Leaders Talk

Engineering Tomorrow’s India for Energy-efficient Future

Editor Water Today

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7 mins read
Summary

Established in 1998, Danfoss India is an industry leader focused on energy efficient solutions and a 100% owned subsidiary of Danfoss Group. Headquartered in Oragadam Chennai, Danfoss India serves a wide range of industries that rely on Danfoss products for like Drives, heating valves, controls & solutions for refrigeration, air conditioning, HVAC, heavy industries, district cooling and under floor heating applications. True to its promise of energy efficiency, the 500 crore manufacturing facility at Danfoss’ Oragadam campus is a LEED Platinum rated facility with an on ground solar installation and has a focus on R&D and also houses an application lab.

We bring to you an exclusive interview of Industry Expert whose incredible journey and experience has set example among peers. Here we have an account from Mr. Ravichandran Purushothaman, President of Danfoss India on his vision of ‘Engineering Tomorrow’s India’.

Ravichandran Purushothaman
Ravichandran Purushothaman
Mr Ravichandran Purushothaman has worked extensively in building businesses in India, Asia pacific and Europe with experience spanning over 28 years. He has been a key member of the Danfoss Growth strategies in India, Asia Pacific and a key member of the global management teams. An Engineer in Electronics and communication from College of Engineering Guindy, Chennai, he is also an Alumina from IIM Ahmedabad and Singularity University in California. Is key competencies include being closely involved with industry in building technology road maps, building the network for cold chain alliances and skill development in HVAC & R industry. He is a strong believer in Industry-University interaction and has been working in building University interaction programs. An ex-chairman of the CII TN State Council and member of CII National council for Agriculture, Mr Ravichandran currently heads the CII National task force for Cold Chain Development in India where he lays emphasis on development of the cold chain sector in India. He has been a key member in promoting Energy efficiency, Sustainable technologies and Green buildings.
Q

From just a single valve and an unquenchable desire to succeed, Danfoss founder, Mads Clausen, created a global business that still sets the standard for innovation today. Tell us about the key innovations that followed over the years in the water & wastewater industry.

A

Danfoss has a strong history of engineering solutions that push the boundaries of what’s possible. Our legacy reflects our rising to address increasingly complex challenges, delivering exceptional results, and meeting the needs of our customers. Our innovative engineering dates back to 1933, when Mads Clausen founded Danfoss. Since then, the business has grown from a solo enterprise into one of the world’s leading suppliers of innovative and energy-efficient solutions. Today Danfoss holds market-leading positions and is serving customers in more than 100 countries, employing 28,000 people worldwide.

Fresh, clean water is a basic element of civilization - vital for agriculture and important for industries. Today, Danfoss provides game-changing concepts to extend our precious water and energy resources. From desalination via reverse osmosis, to traditional water production, water distribution and wastewater treatment, Danfoss gives you energy-efficient solutions.

Through our innovative process, today, it is even possible to generate energy during water processing with the potential to fulfill the energy need of the entire water cycle.

Q

Please take us through your journey with Danfoss India

A

At Danfoss, we have always looked to innovate, be disruptive and give back to the society. India is a strategic market for Danfoss and we have set a strong foundation of growth in the Indian market, especially across food and energy efficiency sectors; we are currently focused on expanding our portfolio through dedicated partnerships and firm customer relations, thereby setting a precedence for Engineering Tomorrow’s India.

Danfoss began its humble journey in India as a sales organization way back in 1960s, and celebrated the completion of 20 years of independent operations in the Indian market as Danfoss Industries Pvt Ltd. in January 2019. Danfoss India is a 100% subsidiary in India and commenced manufacturing from the facility in Chennai. The company’s primary focus was to be closer to our customers and to address the challenges of high customs & excise duty which India had during those times, resulting in high product prices for the imported goods sold in India.

With an investment of over $100 million, the Danfoss India facility in Oragadam, Chennai is a global manufacturing benchmark for energy efficiency and sustainability. With the government’s agenda to ‘Make in India’, Danfoss India has developed technologies, products and solutions which cater to the business requirements of a sustainable India and rest of the world.We have further two more manufacturing facilities in India in Pune (Hydraulics) and Baroda (Heat Exchangers and related products)

Today we have a leading position in India in all our 4 segments – Heating, Cooling, Drives and Power solutions. The true testimony of Danfoss’ growth in the Indian Market lies in the fact that our sales and headcount in India has grown manifold in the last 20 years. With the nation being rife with opportunities, Danfoss is currently looking to enter newer markets and add on new production lines within our manufacturing centres in Chennai, Baroda and Pune with due focus on doubling our localization levels.

