New Microsoft-Cummins Lab Could Impact More Than Datacenters

Cummins’ Executive Director of Power Systems Engineering Gary Johansen (left) tours the Advanced Energy Lab with Sean James (center) of Microsoft and Dan Ronco (right) of McKinstry.

Officials from Microsoft, Cummins, and McKinstry celebrated the start of operations Wednesday, October 25, at their new advanced energy lab in Seattle, Washington, maintaining it could deliver important insights not just on powering datacenters, but on a host of other energy-intensive activities.

“In the future, the research work done here will help us and our customers in really diverse applications and market segments,” said Gary Johansen, Executive Director of Power Systems Engineering at Cummins.

“…Our aim is to create solutions that are cleaner, greener and lower cost,” Johansen said at the celebration. “We know this mission critical work well and believe that in the future it may also reach our customers who need to power hospitals, grocery stores and other important locations.”

A FOCUS ON FUEL CELLS

The lab’s initial focus will be on powering datacenters with natural gas powered fuel cells. The 20-rack environment in the lab simulates datacenter conditions to evaluate whether the fuel cells have the potential to improve efficiency, reduce emissions and cut costs.

The partners in the lab marked the beginning of operations by cutting a symbolic electric cord. Microsoft has long had the goal of unplugging from the grid, maintaining it would improve energy efficiency, reduce costs and improve the reliability of the grid by removing some of the stress on it.

Datacenters use a lot of energy, consuming about 2 percent of U.S. electricity, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. A significant portion of that energy is lost in the transmission of electricity from a power plant through the grid and to the datacenter. The lab partners believe that the integration of fuel cells directly into a datacenter could nearly double energy efficiency.

“The lab is our latest step towards our ongoing work to eventually eliminate the energy and resource impact of our datacenters; in other words, making our datacenters disappear,” said Suresh Kumar, Corporate Vice President, Cloud Infrastructure and Operations, Microsoft.

The project was conceived of and funded by Microsoft, Cummins and McKinstry, with additional funding provided by Siemens and the Washington State Department of Commerce via its Clean Energy Fund. Washington State Governor Jay Inslee was among the dignitaries at the celebration.

A RECORD OF INNOVATION

The three principal partners in the lab each bring a track record of innovation to the project.

Microsoft is a giant in its industry. The company’s cloud infrastructure includes more than 100 datacenters around the world. It hosts more than 200 cloud services including Bing, MSN, Office 365, Xbox Live and the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

The company has made a commitment to use more clean energy to power its datacenters, maintaining 50 percent will come from wind, solar and hydropower sources by the end of 2018.

Cummins currently has over 7 gigawatts (GW) of primarily backup generator capacity in datacenters around the world, using a variety of technologies including diesel and combined heat and power/gas. That’s enough energy to power every household in New York City.

McKinstry is a full-service construction firm specializing in energy and facility services. It tested re-using waste heat from datacenters before designing the largest waste heat transfer system in America.

“We know the future means we won’t just provide one power system, but customized solutions tailored to customer needs,” said Cummins’ Johansen, who predicts the lab will have positive repercussions for clean energy generation in the power generation industry. “This lab is a place where we can test various combinations of energy storage and power systems, together.”

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. blair.claflin@cummins.com

Cummins gets high marks in rankings on the environment, just practices and management

An employee at Cummins’ Rocky Mount Engine Plant in Rocky Mount, N.C., carefully monitors energy use. One key aspect of Newsweek’s Green Ranking is energy management.
An employee at Cummins’ Rocky Mount Engine Plant in Rocky Mount, N.C., carefully monitors energy use. One key aspect of Newsweek’s Green Ranking is energy management.

Cummins received high marks in a trio of rankings released over the past week.

The company finished 25th in Newsweek’s 2017 Green Ranking of U.S. companies, 45th on the Forbes-JUST Capital list of the Just 100: America's Best Corporate Citizens, and 94th in the Wall Street Journal’s Management Top 250, all released separately over the past two weeks.


The Newsweek ranking, released Dec. 7, assessed the environmental performance of the world’s largest publicly traded companies. Cummins was named “Best in Industry” in the “Machinery” category for U.S. companies.

