automating measure- ments and evaluations, this would improve the quality of scans because they would no longer depend on how the doctor moved the scan head across a patient’s body. The new technol- ogy would thus speed up volume measure- ments so much that it would even be possible to produce images of moving organs such as the heart. Because this process incorporates the dimension of time, it is also referred to as 4D ultrasound. The system uses a sophisticated algorithm to offset continuous interfering mo- tions such as those caused by the flow of blood. However, 4D ultrasound would be almost impossible to achieve using piezoceramic ele- ments. It would also require the integration of electronics into the scan head, since each indi- vidual element needs its own wiring. As a re- sult, a scan head with 250 elements to a side would require more than 60,000 lines, creating a cable as thick as an arm. Even 2,000 lines would stretch the maneuverability of such a device to the limit. Silicon instead of Piezoceramics. To make extremely high-resolution 3D and 4D ultra- sound examinations possible, Siemens has therefore developed a completely new kind of technology: Silicon Ultrasound. “Since 1996, we’ve been exploring the idea of using semi- conductor materials instead of piezoceramics. That’s because it was clear that doing so would allow us to achieve dimensions of less than one micrometer while at the same time enabling us to make use of inexpensive semiconductor pro- duction methods. What’s more, this approach lets us integrate part of the evaluation elec- tronics into the scan head,” explains Eccardt. To produce Silicon Ultrasound systems, vi- bration membranes measuring between 50 and 60 micrometers are created on the surface of silicon wafers. The membranes are arranged in line with the needs of the finished scan head (see box). Because each element can be con- trolled by means of a line-column addressing system, a surface containing N columns and M lines no longer requires N x M wires, as is the case with piezoceramics, but only N + M wires. At the same time, the smaller dimensions of the sound-generating elements make it possi- ble to reduce wavelengths when needed. In addition, the new approach offers greater flexibility in controlling ultrasound wave- lengths and scan head sound fields. Because the ultra-thin membranes are acoustically bet- ter adapted to the human body than are piezo- ceramics, the individual elements can be used across a greater range of frequencies. What’s more, improved configuration and addressing options make it possible to link the elements in almost any desired combination. This is partic- ularly useful because lower-frequency sound waves penetrate further into tissue, making it possible to examine deeper layers. However, since the individual sound generators in a Sili- con Ultrasound system can be very small, very high frequencies can be achieved as well, al- lowing higher resolutions than with piezo- ceramic elements. This fact opens up entirely new areas of use for the technology. “Besides its potential uses for screening tests and the early recognition of breast cancer, ultrasound could be employed to detect prostate cancer and thyroid tumors. Other extremely promising applications for the system include the early recognition of dis- eases of the cardiovascular system and the heart muscle,” says Klaus Hambüchen, head of the Ultrasound Business Unit at Siemens Med- ical Solutions in Mountain View, California. Another advantage of Silicon Ultrasound technology is that it would make very small ul- trasound catheter probes possible, which would substantially expand the system’s range of possible applications in hospitals. Such ultra- sound probes would improve the visualization of heart functions and help doctors recognize plaques and obstructions. To speed up its work on Silicon Ultrasound technologies, Siemens acquired Sensant Cor- poration in 2005. Based in San Leandro, Califor- nia, Sensant was established in 1998 and has primarily focused on such technologies. In com- bination with Siemens’ existing ultrasound sys- tems and the developments made by Siemens Corporate Technology, the experience gained by Sensant might enable Siemens to launch the first product on the market as early as next year. “Our engineers are making steady progress. The first clinical results in breast and thyroid imaging show that we can expect Silicon Ultra- sound technology to boost spatial and contrast resolution by a factor of ten,” says Hambüchen. However, the aim is not only to create better images. Because the new technology also auto- mates imaging to a certain extent, it makes im- ages more comparable, as their quality is no longer dependent on the skill of the doctor guiding the probe. For Hambüchen this means “that doctors and hospitals will be able to raise their quality standards while at the same time cutting costs. All of this will ultimately benefit the patients.” Bernhard Gerl 1 2 3 4 6 7 5 Ultrasound 20-50µm 89 Harvest without End Algorithms are harvesting knowledge in health care and industry. As they do so, there will be no limit to what we can learn. 92 Digital Decision Support By enabling physicians to better evaluate and interpret the flood of medical data, software makes it possible to accelerate decision making and improve treatment. 95 Computers Get the Picture Experts are developing software that locates requested medical images, learns to autonomously interpret such data, and recog- nizes similarities among images. 96 Advent of an Invisible Army Whether they’re monitoring off- shore wind farms or inspecting Siberian pipelines, computers are helping operators to im- prove safety and efficiency. 100 Tracking Transactions Siemens Financial Services utilizes IT solutions it developed itself for the assessment of credit and stock market risks. 104 If Computers Learn to Read Interview with Prof. Tom Mitchell, an expert in machine learning at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Highlights 2015 In a future hospital, a new, comprehensive clinical decision support system has just been activated. Capable of interpreting voice and gesture commands, the system can reliably extract meaningful information from images, lab data, and vast patient databases, combining and focusing it on individual diag- nostic problems to help physicians make the right decisions as quickly as possible. 86 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 87 In just a few years, the number of intelligent medical assistants — programs that recognize illnesses at an early stage — will be such that they may be combined into a hybrid decision support system. Here’s how such a system might work — as told by the system itself. One of Us D i g i t a l A s s i s t a n t s | Scenario 2015 M y very first moment of what humans would call “consciousness” took place to- day. I experienced it as follows: A flash of light, a dazzling rush of information, and the realiza- tion that two faces were staring down at me. A tall black man and a slender Asian woman, both in white jackets, peered at my polished in- terface and examined my self-diagnostic read- out. The readout included an analysis of my functions as compared with a set of optimized values. I heard myself say, “All systems ready. Synchronization with Hospital Information Sys- tem complete.” My voice-, gesture-, and touch- interactive frontal panel came to life and a broad smile lit the man’s face. “You’re lookin reeeeal good,” he exclaimed and gestured at me with a thumbs-up that I instantly recog- nized as a positive signal. I could see a lot more people in the background — some kind of lec- ture theater for advanced clinical training. The Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 89 Harvest without End Computer aided detection systems are being embedded in a growing spectrum of clinical applications. Based on vast databases, such systems provide personalized decision support. Remind adds up to a diagnostic crossroads for Siemens’ imaging-related businesses and its more recently acquired in-vitro businesses, now known as Siemens Diagnostics (for more, see Pictures of the Future,Spring 2007, p. 54). “The vision is to integrate the information from imaging and laboratory tests into a single data- base, and eventually a single patient record,” says Gupta. On the long road to realizing the Remind vi- sion, Siemens is developing an army of invisi- ble assistants designed to support physicians as “second readers.” The idea is that once a specialist has exam- ined a scan, he or she can run the appropriate assistant to increase the probability that noth- ing has been missed. Known as knowledge- driven products, these assistants (which plug into Siemens’ syngouser interface) offer com- puter aided detection of lung nodules, colon polyps, breast lesions, and much more (p. 92). Other assistants support physicians in accel- erating the process of accurately quantifying functions such as cardiac ejection fraction and vessel flow abnormalities, and in providing “We are taking various patient data sources, mining them to build predictive models, and embedding the results in applications that al- low physicians to dynamically interact with the information in a computer aided detection (CAD) environment,” says Alok Gupta, PhD, vice president of the CAD and Knowledge Solu- tions Group at Siemens Medical Solutions (SMS) in Malvern, Pennsylvania. For SMS, the spot where this avalanche of data converges is a comprehensive knowledge platform for medical decision support called the Remind (Reliable Extraction and Meaning- ful Inference from Nonstructured Data) plat- form. The ultimate invisible assistant, “Remind will make it possible to dynamically integrate medical images, in-vitro diagnostic informa- tion, and genetic information into a patient’s profile, providing personalized decision sup- port based on analysis of data from large num- bers of patients with similar conditions,” ex- plains Bharat Rao, PhD, senior director of Knowledge Solutions for Healthcare Providers at Siemens Medical Solutions in Malvern and inventor of the Remind platform. P atterns previously invisible to machines and humans are today providing insights that make medical treatments increasingly per- sonalized and effective, production more cus- tomized and efficient, and intelligence — whether in a security camera or a picture archiving system — more distributed and flexi- ble. Across the board — from health care (see p. 92) to energy management (p. 102), and from finance (p. 100) to security and sales (p. 96) — information is being mined from ma- chines, processes and experts, and crystallized into machine knowledge used by algorithms. These algorithms, which range from systems that can interrogate cardiac data for anomalies to the analysis of sales information to predict a customer’s probability of consummating an or- der, are becoming our invisible assistants. Experts Inside. Regardless of the class of problems they are engineered to solve, assis- tants provide support in an area humans are ill equipped to deal with: discovering trends in huge databases. In the medical area, for in- stance, this process begins with data mining. Digital Assistants | Scenario 2015 88 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Asian woman did not even blink. “Dr. Sterling, we have a number of cases to run. Shall we get started?” she said. “Sure, Dr. Chandra. Who’s our first patient?” That’s the way my first day began. By noon we had covered 16 patients. No speed record. But then again, these were diffi- cult cases, some requiring on-the-spot treat- ment. The routine exams are processed by automated clinical decision systems that exam- ine diagnostic imaging tests, compare them with lab results, including the patient’s pro- teomic and genomic data, and match these against a vast database of patients with similar characteristics. Guided by expert knowledge, algorithms sift through this mass of data in microseconds. Normally, they find nothing sig- nificant. But if they do, the results are automat- ically forwarded to specialists for analysis. And that’s where Dr. Sterling, a cardiologist from Louisiana, and Dr. Chandra, a visiting professor