“Energy efficiency is not just about consumption”

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Germany-based Infineon Technologies AG offers semiconductor and system solutions addressing central challenges to modern society. The company’s India office in Bengaluru is a major development centre of its R&D network, and plays a vital role in software development and hardware design.

Arunjai Mittal, Member of Management Board, Infineon Technologies AG, speaks to Jalaja Ramanunni and Dilin Anand of EFY on how energy efficiency can be best achieved and what Infineon Technologies is up to


ARUNJAI MITTAL, MEMBER OF MANAGEMENT BOARD, INFINEON TECHNOLOGIES AG
ARUNJAI MITTAL, MEMBER OF MANAGEMENT BOARD, INFINEON TECHNOLOGIES AG
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APRIL 2012: Q. How important are energy efficiency, mobility and security in the future of technology?
A. All three are very important. Consider smart grids. A grid becomes smart only when it has the ability to choose sources of power, give consumers the option to utilise power at a certain tariff, etc. This is not possible without the use of intelligent powered semiconductors and secure solutions. Be it smart meters, AC-DC transmission lines, wind mills or solar applications, all of these need semiconductors.

Q. How reactive is the Indian market to the need for energy efficiency?
A. It is pretty reactive and there is a high consciousness about it. The Bureau of Efficiency which has been set up is a confirmation that energy efficiency is an issue of importance to the policy makers.

In power distribution and transmission, people have been using AC transmission until now. Going forward, it is very clear that to be energy efficient, you need to use DC transmission. High-voltage DC is very popular. This trend is catching up in India too. In power generation, we have renewables and solar power is becoming very popular. On the consumption side, depending on the applications, there are many different markets.

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Q. What was the focus of your talk at the ISA Vision Summit?
A. I tried to bring forward to the industry that energy should be seen as a whole—from generation and distribution, to power consumption. All these have to be considered from an efficiency point of view. We cannot focus only on consumption and making our electronics more efficient. We have to consider transmission, distribution and generation as well. All three have to be considered if we are serious about energy efficiency.

Q. Which of these consumes most energy in India?
A. Take a look at the chain of electricity—all the way from generation to distribution to consumption. You will see that all of them are generating losses. In power generation, a move from fossil fuel-based technology to renewables translates to a big gain in energy as energy losses are cut significantly. We can argue that this is the sector where energy losses can be minimised the most. On the other hand, if you move from AC transmission to DC transmission, you can reduce losses, indicating that transmission is also very important. Finally, on the consumption side, whether it is your charger or colour television, each of these plays a role in loss of energy as it sums up to a big number when added up. The amount of work that goes into making all these areas energy-efficient is much more than for transmission, distribution and generation individually.

Q. How does Infineon try to be energy-efficient in its supply chain?
A. In order to make our products, we use electricity, chemicals, machines and other raw materials. We generate about one million tonnes of CO2 in order to make our components. But, when you look at where these components go in the end application of our customers, like variable speed drives and efficient cars, about 4.6 million tonnes of CO2 was saved with the use of our components. So 3.6 million CO2 generation is saved with the use of our components.

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Q. Could you elaborate on your presence in India?
A. We have offices in Delhi, Pune and Bengaluru. We may open more offices depending on how the market grows and revenue develops. All the segments are handled in these offices and are a very important part of our R&D landscape. Manufacturing takes place mainly outside India. We contemplate setting up a manufacturing unit in the country on a regular basis. As the competitiveness of India rises for manufacturing, and the volumes consumed in India increase, it is only a matter of time before we set up a manufacturing unit in India.

Q. What products and verticals does Infineon focus on?
A. Our focus is on energy efficiency, mobility and security. Within these three segments, we are very strong in addressing the power demands or the way energy is utilised—whether it is in energy generation, transmission or distribution. In cars, for example, the main factor is mobility and the focus is on car electronics in the automotive business and on construction and agriculture vehicles. Security too is very strong. With our techniques in chip card for transportation, banking purposes and government ID businesses, we are in a good position in terms of providing security.

Q. In which verticals are you most successful in India?
A. Automotive, power, security and chip cards. We are generally strong in the field of power as it consumes a lot of our time and energy. Sixty per cent of our business is from energy efficiency-related products and we see great potential in India. The automotive industry in India is also growing and we expect to be successful here in the future. Security is a topic of concern in all our minds.

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Q. What’s in your pipeline?
A. Our roadmap covers a whole range of requirements—be it a low-cost car made in India or a high-end, expensive car, we have components in that car. Components worth $4 to $700 go into a car.


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