Time to innovate more

Charlie Taylor

Published: April 12, 2022, 11:08 p.m.The innovator, climate debater and high school student Vinisha Umashankar. Photo: iStock and Vinisha Umashankar. Sweden’s energy system is largely fossil-free. Globally, however, the picture is different – almost 80 percent of the world’s energy still comes from fossil fuels, and changing that is a major challenge. At the same time, it is a fantastic opportunity, as it provides space for new thinking and innovation.Read more about Vinisha Umashankar’s thoughts on a sustainable tomorrow and the importance of innovations in “The Edit” – an appendix to Vattenfall’s annual and sustainability report 2021.The production of electricity needs to be doubled in Sweden by 2050 for us to be able to meet the need. For example, our vehicles are electrifying at an ever-increasing rate, which leads to increased demand for fossil-free electricity. But electricity from fossil-free energy sources is not growing fast enough to be able to challenge the electricity that comes from non-fossil-free energy sources. This means not only a great test, but also an opportunity to become more innovative. That is the opinion of the innovator, climate debater and high school student Vinisha Umashankar. She is one of several experts who write in The Edit – an appendix to Vattenfall’s annual and sustainability report 2021. In The Edit, various perspectives are gathered that can inspire and and contribute to good solutions for a sustainable tomorrow. Among other things, we must rethink and renew our way of generating, transporting and using electricity, says Vinisha Umashankar. – For example, white goods can be developed so that they work with less or no electricity at all, she says.

No choice but to innovate

Vinisha Umashankar was a finalist for the Earthshot Prize awarded by the Royal Foundation for outstanding contributions to environmental protection and has also spoken at TEDx and COP26 world leaders’ meeting in Glasgow this autumn. – At COP26, promises were made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 41.9 gigatons by 2030. But it is a very far from the 26.6 gigatons we need to reach for global warming to remain at most 1.5 ° C, says Vinisha Umashankar. – The difference between 2 and 1.5 degrees may not sound like it a lot, but it will have a big impact on our planet. And if we are to succeed in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees and achieve net zero emissions, we have no choice but to renew ourselves and innovate more. And we do not have much time.“We need to rethink our entire lifestyle,” says Vinisha Umashankar.

Focus on four sectors

So where do we start? – The transport, agriculture, industry and construction sectors can together make a significant contribution to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. These sectors depend on the energy sector for their energy needs, but through innovation we can reduce this dependence. Shutting down 8,500 of the world’s coal-fired power plants, each of which burns 9,000 tonnes of coal every day, would have very positive effects, says Vinisha Umashankar. Electricity is also produced far from where it is consumed. It requires a large network for transmission and distribution, which is complex and costly. – Houses and offices must be able to generate 40-60 percent of their electricity consumption. But we also need to rethink our entire lifestyle – what we eat, how we dress, where we shop, how much we buy and how we travel. And we need to build houses that can absorb air and sunlight to keep us cool or warm without having to use electricity.

Thinking outside the norm

In this extensive transformation, the energy companies play a very important role – something that Vattenfall is very aware of. The company pursues innovation and collaborations in a number of projects, especially in the industries that have the greatest impact on how we all live.Mikael Nordlander, Director Industry Decarbonisation, at Vattenfall.Mikael Nordlander, Director Industry Decarbonisation, at Vattenfall. Photo: Vattenfall. Together with its partners, Vattenfall works to phase out fossil fuels, produce fossil-free steel, make aviation fuel sustainable, develop fossil-free plastic and dramatically scale up the infrastructure for charging electrified vehicles. .– Thinking outside the norm and looking beyond how we have always done things is fundamental to our work going forward. By introducing fossil-free electricity in new industries and areas of use, we can contribute to economic growth and social progress while minimizing the climate impact, says Mikael Nordlander, Director Industry Decarbonisation, at Vattenfall.Read more about Vinisha Umashankar’s thoughts on a sustainable tomorrow and the importance of innovations in “The Edit” – an appendix to Vattenfall’s annual and sustainability report 2021. The article is produced by Brand Studio in collaboration with Vattenfall and not an article by Dagens industri

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