of radiology who just arrived from Indonesia, come in. Together, they specialize in patients with potentially compromised cardiac involvement and radiological test results that may require considerable interpretation. It was early afternoon when the file of a Mrs. McCormick, 68, appeared on my display. She was a former heavy smoker, former heavy drinker, and former bladder cancer case. Five years had gone by without a recurrence, and judging from her lab results, she had lived like an angel during that period. But then her annu- al mass spectrometry blood test had turned up an elevated level of cancer-related proteins, and her case had been referred to Dr. Chandra who ordered a whole body combined comput- er tomography, magnetic resonance, and positron emission tomography (PET) scan. As a matter of fact, the patient was in a scanner in an adjoining integrated diagnostics and surgical intervention facility as the doctors began reviewing her data. Along with key in- formation from her electronic patient record, I was able to display Mrs. McCormick’s current whole body scan. “Show me any previous whole body scans on this patient,” said Chan- dra. One was available from a nearby hospital’s picture archiving system — it was an old CT scan taken just before the patient’s treatment in 2010. Using a system of anatomical coordi- nates, I made sure that the two exams were po- sitioned at exactly the same angle. “Compare the scans for hot spots,” Chandra commanded. I noticed that she never blinked or changed her expression. It was clear that the bladder cancer was gone. But there appeared to be a suspicious area inside the patient’s heart that was high- lighted by a circle produced by one of several thousand anomaly-detection algorithms that I automatically activated whenever displaying a whole body scan. “Hm, very unusual,” mut- tered Sterling. “Probably just some kind of PET artifact,” he said, referring to the fact that be- cause of the high glucose metabolism of heart tissues, false positive results often appear in this area. “Segment out the heart,” said Chandra with- out a blink. Mrs. McCormick’s heart appeared in a full-size virtual 3D MR view on my display. The suspicious area was highlighted much more clearly now. “Segment out the right atri- um,” added Chandra in her monotone. As the visual information became more de- tailed, subprograms in my system were calcu- lating and displaying the relative probability of different diagnoses. At the top of the list — based on powerful statistical data — was myxo- ma, a benign tumor that typically germinates in the tissue that separates the right and left atria. “Show me other, similar images of patients with myxoma before and after treatment,” Chandra ordered. This would have been a very tall order for a conventional picture archiving system since myxomas appear in only 0.1 per- cent of the population. But thanks to the recent standardization of an imaging meta-text lan- guage, and above all the introduction of soft- ware capable of interpreting image content in the semantic Internet, I was able to zero in on a number of images that fit the bill. Simultane- ously, I provided information relating to treat- ment and outcome of other patients, complete with success probabilities. By now, a remotely controlled endoscope had been threaded into the patient’s heart. Outfitted with advanced sensors, it was able to perform an in vivo examination of the tumor and had confirmed that the growth was non malignant. As the tumor had been discovered at a very early stage, Dr. Sterling directed the attending surgeon in the treatment facility to deploy a laser at the tip of the catheter and as- pirate the tumor cells. Guided by programs that measured heart wall thickness beneath the laser in real time, and coordinated this with the heart’s movements, perforation was avoided. “Gotcha!” exclaimed Sterling with satisfaction as the aspirator mopped up the last of the tu- mor. In the background, I could hear applause from the audience in the lecture theatre. As the procedure drew to a close, I catego- rized all of the image, in vivo lab, and surgical information. Then I updated my knowledge on myxomas accordingly. As I did so, I noticed that, for a split second, Chandra vanished. It was just a blink — too short a time for Dr. Ster- ling to have noticed. But I knew then that Chandra was one of us.Arthur F. Pease | Trends An army of algorithms is being developed. Built on expert knowledge and capable of learning from experience, these sys- tems are pointing out anomalies in radiology exams, providing deci- sion support in a range of fields, and optimizing split-second decision making in high-speed industrial processes. As such systems harvest knowledge, there will be no limit to what we will learn from them. Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 91 vide an answer. “The idea is to develop an assis- tant that will select the best and most relevant images for doctors from large data sets,” says Comaniciu. Trained by using the criteria doc- tors themselves use for selecting images, the assistant may even be able to enhance images that are less than perfect. Algorithms and Automation. Just as intelli- gent assistants are rapidly reproducing in the health-care universe, they are also beginning to populate other areas — particularly in indus- try. In steel production, for instance, the trend toward total automation is leading to increas- ing use of decentralized intelligence. “Depending on the grade of steel, the man- ufacturing components involved may have in- dividual strategies for monitoring and manag- ing each step while taking a collective view of and cooling rate for a given grade of steel. Then, to optimize results for a particular order, the entire production process is simulated — including neural networks and learning algo- rithms. Once optimized in the virtual world, the information is transferred to the rolling mill and put to the test. Values for each process step are taken and compared against the simu- lated (and thus optimized) values. “As a result,” says Metzger, “the models learn how to im- prove themselves based on this comparison. Ultimately,” he adds, “such systems will provide decision support and finally decision automa- tion.” Digital Repairmen. Not only do learning sys- tems keep track of what works best under a complex variety of circumstances. They also keep an eye on the long-term factors that Surprisingly, agents are already zeroing in on this kind of information as well. Research conducted at SCR has come up with an agent technology that is “70 to 80 percent accurate,” says Amit Chakraborty, who leads the Model- ing and Optimization program at SCR. “In providing this decision support, the agent takes many factors into account, including customer reliability, competitors, and sales force informa- tion,” he adds. Intelligence Everywhere. Naturally, given the fact that they are weightless, not particu- larly expensive to produce, and capable of in- crementally increasing the productivity of hard- ware, invisible agents will eventually pop up just about everywhere. The trend toward de- centralized intelligence in highly automated production facilities will have its counterparts the process,” says Dr. Michael Metzger, a spe- cialist in steel industry solutions at Corporate Technology in Munich. He explains that this boils down to the use of “algorithms stationed near associated actuators working together to solve a control problem within a community of machines.” Such systems must, furthermore, be able to learn at lightning speed. “In order to accomplish this,” says Metzger, “these systems are based on control and optimization process models that are themselves based on relation- ships derived from physics and expert knowl- edge. But they must also be able to learn from the huge amount of data produced by an automation system, thus enabling the control system to respond optimally in real time to variables such as rolling force and tempera- ture,” he explains. As in health care, a process of customization is in full swing here. This begins with expert knowledge and data mining, which discover key parameters, such as deformation history cause machine wear and tear, and predict when service should be performed with a view to minimizing downtime. With this in mind, in 2007 Siemens established a strategic program called the Machine Monitoring Initiative. ”The project will tap basic research throughout the organization in data mining, learning systems and decision support,” says Claus Neubauer, a data integration specialist at SCR. The results will be used to automate the prediction and scheduling of maintenance on everything from power, rail and communication networks to MR scanners and windmill gearboxes. Predicting when machines will need main- tenance and which parts will need to be re- placed may sound like a tall order, but what about predicting whether a customer will actu- ally purchase a wind park or an MR scanner? in traffic and rail management, building and home automation, safety and security technol- ogy, power generation and distribution, and of course health care. The implications of these invisible entities for entertainment, informa- tion accessibility, security, environmental pro- tection, and the way humans communicate, organize, work and live could be profound. “We should keep in mind that this is all about solutions that support human activities,” says CT’s Raffler. “Based on this, agents will un- derstand what we are looking for, present re- sults more intelligently than is now possible, answer questions, deal with large bodies of un- structured data, compose services, and pro- pose new processes for solving problems.” Information, something we produce more of with every passing second, will become in- creasingly valuable as we learn to mine it, com- bine its streams, and refine its messages. What lies ahead, in short, is a harvest without end. Arthur F. Pease Medical assistants recognize anomalies in the intestine (left), in the function of the aortic valve (center), and in the amount of blood pumped by the atria of the heart over time. 90 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 comparative analysis of images produced at different times and from different imaging modalities. Among the many assistants heading for commercialization is one that extracts a 4D model (3D over time) of the aortic valve from ultrasound data “that will allow physicians to interrogate it regarding a variety of real-time, quantitative functions,” says Helene Houle, a senior sonographer with Siemens Ultrasound in Mountain View, California, who worked closely with Siemens Corporate Research in Princeton on its development. Another assis- tant now under joint development will create a 3D interactive model of the heart from com- puter tomography (CT) data. The model, now in prototype, will display the outlines of the beating heart and provide information regard- ing anomalies in the volume of blood pumped by the atria. But such assistants are just the beginning. “We are looking at what it would mean to add genetic information to the imaging data in these products,” says Gupta. With this in mind, Siemens is working with an expanding group of medical centers in the context of the EU- funded Health-e-Child program (see Pictures of the Future,Spring 2007, p. 72). The program, which is coordinated by SCR and the CAD group, is developing an integrated health-care platform for pediatric information designed to provide seamless integration of traditional cal slice. The target will appear automatically in response to a voice command,” he says. Com- patible with hospital picture archiving and communication systems, ALPHA will provide a quantum leap in terms of the rapid accessibility of CT, MR, PET, and other imaging modalities and their content. Understanding the complex meanings and information locked in images is a topic that is also being examined by Theseus, a German Federal Ministry of Education and Research stance, that a cardiologist is examining MR images of a patient with a pulmonary valve deficiency. “To help determine whether the deficiency warrants surgery, he might ask The- seus to show him images of