Pumps on the Road to a Better Climate

To be honest, I didn't know much about pumps before I started working for Grundfos. That is 18 months ago now. I knew pumps in general were supplying water, providing comfort and perhaps removing waste water. That was basically it.

The truth is that pumps are everywhere. Carefully hidden most of the time, but everywhere. In all kinds of buildings, households, industries...wherever you need to move liquids, slurries or gasses. Today I can't imagine a world without pumps. In fact, I don't think we would have the world we know today without pumps. And to my best knowledge, we can change the world with pumps. We can dramatically impact the climate by using highly energy efficient pumps. With technology that exists today...

Pumps are usually driven by motors and most of them by electrical motors. And if you put all those electrical pumps - billions of pumps - and their usage together you end up with some staggering figures. All pumps in the world consume around 10 per cent of the total electricity consumption.

Just imagine, that when well over 60 percent of installed pumps use too much energy, switching these to new high efficiency pumps would achieve a global saving of 4 percent of the total electricity in the world. Or roughly the residential electricity used by one billion people!

Today, the majority of electricity is still produced using fossil fuels, so less electricity means less CO2. And less CO2 means a significant improvement on the climate by reducing greenhouse gasses.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) the largest contributor to the reduction of greenhouse gasses is energy efficiency - even compared to switching fuels, carbon capture & storage (CCS) and renewables.

And, also according to the IEA, energy efficiency alone can within this century help us 40 percent of the way to reach the goal of the 2C-scenario.

On top of improving the environment, investments made in high efficient pumps will also benefit in an economic sense. Since energy is a significant operating expense, reduced consumption will result in a substantially lower total lifetime cost of the pumps. The payback time on highly energy efficient pumps can be as low as perhaps 6 months depending on the application.
Every pump we sell will help us get in the right direction. Every pump will reduce electricity consumption, reduce carbon emission and financially contribute to higher disposable income - both for businesses and households.

The technology does exist on the shelf today and as a business, we do what we can to replace old, oversized inefficient pumps. But we can do more! We need to go further and time matters.
Together with politicians, we need to raise the bar and pass on legislation and initiatives that accelerate the implementation of energy efficiency. We have to look at new business models, share best practices and learn from each other.

That's why I as CEO of Grundfos put my trust in the politicians at COP21 to confirm a strong agreement in Paris, that we can build on. To the benefit of us all.


This post is part of a "Nordic Solutions" series produced by The Huffington Post, in conjunction with the U.N.'s 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris (Nov. 30-Dec. 11), aka the climate-change conference. The series will put a spotlight on climate solutions from the five Nordic countries, and is part of our What's Working editorial initiative. To view the entire series, visit here.