Shaping a Greener Future: Fronius’ Sustainable Engineering Revolution

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Situated on the bank of the river Traun, this engineering miracle was built as a shining example of sustainability, harmoniously blending innovative design and eco-conscious practices. 

Fronius, an Austrian company renowned for its expertise in welding technology, photovoltaics, and battery charging technology, was way ahead of its time when it designed its Research and Development Centre in Thalheim, Austria. Situated on the bank of the river Traun, this engineering miracle was built as a shining example of sustainability, harmoniously blending innovative design and eco-conscious practices. 

The construction of the new offices, laboratories, and production facilities posed a unique challenge: the need for large amounts of electrical power coupled with effective cooling systems. To address this, Fronius developed a comprehensive low-energy concept that leverages renewable energy sources and innovative technologies. One of the key elements of this concept is the utilisation of photovoltaics, which harness the power of the sun to generate clean electricity. By tapping into this renewable resource, Fronius reduces its reliance on conventional energy sources and minimises its carbon footprint.

In addition to solar power, the Research and Development Centre makes clever use of river water and borehole heat exchangers for cooling purposes. This approach maximises energy efficiency by utilising the natural cooling properties of water sources. By integrating these systems into the design, Fronius ensures that the facility remains adequately cooled without resorting to energy-intensive methods, thereby reducing overall energy consumption.

Not only this, but the waste heat generated by the development laboratories, which would typically go to waste, is captured and stored for later use. By harnessing this otherwise lost energy, the centre optimises its heating capabilities and significantly reduces the need for additional heating systems. This innovative heat recovery solution exemplifies Fronius’ commitment to sustainability and resource optimisation. 

Fronius has also implemented an energy-efficient façade system in the centre. This advanced system enhances natural ventilation and lighting within the building, reducing the reliance on artificial lighting and mechanical cooling systems. By harnessing natural elements, Fronius not only minimises its energy consumption but also creates a pleasant and productive working environment for its employees.

Presently, an impressive 88% of the energy required for operations is derived from renewable sources. This includes 15% from geothermal energy, 9% from biomass, 4% from photovoltaics, and an additional 61% from purchased green electricity. Notably, Fronius has successfully phased out petroleum as an energy source, and the remaining reliance on natural gas will be entirely eliminated by the end of 2025. However, this step has already been completed at the production sites in Austria.

Adhering to the COP’s Sustainable Goals, Fronius GmBH is already taking huge steps towards minimising their carbon footprint on the planet. The Research and Development Centre in Thalheim, along with the company’s other initiatives to reduce the usage of fossil fuels in production, is setting a new standard in the manufacturing industry worldwide. With this, those days are not far away when we will see the manufacturing industry become fully eco-friendly and contribute more to society.

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