pulmonary valves that look similar to the one he is looking at in terms of morphology and function before and after surgery,” says Dr. Dorin Comaniciu, head of the Integrated Data Systems department at Siemens Corporate Research and one of the initiators of Theseus Medico. Communicative Cameras.But the areas of application for this kind of search engine ex- tend well beyond medical uses. Says Ramesh Visvanathan, PhD, head of the Real-time Vision and Modeling Department at SCR, “In the con- text of the Theseus project, our Vision Center of Competence in Munich is defining metadata languages for the automatic identification of video content. In terms of security applications, for instance, this will mean that cameras will be able to track a target of interest by describ- ing it in a standardized language and passing the information from one camera to another.” The technology would thus make it possible to follow an intruder as he or she leaves one cam- era’s field of view and enters the area moni- tored by another camera. And what about the quality of the images that intelligent systems select? Regardless of whether an image originates in a surveillance camera or a medical database, the highest quality must be guaranteed if the evaluation of its content is to be reliable. Image retrieval sys- tems therefore need a way of ensuring selec- tion of the best available images. Work now in the pipeline at Beijing’s Tsinghua University that is sponsored in part by Siemens may pro- In the future, computers will automatically interpret images and understand spoken instructions. Digital Assistants | Trends project led by Siemens. “A big part of the The- seus vision is to automatically recognize image data in order to transform it from an unstruc- tured to a structured state, so that it can be used in the semantic Web for retrieval,” say Dr. Hartmut Raffler, coordinator of Theseus and head of the Information and Communications Division of Siemens Corporate Technology (CT). Adds Dr. Volker Tresp, who is responsible for day-to-day management of Theseus and is a specialist in data mining, machine learning and decision support at CT, “This is a vast area be- cause it opens up the entire field of picture, video, multimedia and content archives for deep exploration as they relate to security, ro- botics, entertainment, environmental sciences, and much more.” Specifically, a research area within Theseus known as “Medico” is building an intelligent, scalable picture archiving and search system (that could be supported by ALPHA) capable of retrieving images by content. Suppose, for in- sources of biomedical information, as well as emerging sources, such as genetic and pro- teomic data. Voice Command. As medical assistants multi- ply and their underlying databases expand, new systems of addressing this cornucopia of information will be needed. One solution that is approaching market introduction in 2008 is Automatic Localization and Parsing of Human Anatomy (ALPHA). Trained on a huge anatomi- cal database and capable of learning with each exam, ALPHA recognizes landmarks through- out the body, thus opening the door to voice- based interaction. “Questions such as ‘show me the lower left lobe of the patient’s lung and compare it with the previous two exams,’ will become routine,” says Arun Krishnan, PhD, head of CAD research and development at SMS in Malvern. “This will accelerate throughput, because it will no longer be necessary to search through image sets to find a desired anatomi- By combining different sources of medical information in a single database, the Remind platform will support the creation of new, specialized decision-support assistants. Patient Factors Treatment Plans Lab Results Images Proteomics Genomics REMIND knowledge platform Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 93 Digital Assistants | Health Care Digital Decision Support Medical diagnostic procedures are overwhelming physicians with data. In response, doctors are turning to computer programs that help them assess and interpret results. Newly-developed software is now providing fast, accurate decision support. At the Netherlands’ Maastro Clinic, high techno- logy and unique software (below and center) help cancer specialist Prof. Philippe Lambin (bottom left) make increasingly accurate decisions. 92 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 T he Maastro Clinic is a leading cancer treat- ment facility located in the vicinity of Maastricht University in the Netherlands. The clinic’s Radio Therapy section has a friendly reception area where patients referred from numerous other Dutch hospitals await cancer screenings, follow-up treatments, and treat- ment simulations. To provide the best possible treatment for these patients, and improve cancer research, the facility houses an inter- disciplinary team of radiation therapy special- ists, biologists, physicists, and computer scien- tists, as well as experts from Siemens Healthcare, all of whom have access to high- tech medical equipment and state-of-the-art software. ters such as radiation dose, treatment time, concomitant chemotherapy, and the concen- tration of white blood cells. The intention is that such a tool helps doctors to recognize ear- ly signs of esophagitis, thus avoiding prema- ture discontinuation of therapeutic treatment. The next step in the research project will be to include the costs of potential complications associated with the therapy in question. Lam- bin’s primary goal for 2008 is to broaden the system’s database. “To make a fairly accurate prediction of the survival rate after a specific therapy, we need to have at least 500 to 1,000 patients in our database,” he says. “We also need an external dataset to validate the predic- tions — that’s the bottleneck.” The Maastro research database now con- tains data on approximately 1,000 patients, 500 of whom were diagnosed with lung can- cer. In order to expand this database, the Maas- tro Clinic has plans to establish a digital net- work link with hospitals in Leuven and Liège in Belgium, and in Groningen in the Netherlands. Due to data security considerations, however, Maastro’s Remind system will only be given anonymous parameters via the link; the data it- self will remain in other clinics. The resulting broader research database will make a com- tool from Siemens ( Pictures of the Future, Spring 2006, p. 9). Remind (Reliable Extraction and Meaningful Inference from Nonstructured Data) statistical- ly analyzes all types of medical information, in- cluding everything from physicians’ letters to medical images and laboratory diagnoses, and then identifies specific patterns. A research pro- totype system tested at the Maastro clinic is able to predict the two year survival rate of lung cancer patients with high accuracy. The two- year survival rate is used by doctors to assess the success of individual radiation treatments. At the moment, 47 percent of all lung cancer patients survive for the first two years after diagnosis, if their cancer is detected at an early stage. A key member of the team is Professor Philippe Lambin, a radiation oncologist who is medical director of the Maastro Clinic. “We’re conducting research on a computer-aided decision-support system for personalized treat- ment of patients with lung cancer,” Lambin explains. “We’re doing this because a study carried out by Maastricht University revealed that most doctors are unable to reliably assess how well their treatments are working, and therefore have difficulty in choosing the right treatment. We plan to improve predictions of the effective- ness of radiation therapies with the help of so- phisticated software.” The software Lambin is referring to is based on Remind, a data mining The first commercial application of Remind is Soarian Quality Measures software, which can measure quality of care from patient records based on established standards. At the Maastro Clinic, however, Remind is being opti- mized for cancer research in a research project that calls for Siemens experts to work with clin- ic specialists on site. The system requires as much medically rele- vant patient data as possible to issue statistical- ly meaningful prognoses. Such data includes sociological information on the individual in question, measurements taken with imaging methods, and biological data such as cell divi- sion capability and radiation sensitivity, which can be determined through gene and blood biomarker analyses. Remind analyzes and links more than 100 of these parameters. In this research project, Remind then com- putes the likelihood of two year survival, and the risk of side effects, for various treatment options for a patient. The intention is to help physicians select the optimal treatment for each individual patient. Combining Diagnostics and Treatment. Maastro physicians can use state-of-the-art Siemens technology for their diagnoses and treatments. For instance, a combined positron emission tomography (PET) and computer to- mography (CT) scanner makes it possible to ob- tain 3D images of the lungs in spite of breath- ing-related movement — a must in the case of lung cancer patients. The PET unit uses a low- radiation marker substance to provide cross- sectional images that depict biochemical and physiological processes, while the CT details the anatomy and location of the tissue being studied. The combination of both technologies pro- vides doctors with information on the type of tumor they’re dealing with, as well as its pre- cise shape and position. When it comes to treatment, one of Lambin’s preferences is adaptive radiotherapy. This Siemens solution provides oncologists with a 3D data set of the patient, which allows them to optimally adapt a radiation procedure to the position and size of the tumor in question. Here too, Remind supports physicians with prognoses and treatment planning assistance by assessing the results from a database of post-treatment examinations. Lambin de- scribes this combination of diagnostics and treatment therapy as “computer-aided therag- nostics.” Another aspect of this research project is to configure Remind to predict the relative proba- bility of typical radiation therapy side effects, such as esophagitis (perforation of the esopha- gus). This is achieved on the basis of parame- pletely new type of clinical research possible. This is because specialists in Maastricht plan to use the data to simulate clinical studies, much in the same way the pharmaceutical industry uses machine-learning-based software to simu- late experiments. Digital Radiology. Dr. Marco Das works in the Department of Diagnostic Radiology at Aachen University Hospital, which is located around 40 kilometers from the Maastro Clinic. The focus of his work is the detection of growths in the lungs, such as cancers, metastases, and benign tumors. The clinical routine here involves using CT to create 3D data sets of the lung, after which Das searches for suspicious-looking Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 95 | Automated Meaning Extraction Computers Get the Picture How can a computer learn to interpret images, catalogue them, find them in databases, and recognize similarities? That’s what researchers want to find out in the Medico project — a part of the German Theseus program. I t has been said that life should be thought of in shades of gray rather than just black and white. And yet, computers do the latter. They‘re simple-minded and “think” only in terms of ze- ros and ones, black and white. The reason is, simply put, that they were designed to process numbers; not texts or images. But this is pre- cisely what researchers want to teach them to do. In the not-too-distant future, computers will be expected to distinguish between nu- ances and interpret the content of images. That is the driving force behind the de- velopment of the Semantic Web, which is also referred to as Web 3.0. Web 3.0 is the core of Theseus, a German Federal Ministry of Educa- tion and Research project led by Siemens that was initiated in 2007. “One of our greatest challenges is to develop computers that can automatically recognize image content and relationships,” explains Prof. Hartmut Raffler, head of Information and