ABB Socket outlet production with collaborative YuMi robot

Socket outlet production with collaborative YuMi robot. Credit: ABB

Impact

CASE STUDY | ABB’s factory in Finland becomes carbon-neutral

How does a wiring accessories plant cut all 600 tonnes of CO2 emissions from its operations? The global producer of smart building parts spells out one tonne at a time how it did precisely that at its Nordics plant.

The site produces wiring accessories and installation materials for the smart buildings market in the Nordics, and with the use of digital solutions, electrification and renewables technologies, has become a flagship example of ABB’s Mission to Zero programme.

Mission to Zero is part of the company’s journey towards carbon neutrality at its own sites – while helping customers to do the same. The project in Porvoo integrated a range of ABB products that has allowed the team there to ‘walk-the-talk’ on sustainable operations.

ABB Porvoo Wiring Accessories factory

ABB’s Porvoo factory uses only renewable energy. Credit: ABB

The Porvoo facility is now a carbon-neutral facility, utilising 100% renewable energy. In the first year, total energy efficiency has increased by 21% and CO2 emissions have decreased by 636 metrics tonnes. This corresponds to driving 112 times the length of the equator or warming an electric sauna every day for 373 years.

The first ABB site to recycle energy from its factory production, Porvoo has also employed a geothermal system and solar technology. This is not the company’s first carbon-neutral production site, however, having already secured that prize in Lüdenscheid, Germany in 2019.

Energy efficiency

The shift towards electrification is an important one. Electrification not only directly lowers emissions through reduced fuel carbon-intensity but offers an array of benefits that contribute to emissions-reduction, public health, and equity. Beyond the declining carbon intensity of electricity, energy efficiency is a key benefit of electrification. To this end, the facility at Porvoo now uses no fossil fuels at all.

ABB Porvoo Energy Recycling System

ABB employed an energy recycling system for the first time. Credit: ABB

The Porvoo factory was assessed for its energy consumption in 2019 as part of the Mission to Zero programme. The electricity consumption at the Porvoo site was 2.531 MWh per year, emitting 630 tonnes of CO2 per year. The district heating consumption was 912 MWh per year, emitting six tonnes of CO2 per year due to the use of biomass in heat generation.

To address its carbon and energy efficiency challenges, Porvoo assured the efficient utilisation of waste heat from the air compressors, and heat recovery from the cooling networks serving the plastic machinery. A rotary screw compressor was installed to extract the heat that had previously dissipated into the atmosphere.

Electrification

Ground source heat storage has been used to store the heat seasonally for usage in the winter period. The geothermal system loads the wells during the summer. The thermal grid is charged to 15°C through heat energy recovery from production and the wells are extracted for cooling. During the winter, the energy is utilised for ventilation, heating, air heaters, and warm water.

ABB Heat exchange system

A heat exchange system helped electrify the site’s heating system. Credit: ABB

Electrifying more than 93% of the facility’s heating using a heat pump fed from the ground heat storage system reduced the use of district heating in the winter by 844 MWh thermal per year, and CO2 emissions by six metric tonnes of CO2 per year.

Renewables

While radically reducing CO2 emissions, the challenge for the ABB team was that the heat pump for the ground heat storage system increased the site’s overall electricity consumption. The solution was a 375kW ground-based photovoltaic generation system, which self-generates 238 MW per year, reducing Porvoo’s emissions by 59 tonnes of CO2 per year. Furthermore, the site switched to a green electricity tariff. This means that for every MWh of energy used by the Porvoo factory, the utility company certifies that the equivalent electricity from renewable sources has been injected into the power grid within the same year.

On-site EV charging for employees and visitors are also charged with renewable energy.

Digital first

Digitalisation of buildings through connected technologies and building automation has a key role to play in helping to manage grid reliability and power consumption and in reducing energy costs while increasing energy efficiency.

The ABB BE Sustainable with Active Energy solution was installed to help the facility manager monitor energy flows, report on energy consumption as well as the cost and carbon footprint of the site. It builds data and analyses consumption trends in real-time, across power, heat, and water. The energy monitoring solution provides a dashboard of outcomes to the building occupants and facility managers and was built on top of the legacy building management system. This was financed through a software-as-a-service business model.

At the request of the local team in Porvoo, ABB BE Sustainable with Active Energy is capable of remotely monitoring building assets such as water, district heating and electricity use. It is also capable of delivering fault notifications via email and SMS.

ABB i-bus® KNX ensures optimum lighting at the facility and assures energy efficiency via constant lighting and presence dependent control. It also offers the site management team the flexibility to reprogramme or add devices while they are in operation. ABB digital solutions enable constant surveillance and optimum control of energy production, consumption and storage.

Core expertise

Reducing CO2 emissions and improving energy efficiency in line with evolving environmental legislation and the 2015 Paris Agreement is now a priority for many organisations. Businesses without energy management as a core competency are looking for partners like ABB who can apply their expertise and invention across multiple sites using a range of digital technologies.

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