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Tailored Solutions Digital Assistants
Customization and the integration
of product life cycle data How intelligent systems support decision making for professionals
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
Digital Assistants
Tailored Solutions
Energy for Everyone
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
Coal’s Cleaner Outlook
40 CO
Testing Eternal Incarceration
43 Deep Water Oil and Gas
Pumping from the Floor
45 Floating Wind Farms
46 Gas and CO
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
84 Lab Report
3D Silicon Ultrasound
106 Feedback / Preview Pictures of the Future | Editorial
2 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
iemens engineer Frank Han-
nemann has further devel-
oped the process known as IGCC
(Integrated Gasification Com-
bined Cycle) to achieve low-CO
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
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
. The resulting exhaust consists of only steam and CO
. The
steam is condensed to water and part of the CO
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
power plants.
Lower-Cost Imaging
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
, H
and NH
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
. 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
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
to between $25 to $50. As a result, the IEA believes
that the proportion of CCS plants could rise to 20 percent
by 2030 and to 37 percent by 2050. In this case, the CO
emissions resulting from worldwide power generation
could be reduced by up to 18 gigatons by 2050. And that
would represent an important contribution to achieving
the Bali targets.Sylvia Trage
1990 2005 2015 2030
Global demand for primary energy
Actual and forecast figures
Carbon dioxide emissions
resulting from combustion of energy carriers
Millions of tons (Mtoe)
Millions of tons
Renewable energy Nuclear energy
Predicted Energy Demand and CO
2 Emissions
Data is based on the International Energy Agency’s “Business as usual” scenario.
Clear political and technical measures are necessary to reduce CO
Source: IEA 2007. 1 Mtoe = 1 million tons oil equivalent = 41.868 PJ (petajoule)
Source: Frost & Sullivan, 2005
Sales in millions of US$ 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.
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
sequestration still hasn’t been clari-
fied, and locations where CO
might be stored
have yet to be found and tested. Today, a hand-
ful of oil and natural gas companies pump the
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
-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
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
-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.
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
can be trapped
for thousands, or perhaps millions, of years,
which means commercial CO
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
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
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
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
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
emissions. China already emits 6.1
billion tons of CO
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
. 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, 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-
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Fuel cells
Hybrid systems
Wind energy
Solar energy
Energy generation
Recycling & waste
Energy storage
Energy infrastructure
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
1,115 g CO
480 g coal/kWh
Global average
EU-wide average
available today
880 g CO
379 g coal/kWh
727 g CO
313 g coal/kWh
669 g CO
288 g coal/kWh
Specific CO
2 emissions [g CO
/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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
separation wasn’t even on the
agenda,” adds Schmid.
The reasons for the fact that there are not
yet any large-scale low-CO
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
from this power plant annually in
deep-lying saline aquifers. E.ON UK is similarly
considering construction of an IGCC power
plant with CO
separation, possibly at a loca-
tion close to the coast. Locations like these
offer the possibility of storing CO
in crude oil
deposits in the North Sea, thereby improving
oil extraction.
“In IGCC power plants without CO
tion, our technology makes it possible to
achieve an efficiency of over 40 percent,” says
Schuld. “But in IGCC plants with CO
tion, efficiency is generally lower. For econom-
The first IGCC coal-fired power plants with integrated
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
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
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
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
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
. 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
-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
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
How IGCC with CO
Separation Works
In the IGCC process, the conversion of coal into power can be combined with upstream CO
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
), is then coarsely cleaned and the carbon monoxide is converted, with the help of water va-
por, into CO
and H
in what is called a “shift reactor.” In the next step, sulfur compounds and CO
separated out by means of a chemical or physical scrubbing process. The CO
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
, CO
, and H
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
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
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
is removed from the flue gases af-
ter combustion. “This form of CO
scrubbing is
the only retrofit option for separating CO
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
content of the flue gases in an absorber using a
scrubbing agent — a special liquid — and
thus remove it. “Then we feed the CO
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
scrubbing agents that bind CO
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
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
scrubbing. The result is that our
new chemical CO
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.
testing laboratory in Frankfurt. Here, Siemens
experts investigate CO
separation from flue gas.
The CO
is bound to an absorber (right) by a special
scrubbing agent and thus removed.
water outlet
water inlet
Outer cool-
ing jacket
Gas outlet
Clinker granules
Raw gas:
, etc.
to store
Combined cycle
power plant
Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 41
Energy for Everyone | CO
40 Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008
In Ketzin, Germany, scientists plan to pump 60,000 tons of CO
into the earth. Geologists have
drilled holes 700 meters into the rock and installed
numerous measuring probes. Testing Eternal
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
sequestration in Germany alone is esti-
mated at 30 billion tons. That’s enough for
about a hundred years at the current rate of
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
producers, where liquefied CO
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
-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
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
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
be reliably sequestrated over the long term are
among the central aims of the CO
SINK project.
Underground Laboratory. One essential task
of CO
SINK is therefore to monitor the three-di-
mensional propagation of CO
in rock and draw
conclusions applicable to commercial CO
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
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
low the surface. In the area of the reservoir
around the bores there are narrow tubes with a
semi-permeable membrane through which
can pass. High-purity argon forces the CO
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
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
SINK could, in spite of its mod-
est scope, provide important answers to basic
unresolved questions regarding CO
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
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
reservoir. What would happen if the CO
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
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
Period of time following CO
sequestration (years)
50 %
1 10 100 1000 10,000
Impermeable cap layer
800 m
700 m
Power plant
How Carbon Dioxide Sequestration Works
In Ketzin, CO
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
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
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
removal lose a considerable
amount of efficiency, which must be compen-
sated for with more fuel or new technologies
to increase efficiency. So CO
sequestration is
a transitional technology. But we can’t do with-
out it if we want to act responsibly, because
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
reservoir in Ketzin. Ideal CO
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
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
down to a depth of 1,000 meters beneath the
North Sea. The CO
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
. Toward Affordable Sequestration. The IPCC
report calculates the cost of CO
capture by
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
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
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
project and participating as an observer. “CO
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
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
removal with support from the Ger-
man government. Here, Siemens is designing
compressors for the CO
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
from pre- and post-combustion processes (see
pp. 36, 46). “So far, CO
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
have been stored?