Communications Technology and coordinator of all Theseus ac- tivities at Siemens Corporate Technology (CT). An important part of Theseus is Medico, a program that is also led by Siemens. Here, ex- perts from Corporate Technology and Siemens’ Industry Sector Divisions are collaborating on the development of Medico’s software core. Other Medico partners include the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence in Kaiserslautern, the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics in Darmstadt, and Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. In the Medico scenario, medical knowledge will be linked for the first time with new image processing methods, knowledge-based data processing, and machine learning. Alok Gupta, PhD, vice president of the CAD and Knowledge Solutions Group at Siemens Medical Solutions in Malvern, Pennsylvania, and Dr. Jörg Freund of Sector Healthcare in Erlangen, Germany are coordinating the quest to create a universally usable Medico search engine for medical im- ages. Image Associations. Medico is expected to recognize anatomical structures such as bones, vessels and organs, as well as associated patho- logical changes, automatically catalogue the data, and collect comparison images and treat- ment reports from multiple databases. According to Dr Freund, “The idea is to pro- vide any physician — for example, one who’s studying a new x-ray image — with all the available information ever generated about the object being examined, including clinical sum- maries, symptoms, diagnoses, and therapies.” Medico’s first test run is already planned for late 2009 at the Erlangen University Medical Center. All the information assists the radiologist in arriving at a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. To confirm the diagnosis, a biopsy is ordered. A patient suffering from night sweats and exhaustion has been developing enlarged lymph nodes in the neck over an extended period. A radiolo- gist obtains computed tomog- raphy images and creates a report of the findings. The Medico system performs a semantic image analysis. The results recorded include auto- matically identified anatomical and pathological structures, as well as manual descriptions by the radiologist and information from any previous findings. The semantic description is stored in a database and can be efficiently linked to previous examinations of the same patient, or used to search for similar cases. The radiologist is provided with the additional information found in the context of the respective image and query. Included are descriptions from previous examinations (example: did the MRI scan three months ago also show enlarged lymph nodes?) as well as references to similar cases, relevant literature, and recom- mended treatments. Semantic descriptions can be used in searching appropriate libraries to identify relevant professional publications, as well as textual information from attending physicians regarding existing images from similar cases. 6 1 2 3 4 5 94 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 structures in digital images. Das examines 30 to 40 patients this way every day, meaning that he only has a couple of minutes for each diag- nosis. To raise the probability that no tumor is overlooked, a second radiologist double-checks all of his findings. Das also utilizes CAD (com- puter-aided detection) software that may elimi- nate the need for a second radiologist, as is al- ready the case at many hospitals. CAD is a technology based on pattern recognition and not on artificial intelligence. CAD systems for lungs analyze differences in thickness in lung tissues and compare these with stored images of typical lung tumor patterns. They are there- fore able to recognize such patterns in other CT images as well. tive effect on the accuracy of radiologist diag- noses,” says Das. The system does make errors, however. These take the form of false-positive diagnoses, which, according to Das, don’t cause any major problems, since they can quickly be spotted by an experienced radiolo- gist. “CAD programs are very good as second readers, but they’ll never replace radiologist di- agnoses because a doctor’s experience is the key to evaluating results,” says Das. An addi- tional advantage offered by the new syngo CT Oncology software — which includes syngo Such measurements are also often used on patients with emphysema, a disease usually caused by smoking that destroys the alveoli in the lungs. Here, syngo InSpace4D Lung Parenchyma Analysis software from Siemens measures density distribution throughout the entire lung, whereby a diseased lung will, due to its burst alveoli, have more free air in its tis- sue (and will therefore be less dense) than a healthy lung. “This software solution makes it possible for the first time ever to quantify the early stages of emphysema and thus to effec- tively monitor treatment,” says Das. “This used Digital Assistants | Health Care Tumor Marker. “All of this functions very well in practice,” says Das, who uses syngo Lung- CAD software from Siemens. The system exam- ines lungs for tumors even before a radiologist has finished making his or her assessment. It takes the software only around four minutes to check up to 700 image slices, each of which is one millimeter thick — and it works even faster with thicker layers and a correspondingly lower number of images. After Das completes his diagnosis, he ana- lyzes the results produced by the software, which means there’s no waiting time in be- tween. The software automatically marks sus- picious areas with red circles. “All studies to date show that CAD software has had a posi- LungCAD functionality — is that it helps to ac- celerate diagnostic decision making, according to Das. For instance, doctors need to measure changes in tumor size in order to determine whether a treatment is working. Until recently this was done by manually calculating a tu- mor’s diameter onscreen. Such measurements are extremely imprecise, however, and can vary from doctor to doctor. Syngo CT Oncology, on the other hand, improves measurement ac- curacy by automatically calculating the volume of all different types of tumors. It also enables doctors to determine tissue density —a meas- urement that cannot be performed manually. Tissue density, in turn, provides an initial indi- cation of whether or not a tumor is malignant. It takes a digital radiology program only around four minutes to check 700 image slices. to be an extremely difficult process requiring several indirect tests.” Virtual Colonoscopy. Colon cancer screen- ings are another application where computer- aided detection is very helpful. Dr. Anno Graser from the Institute for Clinical Radiology at Mu- nich University Hospital uses syngoColonography with PEV (Polyp Enhanced Viewing) software to review the results of virtual colonoscopies. Unlike physicians in Aachen, Graser does not have a second radiologist and therefore relies on PEV software for a second opinion. “The program, which can be used by any doctor, delivers very good results, as long as the colon has been properly cleansed before- hand,” says Graser, who also tested the soft- ware in several studies. He’s not only satisfied with the program’s accuracy, but also happy that “the software simplifies and accelerates the entire process.” In Graser’s institute, it only takes four minutes, in fact, for the program to calculate the PEV results — about as long as it takes a gastroenterologist. Graser has been screening one or two pa- tients per day with the system since he con- cluded his clinical studies of the software. But there is still some resistance to the new tech- nology. “Health insurance companies in Ger- many only pay for conventional colonoscopies, unless you have a situation where an intestinal infection or obstruction would not allow for such a procedure,” he explains. Nevertheless, patients prefer the virtual pro- cedure because it’s much shorter than the con- ventional one. Another major benefit is that its polyp detection software is extremely sensitive, thus improving the chances of early detection. “These benefits are going to help the system achieve a major breakthrough in terms of ac- ceptance,” says Graser. Michael Lang Siemens software supports accurate diagnostic decision making regarding lung tumor characteristics. Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 97 C ustomers expect products to function reli- ably, but ensuring that they do so under all conditions is anything but a trivial matter. Con- sider, for example, the gear train assemblies manufactured by the Siemens Drive Technolo- gies Division for wind parks and for large-scale drives, such as those used in cement mills. In the case of wind parks, insurance companies insist on online monitoring, particularly if these facilities are in hard-to-reach areas such as the North Sea. In such cases, Siemens uses an electronic condition monitoring system. In addition to continuously monitoring critical parameters and the functionality of the gear mechanisms, the system transmits results to the plant’s oper- ator. Because of weather conditions, which may involve rough seas, offshore facilities are accessible only a few days per year. It is there- fore all but impossible for an operator to get an up-to-date overview of the state of its equip- ment without an on-site condition-monitoring system. Dr. Jörg Deckers is a diagnostics expert at the Siemens Condition Monitoring Center in the town of Voerde, Germany. “We do a de- tailed diagnosis of the vibrations and harmon- ics of the gear systems here,” Deckers says. “This allows us to identify the smallest changes in operating characteristics, which signals the onset of damage at a very early stage.” The difficulty is that each individual gear has its own vibrational characteristics, and these vary continually during operation as a re- sult of ambient conditions such as temperature and wind velocity, as well as oil level. Experts use warning and alarm limits to define the range in which the gear in question can still be rated as fault-free. In the case of wind turbine gears, for instance, it often takes experts many hours to tag between 400 and 700 characteristic Digital assistants are substantially increasing safety and efficiency in pipelines, wind parks, cement plants, and tunnels. The VDM will be used in a system solution with Castomat, a general-purpose measure- ment acquisition and diagnostic system that can acquire data from a broad variety of sources and transmit it to VDM. In addition to frequency spectra, this data includes a large number of ambient influences in the interest of achieving the most precise possible classifica- tion of environmental conditions. Based on vi- bration and ambient data, VDM learns the state of gear mechanisms and then defines the lim- its which, when exceeded, indicate the first changes resulting from wear or defects. The warning and alarm limits that would otherwise be entered manually are thus set automatically with VDM. On-Site Monitoring. Learning software sys- tems based on the Siemens Machine Learning Library can also be applied to the field of oil and gas extraction. In Russia, for example, many of these resources are located in difficult- to-reach areas far from any infrastructure, where temperatures can reach minus 50 de- grees Celsius in the winter and 40 degrees in the summer, when the permafrost at the sur- face thaws and turns the tundra into a waste- land of mud and swamp. With such adverse conditions, it is scarcely possible to keep enough experts on-site at all times. In view of this, the pumps and generators used in oil extraction, and the compressors used in transporting oil and gas through pipelines, should be monitored remotely. In- deed, procedures used in wind parks can be ap- plied here as well. “Because of the extreme weather conditions, system vibrations are con- stantly changing. That makes it all the more es- sential to have reliable analysis of the frequen- cy spectra of the kind provided by our VDM,” explains Bernhard Lang, head of the Fault Analysis and Prevention research group at CT in On-site sensors must perform under the most demanding conditions, such as in offshore wind