Q

Danfoss provides game-changing concepts from desalination via reverse osmosis, to traditional water production, water distribution and wastewater treatment. Please explain why there is a need for more efficient water supply and treatment on a global scale.

A

According to the United Nations, over one-third of the current world population is estimated to live in water stressed areas by 2025. Today, over 4 percent of global electricity is consumed by the water industry - a figure that is expected to double by 2040 and over 40 percent of fresh water is wasted due to errors, leakages and inefficient pressure control. The advent of urbanization and population growth has further intensified the importance of identifying a sustainable relationship between water and energy efficiency.

These challenges highlight the need for industries and individuals to understand the importance of an efficient water supply and treatment system that is capable of reducing energy consumption and wastage – from the stages of production and distribution to waste-water pumping and treatment.

Driven by digitalization and an Internet of Things approach, wastewater treatment plants can drive energy efficiency and generate cost-effective renewable energy to help cities worldwide achieve their zero-carbon goals.
Q

The increasing global demand for water and energy has put immense pressure on both industries to find a path towards a more sustainable future. And pressure itself is the key to achieving this goal. What is Danfoss’ strategy in achieving this goal?

A

With our vision of ‘Engineering Tomorrow’s India’, Danfoss is always working towards a greener and sustainable tomorrow, keeping in mind the needs of our future generations. Understanding the importance and relevance of engaging the community in the conservation of energy and water, Danfoss has been closely engaging with the industry to uncover solutions that will act as a solution to the issues of water scarcity and rising energy cost today.

Danfoss technologies can make the whole water cycle – from water production and distribution to wastewater pumping and treatment – significantly more energy efficient. With less energy used, less water is wasted. By optimizing energy consumption in the water distribution system, water leakage is automatically reduced. It is also possible to significantly increase the energy produced by wastewater plants; enough to cover the energy required across the whole water cycle, and more. The wider deployment of variable speed drives to regulate the speed of motors, better process controls and more efficient compressors could together reduce electricity consumption in the biological step in wastewater treatment by up to 50%, according to the World Energy Outlook report. Furthermore, Danfoss is also focused on the digitized approach – known in the industry as “Water 4.0” – coupled with the use of more efficient components that could reduce the water sector’s electricity consumption by an estimated 40 percent.

Q

Tell us about the challenges and potentials of achieving an energy-neutral water sector.

A

Over the years, the focus of the water industry has been on developing new processes and control strategies to reduce energy consumed per litre of water processed. However, the increasing demands upon wastewater treatment quality, for example in nutrient removal, in turn increase net energy consumption.

The World Energy Outlook also highlights the pressing need to make electric motor systems – which consume more than half of electricity worldwide – more energy efficient. 4 % of global electricity is consumed by the water industry, and the figure is expected to double by 2040. The report also estimates that 100 Terawatt Hours (TWh) of electricity could be generated from wastewater by 2040 – enough to satisfy around 55% of all wastewater electricity needs. With a coordinated suite of policy measures to drive these improvements, the World Energy Outlook predicts possible energy savings of 270 TWh and the generation of an additional 70 TWh of electricity by 2040 – equivalent to around 70 large (800 MW) coal-fired power stations.

With cities representing three quarters of energy consumption and 80% of CO2 emissions worldwide, looking at water as an energy resource is of paramount importance. The water cycle can be integrated into smart energy systems – connecting electricity, heating and cooling with water and wastewater treatment – providing the flexibility to balance power with energy consumption. Driven by digitalization and an Internet of Things approach, wastewater treatment plants can drive energy efficiency and generate cost-effective renewable energy to help cities worldwide achieve their zero-carbon goals.

Q

Apart from tackling the water scarcity problem by reducing water loss, an energy-neutral water sector also contributes to reducing CO2 emissions and brings significant savings in the OPEX and CAPEX of utility companies. Elucidate how Danfoss does it?

A

Danfoss’ efforts towards energy neutrality in the water sector can be best understood with the case study of our project at Aarhus, Denmark. Minimizing energy consumption throughout the whole water cycle (water and wastewater handling) combined with maximizing energy production from the wastewater facility, has created an energy neutral catchment area for 200.000 people in Denmark’s second largest municipality Aarhus. It was for the first time in the history of the water sector that where the whole water cycle has become energy neutral only based on energy savings and energy produced from household wastewater. The two-step strategy was to – 1) Reduce energy consumption throughout both the water and wastewater facilities to highest sensible level and 2) Increase energy production from the wastewater facility.

Danfoss VSD’s that were installed on all motors (290) in the treatment plant has a critical role in the success of this plant. Today, the wastewater facility has been upgraded with both more energy efficient equipment and especially with advanced real-time process control based on a much wide use of online sensors and VSD than normally seen.

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