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      Kimberly Blakemore
      Kimberly Blakemore,

      Director of Environmental Sustainability

      Analog Devices

      Fiona Tracey
      Fiona Treacy,

      Managing Director, Industrial Automation

      Analog Devices

      Author Details
      Kimberly Blakemore
      Kimberly Blakemore is the Director of Environmental Sustainability at Analog Devices. She focuses on sustainability-related commercial opportunities, including those that enable the global energy transition to net zero emissions. Kim brings a multi-sectoral lens to her work, having previously held positions in philanthropic investing and in corporate strategy. Kim earned an MBA in Sustainability from Antioch University New England and a BA from Cornell University.
      Fiona Treacy
      Fiona Treacy is a managing director within the Industrial Automation Business Unit at Analog Devices, where she leads a precision analog technology development team, go to market team, and business development team all focused on accelerating customer development. Previously, Fiona has held roles in engineering, applications, marketing, and business management within the Factory Automation and Process Control, Industrial Connectivity, Precision Converters, and Instrumentation Business Units. She holds a B.Sc. in applied physics and electronics and an M.B.A. from the University of Limerick.
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      THE FUTURE OF ENERGY, CLEANTECH, AND SUSTAINABILITY (SUSTAINABILITY SERIES #1)

      For over two decades, scientists and climatologists have been warning of the effects of global warming and the link to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but now attention has turned to action and how we as a global society can address both the root causes and effects of climate change. Semiconductors are the brains of modern devices, electric vehicles (EVs), smartphones, robots, and beyond, and they may hold the key to solving the sustainability crisis through tailored innovation and adaptive edge intelligence.

      This is the first article in a series that aims to illuminate how innovative technological platforms and software solutions are enabling climate tech and invite dialogue with others on the future of energy and sustainability.

      SETTING THE (HOT AND GETTING HOTTER) STAGE

      The availability of energy has underpinned social and economic growth since the dawn of the industrial revolution when technologies like the internal combustion engine, steam engine, and electric motors resulted in a worldwide dependence on affordable and centralized energy production. For the past two centuries, that energy was supplied through the burning of hydrocarbon-based sources. While this has enabled great economic growth, this growth has come at a steep cost. Since 1820, GHG emissions have grown 686×,1 leading to ~1.1°C of average global warming2 and a slew of significant ecological, economic, and societal consequences. These effects range from 166 million people requiring food aid due to climate crises in 2015–20193 to $3Tr in disaster-related economic losses from 2000–2019.4

      If current trends hold, by 2050, the world will need twice the energy it consumes today to power the projected global developmental trajectory. Without changes to our sources of energy and overall energy efficiency strategies, our current emissions trajectory is expected to result in a 1.9°C to 2.9°C rise in temperature by 2050 (vs. preindustrial levels). According to experts, the associated consequences could also result in the displacement of 33% of the global population5, an 11% to 18% reduction in global GDP6, and up to $23Tr in annual climate-related disaster losses.7

      ELECTRIFICATION AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY

      As society seeks to address pressing issues like global poverty, energy will be crucial to providing universal access to essential services such as electricity and nourishing food. Yet to avoid the worst effects of climate change, the world needs to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and cap global warming at 1.5°C. The key to achieving these goals is energy growth and rapid decarbonization.

      WE NEED TO ACT NOW
      and reduce our emissions by 81%

      The graph compares primary energy demand in 2050 to that in 2020.

      Energy growth and rapid decarbonization require a broad replacement of fossil fuels with renewables (that is, 9× demand growth from today to 2050) and a dramatic improvement in global energy efficiency (that is, 2× increase from today to 2050).8

      “There is an unprecedented opportunity to cultivate the clean energy transition by eliminating greenhouse gas-generating technology through renewable-powered electrification of end applications. A prime example, already underway, includes phasing out internal combustion engine vehicles in favor of electric vehicles,” said Greg Henderson, Senior Vice President of Automotive and Energy, Communications and Aerospace Group. “As more products are designed to be powered from electricity, the broader ecosystem of power generation, distribution, and storage systems comes into play. Globally, we need a flexible, resilient, efficient, and secure energy system.”

      “At the same time the energy grid is redesigned for renewable energy sources, there must be a focus on driving energy efficiency in all applications. In the context of total emissions, roughly 50% of global energy is consumed by industrials.9 Through the deployment of digital connected factory technologies, we can improve control of industrial operations within existing brownfield factories and in doing so, drive productivity which brings benefits across the full value chain and enables competitive differentiation,” said Martin Cotter, Senior Vice President of Industrial and Multimarkets Group. “Investing in sustainability goals and driving profitability are not mutually exclusive: by investing in industrial efficiency, we have the potential to reduce energy usage but also drive competitiveness. The world needs both new and retrofitted factories and connected, adaptive digital factories are designed to save energy and therefore reduce emissions.”

      ENABLING ELECTRIFICATION AND EFFICIENCY

      Tremendous growth in low emission
      asset spending is on the horizon8

      The graph compares assets with low and high emissions in 2035.

      Between now and 2035, McKinsey estimates a $4.5Tr increase in annual spend on physical assets to support the transition to low emissions assets, amounting to $78.4Tr of cumulative spend during these years.8 Across the end markets ADI serves, we expect to see worldwide investments pour into industrial efficiency and building retrofits, as well as the continued support of EV deployment and EV infrastructure, green power generation, and grid modernization.

      ADI is confident in the size and likelihood of this heightened capital spend thanks to a confluence of secular trends. This includes increased regulation, rising private and public commitments, growing private investment, the maturing carbon markets, and the falling total costs of ownership for end applications like solar panels.

