Siemens believes in using technology to create lasting value for society. As an infrastructure and top-10 global software company, we’re unlocking the potential of emerging technologies – from the Internet of Things to artificial intelligence – to help solve the world’s greatest challenges.
That’s why we’re thrilled that our vision was recognized for the second year in a row in Fast Company’s 2019 World Changing Ideas awards, which honors businesses, policies, projects and concepts that offer innovative solutions to the issues facing humanity. This year, Siemens was chosen as one of the finalists in the first-ever World-Changing Company of the Year category and five of our key technology projects were either deemed a finalist or honorable mention in their respective categories.
Here’s a look at the world-changing technologies that Fast Company recognized.
- Puerto Rico Mini-Grids (Energy Category): Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, leaving nearly 75 percent of those on the island without power for more than a month or longer. Siemens proposed a new approach for energy infrastructure that will enhance the island’s resiliency and allow Puerto Rico to withstand or recover quickly from future natural disasters. The concept includes eight “mini-grids” that would be positioned across the island featuring energy storage, renewables, and incorporating existing conventional infrastructure. These “mini-grids” can operate both connected to the grid as well as in “island-mode” to keep power flowing in case of natural disasters.
- SeaFloat Hybrid Power Plant (Energy Category): Siemens has developed a concept to help bring power to the more than 1.2 billion people who have no access to electricity today—SeaFloat, a floating power plant. Built on ships or floating platforms like barges, these power plants can be easily transported to where they’re needed. For example, the floating power plant could be pulled by a tugboat across oceans or up rivers to quickly supply remote coastlands with electricity after an earthquake or tsunami. If a hurricane threatens, the hawsers, cables, and pipelines could simply be disconnected and the barge pulled out to sea, where the swell is not as high as it is near land. Siemens will provide the first SeaFloat hybrid power plant with integrated battery storage to an independent power producer in the Dominican Republic, scheduled to begin operation in spring 2021.
- Reducing CO2 Through Big Data (AI + Data category): As more and more cities around the world continue to set their own ambitious carbon reduction targets, including 70 cities across the U.S., Siemens developed a series of tools that analyze city data and create blueprints to help cities plan, invest, and achieve their environmental targets.
- Agricultural Farming System “AgPods” (Food category): The global population is expected to reach 10 billion people by 2055 as urbanization and climate change intensify demands on global food production. Siemens researchers developed an autonomous agricultural farming system, “AgPod,” designed specifically to help address global food shortages. The AgPods are digital, allowing farmers to control and monitor the growth of any crop, from anywhere, and at any time. The mobile production system can perform all farming operations, from seeding to harvesting, removing the need for prior farming experience or expensive farming resources like heavy machinery, tools and an irrigation system.
- Atlanta Streetcar (Transportation category): Siemens is partnering with the Atlanta Streetcar to provide software that improves the system’s performance and allows operators to predict maintenance issues before they happen. The Atlanta Streetcar is one of the first operators in the country to use this digital approach.