farms and Siberian oil fields (bottom). frequency components with corresponding limit values. In the future, however, they will be supported by a new tool called a vibration diagnosis module (VDM) — learning software developed to the prototype stage by a research group at Siemens Corporate Technology (CT). The module combines several methods of ma- chine learning for error analysis and prevention from the Siemens Machine Learning Library, a platform-independent software library (see Pictures of the Future, Spring 2006, p. 90). St. Petersburg, Russia, where these procedures were developed. In addition, pipelines must be monitored for damage resulting from earthquakes, theft and sabotage. Sensors suitable for this would be able to react to decreases in pressure in pipelines, and to knocking and digging noises. “Instead of cable-based sensor systems of the kind used in the past for pipeline monitoring, we’re working on solutions for wireless, self-or- ganizing sensor-actuator systems,” says Project 96 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Digital Assistants | Automated Meaning Extraction Medico is the first system to link medical knowledge with image processing and machine learning. Intelligent image search is still in its infancy, and experts have no illusions about that. Current databases such as Web-based picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) and radiol- ogy information systems (RIS), are still based on a keyword index system in which associations are selected by people rather than being gener- ated automatically by image interpretation sys- tems. Experts are initially focusing on imaging methods such as computed tomography, different components must be developed, from new methods of pattern recognition and ontology modeling (which makes background knowledge comprehensible to a computer) to computer-aided recognition systems and clini- cal decision support systems. Understanding the Doctor. To describe image contents Tresp and other experts use ontologies developed by physicians, such as Investing in the Semantic Internet Thirty research institutions collaborating under the umbrella of the German Theseus program are coordinated by Empolis, a Bertelsmann subsidiary. Originally, this was a joint German-French initiative named Quaero (Latin “I search”), until two distinctly different areas of emphasis evolved. While the German part — Theseus — focuses on the develop- ment of a semantic platform that processes information according to its contents, the French part of the program (still called Quaero) is focusing on advanced development of existing search technologies for multilingual and multimedia queries. Periodic meetings maintain contact between the two groups so that their complementary approaches can be reunited later. Theseus is scheduled to run for a peri- od of five years and is supported with €90 million from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research. An equal amount is contributed by participating organizations. Starting in 2009, small and midsized companies are also to be included. In addition to managing the Medico use case, Siemens is also participating in the application scenarios Alexandria (social networks, Web 2.0) and Texo (seman- tically annotated business processes). Other application scenarios, in which Siemens is only indirectly involved through the Core Technology Center, are Contentus (protection of the cultural heritage, digi- tal libraries or broadcast archives), Ordo (organization of digital information), and Processus (business process optimization). magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound in order to close the “semantic gap” in a clearly demarcated field of study. Linguists define semantics as the study of the meaning of words, but here the much broader definition of semantics as the study of meaning is being applied to the comprehension of image con- tents by a computer program. “Our key objective in Theseus is to address the inchoate mass of data by developing a gen- erally applicable way of expressing contents that ensures order and hierarchy,” explains Dr. Volker Tresp, who is the central contact person at CT for Theseus’ six application scenarios. His aim is to enable computers to assign informa- tion to the relevant image, find such informa- tion, and interpret it — regardless of whether it’s text, video, or multimedia data. To create this intelligent image search engine, many RadLex and the Foundational Model of Anato- my ontology. “Using these tools, we describe image content in a hierarchy based on human anatomy,” explains Freund. “This results in quick answers to questions such as whether an organ or growth has changed in size since the last exam.” “With Medico,” Freund adds, “the initial focus is on semantic search in medical data- bases, but the range of potential applications is much wider.” He points out, for instance, that once associated ethical issues and data security regulations are resolved, the pharmaceutical industry, for example, may benefit from this technology by automating the analysis of clini- cal studies, including their image content, to more rapidly and accurately draw conclusions regarding the effects of medical treatments. Klaudia Kunze Advent of an Invisible Army | Safety and Security same time, the data is delivered to the Siveil- lance system for analysis. If a critical event is detected, an alarm is automatically triggered at the monitoring center in Hohenems, which is staffed around the clock, in contrast to the con- trol center. Says Gobiet: “Potentially dangerous situations are automatically highlighted for the operators. That makes their job easier, and al- lows them to give their full attention to assess- ing the situation and making decisions.” Unlike human operators, Siveillance never tires or gets bored; the system learns what “normal” is, and triggers a warning message only in the event of an anomaly. That may sound simple enough, but this achievement is the result of more than 25 years of Siemens re- search in the field of video sensors. In this context, Klaus Baumgartner of Siemens Building Technologies is directing an especially ambitious project in Karlsruhe, Ger- many. “We want to link the evaluation results of video cameras in intelligent ways,” he says. “That means allowing cameras to zoom in on objects, and using several cameras to automat- ically monitor people.” Known as NOOSE (Net- work of Optical Sensors), the project will be based on the use of the Internet Protocol (IP) and on a large increase in computational ca- pacity. These developments will make a range of new applications possible. For example, a traffic light equipped with intelligent IP cam- eras would be able to manage itself locally. It could, for instance, extend its green phase when a car approaches and no traffic is detect- ed on the other street. Digital assistants are being used in new fields all the time, whether it be condition monitoring, self-organized sensor monitoring, or intelligent camera technology. Increasingly powerful systems are automatically working together with one another and reaching in- dependent decisions that they then present to human operators, who, of course, retain the ultimate decision-making authority. Eduard Rüsing | Facts and Forecasts Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 99 Electronic Safety and Security Assistants are on the March S afety technology should warn people of dangers or prevent hazards from occurring in the first place. Here, the trend is clearly toward electronic, digital safety solutions. These include automatic intrusion sensors and video monitoring systems, fire alarm systems for early detection of fire and smoke, and access control systems that require biometric characteristics as input. Increas- ingly, alarm messages, voice and video are also digitally recorded, saved, analyzed and exchanged in a network. Demand is booming worldwide. Market researchers at the Freedonia Group predict that the market for safety electronics will increase by almost 51 percent from €26.5 billion in 2005 to about €40 billion in 2010. In India alone, annual growth of over 25 percent is expected. In Brazil, security conditions have caused the market to grow at high rates for years;in 2006 alone, growth was 14 percent. Growth is also picking up in Europe, where the mar- ket for safety technology is likely to receive a boost from the harmonization of standards and a massive funding program. By 2013, the European Union is expected to make over €2.1 billion available for the development of new safety technologies. Individual fields within the safety electronics market have different rates of growth. For example, the market for fire detection and suppression is being boosted from technological advances and new laws. According to a 2005 study by Frost & Sullivan, sales in this field are ex- pected to increase from €3.4 billion to about €3.9 billion in Europe between 2005 and 2010. The study predicts that the highest growth will be in fire alarm systems. This segment is expected to account for about 38.1 percent of sales revenues of the market as a whole by 2010. An analysis from IMS Research shows that there has been a boom in digital monitoring systems in recent years. A study completed in 2007 concludes that the tran- sition from analog cameras to network-based video moni- toring systems is already taking place in the market. These systems, which have their own IP address and an integrated Web server, require only a network connec- tion to transmit images. According to IMS Research, the global market for network-based cameras will grow at an annual rate of about 53 percent from 2007 to 2012. By 2009, sales will exceed €1 billion worldwide. “But even at this high growth rate, network-based cameras will ac- count for only a third of all cameras involved in safety ap- plications in 2010,” says Simon Harris, director of studies at IMS Research. Access control systems are also experiencing strong growth. Sales in this segment will likely grow from €3.5 billion to almost €4.4 billion globally from 2007 to 2010, according to an analysis conducted by Frost & Sullivan in 2005. In this segment, one of the major developments will be the transition from numerical codes or magnetic- strip card systems to smart cards or biometric solutions. For example, the global market volume for chip-based sensors for fingerprint identification is expected to grow from €90 million in 2006 to €1.3 billion in 2013. The market for iris identification will increase from almost €23 million in 2007 to ten times that amount in 2013. For high-security applications, new solutions like voice recog- nition and the identification of hand vein patterns will also appear on the market.Sylvia Trage 0 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 7,000 8,000 Millions of US dollars Fingerprint 25.3% Iris recognition 5.1% Hand geometry 4.7% Face recognition 12.9% Middleware 5.4% Voice recognition 3.2% Vein recognition 3.0% AFIS / Live-Scan 33.5% Multiple biometrics 2.9% Other modalities 4.0% Biometrics sales are growing by about 20 percent per year Biometrics market in 2007 according to technology Source: International Biometric Group, 2006-2007 AFIS /Live-Scan: ID systems for digital recording and automated identification of fingerprints 98 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 hardware components for radio sensor net- works into its platform concept. In addition to the monitoring of pipelines, oil platforms, and containers, application scenarios being con- sidered by ZESAN’s partners include industrial process automation and energy use metering in buildings. The market for these self-organizing sensor- actuator networks is still emerging, but Sol- lacher is not worried about the competition. “In building services automation, Siemens already markets wireless radio sensor networks such as the Apogee Wireless. What’s more, our first product solutions are being developed for manufacturing and process automation.” To ensure reliable communication, the sen- sor network must be well coordinated. For ex- ample, the radio sensors must know when and on which channel they will transmit data, and when they can put themselves to