FVB-News 49: Message from the CEO

FVB is investing in water and sewage. AI is useful in the district heating industry and facilitates maintenance. Winter is here and the “electricity chaos,” where electricity prices in Sweden have risen astronomically in the past year, knows no bounds.

FVB is continuing to invest in the area of water and sewage. We will now expand into pipeline networks, which feels like a natural development. FVB has substantial experience working with pipeline networks within district heating, district cooling, and gas. We are very excited about having recruited a key person to lead us in this new venture. All technical areas require expertise, and we are now ready to work seriously with pipeline network projects on the water and sewage side. As is well known, there is a very high need for maintenance and renewal in this area. At FVB, we hope to be able to help the water and sewage industry increase the speed of this modernization. We believe our experience from adjacent technical areas will be of great help, and we are really looking forward to helping both new and existing customers. 

FVB has extensive experience with investigating and designing district heating lines. In one of our current projects, waste heat from the city of Köping will heat Kolsva. Connecting district heating networks and thus enabling more waste heat to be utilized is very cost-effective and obviously also effective from a resource and environmental standpoint. The energy company VME has long understood this. Connecting district heating networks and creating conditions for achieving a more efficient energy system is a trend within the industry, and this trend will most likely continue in the future. It is not entirely inconceivable that for many smaller district heating systems, it will be crucial for the future to connect local systems and make use of as much waste heat as possible. This is in order to be competitive in the long term. The competition for raw biomaterials may drive this development in the future. Larger systems that focus on efficient CHP will also benefit from connecting local/regional district heating networks, since achieving economies of scale is important for maintaining efficiency and profitability. Whether the focus is on utilizing waste heat or maximizing CHP, it is extremely important – and profitable – to work towards reducing system temperatures. Working with the above issues is something FVB is passionate about. We look forward to working with more customers who want to make their energy systems and district heating businesses more efficient.

AI is becoming more and more involved in different business processes. It is exciting to see how AI can be used in the district heating industry. In this FVB Newsletter, we can read about how AI will facilitate the maintenance of district heating networks. A lot of capital is tied up in our district heating networks and the value of the energy flowing through the pipes is high. It is very important to maintain these systems. Based on different measuring systems, good access to data and with the help of computers, we can analyze different patterns and provide energy companies with better decision-making support for preventive maintenance. In an ongoing research project involving FVB, RISE, Energiforsk and seven energy companies, a digital platform will be developed that can be used as a decision-making tool in the companies’ maintenance planning. It will be interesting to follow this project and see what results and cost savings will be achieved.

Another exciting research project that FVB and RISE are part of involves how to optimize the district heating network in terms of the dimensioning of service lines. Many aspects must be considered, such as noise levels, pressure drops, function, and cost. The project concluded that it is important to adapt the dimensions of service lines to local conditions. It was also determined that if you follow industry practice regarding maximum flow rates, any noise problems may not be due to the service lines themselves but other components in the district heating plant. These are important insights. District heating, which is associated with safety, security, affordability, and is considered an environmentally friendly form of heating should obviously not cause noise problems.

FVB continues to organize different types of energy trainings. We are pleased to announce that FVB is now launching updated and renewed district heating training under Sven Werner’s leadership. The first offering, “District heating of tomorrow” is aimed at slightly more experienced district heating stakeholders. A little later in 2022, “District heating today” will be launched. This is simply first-class district heating training!

Climate issues and electricity issues have probably never been discussed as intensively as they are now. Not many people are unaware of the fact that we must reduce global carbon dioxide emissions. As we electrify the transport sector and industry in Sweden, questions are raised about how all the required electricity is going to be produced. The discussions have been flavored by the “electricity chaos” we have experienced this late autumn and early winter. Sky-high electricity prices, huge differences in price between electricity areas, and power shortages. Many cities report that industrial building and development have stopped because of a shortage of electrical capacity. The politics are polarized, and the solution seems to be either more nuclear power or no nuclear power at all. Has there been any progress in finding other solutions? It might be time to, for example, try to stimulate more highly efficient CHP. If we could incentivize plannable renewable power, a great deal of electricity from CHP could be released in both the long term and the short term. Short-term production can even be released without any new investments at all. It would help with the electricity balance in many cities and simultaneously support wind power, which is increasingly important for the Swedish electricity system. The Swedish Energy Agency has now presented a Swedish hydrogen gas strategy. It will be interesting to see how hydrogen gas can be developed and integrated into the Swedish energy system. Hydrogen storage can play an important role in leveling the usage of the electrical grid.

FVB recently held an internal conference, “FVB days.” It was incredibly inspiring to physically meet and team-build, get to know new employees, and take part in exciting FVB projects. For a company that always strives to collaborate and cooperate to the maximum extent between individuals, groups, and offices, “FVB days” are invaluable. We hope and believe that FVB’s strong and unifying culture is noticeable all the way out to our customers. 

We are getting close to Christmas. Along with worrying about high electricity prices, we are also stressed by the threat from Omicron. What we probably all need now is relaxation, peace, and Christmas joy. All of us at FVB want to take the opportunity to wish all our customers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Leif Breitholtz

CEO of FVB


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