The 2017 Green Ranking is built around six principles: Transparency, Objectivity, Public Availability of Data, Compatibility, Engagement and Stakeholder Input. The U.S. rankings assess the sustainability performance of the 500 largest publicly-traded companies headquartered in the U.S. by revenue as of Dec. 31, 2016.

“At Cummins, our mission calls for powering a more prosperous world,” said Brian Mormino, Executive Director of Worldwide Environmental Strategy and Compliance. “That requires a vibrant, healthy planet. Innovation for us means that we are environmentally responsible while dependably meeting the needs of our customers.”

The rankings looked at energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, water use, waste production and recycling, and other factors. Newsweek, a news magazine, produces the Green Ranking in partnership with Corporate Knights, a multi-faceted business known for its environmental and sustainability rankings, its research and its magazine, which it describes as the “magazine for clean capitalism.”

The top U.S. company in the ranking was Cisco Systems Inc. followed by Ecolab Inc. and Hasbro Inc.

The Just 100 list released Tuesday (Dec. 12, 2017) ranks the largest publicly-traded U.S. corporations in a number of areas deemed through polling as the most important to Americans.

Key issues in 2017 included employee wellbeing, customer treatment, environmental impact, job generation, transparency and more. This is the second year Forbes and JUST Capital have partnered to produce the list.

The top companies in the Just 100 are Intel, Texas Instruments and NVIDIA.

The Wall Street Journal’s inaugural Management Top 250, released Dec. 6, is a comprehensive guide examining how U.S. companies navigate complex business environments, "serving their workers, customers and shareholders."

It is based on rankings by the Drucker Institute, which looks at corporate performance in five areas: Customer Satisfaction, Employee Engagement and Development, Innovation, Social Responsibility, and Financial Strength.

The Drucker Institute analyzed “37 data inputs, provided by 12 third-party sources, to produce its landmark ranking.” Peter Drucker is an author, professor and longtime Wall Street Journal columnist.

Cummins received four out of five stars in Employee Engagement and Development and Social Responsibility. The top ranking company in the survey was Amazon.com Inc., followed by Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.

In still another rating released earlier this fall, Cummins received a perfect score of 100 percent on the 2018 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) for the thirteenth straight year. The CEI, conducted in 2017, is a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

Cummins joined the ranks of 609 major U.S. businesses which also earned top marks this year.

 

 

 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. blair.claflin@cummins.com

Cummins CEO supports NAFTA in interview with POLITICO

Caption: Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger says NAFTA means thousands of jobs for American workers at locations such as the company’s engine plant in Jamestown, New York.
Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger says NAFTA means thousands of jobs for American workers at locations such as the company’s engine plant in Jamestown, New York.

Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger said in an interview with POLITICO that the benefits to business of the tax cuts recently passed by the U.S. House and Senate could be offset by losses if President Trump pulls the country out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“I’m excited about the growth that could come from tax reform, and I think that withdrawing from NAFTA could have the exact opposite effect and essentially undo the benefits,” Linebarger, told POLITICO in an article appearing Wednesday (Dec. 6, 2017).

Linebarger, chairman of the Business Roundtable’s International Engagement Committee, strongly supports NAFTA, maintaining international trade means jobs for American workers.

Linebarger said the United States is a much less attractive place to invest if the country withdraws from NAFTA.

“Not only would terminating NAFTA worsen the position of the U.S., but it causes multinational companies like mine to figure what’s the best way to position yourself for a world without NAFTA, which might mean changing manufacturing locations,” Linebarger told POLITICO. “Mexico has 44 free trade agreements. The U.S. has free trade agreements with 20 countries. So the very best way to sell to everybody else is to be in Mexico.”

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. blair.claflin@cummins.com

Get to Know Brammo, the Company Recently Acquired by Cummins

Brammo's expertise in battery technology and electrification will help Cummins take an important step in being a global electrified power leader.

Cummins recently announced their acquisition of Brammo, Inc., which designs and develops battery packs for mobile and stationary applications. Adding Brammo’s battery pack expertise and resources is an important milestone in Cummins’ efforts to become a global electrified power leader.

Here are five interesting facts about Brammo and their products.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

Brammo was founded in a garage as a motorsports and performance vehicle company in 2002. The company’s original goal was to build a high performance car, which would comfortably accommodate a 6-foot-8-inch tall person weighing 300 pounds. The company has gone on to power a range of other products, including electric motorcycles, forklifts and even a helicopter.

