During his visit to the Czech Republic, Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for the Green Deal for Europe, visited the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics at CTU in Prague (CIIRC CTU). On Monday 26 September 2022, he was acquainted with the solutions for sustainable and smart industry being developed at the RICAIP Testbed for Industry 4.0, the Energy 4.0 Lab and the Centre of the City of the Future. The second half of Mr Timmermans’s visit was dedicated to a discussion with students and scientists from the Czech Technical University.
Innovative solutions and digitalisation are a prerequisite for making industry more efficient and therefore reducing its negative environmental impact. Frans Timmermans had the opportunity to learn about several solutions at CIIRC CTU: for example, flexible planning for energy-efficient production, a hybrid powerplant model eliminating the negative effects of load volatility (combining small gas turbines, battery energy storage system and an electrolyser), which is able to provide the support – ancillary – services necessary for the decarbonisation of the energy sector. He learnt about the possibilities of using spent nuclear fuel for district heating (“Teplator”) or retrofitting of spent car batteries from electric vehicles. All this on the principles of flexible manufacturing, using machine learning algorithms, artificial intelligence and big data.
“One thing that we absolutely need to do otherwise everything else will fail in coming years, is to save energy. Currently, we are using too much energy and we need to save it through much higher efficiency.Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President, European Commission
And what you at CIIRC are doing helps companies to save energy through modern technologies. The way you have integrated all these processes allows not just saving energy and optimizing manufacturing. It also takes some of the cohesion distance, because you can organise and optimise manufacturing in your country and also over the whole of Europe because of the information technologies used in machines. This will dramatically reduce carbon footprints.
Most importantly, the CIIRC approach is what we call a triple helix, you integrate education allowance, and scientific up to teaching skills with government and industry in very open collaboration. And this is the future of successful developments.”
“We are in difficult times. The prices of inputs – raw materials and energy – are rising to often dizzying heights. For industry, this means only one thing: we need to invest in innovative and smart AI-based solutions that optimise energy consumption. And also in alternative sources: a combination of photovoltaics and battery storage. This is Industry 4.0 in energy theory and practice and green solutions in line with sustainability and the Green Deal. And this is what we – among others – also demonstrated to Frans Timmermans today.”Prof. Vladimír Mařík, Scientific Director, CIIRC CTU
“From my point of view, I see it as very important that Frans Timmermans mentioned the support for small and medium-sized enterprises in the Czech Republic. Frans Timmermans puts technology, Industry 4.0 and Green Deal into a common equation. That’s how the CIIRC works and that’s how the RICAIP ecosystem works.”Dr. Tilman Becker, RICAIP Director
Frans Timmermans was interested not only in smart solutions created at Czech universities and in industry, but also in feedback and dialogue. Therefore, at his request, an open discussion with students and researchers was held in the representative premises of the CIIRC CTU, moderated by the director of the institute, Dr. Ondřej Velek.
“The opportunity to convey the views of young people, for whom the topic of ecology and sustainability is often very important, on the ground of CTU, i.e. on the ground where breakthrough innovations are created and where future research elites are formed, is a prestigious matter for us. I was very pleased with the level of awareness and passion of the discussants.”Dr. Ondřej Velek, CIIRC CTU Director
Full photo gallery on CTU Media Library, photos made by J. Ryszawy, CTU
Frans Timmermans is the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, leading its work on the European Green Deal. He is responsible for the European Climate Law that put the 2050 climate-neutrality target into law and for the Fit for 55 packages to meet the -55% emission reduction target for 2030. Frans Timmermans leads the EU’s international climate negotiations.
In June, he presented the Nature Restoration Law, part of the Biodiversity Strategy. He also oversees the Commission’s zero-pollution ambition, the circular economy action plan, the Farm to Fork strategy and other initiatives.
From 2014-2019 Timmermans was First Vice-President in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. In the Netherlands, he previously served as Minister of Foreign Affairs (2012-2014), Minister of European Affairs (2007-2010) and Member of Parliament for Partij van de Arbeid (PvdA) (2010-2012 and 1998-2007).
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