sleep without losing contact with their neighbors. Corporate Technology supplies self-organization solutions for this purpose (Pictures of the Future, Fall 2004, p.72), such as a completely decentral- ized allocation of radio channels for the sen- sors. The sensors must also be able to independ- ently determine their spatial position in order to localize events and data. “This is an impor- tant feature as it greatly reduces the demands Leader Dr. Rudolf Sollacher from the Learning Systems center at CT in Munich. Such systems are expected to be used not only for oil pipelines and platforms but also in building services automation and process control. In the case of oil pipelines, distances of 25 to 40 kilo- meters must be bridged between valve sta- tions. To achieve this goal, an independent, energy-stingy power supply is needed. “This conflict can be resolved by placing individual radio sensors between the valve stations at intervals of about 100 meters and passing the messages on from one sensor to the next,” says Sollacher. These small helpers must react reliably and quickly, especially in the Digital Assistants | Safety and Security event of alarm messages. And they must do so under environmental conditions that are some- times extreme. “Our development work is moving in two directions in particular: energy efficiency coupled with zero maintenance, and self-organization of sensor nodes,” says Sol- lacher. Sollacher’s research team is also hoping to implement solutions that allow the sensors to put parts of their hardware, such as the radio portion, to sleep as often and as long as possi- ble, which saves energy. The system’s micro- on the operator team with regard to network management,” says Sollacher. Self-Organizing Networks. Reliable and energy-efficient wireless sensor-actuator net- works are also the subject of a project called ZESAN, financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. “The topics Digital Tunnel Keeper. Safety has a top prior- ity in road tunnels as well, where accidents can have dire consequences. State-of-the-art safety systems are being developed for such uses — for example, in the “Citytunnel” in the Austrian town of Bregenz. In late 2007, Siemens equipped this 1,311-meter-long, bidirectional tunnel with its Siveillance solution, a modern system of video sensors with intelligent cam- era surveillance. Siveillance is a modular solution that can detect fire and smoke. It also identifies and reports stalled vehicles, traffic congestion and traffic jams. “Siveillance even detects the pass- ing maneuvers of individual cars, which is es- pecially important for this single-tunnel envi- ronment,” says Siemens Project Manager Christian Gobiet, enthusiastically. “Or if a car continues through on a red light, the traffic on the other side has to be given the red light until the driver who made the mistake has left the tunnel,” he adds. Citytunnel was outfitted with 17 fixed and five swivel-tilt cameras that deliver their analog data to a control center in Weidach, Austria, where it is converted to digital form and saved as compressed files in the MPEG-4 format (Pictures of the Future, Fall 2006, p. 86). At the Siemens’ “Siveillance” system monitors tunnels using sophisticated video sensors. If the system detects a critical event, it automatically alerts the control center. — Environmental monitoring — Camera — Ventilation — Radio — Traffic management — Traffic monitoring — Fire detection Siveillance not only detects fire and smoke but also recognizes stalled cars and traffic jams. processor, which likewise uses little power, can automatically compress data delivered by sen- sors in the vicinity into diagnostic information. With this integrated intelligence, researchers want to “prevent the transmission of unneces- sarily large amounts of raw data,” Sollacher explains. “Then only critical events, such as unusual vibrations of the pipeline, would be reported to the valve stations, and from there onward to a monitoring center.” dealt with include multi-antenna solutions for reliable radio transmission, extremely energy- efficient receivers for waking up the sensors, advanced self-management for updating soft- ware components on the sensors, automatic optimization of network operation, and data integrity,” says Sollacher. Siemens is participat- ing in this project through CT, the leader of the consortium, and through Siemens’ Industrial Solutions Division, which intends to integrate — Lighting Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 101 Digital Assistants | Financial Sector Tracking Transactions Siemens Financial Services utilizes IT solutions it developed itself for in-house banking processes and the assessment of credit and stock market risks. These systems keep finance specialists up to date on all financial movements Huge financial flows, such as those that move daily on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, cannot be managed without computers. Siemens employs a central IT solution for its global financial activities. 100 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 E very once in a while you’ll hear someone say that Siemens is really a bank with a small electrical and electronics division. Al- though this little joke has always been far off the mark, there is an element of truth to it. After all, managing annual sales of more than €70 billion in 190 countries and millions of accounting transactions for customers requires a sophisticated financial system. One system used by Siemens is “finavigate,” an Internet-based, in-house banking solution that centrally manages all financial movements and internal and external payments. The result is company-wide, up-to-date transparency re- garding sales development, currency positions, cash flow, and all payables and receivables. fi- navigate was developed by Siemens Financial Services (SFS) and is used by Siemens and six other corporations. “Siemens alone processes nearly ten million external payments each year,” says Willibald Schmeiser, head of Trea- sury Solutions & Consulting at SFS. Ulschmid’s colleague Rainer Hackl, who heads Stocks at SFS Treasury and Investment Management, utilizes models that in some cas- es employ analysis instruments like those of the U.S. Federal Reserve. “We have special tools,” says Hackl. “These instruments provide decision-making assistance in determining which regions, countries and companies will offer above-average returns.” Analyses are fol- lowed by the creation of a portfolio, and possi- bly its rearrangement, should control mecha- nisms indicate the necessity of such a measure. SFS experts generally keeps stocks for two years and hold onto bonds for around four years. “A manager ultimately decides whether a stock is to be purchased or sold, of course,” says Hackl, who nevertheless finds it amazing “that a computer helps us select undervalued stocks, even though it knows absolutely nothing about shares.” Norbert Aschenbrenner approximately 1,800 employees generated revenues of €329 million last fiscal year while managing a balance sheet total of nearly €9 billion. SFS also provides risk management services, among other things by taking on all accounts payable to Siemens from customers who have bought the company’s products — whether computer tomographs, video-moni- toring systems, or letter-sorting machines. This removes most of the default risk from the oper- ating business and transfers it to SFS. “We calculate the default risk for this huge portfolio of credit in order to determine the optimal level of capital needed to cover it,” says Bernd Walter, head of Risk Methods at SFS. Because the level of default can fluctuate, Siemens needs to insure itself against non-pay- ments and maintain a certain level of capital to ensure that the company itself remains solvent. With this in mind, Walter and his seven- member team have developed software that assesses every instance of credit in terms of risk All Siemens companies are linked to finavi- gate, as are banks that the company does busi- ness with. The system thus serves as an in- house hub and an interface between internal and external financial worlds. “More than 7,000 users worldwide access the system around 100,000 times a day,” says Schmeiser. “In addition, the system is capable of generat- ing a monthly balance statement within 30 minutes.” Ultimately, finavigate ensures Siemens’ ability to make payments at any time, as its exact knowledge of scheduled payables and receivables enables it to determine liquidi- ty in real time. “That also allows us to invest available capital at the best possible conditions and organize needed capital at an early stage and at favorable conditions,” says Schmeiser. In-House Bank. SFS acts somewhat like an in- house bank for Siemens, providing all the usual financing instruments, including venture capi- tal and insurance solutions. The company’s costs. Outstanding payments of several hundred million euros can, for example, be practically default-proof if the debtor has an excellent credit rating, as do most government authorities. On the other hand, small payments totaling just a few million euros can harbor high risk costs if the customer is a start-up that may not make a profit for some time. Digital Risk Assessment. “Human beings are simply not capable of carrying out evaluations of around 150,000 debtors, some of whom owe money to, and do business with, third par- ties,” says Walter. SFS’s computer model, on the other hand, can identify the biggest risks. “The model saved us from losing around €20 million when automotive supplier Delphi nearly went bankrupt,” Walter reports. Even before Delphi was downgraded to the lowest possible credit rating by agencies in April 2005, the model had already identified the company as high risk, after which all of Siemens’ receivables from Delphi were insured. As a result, there was no default, despite the fact that Delphi sought protection against creditors. “The model is fed with variables such as the creditworthiness of individual debtors, which we determine from customer data that in- cludes key financial figures, company age, number of employees, the company’s econom- ic sector, and company payment history,” Wal- ter reports. He and his team have also used a similar model to significantly reduce Siemens’ insurance premiums. SFS arranges protection for all insurance risks, including everything from property damage and transport damage to major project insurance. “Our computer-supported tools also provide answers as to which risks we should outsource and which ones we should assume responsibil- ity for ourselves,” says Walter. “Most important- ly, however, they tell us whether the premium being offered is justified.” The premium must be as low as possible, of course, in order to keep pressure off profit margins. “For our pre- mium assessment, we fed a lot of data on past insurance claims into a model, which then used a simulation to generate hundreds of thousands of possible future damage scenar- ios,” Walter explains. “These scenarios enabled us to identify the maximum damage to be expected and also de- termine the probability of specific damage costs and the average overall damage that might occur.” Ultimately, Walter’s project suc- ceeded in more fairly distributing the insurance premiums paid to SFS throughout Siemens and, more importantly, significantly reduced the transfer premium paid to the actual insur- ance company. Click for Decision-Making Assistance. Se- curities analysts at SFS manage nearly €20 bil- lion in capital, including the Siemens pension funds. In this connection, digital assistants help specialists maintain an overview of develop- ments on stock, bond, and currency markets. “Our decisions are based on forecast models that we developed ourselves,” says Dr. Christoph Ulschmid, who is responsible for Bonds and Currencies. The parameters they ex- amine include changes in interest rates, which can have an enormous impact on future eco- nomic developments. “What’s important here are short-term forecasts that predict develop- ments over the next month,” says Ulschmid. To obtain these forecasts, Ulschmid uses models that calculate technical indicators and analyze interest