PUSHING THE LIMITS OF SPEED AND INNOVATION

Similar to Cummins, Brammo has a rich motorsport history and has helped push the limits of electric vehicle technology on the race track.

Brammo participated and podiumed in the first ever all electric motorcycle race at the Isle of Man TT in 2009. Brammo was also the first racing team to win an electric vehicle race at Daytona International Speedway and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the bike reached speeds in excess of 170mph – a new electric motorcycle world record for a race circuit.

The Brammo Empulse at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2011.

 

 

NO STRANGER TO LATE-NIGHT TV

American late-night TV personality Jay Leno has featured multiple Brammo vehicles on his show, Jay Leno’s Garage, including his own Brammo Empulse. Watch the episode below.

OFF-ROAD OPTIONS APLENTY

The Brammo powered Polaris Ranger EV Li-Ion is the industry’s first off-road vehicle powered by Lithium-Ion technology. Brammo is also an industry leader in the utility vehicle, delivery vehicle, snow and turf, aviation and motorcycle markets.

The Polaris Ranger EV Li-Ion.

 

 

TAKING BRAMMO  POWER TO THE SKIES

Brammo powered one of the first full-size helicopter flights that solely used battery power. A series of 11 Brammo batteries were used to power the flight, which lasted around five minutes and only drained 20% of the battery energy. Check out the flight below.

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. blair.claflin@cummins.com

Cummins Joins Effort to Help Cities Combat Climate Change

leaders signing agreement
Antonio Leitao (center), Vice President of the Europe Area Business Organization at Cummins, joins other executives signing the pledge to help target cities improve their air quality.

Cummins is joining three other global manufacturers in an initiative to help 20 large cities around the world address air quality and climate change.

The companies pledged on Sept. 27 in Paris to work to make sales and service available in the target cities no later than 2018 for buses and bus engines with low-emissions technology. Nearly all of the cities benefitting from the partnership are in countries that do not have rigorous emissions regulations.

“We are thrilled to be part of this initiative with great partners who are committed to doing the right thing for our customers and the environment,” said Antonio Leitao, Vice President of the Europe Area Business Organization at Cummins. “Cummins is the global leader in low-emissions technologies and, as always, we want to help bring the cleanest and best-performing engines and technologies to cities around the globe.”

Cummins along with Volvo Buses, Scania Buses and Coaches and BYD Electric Buses signed the pledge as part of the Soot-Free Urban Bus Fleets project sponsored by the International Council on Clean Transportation, the UN Climate and Clean Air Coalition and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

Participating cities in the project have committed to ensuring that low-sulfur fuel is made available and that customers and fleets prioritize the purchase of clean bus technology in order to help manufacturers meet their commitment. Further reductions in the climate impacts of soot-free buses are achievable with low carbon fuels and engines that deliver the lowest lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions

The participating cities are: Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire; Accra, Ghana; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Bangkok, Thailand; Bogotá, Colombia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Casablanca, Morocco; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Istanbul, Turkey; Jakarta, Indonesia; Johannesburg, South Africa; Lagos, Nigeria; Lima, Peru; Manila, Philippines; Mexico City, Mexico; Nairobi, Kenya; Santiago, Chile; Sao Paulo, Brazil and Sydney, Australia.

“I welcome the commitment of these bus manufacturers to make the cleanest, safest engine technologies available to millions of citizens,” said C40 Executive Director Mark Watts. “This is yet another example of cities and the private sector working together to tackle the most urgent challenges that we face.”

Soot-free is defined as any engine meeting Euro VI norms first established in Europe or EPA 2010 standards established in the United States, in addition to any diesel engine with a diesel particulate filter, gas-powered engine or a dedicated electric drive engine.

Cummins offers the broadest portfolio of products to meet every emissions standard anywhere in the world. The company’s range of products for buses include diesel and natural gas options and Cummins has pledged to begin producing electric powertrains for buses by 2019. The company is also the global leader in aftertreatment products that have reduced criteria pollutants by 99 percent over the past several decades.

Cummins is the top bus engine supplier in the world, shipping engines to more than 140 countries around the world and transporting more than 2 billion passengers daily thanks to its unparalleled global support network. Cummins produced almost 48,000 soot-free engines in 2016 and now powers nine of every 10 buses in North America.

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. blair.claflin@cummins.com

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