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Eaton’s Le Lieu facility in Switzerland celebrates twenty years of innovation in sustainable energy

Date: 9/07/2018

LE LIEU, SWITZERLAND – Eaton, a leader in power management, is today celebrating the twentieth anniversary of its Research and Development centre in Le Lieu, Switzerland. The site was acquired in 1998 from Heinemann Electrical, a pioneering firm in the electricity revolution; in the space of two decades, it has become a major centre for innovations addressing the challenges of energy transition. 

Unceasing efforts in R&D 

The teams at Le Lieu have no intention of resting on their laurels: the centre aims to continue developing its role as Eaton's sustainable development project incubator. Over the past five years, Eaton has invested almost $3.1 billion in research and development, devising the solutions of the future for sustainable energy management and hastening energy transition. And in 2014, Eaton invested one million Swiss Francs to turn the Le Lieu site into a high-tech R&D facility. 

Staffed by 40 experts, Le Lieu is currently working on a range of promising projects in various fields, including energy storage and microgrids. 

"Today, our facility plays a key role in Eaton's Research and Development strategy worldwide, benefiting as it does from cutting-edge installations and highly motivated staff," says Grégory Crausaz, manager of Eaton's Le Lieu site. "We're proud to be building on Eaton's longstanding commitment to sustainable energy management as we develop innovative technologies to help reduce the overall use of fossil fuels." 

Contributing to energy transition: Eaton's xStorage energy storage solution 

The European Union has set itself the target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% (relative to 1990 levels) by 2030. Swift development of alternative energy sources is vital to achieving this goal – but sources such as solar power, wind power, and hydroelectric power are by nature intermittent, making them more difficult to manage. As a result, energy storage has become a crucial issue when deploying smart energy strategies. 

Eaton's Le Lieu site is the birthplace of its xStorage energy storage solution. The system can be installed to help manage energy use both on a small scale (in private homes, for instance) and for much larger facilities, such as the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam – the first stadium in the world to benefit from renewable energy storage. Eaton's solution is helping to facilitate the use of renewable energy and encourage self-consumption. Furthermore, the xStorage energy storage system makes use of electric vehicle batteries – thus giving them a second life and in doing so, recycling these otherwise hard-to-dispose-of components. 

Other innovations to come out of Eaton's Le Lieu research centre include: 

  • Data centers: since 2010, Eaton has been conducting a global R&D initiative, based out of Le Lieu, to improve energy distribution efficiency in data centers, notably by providing all-round monitoring and control for facilities managing shared and professional data.
  • Electric vehicles: Eaton's support for the development of electric vehicles has focused in particular on smart charging and storage systems, which cut both costs and energy use during demand spikes.
  • Microgrids: These autonomous systems for energy management, distribution, and storage are a sustainable, efficient way of powering neighbourhoods anywhere in the world where power grids are unreliable, or indeed non-existent. Eaton has installed prototypes in Le Lieu – and as far away as Africa. The company is developing models and strategies to address domestic, commercial, and industrial needs – including the specific requirements of the electric car market.
  • IoT: Manufacturing plants, electricity grids, buildings, healthcare establishments, transport, and homes are all increasingly connected. Eaton is designing Intelligent Power solutions to collect data, learn, and provide information that can be used to optimise energy sustainability and use. To do so, Eaton is incorporating the latest technology, including artificial intelligence, nanomaterials, and 3-D printing.

"Eaton is one of the pioneers in sustainable energy management technology. By giving consumers and companies the power to take back control of their energy use, we aim to make a positive impact on the environment and hasten the development of a sustainable global economy. The Le Lieu site is at the heart of our strategy – and thus one of Eaton's pillars of technological innovation," concludes Frank Campbell, president, Corporate and Electrical, Eaton EMEA. 

About Eaton 

Eaton is a power management company with 2017 sales of $20.4 billion in 2017. Eaton provides energy-efficient solutions that help its customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more efficiently, safely and sustainably. Eaton is dedicated to improving the quality of life and the environment through the use of power management technologies and services. Eaton has approximately 96,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 175 countries. For more information, visit