      WHAT IF THESE LOW EMISSIONS ASSETS WERE ADOPTED AT SCALE?

      The anticipated spend on low emissions assets provides an opportunity to consider a scenario in which greener solutions are fully adopted and scaled. More than one solution is needed to reduce global GHG emissions from the current level of 51 billion tons (or 51 Gt) a year to net zero.

      “We challenged ourselves to understand the magnitude of decarbonization that solutions like ADI’s could potentially enable, if those end applications were fully adopted and scaled. As it turns out, it’s roughly half,” said Tony Montalvo, Vice President of Technology and ADI Fellow. “We sought to connect the enabling impact of our broader portfolio of solutions, focusing on those end applications where our technology is a critical enabler.”

      An Opportunity to Eliminate and Reduce Emissions

      The graph shows an opportunity that ADI solutions can potentially provide to reduce and eliminate emissions.

      If end applications enabled in part by technology like ADI’s were fully adopted and scaled, roughly half of emissions could be eliminated or reduced.10

      Our assessment resulted in two primary categories of end solutions—those that either displace traditional, GHG-generating end technology or those that make the technology more energy efficient. Examples of displacing technologies include electric vehicles, the energy transition, and renewable energy-powered electrolyzers. Examples of end products that are more energy efficient include industrial motors, 5G wireless communications, and connected HVAC systems.

      We recognize that ADI’s technologies are not the end products themselves. In many cases, however, the end application would not be viable without them. An example is EVs, which rely on lithium-ion batteries and would not be viable without battery management technology constantly assessing the health of each cell, balancing the cells within the battery pack, and ensuring that the battery is never under or overcharged. Battery management—a technology in which ADI is the market leader—is thus an enabling technology for EVs. As we imagine a world in which full EV adoption is a reality, we acknowledge that advances in battery management hardware and algorithms will sit alongside advances on other technological fronts, including battery chemistry and efficient, low cost, and reliable drivetrains.

      Another example of how ADI solutions are potentially helping to reduce CO2 emissions is with the deployment of variable frequency drives utilizing ADI’s precision control technology. These are used in combination with motor systems whose load or speed is changing. ADI technology enables precise adjustment of motor speed and torque to match the load under management. This saves energy by matching the capacity of the motor to the task at hand. Pairing all motors with drives could potentially save 10% of global emissions.

      If end applications (like EVs or variable frequency drives) enabled in part by ADI’s technology were to be fully scaled and adopted, society could realize ~26Gt fewer GHG emissions.10 This revelation underpins our eagerness to leverage our leading unique position across end markets to contribute to the decarbonization of multiple sectors.

      Learn more about ADI’s ability to eliminate and reduce emissions in upcoming installments of this series.

      THE TIME IS NOW TO ACT

      An animated GIF displaying the change in Arctic sea ice and solar absorption between 2000 and 2014.

      Change in sea ice and solar absorption in the summer months in the Arctic between 2000 and 2014. Blue indicates where sea ice has decreased, and red shows where solar radiation absorption has increased.

      The reality of climate change is that we’re seeing proof points everywhere—Arctic sea ice melting at a rate of almost 13% per decade11, a loss of ocean oxygen impacting tropical coral reefs12, and an increase in CO2 levels and a decline in biodiversity in regions across the globe.13 The right technology, infrastructure, and commitments are needed to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Significant untapped potential exists, and the next several years are critical to develop existing solutions at scale and invest in breakthrough innovations. We’re eager to partner with customers and enable large-scale emissions reductions.

      JOIN US AND STAY TUNED as we continue our series on how we can work together to drive to zero.

      ADI is no stranger to enabling technological revolutions. Our history (and future) as a catalyst of breakthrough advances is based upon our rich domain expertise and our core ability to partner with our customers to develop comprehensive solutions to their—and the world’s—hardest problems. There is no better time than now for us to leverage these competencies to architect with our partners the solutions needed for the net-zero transition.

      References

      1Hannah Ritchie, Max Roser and Pablo Rosado (2020) - “CO₂ and Greenhouse Gas Emissions”.
      2 NASA Earth Observatory – “World of Change: Global Temperatures”.
      3 Patrick Galey, Marlowe Hood and Kelly MacNamara (2021) - "UN draft climate report: Impacts on people”.
      4 Gabriel Gordon-Harper (2020) - “UNDRR Report Calls for Improved Governance to Address ‘Systemic Risk’”.
      5 Harry Gray Calvo and Gayle Markovitz (2022) - "Global Public Braces for 'Severe' Effects of Climate Change by 2032, New Survey Finds”.
      6 Swiss Re (2021) - "World economy set to lose up to 18% GDP from climate change if no action taken, reveals Swiss Re Institute's stress-test analysis”.
      7 Tom Kompas, Van Ha Pham, Tuong Nhu Che (2018) - " The Effects of Climate Change on GDP by Country and the Global Economic Gains From Complying With the Paris Climate Accord”.
      8 ADI analysis based on figures from “The economic transformation: What would we change in the net-zero transition.” McKinsey & Company. January 24, 2022.
      9 Paul Waide and Conrad U. Brunner. “Energy-Efficiency Policy Opportunities for Electric Motor-Driven Systems.” International Energy Agency, 2011.
      10 ADI analysis based on internal calculations assuming sustainable end applications are fully adopted and scaled. Additional study is needed to account for end products’ full life cycle. Source of 51GT is from Bill Gates’ book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.
      11 World Wildlife Fund - “Six ways loss of Arctic ice impacts everyone”.
      12 “Ocean Deoxygenation: A Driver Of Coral Reef Demise,” Reefcause Conservation, September 25, 2021
      13 “Biodiversity - our strongest natural defense against climate change,” United Nations, 2022