STMicroelectronics held its annual Industrial summit in the first week of November. The main speaker from ST’s Industrial Summit Media Event 2022 is Francesco MUGGERI, VP of Marketing & Applications, Power Discrete and Analog, APeC/China
Global energy consumption is increasing day by day. And to stop climate change, we need to reduce carbon emissions. Many countries are trying to reduce their carbon footprint by reducing pollution and adopting renewable generation. With America and the EU promising to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, China by 2060 and various other countries following a similar timeline. It is also the responsibility of large corporations to comply and make efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
“1% of energy in the industrial market means saving 15 nuclear energy production plants. And with the strong contribution of CO2 emission, reduction of 32 million tons, “said Francesco MUGGERI “In 2021, 51% of the electricity used in ST will come from renewable energy. This is something that shows how ST. But our goal and target is to achieve by 2027, 100% use of energy from renewable sources. “
Impact of Global Energy Consumption
Residential power can add up to 27% of total energy consumption, and small electronic devices such as adapters that stay in standby mode all day use a small amount of energy each. It seems that these devices do not consume much, but if we calculate the standby power consumption of all chargers around the world, it amounts to a considerable amount of energy. Francesco admitted that “By saving standby power, we will bring to another 10 nuclear plants. In any case, the important thing is to understand that our effort to save a little efficiency seems small, but it is a lot.
Three Competence Centers
For a sustainable future, we must focus on Competence Centers, which are: Energy Production, Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving. To improve sustainability and reduce emissions, we need to take care of all three parameters. The three competence centers and it can be described as
- Energy production: This must be taken care of by the power generation source. We must move towards clean energy generation and that can be done by increasing the share of renewable energy generation.
- Energy efficiency: The grid should take care of it. This can be improved by improving the efficiency of the solution and energy transmission.
- Energy saving: This must be done with the load and can be achieved with intelligence, by introducing automation, therefore reducing energy consumption.
The picture below shows the three competence centers.
Energy Conversion Chain
Speaking about the energy conversion chain, Francesco said “If we analyze the energy conversion chain, you will see the importance of energy generation, transmission and storage, and consumption. You know how the intervention of the three blocks that you see here. In the first left, you see that we have energy generation and energy storage. When we talk about energy storage, don’t just think about batteries and elements to charge, and store electrical energy. We also have other types of energy storage, for example, we can make hydrogen, and later, use hydrogen.
And another way is to have two pools, one lower level and one upper level. And you move the water from the lower level to the upper level where we exceed the energy and generate energy again when you need it, so that pushes the water from the upper lake to the lower lake. And for energy transmission, energy transmission is currently in AC, but maybe one of the trends can also go to DC.
When asked about the loss of transmission, ways to improve the efficiency of our Grid and ST’s plan about the same Francesco said “This is one of the topics that ST can work on in the next 2 or 3 years ,”
AC transmission losses are caused by various factors such as resistive skin loss, corona loss, and loss due to low power factor.
“In AC transmission, the loss is about 6-7% or even 10% sometimes. There are two main reasons. One is when you use AC transmission, you have to pump a large amount of energy into the grid, and you have two components of energy, one real and one apparent or imaginary. But you need them both because you cannot transfer power, but unfortunately, the part of what we call imaginary or apparent energy is not available. So you’re pumping a lot of energy into the net, but you’re not fully utilizing all of it.”
In explaining the solution he says that DC/DC transmission can solve the issue because it is more than 98% efficient compared to about 90-95% efficiency of AC transmission.
“In DC transmission, in the worst case, you lose 2.5%. But there are complexities. ” Said MUGGERI, “the first step is to implement those in the local micro-grid method. And we already have customers selling all solutions like that. We work together to make it happen. The challenge is to bring it to a large scale. “
SiC and GaN are the future!
ST has invested heavily in a new plant that will produce raw wafers for Silicon Carbide. The new plant is in Catania and ST hopes to produce the first batch of raw wafers by the end of 2024. ST already has a production line for Gallium Nitride (GaN) in Tours, France. The advantages and use cases of SiC and GaN are shown in the figure below:
A must for Improving Motor Efficiency!
When it comes to motor control and energy used by motors, we tend to underestimate the energy used by these electromechanical devices. But, in fact, motors are one of the biggest sources of energy consumption. Motors are used in many machines including fans, and compressors and in most applications where any type of physical movement is required. By improving the efficiency of motors and reducing losses we can save a lot of energy around the world.
“People use almost 52% of the energy for the motors. So, by optimizing this part of the energy, (we have to) optimize the motor, (which) means reducing the vibration and reducing the energy used. So, the optimization of this process requires firmware and requires hardware. And all this is available in ST. So you understand again why we are in this direction. We have a strong portfolio sure and we want to sell it. But we’re matching the driver going forward.”