Technology As A Catalyst for Climate Action
How can technology become a positive force for climate protection? Sabine Klauke, CTO of Airbus, discusses new approaches to this challenge with Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, in this DLD22 session moderated by David Kirkpatrick (Techonomy).
One solution would be to move more corporate data to cloud services, as Vogels explains.
“If you're lucky, you use your car five percent of the time”, he says. “Now imagine your car wouldn’t shut off” when you park it. “It would stay idle for the whole day. That’s the analogy to corporate data centers.”
Many CIOs are happy to reach an average utilization of 20 to 50 percent, according to Vogels. But even at that rate, most of the energy “that is pumped through their servers doesn’t do any work at all”, the Amazon CTO says.
By moving to a shared infrastructure, companies can “improve the carbon efficiency of [their] workloads by 80 percent”, Vogels says. He points out that Amazon has set itself the goal to become carbon-neutral by 2025 and is already “the largest or largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world”.
Airbus, in fact, is transitioning to Amazon’s cloud service, AWS. But the European aerospace giant sees many other ways to reduce the carbon footprint of its products.
“We have an ambition”, Klauke says. “We want to fly the first zero-emission aircraft in commercial [aviation] and have that ready by 2035.”
The most promising way to achieve this, she says, is through alternative fuels, such as hydrogen.
In addition, Airbus aims to increase fuel efficiency by optimizing its plane designs.
Already, over the past 30 years, Airbus has reduced emissions of its planes by 50 percent. But there’s still room for improvement.
By looking at birds, “which are our big idols”, Klauke says, “we actually improve the wings even further. We are looking into elastic wings that can change their form during flight just as eagles” do.
Ultimately, “it is all about energy”, Klauke summarizes the discussion. “Energy is the central question of the future.”
Sabine Klauke has been Chief Technology Officer at Airbus since July 2021 and is a member of the Company’s Executive Committee. She leads a team of more than 11,000 engineers across the globe and drives the company’s ambition to deliver breakthrough technologies to build the future of aerospace.
In addition to being Amazon’s Chief Technology Officer, Werner is an engineer, architect, scientist, programmer, product guy, executive, disruptor, investor, mentor, advisor, analyst, academic, sales guy, entrepreneur, data analyst, system administrator, evangelist, debater, father, musician and biker.
A journalist and media entrepreneur, David Kirkpatrick founded Techonomy Media, which hosts the annual Techonomy conference on technology, innovation, and business and social progress. Kirkpatrick’s bestselling book, The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company that is Connecting the World, has been published in 32 languages.