ABB Electrification’s Mission to Zero: one year on

On the 8th May 2019, ABB unveiled its Mission to Zero, a carbon neutral and energy self-sufficient blueprint for industry, homes and cities.

One year on, I look back at how our first carbon neutral production site in the world, our flagship Busch-Jaeger subsidiary in Luedenscheid, Germany, has inspired others to cut CO₂ emissions by using less energy and cleaner energy.

Model for success

I was immensely proud to take part in the launch last year. At our Busch-Jaeger site we have proven how energy can be used more efficiently and sustainably through digital energy management.

Measuring 7,300 square meters and installed over the car parks on the company premises, the solar power plant has delivered around 1,190 MWh of climate-neutral solar power in the first year. This is approximately the annual requirement of 360 private households. On sunny days it powers 100% of the factory’s power requirements and has reduced annual CO₂ emissions by 680 tons.

We aimed for, and succeeded, in developing a solution that was scalable and flexible so it could be applied in all areas – from smart homes and smart buildings, to smart transportation and smart cities and industry.

Smart buildings

We are working toward a future where cities become smarter with the opportunity for more home and building owners to harness and control their own energy usage.

Our smart building technology has helped many thousands of buildings and homes consume energy more efficiently. Intelligent and automated lighting, air-conditioning, heating and movement detection systems enable building owners to manage power consumption.

This can be achieved using ABB i-bus® KNX building automation products and ABB’s energy distribution devices, which help identify the consumption of specific applications in the network. With the acquisition of Cylon Controls earlier this year, our energy management portfolio has grown even further, enabling more smart and sustainable workspaces to lower their environmental impact.

Homeowners can achieve energy savings using our ABB-free@home® system which allows control of lighting, heating and air conditioning via a touch panel or using the ABB-free@home® app. Almost 5 million components of the connected ABB-free@home® system are now installed in over 40 countries worldwide, helping create more smart and sustainable spaces for people to live in.

Smart transportation

ABB Electrification is a global leader in fast-charging electric vehicle (EV) technologies, with more than 13,000 ABB fast chargers sold across over 80 countries. ABB e-mobility solutions have been adopted by the largest EV charging network operators around the world, such as Electrify America in the U.S. and IONITY in Europe.

In support of zero emission transportation, in 2019 we enabled Germany’s first fully electric bus depot at Hamburger Hochbahn. The turnkey solution included the installation of 44 Heavy Vehicle Charging stations, as well as planning and implementation of the required electrical infrastructure and grid-connection. The depot is 100% emission-free. It runs 110 bus lines, carrying 213 million passengers each year. The plan is to electrify the total fleet by 2030.

Recently ABB supported Ao Zheng Cheng Yuan in China with electric vehicle (EV) charging and building automation solutions to realize an intelligent and sustainable community environment. The EV chargers and ABB i-bus® KNX building automation solution provide modern, smart living spaces that are kinder to the environment.

Smart cities and industry

Half the world’s population now live in towns and cities, which are at the forefront of several global challenges, such as energy demand and high carbon dioxide emissions. Cities currently account for 65% of global energy demand and are responsible for 75% of global carbon dioxide emissions.

Coinciding with the UN’s World Cities Day (31st October 2019) we launched an interactive landscape to show some of the safe, smart and sustainable solutions that can contribute to the design of a comprehensive ‘smart city’. You can access this via

The future

Technology to help tackle impacts of climate change by reducing energy consumption and providing a switch to cleaner energy exists. We have demonstrated how effective it can be. The future of the planet depends on business, organisations, public bodies and citizens adopting these urgently and unlocking their potential.

A lot has been achieved in the past year for which we should be proud of, but this is only the start. With your support we can achieve so much more. This is a collective mission and we all have a part to play.

What will you do today to pursue the mission toward zero emissions?

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About the author

Oliver Iltisberger

Oliver Iltisberger is President of ABB’s Smart Buildings division. He was appointed to this role in July 2018. In this position he has full accountability for the performance of the Smart Buildings business line in ABB, which includes a broad portfolio of market leading home and building automation solutions. Previously, as Executive Vice President and member of the Executive Committee, Oliver led the Asia Pacific and then the Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) region of Landis+Gyr, a publicly listed global leader for smart metering and smart grid solutions. In 2010 he became one of the founding members and the first President of the IDIS Smart Meter Association. Earlier in his career, Oliver worked in the automation & drives division of Siemens, heading sales, product management and marketing functions within the low voltage Power Distribution business. During his career, Oliver has lived and worked in Germany, South Africa, Singapore, Australia and Switzerland. Oliver has a joint master’s degree in mechanical engineering and business administration from the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, and executive training at the Duke University Fuqua School of Business.
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