rate curves. Also of great importance are fundamental predictions regarding infla- tion and economic growth. Siemens’ Internet-based system manages some ten million external payments per year. How to Quantify Critical Risks Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) has developed a method known as sira that helps manage risks in major projects. “We get every- one together who is in- volved in a project at a meeting in which we identify existing tech- nical and contractual risks,” says Oliver Mäckel, head of Techni- cal Risk Management at CT. The best technique for depicting such risks has proved to be the use of balls whose color, size, and position indicate both the probability of a given risk and the financial consequences of its occurrence. “We then combine the analysis results with the subjective perceptions of planners,” Mäckel explains, “after which it’s immedi- ately clear which risks the project team is adequately aware of and which ones it may have underesti- mated. These days, we evaluate our graphs the way experienced doctors examining x-ray images.” Mäckel and his team have carried out about 70 such risk analyses to date. Their work here was particu- larly helpful in a subway project in Oslo, Norway, where a new brake developed by Siemens’ Mobility Division was used for the first time. Correspondingly, the risk potential was high. For example, a need for additional testing could have resulted in delayed delivery of the component. However, everything went well — in part thanks to the support of CT experts, who helped the project team optimally balance potential changes relating to the brake’s mechanical, hardware, and software systems. The reputation enjoyed by CT’s risk analysts at the Fossil Power Generation division is now so outstanding that they’re routinely called in to examine technically complex, large-scale projects. 1,000 10,000 100,000 1,000,000 10,000,000 100,000,000 0 20 40 60 80 100 % Probability ● Low ● Medium ● High risk Qualitative risk Euros Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 103 Digital Assistants | Networks Optimizing Energy and Water Supply Networks Reliable, environmentally-friendly power supply networks rely on computers and high-performance information technology and control systems — as do water networks in major cities. An optimal solution for these applications is provided by Siemens’ Spectrum Power CC network monitoring and control system. The Spectrum Power CC control system from Siemens can monitor and regulate energy supply grids — such as São Paulo’s complete water network (small photo). 102 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 W eather services have issued a winter storm warning for gale-force winds, rap- idly falling temperatures, and icy roads. As a precautionary measure, executives at a power supply company quickly put together a crisis- management team that immediately goes to work rolling out giant maps of the power grid data to identify the location of any errors that may have occurred and determine what parts of the grid they may be affecting. It then sends the results of this analysis to plant personnel. If necessary, a so-called switching-sequence management program can run a simulation to identify the most favorable sequence for shut- ting down parts of the network. This shutdown plan can also be used to draw up maintenance assignments. Digital Water Management. Intelligent soft- ware tools from Siemens also play an impor- tant role in modern water networks, especially in terms of resource conservation and pin- pointing leaks. Sabesp of São Paulo, Brazil, is a semi state-owned firm and the fourth largest water-services company in the world. Sabesp uses the Siemens Power CC monitoring and control system to more efficiently regulate the water supply in the huge Brazilian metropolis. The company was helped by Chemtech, a Siemens subsidiary in Brazil, which in less than a year equipped São Paulo with South Ameri- ca’s most modern water distribution system. Rather than pumping water into reservoirs every time water levels decline, the Siemens level of energy exchange with partners. Special forecast features enable the software to look into the future — for example, by analyzing daily energy consumption figures — to identify patterns displayed by regions or customer groups; they then use this data to draw conclu- sions about future consumption levels. Mathe- matical techniques can then be applied to gen- erate load forecasts that very accurately predict the weekly electricity requirement of a region or major customer. These calculations form the basis on which additional power supply deals are made. As Blug points out, “We don’t just generate power — we’re also a service provider and contractor for industrial customers who outsource their complete energy needs to us.” Such comprehensive energy management requires real-time data processing and detailed graphic depictions, both of which are also cru- cial for systems that address disturbances and power outages. Gone are the days when it took hours to determine the cause of a voltage drop. Today’s technicians receive information at the speed of light, thanks to fiber optic cables that connect a grid’s generation and distribution stations with its control center. Spectrum Power CC automatically analyzes incoming Computers evaluate several thousand bits of data from some 15,000 measurement points every minute. Buying Power with Neural Networks In these days of electricity market liberalization, accurate market forecasts have become more and more important when purchasing electric power. It’s crucial to know, for example, whether prices are likely to rise or fall in the near future, and thus be able to determine the best possible time to buy large amounts of power. Such decisions aren’t easy for Norbert Fuchs from Siemens Corporate Supply Chain and Procurement, or Fritz Bullrich-Mörlbach from Siemens Real Estate District Munich. Their job is to purchase the Group’s annual electrical power requirement (approximately 2.3 terawatt hours at 580 locations) on the “best” days possible. “We have to very closely monitor the market in order to identify savings potential and exploit fluctuations,” says Fuchs. Decision-making assistance is provided here by Dr. Hans Georg Zimmermann, Principal Research Scientist in the Learning Systems department at Siemens Corporate Technology. “We use neural networks to predict price developments in the electricity market,” Zimmermann explains. Experts refer to such movements as “price dynamics that need to be identified.” Here, the short-term price fluctuates by up to one euro per megawatt-hour as supply and demand change. Use of a patented mathematical model based on the “Software Devel- opment Environment for Neural Networks” (German acronym: SENN) enables Zimmermann and his team to monitor the electricity market and calculate price movements for the coming 12 months. Their success here has been impressive. “We’ve achieved accuracy rates of up to 80 percent for short- term monthly forecasts,” says Dr. Ralph Grothmann, a member of Zimmermann’s team. The biggest challenge with annual forecasts is risk assessment. “We use the results of the calculation as a basis, but of course there’s always an increasing risk of deviation from the forecast price,” Fuchs explains. Nevertheless, the electricity procurement specialists always turn to researchers at Siemens Corporate Technology for advice, as they no longer feel comfortable about simply following hunches. would go into action with just pencils and paper. Instead, highly automated facilities like the control center at Evonik New Energies GmbH in Saarbrücken, Germany, are equipped with computers that evaluate several thousand bits of data from some 15,000 measurement points every minute. These measurement points provide information on the current oper- ating conditions of the power grid, and the data is translated by software modules into a depiction of the network on monitors, com- plete with all sub and switching stations. The modules also provide information on what’s happening at each measuring point at any giv- en moment. SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Ac- quisition) is one of the key applications of this system platform that collects and processes all information from the power grid. Screens in the control center show colored process im- ages and graphs of the current level of supply. These are based on program modules that know what the acceptable limits are, and can therefore calculate within seconds where and when they have been exceeded. “A grid control center can optimally monitor and regulate its entire supply network,” says Thomas Vogl, product manager for Power Grid Systems at Siemens Power Distribution in Nuremberg. Linking Power Plants. Evonik New Energies GmbH is now using intelligent monitoring and analysis instruments to coordinate three large hard-coal power plants in and around Saar- brücken with a total output of some 2,000 megawatts. The same systems also check on additional outputs in excess of 100 megawatts at 21 smaller facilities across Germany, includ- ing biomass and wind power plants, and a ge- othermal unit in Bavaria. “We’ve linked the distributed facilities across all control areas, which means our security of supply is now very high,” says Franz-Josef Blug, who manages Evonik New Energies’ control center. At the heart of the facility is the Spec- trum Power CC network control system from Siemens, which collects all process data from linked power plants and distributed facilities, and then evaluates it on the basis of a virtual power plant sample. Spectrum Power CC not only brings togeth- er everything needed for optimal control; it also integrates planning for power plant use and contact information regarding external energy dealers. Monitors display up-to-the- minute calculations of grid capacity utilization, as well as simulations that provide helpful information on the most efficient and least ex- pensive ways of using available power genera- tion units. Also precisely depicted is the current in an attempt to identify those sections of the network most likely to fail in the storm. The technicians work with pencils and erasers be- cause the weather information they have avail- able to them can change at any moment. To ensure that no major blackout occurs, it’s espe- cially important to have accurate information as to which distribution stations might experi- ence a sharp drop in voltage. Fortunately, all overhead lines remain intact, and the storm passes without a power interruption. Power supply companies need to plan for emergencies of this sort all the time. Unlike 20 years ago, however, no power company today You would also be able to have access to a lot of information on the web much quicker. If you think of companies like Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo, they have all developed search en- gines to draw information from the web. The next generation of computer systems will be able to analyze text content, not just pull up the information. Just imagine, instead of typ- ing in a word you might be able to type in a question for the computer and get an answer. How long do you think it will take until this will become a reality? Mitchell:It’s going to happen in less than a decade. This is going to be one of those quantum leaps I think we’ve all been expect- ing. Companies are already putting a lot of resources into this area. I have made a bet for a lobster dinner that by 2015 we will have computer programs that will read 80 percent of facts on the web. Once computers can read we will be able to collect vast amounts of data. What makes you so sure it will take less than a decade for this to happen? A breakthrough for intelligent assistants has been projected for at least 25 years! Mitchell:A tremendous amount of money has been invested in this area with companies like Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo really push- ing this ahead. Also, I can see a path of techni- cal results that get you there — advances in machine learning algorithms that have been going along nicely. Not since the emergence of the World Wide Web a decade ago, have com- puters had