Photo by Keith Larson
Susan Ooi takes Chris McNamara on tour of Emerson's sustainability booth at Emerson Exchange Americas 2022

New Emerson exhibit puts sustainability front & center

Oct. 26, 2022
Sustainability booth showcases currently available solutions that enable Emerson customers to decarbonize their own operations.

Nestled in the center of the massive collection of technology exhibits in the massive Longhorn Exhibit Hall at Emerson Exchange Americas 2022 is the Sustainability Booth, a cluster of interactive stations each focusing on a unique Emerson industrial approach reliant on sustainable principles.  

And that location makes sense, considering how central sustainable practices are to emerging manufacturing strategies. Customers expect solution providers to offer them sustainable options. Governments increasingly require industrial enterprises to meet sustainability mandates. And corporations like Emerson are spearheading programs to meet those needs.  

“Navigating the energy transition will rely on all of these different aspects,” said Sue Ooi, global industry group program leader for Emerson, referencing the sustainability stations surrounding her within this booth. “We have been in the energy industry for the longest time. This is not a new focus for us. We have been dealing with emissions management for the longest period. These are high-level solutions in the Emerson portfolio to help customers in this space, and we can quantify results for them in terms of savings.”  

These high-level solutions have practical paths to being realized. The stations within the Sustainability Booth focus on the “Greening By Emerson” concept, referencing currently available solutions that enable customers to decarbonize their own operations. These “Greening By” tactics are broken into four categories: Energy Efficiency and Optimization; Emission Management; Energy Source Decarbonization; and Electrification & System Integration. 

Within these categories, there are plenty of tools and techniques to be applied, both here at this booth and throughout this conference. 

A few examples… 

Emerson’s Renewable Asset Management  

This station highlights Emerson’s evolving solution focused on the management of entire fleets of renewable assets—think multiple solar panels or rows of wind turbines. The solution enables user to leverage smart technology to operate more efficiently in real time, moving beyond mere monitoring of assets to a state of live, automated adjustments based on conditions as unpredictable as wind gusts or flocks of birds.  

The display screen at this station was clear, readable and detailed in its analysis of dozens of wind turbines. “With renewable assets there has, historically, been a lack of a common platform,” explained Brett Benson, Emerson power solutions marketing director. “This is a single point of contact for a fleet of disparate assets.”  

EV Battery Production  

With the goal of ensuring safe processes and streamlining production throughout the lithium value chain, this Emerson approach targets the increasing demand for this element with increasingly difficult collection hurdles. “We want to optimize the extraction process,” summarized Jonas Berge, Emerson Automation Solutions senior director of applied technology. The methods often entail a marriage of smart sensing with traditional mining practices—advanced vibration analyzers on conveyer belts at mining sites or digitally enabled sorting tools to differentiate large rocks from smaller ones.  

“When people think about sustainability, they usually think about solar or wind,” said Berge. “But sustainability is really all about automation. Automation plays a central role in reducing emissions and improving efficiency, and it can enable these things to be done on a massive scale.”  

Hydrogen Value Chain  

Accelerating the transition to a hydrogen future is another central topic at the Sustainability Booth—a mission to meet the global growing energy demand while reducing carbon-dioxide footprints. Challenges exist, of course, including the cost of sourcing hydrogen and the fact that the current adoption is insufficient to drive cost-efficient manufacturing for critical infrastructure such as electolyzers, fuel cells and refueling equipment.  

“Everybody wants to know more about hydrogen,” explained Nicolas Marti, whose LinkedIn profile labels him a “hydrogen enthusiast,” but whose Emerson business card titles him business-development manager for alternative energies and combustion. 

Conference attendees wanted to learn more about all of these solutions. The Sustainability Booth was busy throughout the event—Emerson teams eager to share what they can do to help.  

“Industry is at the core of where big things can happen,” said Ooi, who recognizes a growing awareness of sustainability needs and the approaches to meet those needs among customers in both traditional and emerging markets. She highlighted the importance of data for informing the automation programs that can realize these new, more efficient processes. And while acknowledging the real challenges that exist in shifting our approach to how we generate and employ energy—no small feat—optimism abounds. “There is a lot of opportunity here, and we try to communicate that—to partner with us on this journey toward a greener future. It will be a very long journey.”