The French industrial cable group Nexans inaugurated “AmpaCity” in Lyon on Tuesday, its new global innovation center dedicated to decarbonized electrification, a “huge challenge” for its development.
“We are at the start of the third great wave of the thirty electric glorious years, which will start now and project for 20 years,” in connection with the planned switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy, said its CEO Christopher Guerin, during a press visit.
Electrification to meet COP 26 targets
“The more we electrify in everyday life, the more we will meet the challenges announced by COP 26″, the climate conference organized by the UN in November, emphasizes the head of the global group, whose epic began 120 years ago in Lyon.
Digital solutions – such as the anticipation of breakdowns by artificial intelligence -, eco-design of products, integration of recycled materials, product durability, are at the heart of the work carried out in the ultra-modern building built for an investment of 20 million euros.
Thus, in “AmpaCity”, Nexans is developing a portfolio of nearly 1,800 patents. The group files 80 of these each year. In addition, researchers and engineers are working on materials with a reduced environmental impact (polymers), on a new cable insulator that drastically reduces the risk of fire propagation, on superconducting cables that can withstand up to 500,000 volts…
Since its shift to all-electricity in 2020, the company, which aims to become a “pure player in electrification”, has simplified its operational mode covering the entire electrification value chain – production, transmission, distribution and use of electricity.
An ever increasing demand
In addition, the group estimates that the demand for electricity could increase by up to 40% by 2040. The stakes are “enormous” because the electricity network dates back to the 1950s and 1960s in Europe and the United States, and its obsolescence contrasts with the Chinese network, “the most modern in the world”, according to Mr. Guérin.
In addition, “Nexans has decided to reposition all its resources, all its skills, all its management, all its research and development to meet the challenges of this electrification ecosystem,” he said.
In addition, the group has specialized in the laying of deepwater submarine cables, a strategic sector in full expansion with “more than 10,000 km planned within the next ten years,” according to Mr. Guérin.
The Nexans Group, which employs some 25,000 people in 42 countries, has recorded 6.1 billion euros in standard sales in 2021. Its new Lyon center employs about 100 people and houses 4,500 m2 of state-of-the-art laboratories on four floors.