By Deepak NG
The 2023 union budget unveiled by the Finance Minister this month exhibited a prominent green streak. With an emphasis on reducing carbon intensity through green power and eco-friendly vehicles, the budget reinforced and concretized India’s commitment to fostering sustainable and green growth.
The government has announced that INR 35,000 crore capital investment will be allocated for net zero initiatives and energy transition. While the details of its implementation plan are awaited, what is evident and undeniable is that frontier technologies like AI, Virtual Twin Technology and automation are playing instrumental roles in achieving sustainable operations.
It is predicted that India is set to become the third largest consumer of energy globally by 2030 if industries continue to operate as they are currently, with India’s net dependency on imported oil likely to increase from 75% to 90% by 2040.A whitepaper co-authored by Accenture and Dassault Systèmes, however, showed that the use of virtual twin technology in Infrastructure, Transportation and Mobility, Consumer Packaged Goods, Life Sciences and High Tech industries could reduce global CO2 emissions by 7.5 gigatons between now and 2030, which is roughly equivalent to the global emissions of the transportation industry every year. Furthermore, the use of this technology could provide an untapped opportunity to help companies unlock combined benefits adding up to $1.3 trillion of economic value.
While the focus on green growth is a giant step towards the country’s net-zero goals, India must ensure that financial support is directed towards low-carbon technologies, including innovative Energy Production and Storage, Cloud technology, Virtual Twin technology, Water and Plastic circularity and life-cycle assessment.
According to the World Research Institute, industrial energy use is the single largest carbon emitter in the world, responsible for nearly a quarter (24.2%) of total GHG emissions. Virtual twin and cloud technology can be used to model and simulate energy grids to fully integrate and deploy a sustainable and efficient energy mix. Alongside this, it can create new flexible energy storage opportunities to reduce energy consumption, safeguard resources and respond to fluctuating demands. The use of virtual twin technology can result in a20% improvement in energy consumption, by enabling organizations to make data-driven decisions about their production processes and products.
To accelerate sustainable innovation, the implementation of virtual twins is crucial. A product or service’s design determines 80% of its environmental impact throughout the lifecycle. When companies integrate virtual twin technology into the design process of their product and service development, they can weave sustainability into the entire value network through modelling and simulation, enabling them to reduce waste and mitigate the impact on the environment. Furthermore, life cycle assessment capabilities help to quantify the environmental impact of end-to-end business products and services, from sourcing raw materials to delivering finished goods. With government support, these technologies can be game changers, which can propel India’s movement towards emission free production.
Even within the realm of mobility, technology can augment the government’s efforts to increase energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint. The announcement to make electric vehicles (EVs) more affordable in India by extending the subsidies on their batteries for another year is also salient. The indirect tax proposals to boost green mobility will provide a further impetus to accelerate EV adoption in India. Technology that facilitates this shift towards more sustainable mobility will largely expand the efficiency of the sector.
In addition to deploying frontier technologies across the key sectors, upskilling and reskilling the workforce must be given priority to empower future workforces to innovate sustainable methods of production while also reducing the skills gap in the key sectors. This will facilitate sustainability, mechatronics, additive manufacturing, data science and model-based engineering systems that could form the core for accelerating the manufacturing sector’s sustainable transformation.
Through emerging technologies, companies can find comprehensive solutions for product design, engineering, and sustainability analysis, which can help reduce their carbon emissions and promote sustainable production. By utilizing credible data and statistics showcasing the effectiveness of these practices, organizations can be confident in their ability to make a positive impact on the environment and contribute to a more sustainable future. The Union Budget 2023 demonstrated a positive movement towards the adoption of cleaner production methods, by leveraging the right technology, organizations can further enhance their efforts towards environmental sustainability.
The author is Managing Director, Dassault Systèmes India
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