Hüttl:I don’t think so. In Ketzin we can still
learn a lot about CO
sequestration and the
short, medium, and long-term behavior of CO
underground. The Ketzin test site is ideal for
more experiments, for instance for storing the
world’s first CO
from a coal-fired power plant
and for the underground sequestration of CO
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
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
Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 45
| Floating Wind Farms
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
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
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
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-
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
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-
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
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
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.
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
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-
“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.
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
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
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
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
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
-saving ef-
fect would be considerably less — which is why not all countries are suitable for such CDM projects.
For each ton of CO
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
-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
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
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
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
FSC engineers have also set their sights on
computer cooling systems because these have a
Hard disk
Power supply
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
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
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
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
into the atmosphere. Siemens
is investing in the IGCC process, which re-
moves CO
before combustion, and flue-gas
purification methods that separate CO
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
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)
Clean-tech in California:
Stefan Heuser, CT TTB
Energy-efficient buildings:
Wolfgang Hass, Industry
Thomas Baum, Industry
separation and storage:
Dr. Tobias Jockenhövel, Energy
Dr. Rüdiger Schneider, Energy
Dr. Christiane Schmid, Energy
Steam turbine technology:
Lothar Balling, Energy
Dr. Ernst-Wilhelm Pfitzinger, Energy
Raw materials extraction:
Roy Skogsrud, Industry
Compressors and electric motors:
Dr. Thomas Mönk, Energy
Klaus Ahrens, Industry
Smart grids — intelligent networks:
Dr. Michael Weinhold, Energy
IT for energy production:
Erich Fuchs, SIS
Energy consumption and IT:
David Murphy, SIS
Siemens Energy Sector:
California Energy Commission:
CITRIS California:
Energy Agency IEA:
EU project CO
World’s first electric LNG plant:
Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 59
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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.
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
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
“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
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)
Flexible manufacturing:
Dr. Wolfgang Schlögl, Industry Tailored financing:
Dr. Wolfgang Bischoff, SFS
Stefan Fleischner, SFS
Siemens One:
Michael W. Hartmann, Industry
Dr. Klaus Wecker, Healthcare Gordon Carmichael, CD
Driverless subway:
Georg Trummer, Industry
Locomotive platform:
Thomas Eisele, Industry
Ulrich Fösel, Industry
Temporary airports:
Christian-Marius Wegner, Industry
Philipp Quaet-Faslem, CT
Dr. Heinz Martin Scheurer, CT
Dr. Judith Regn, Healthcare
Werner Höfler, Energy IT solutions:
Gerd Hribernig, SIS (Biometrics)
Kemal Güven, SIS (Turkey)
Maastro Clinic:
Simatic Automation Designer:
Division Mobility:
Pictures of the Future | Spring 2008 85
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
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
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
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-
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
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
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-
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
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.
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
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
“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
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
Millions of US dollars
Iris recognition
Hand geometry
Face recognition
Voice recognition
Vein recognition
Multiple biometrics
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-
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
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
High risk
Qualitative risk
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
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
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)
Assistants in healthcare:
Dr. Alok Gupta, Healthcare
Dr. Stefan Wünsch (PEV colonography) Theseus / Medico:
Prof. Dr. Hartmut Raffler, CT
Dr. Volker Tresp, CT
Dr. Jörg Freund, Healthcare
Digital assistants for safety and security:
Bernhard Lang, CT (Pipelines)
Dr. Rudolf Sollacher, CT (Sensor networks)
Christian Gobiet, Industry (Siveillance)
Digital finance experts:
Willibald Schmeiser, SFS
Bernd Walter, SFS (Risk methods)
Dr. Christoph Ulschmid, SFS
Rainer Hackl, SFS (Shares)
Intelligent control systems:
Thomas Vogl, Energy
Ingo Goldak, Energy
Siemens Healthcare Sector:
Siemens Financial Services:
Sabesp waterworks, São Paulo:
Maastro Clinic:
German Research Center for Artificial
Intelligence (DFKI):
Theseus research program:
Carnegie Mellon University — School of Computer Science:
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
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The Future of Raw Materials
Raw material prices have risen faster in the last four years than in the
preceding 30. The prices of crude oil and copper have tripled, that of
iron ore has doubled, and since the end of 2006 food prices have in-
creased worldwide by almost 50 percent. What’s more, fresh water,
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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. Early Diagnosis and Preventive Care
The later an illness is diagnosed, the higher the cost of treatment.
Early diagnosis and preventive care are therefore crucial in ensuring
that the healthcare system remains affordable. Laboratory diagnos-
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essential for 70 percent of all clinical decisions. Siemens — as the
world’s largest supplier of diagnostic products — combines state-of-
the-art laboratory diagnostics, imaging processes, and information
technology to offer innovative methods of early diagnosis. © 2008 by Siemens AG. All rights reserved. Siemens Aktiengesellschaft
Order number:A19100-F-P124-X-7600
ISSN 1618-5498
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