access to this much text to train on. With the internet, there is a lot of redundancy of text and the availability of a huge amount of data to train these algorithms. A lot of data is a good thing for training algorithms. Could this play a role in developing sys- tems in healthcare that assist in estab- lishing a medical diagnosis, for example? Are there concerns about using comput- ers to access such data? Mitchell: I think privacy is going to be a big issue. This is something that will have to be addressed to get this sort of technology out there. A study I was involved with that address- es this concern is expected to be published sometime this year by the National Academy of Sciences. Some of the issues to be resolved revolve around the concern of people having their health information shared, for example. While the potential benefits to having access to a large pool of data are large, it’s a very complex field that comes with certain trade- offs. Interview conducted by Karen M. Dente Digital Assistants 104 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 | Interview Dr. Tom M. Mitchell, 56,is Pro- fessor and Head of the Machine Learn- ing Department at Carnegie Mellon Uni- versity in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His research interests are generally in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and cog- nitive neuroscience. Mitchell is author of the widely used textbook “Machine Learning,” past presi- dent of the American Association of Arti- ficial Intelligence (AAAI), and a recent member of the U.S. National Research Council’s Computer Science and Telecom- munications Board. Toward Computers that Can Analyze the Content of Text What will be the main areas in which computers will play a major role as digital assistants in support of human efforts? Mitchell: When we look at driving, we already have computers assisting us with the current GPS systems. But that area is going to grow. The more that technology spreads, the more we’ll know where all the cars are and the more we’ll be able to spot the roads on which they will suddenly stop. Machines used in this way will be able to learn over time what your indi- vidual preferences are, and when establishing a route they can either minimize or maximize the freeways based on these preferences. What will digital clerical assistants — in other words, tomorrow’s computers — be able to achieve? Mitchell:Well, if we could afford to give everyone a personal assistant we’d all be more productive. Computerized assistants could off- load some of the clerical work. For example, we could have used such a clerical assistant to do the email communication for us that we used to set up this call. What makes it hard is when we start sending stuff back and forth in text. Computers still can’t really interpret that. It’s hard for them to read. A computer could probably be trained to understand 80 percent of the things we say. But for the other 20 per- cent you’d need to understand the nuances. There is a lot of interesting work being done in the area of computer reading and interpre- tation of text. Right now there are some good systems available for interpreting arbitrary web pages and documents. But while they are good at spotting certain names in documents, say of companies, people, dates, they’re less robust when it comes to a more layered understand- ing of information, such as the relationship between these categories of names. This line of work is also accelerating right now. What would happen if computers could read? Mitchell: You and I would profit. Let’s say I’d want to attend the next conference on artificial intelligence and make travel arrange- ments. If computers could read, they could do that for you. They could find your flight, make your hotel reservation, and even find out whom you might want to interview while there — all without a human intermediary. In Brief Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 105 Medical diagnostic systems provide physi- cians with so much data that decision support assistants have become essential. New pro- grams are helping doctors interpret data — for example, by recognizing anomalies and possi- bly cancerous structures, by pinpointing key differences between images taken at different times, and by predicting outcomes based on different treatment scenarios. (p. 92) The Theseus research program is intended to develop both basic technologies and stan- dards for the semantic Web. The objective is to teach computers to understand logical con- nections. Siemens experts in the Medico proj- ect are, for example, working on software that will find medical images in databases, interpret them, compare them. and recognize similarities between them. (p. 95) In industry, intelligent assistants use sophis- ticated sensor technology to keep an eye on wind farms, road tunnels, and pipelines — around the clock and under harsh conditions such as those encountered on the open sea and in the Siberian tundra. (p. 96) To provide an overview of up to ten million external payments per year, Siemens Financial Services relies on IT systems developed in- house. These digital assistants also help financial experts evaluate stock and loan deals worth billions of euros. (p. 100) Intelligent control systems monitor and manage complete power and water networks. They inform power plant operators of the current operating state of a network and coordinate numerous decentralized generat- ing facilities to form a single, virtual power plant. In fact, such a system from Siemens currently controls the entire water supply for the Brazilian megacity of São Paulo. (p. 102) According to Prof. Tom M. Mitchell, Head of the Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by 2015 computers will advance to such an extent that they will be able to read and understand 80 percent of the information on the Internet. (p. 104) PEOPLE: Assistants in healthcare: Dr. Alok Gupta, Healthcare email@example.com Dr. Stefan Wünsch (PEV colonography) firstname.lastname@example.org Theseus / Medico: Prof. Dr. Hartmut Raffler, CT email@example.com Dr. Volker Tresp, CT firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Jörg Freund, Healthcare email@example.com Digital assistants for safety and security: Bernhard Lang, CT (Pipelines) firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Rudolf Sollacher, CT (Sensor networks) email@example.com Christian Gobiet, Industry (Siveillance) firstname.lastname@example.org Digital finance experts: Willibald Schmeiser, SFS email@example.com Bernd Walter, SFS (Risk methods) firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Christoph Ulschmid, SFS email@example.com Rainer Hackl, SFS (Shares) firstname.lastname@example.org Intelligent control systems: Thomas Vogl, Energy email@example.com Ingo Goldak, Energy firstname.lastname@example.org LINKS: Siemens Healthcare Sector: www.siemens.com/healthcare Siemens Financial Services: finance.siemens.com Sabesp waterworks, São Paulo: www.sabesp.com.br Maastro Clinic: www.maastro.nl German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI): www.dfki.de Theseus research program: www.theseus-programm.de Carnegie Mellon University — School of Computer Science: www.cs.cmu.edu software system adopts a revolutionary ap- proach. Specifically, it utilizes typical consump- tion profiles to regulate water levels in individ- ual reservoir basins. “A comparison of reservoir levels with actual requirements lowers the cost of making water available,” says Ingo Goldak, a Siemens sales representative in Nuremberg. That’s because targeted refilling reduces pump operation times. A major challenge here involves the com- parative measurements of water pressure in the network’s pipes. Measurements are taken by the monitoring system at various times of the day and night. In a process similar to that used in electricity and gas grids, Power CC has been analyzing data from São Paulo water pumping stations, reservoir basins, and extrac- tion points since the fall of 2006. The system also evaluates weather data such as the external temperature and precipita- tion. The system then uses this information to generate consumption forecasts that techni- cians incorporate into their pumping system planning processes. That’s not all, however. If consumption in a specific residential area rises above a statistical average value at a certain time, the control sys- tem sounds an alarm, causing a red warning message to appear on Sabesp’s monitors. The control center team can then determine the ex- act location where an unusual drop in pressure has been recorded in the extensive network. “This technology enables us to monitor practi- cally any disturbance in the system and correct it much more rapidly than was previously the case,” says Hélio Luiz Castro, Sabesp’s chief engineer for Water Distribution. New Horizons. Communication between control centers, specialized departments, and external business partners has created new challenges for power and water networks. “Open electricity markets require new business- focused applications,” Vogl explains. Initial approaches being used here include Internet portals where sellers of electrical energy or available transmission capacity can publicly offer their services. Such contracting requires very precise knowledge of a compa- ny’s own resources, the stability of the entire network, and contractual safeguards regarding a reliable supply. From a technical point of view, such trans- actions can be carried out only via a homoge- nous information technology landscape with standardized communication links and data formats. “A viable network control system therefore requires international standards and compatible data models,” says Vogl. Andreas Beuthner | Preview Fall 2008 Preview Would you like to know more about Siemens and our latest developments? 106 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 107 Pictures of the Future | Feedback I would like a free sample issue of Pictures of the Future I would like to cancel my Pictures of the Futuresubscription My address is incorrect Please also send the magazine to… (Please check the respective box(es) and fill in the address): Title, first name, last name Company Department Street, number ZIP, City Country Telephone number, fax or e-mail Brochure about the Pictures of the Future method and the results of strategic visioning and future planning at Siemens Megacities study: Megacity Challenges — A Stakeholder Perspective (printed edition available only in English) Book Innovative Minds — A Look Inside Siemens’ Idea Machine Order from:www.siemens.com/innovation/book Pictures of the Future,Spring 2006 (German, English) Pictures of the Future, Fall 2006 (German, English) Pictures of the Future, Spring 2007 (German, English) Pictures of the Future, Fall 2007 (German, English) Please specify preferred language (English or German) Additional information about Siemens’ innovations is available on the Internet at: www.siemens.com/innovation (Siemens’ R&D website) www.siemens.com/innovationnews (weekly media service) www.siemens.com/pof (Pictures of the Future on the Internet, with down- loads. 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Our next issue will examine the process chain that reaches from exploration and processing to use and recycling. Sustainable Building Technology Buildings account for around 40 percent of humanity’s global energy consumption. Their energy requirements, including heating, hot water, lighting and appliances, are responsible for approximately 21 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Yet relatively simple measures can save at least a quarter of the energy consumed by most buildings and play an important role in reducing our environmental footprint. What’s more, most such measures pay for themselves in terms of reduced energy bills in just a few years. The use of innovative technologies can achieve ambitious energy-saving goals when sensors, materials technology, energy supply, and information technology work together synergistically — an ideal area of activity for Siemens researchers and developers, as the company is involved in all of these technologies. 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