“We are investing in capabilities and partnerships”

Interview with Siemens’ GerdDeusser

Siemens India is focusing on developing solutions for decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation of the entire energy value chain. The company is investing in developing capabilities and undertaking partnerships to explore emerging areas in the energy sector. Apart from this, strengthening local capabilities to provide engineering for global projects and promote exports continue to be its key focus areas. In a recent interview with Power Line, GerdDeusser, head, gas and power, Siemens, shares Siemens India’s recent business highlights and the company’s future plans. Excerpts…

What have been the key business highlights for Siemens India in the past six to eight months?

Siemens India’s gas and power business has seen some milestones in the past eight months. Among the key highlights was our digitalisation thrust, with Bajaj Power Ventures being the latest success. A complete thermal twin solution would help deliver improvements in plant performance. Siemens experts, in close collaboration with the plant operations team, will provide remote performance monitoring and diagnostics from the Siemens MindSphere Application Center in Gurugram. Digitalisation continues to be a significant enabler for more efficiency, sustainability, security and productivity for power plants. Siemens is upgrading and modernising Hindustan Zinc Limited’s power asset fleet with state-of-the-art technology, which will improve efficiencies and result in an estimated reduction of 1 million tonnes of carbon emissions.

Siemens also signed MoUs for decarbonisation, which is one of the most important challenges today in the global ecosystem. In collaboration with NTPC Limited, we aim to develop innovative technologies, solutions and techniques to reduce the dependence on hydrocarbons in India. A separate MoU with TERI aims to collaborate on technologies to support the energy transition in India including sector coupling.

Siemens India also rolled out its 1000th steam turbine from the Vadodara factory. What is significant is that the turbine is a 29 MW waste heat recovery steam turbine for JK Cement, the second largest manufacturer of white cement in India. Waste heat recovery is an economical method to increase the overall efficiency of the plant and thus lower fuel demand. The Siemens steam turbine factory in Vadodara manufactures steam turbines of up to 200 MW for the domestic and overseas markets. The factory, with its world-class facilities, has been operational since 2004 and is an established centre of competence for steam turbines used in industrial applications.

What has been the trend in order inflows in the past one year or so?

Ordering has been driven by the steam turbine business across key verticals and transmission equipment demand from states due to a continued increase of players. The contribution of renewables as an energy source continued to increase during the year and conventional energy producers have started becoming more flexible in their operations while continuing at baseload.

We have a broad customer base, which includes oil and gas utilities, independent power producers, engineering, procurement and construction companies, transmission system operators, and industrial companies in sectors such as mining and chemicals. In addition, our 3D approach – decarbonisation (making energy greener), decentralisation (embracing system complexity), and digitalisation (adopting digital solutions) – offers comprehensive solutions across the entire energy value chain. The recent order inflows include a digital solution for Bajaj Energy’s power plant located in Lalitpur, Uttar Pradesh, and upgradation and modernisation of Hindustan Zinc Limited’s power asset fleet with state-of-the-art technology as part of the decentralisation efforts. Further, we have signed an MoU with NTPC Limited for reducing the industrial and commercial carbon footprint and reducing the dependence on hydrocarbons in India.

What are the company’s future plans?

We are investing in capabilities and partnerships to provide seamlessly integrated products and enable our customers to grasp the value of digitalisation. Also, we will continue to use local capabilities to provide engineering for global projects and also focus on exports.

As the third largest carbon emitter, India has committed to reduce its emissions by 35 per cent and increase the share of renewables to 40 per cent by 2030 under COP21. To achieve these targets, it is essential to make existing and future power systems greener by improving their efficiency and flexibility and also by using hydrogen in our systems. This hydrogen can be produced from water using renewable energy, making it carbon-neutral.

This green hydrogen can then be applied in the power sector as fuel to produce CO2-free energy, as a storage medium to be fired in times when renewables are not available, and to run turbines with a fast ramp-up cycle to help stabilise the grid when massive renewables come in. In addition, green hydrogen can be used in mobility to drive vehicles or trains via fuel cells or as synthetic fuels. Furthermore, it can be used in the industry, with applications in petrochemical processes and steel production, as a substitute for carbon-intensive processes.

Siemens today has technologies to produce, store and distribute hydrogen, and supply its solutions to all the industries mentioned. In our view, the hydrogen economy is at a tipping point and once the economic hurdles are overcome we believe green hydrogen will be a major contributor towards a carbon-neutral society, which will help India and the world reach and undercut the 2 °C global warming target.

What are some of the new and emerging technology solutions in the Indian power sector?

Siemens has introduced digital applications for the transmission industry like Sensformer® and Sensgear®, which enable energy and power operators to have access to a cloud-based platform that visualises collected data and provides a comprehensive view of all assets and the power grid’s status in real time. We are now taking physical technologies the digital way. We are building an energy future with a digital twin of the entire grid, which can help achieve optimal operation. In addition, storage technologies such as grid-scale batteries and power-to-x technologies will help manage the complexities of the grid; improve and de-risk ageing assets; and connect supply and demand. Siemens has technologies to produce, store and distribute hydrogen. Green hydrogen will be a major contributor towards a carbon-neutral society.

What are the market opportunities that you foresee in the power equipment industry in the next one to two years?

The Indian government’s visionary National Infrastructure Pipeline, which requires major investments in infrastructure for the years to come, will provide a huge fillip to accelerated capacity addition and grid improvement. India is undergoing a transformation and reliable electricity will play a key role in powering ambitious infrastructure projects. Increasing electrification and industrialisation and improving infrastructure will drive growth in power consumption.

We believe that this is a massive opportunity considering the growing demand and the renewable push. The government is also promoting research and development to match the best in the world. This can give a huge boost to the equipment industry. High voltage technologies such as power transformers are in demand for seamless and economical power transmission. An electrical equipment skill development council is also being planned to focus on the critical manufacturing skills required for the electrical machinery industry.


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