Max Viessmann: “We must fight for energy independence as much as possible” – Companies

The Viessmann company, which specializes among other things in heating systems, is developing vigorously in the context of the energy transition. Max Viessmann, CEO of the group and promoter of its digital and cultural transformation, presents his vision at Trends Tendances.

“History is an eternal restart”. This common truth fits perfectly with the Viessmann company, which has specialized in boilers and heating systems for over 100 years. Since the 1970s, and from the oil crisis that recalls the current economic situation, the German company has been developing energy alternatives to adapt to climate change and economic turmoil.

“History is an eternal restart”. This common truth fits perfectly with the Viessmann company, which has specialized in boilers and heating systems for over 100 years. Since the 1970s, and the oil crisis that recalls the current economic situation, the German company has developed energy alternatives to adapt to climate change and economic turbulence. In fact, the company believes it “has the most important lever to drive the energy transition given that the construction sector accounts for over 30% of all CO emissions?”. Its climate strategy called “Leap to Net Zero” is based on the first principle of decarbonisation, whereby renewable energy is used as much as possible. Its CEO, Maximilien Viessmann, 33, comments for Trends Tendances the initiatives that his company has implemented in this difficult environment. “We have been preparing for the energy transition since the 1970s. We are therefore pioneers”, boasts the great-grandson of Johann Viessmann, the founder of the steel boiler at the beginning of the last century. For the producer, the geopolitical tensions of recent months have made the climate transition inevitable, highlighting our vulnerability in Europe. “Now it is a question of moving from dependence on Russian oil and gas to energy independence through heat pumps and renewable solutions produced on our continent,” he believes. The energy transition is a more than promising outlet for the German company. Viessmann invests decisively in renewable energies. The company aims to invest € 1 billion over the next three years in green solutions, ranging from solar thermal or photovoltaics, to biogas and other green gases, including hydrogen. They also include heat pumps used in both summer and winter and energy storage. Everything is controlled to maximize self-consumption. The CEO criticizes the fact that sustainable heating and cooling solutions are still too often seen as measures reserved for new buildings. “It is wrong to say that heat pumps are only suitable for major renovations or new homes. They can be installed perfectly in older homes,” he wishes to correct. Viessmann has therefore developed a new series of heat pumps intended for renovations, so that even existing homes can quickly become more sustainable with relatively small and quick interventions. And successfully, the company is outperforming globally in the heat pump market with strong double-digit growth in 2021. Max Viessmann also sees significant development potential in hydrogen, a renewable technology currently not widely used in plants. of warming up, but on which the group is betting heavily in the future. His stated ambition: 100% hydrogen gas boilers by 2025. Today, gas condensing boilers can already run on gas containing up to 20% hydrogen. “It is quite easy to adapt an existing installation to this technology,” explains the industrialist. “The most important question is to decide, in a given territory, whether the electricity produced will be used to create hydrogen or rather it will be used directly”, says Max Viessmann. For him it is wise as individuals to strive as much as possible towards energy independence, and not passively wait for sporadic government aid to fall from the sky. Technically, for a good thirty years there have been all the elements necessary to design systems capable of guaranteeing energy autonomy – even energy self-sufficiency – in individual homes and in the small tertiary sector. In addition to solar panels, this independence particularly involves another promising renewable energy solution recently proposed by Viessmann: the storage of electricity in domestic batteries. Since the end of 2020, the Viessmann plant in Faulquemont, near Metz in France, has been producing the modular “Vitocharge VX3” electricity storage system. This compact domestic battery is equipped with a hybrid inverter that can be connected to photovoltaic panels. An inverter can house up to three battery units of 4 kWh each and provide a maximum usable storage capacity of 12 kWh. “Given the rise in energy prices since 2021, the replacement of inverted meters with digital meters, and the prospect of a capacity tariff, a home battery is a smart investment for many homes,” the company said. However, this type of installation has the disadvantage of representing a significant investment for an individual. Max Viessmann believes that it is still interesting at the moment to gear up. “You can very well move gradually towards energy independence by paying attention to your budget. Start by installing solar panels one year, and then install a domestic battery the next, to be equipped for the future that promises to be difficult. In energy supply”, he retorts. the entrepreneur who also encourages private individuals to reduce their consumption as much as possible.

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