Chief Technology Officer at Danfoss Drives
Danfoss Drives is a member of Danfoss Group, a Danish family-owned company, with 42,000 employees, sales in more than 100 countries and factories in more than 20. Danfoss Group is a powerhouse in energy efficiency and electrification, with sustainability at the very centre of the company.
“We are present all around the globe, but we are well-known to few,” explains Chief Technology Officer, Janne Kuivalainen. “Our ambition is to become our customer's preferred choice partner in decarbonisation and we want to create long-term value for our stakeholders, customers, employees, shareholders and partners as the global leader in energy efficiency.”
Kuivalainen began working in the hydroelectric power plant business with ABB, where he learned about the merits of dynamic optimisation of energy production and that high reliability and availability are key drivers for success.
“Energy production optimisation started to raise its head in the 1990s, specifically for those companies that owned both power plants and factories consuming the electric energy. They started to look at the dynamic optimisation of electricity production and consumption. This is a reality today with distributed energy production.”
Kuivalainen also explored the early days of the industrial ethernet, before joining Vacon Plc in 2005, which he found to be an exciting journey, with the growth of versatile and dedicated solutions. Kuivalainen was the Global Head of Research and Development, when Vacon was acquired by Danfoss.
Now, the biggest challenge in Kuivalainen’s role is ensuring an effective and efficient working environment, from the CEO’s office to the factory floor.
“We are very aware that we have had great success in working effectively and efficiently across our teams, and with our people, to help all of us understand the business better every day.
“I want to emphasise that next to the leaders, we need top-notch key-knowledge experts who are able to then pick up the right priorities, organise efficiently and be inspirational and motivational to their surroundings.”
So far, Kuivalainen’s proudest achievement has been scaling and organising electrification businesses.
“We have a fast-emerging business in electrification,” he explains. “I set up a dedicated team with a startup mentality in 2019, to make room for specific exploration. The green transition has been gathering momentum in recent years, and following the ambidexterity principles for businesses, our team was able to become a business unit in the beginning of 2023.”
Net zero pathways and software engineering create energy efficiency
Danfoss Group has one of the world's strongest portfolio components for decarbonising the three most emission-intensive sectors: industry, transport and buildings.
Danfoss Group committed to reducing its emissions to 46.2% of the absolute scope of Scope One by 2030, 2019 being the base year. The company has also committed to reducing absolute Scope Three emissions by 15% in the same timeframe.
“We have decided that, to reduce our Scope One and Two to zero by 2030, we must use energy-efficient measures, reuse excess heat from the process and source renewable energy.”
As a last resort, the company will offset its emissions.
Danfoss Group has a three-step approach: Reuse, Reduce and Recirculate, which Kuivalainen views as a method of medicine. The company is introducing the Danfoss circularity framework (Rethink Reduce Recirculate) as an integral part of its new product development. By 2030, Danfoss’ ambition is to apply it to all product development.
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