FVB-News 48: Message from the CEO

New business patterns drive district heating. The pandemic has accelerated e-commerce and it is expected to continue to grow even after the pandemic. The need for large warehouse facilities requires affordable, safe, and climate-smart heating.

Vaggeryd Energi is facing fun and exciting challenges as growing e-commerce results in significantly greater demand for district heating. This in turn requires the expansion of both district heating networks and production capacity. FVB is more than happy to help with these projects. One option under investigation is to take waste heat from a nearby pulp mill.

The ability to efficiently use waste heat in a district heating network increases if you have relatively low system temperatures, which highlights how important it is to actively work to lower the temperature levels in district heating networks. FVB has collected temperature data and temperature statistics on Swedish district heating systems for many years. Methods have been developed for evaluating the benefits of lower temperatures. Our monitoring of the Swedish district heating networks shows that at least the return temperatures have decreased somewhat over time. FVB’s experience is that it requires both structured and patient efforts to get results. Measures taken today will have benefits for a long time to come. Many district heating network owners are actively working on these issues. But has everything really been done to reach the optimal temperature level? The value per lowered degree is often strikingly high. It will also become increasingly important to be able to handle different types of waste heat that cannot be converted to high temperatures. There is a growing need to be able to store hot water in the district heating system and a development towards lower system temperatures is also favorable from that perspective. FVB estimates that the value of lowering system temperatures will increase in the future. When calculating the value of lower district heating temperatures, perhaps the future value of being able to accept “low-value” energy flows into the district heating network should also be included? Customers who are thinking about whether there are additional opportunities to lower the district heating temperatures in their networks and want to know what this could be worth in the short and long term should not hesitate to contact FVB’s experts in the field. We can help you move forward!

Tekniska verken i Linköping will prevent methane emissions by building a gas-tight slurry pit. A positive effect of this will be that more biogas can be recovered. FVB has been involved in this project throughout the entire journey. Working with this type of project is very stimulating and it requires both broad and deep process knowledge. Tekniska verken’s biogas investment is impressive and an interesting part of the total solution is the product conversion of biogas to liquid methane, LBG. This is the perfect fuel for the transport sector. Is it possible to imagine a more climate-smart fuel than locally produced biogas converted to liquid form?

Biogas is also what it is about in Västervik Energi & Miljö’s project, where a sewage treatment plant will be rebuilt to meet stricter environmental requirements. The reconstruction will affect the production and FVB has helped with feasibility studies on how biogas production can best be developed. Sustainability is the focus in all analyzed scenarios.

Many Swedish sewage treatment plants need to be upgraded, including Gonäs’ sewage treatment plant in Ludvika. In this exciting modernization project, FVB has been responsible for the electrical design and programming, as well as deployment of the new control system, among other things.

In this FVB newsletter, you can also read about a very exciting project involving long-term storage of hot water. This is not the first project of its kind, but Mälarenergi’s remodeled rock caverns will be a record-breaking hot water storage facility for district heating. As much as 13 GWh can be stored in the three giant rock caverns. Being able to store energy long-term is a relevant topic today.

Another relevant topic in the industry is the expansion of electrification. The district heating sector has managed to eliminate carbon emissions through fuel conversions and using waste heat sources. Now the industry and transport sector will achieve the same results through quick and powerful electrification.
A recently presented analysis from Energiföretagen Sverige shows that the current consumption of electricity of 140 TWh in Sweden may well more than double by 2045.

This has major consequences for the Swedish electrical system, both in terms of production and distribution. New green steel production and fuel cells for vehicles will require electricity-based hydrogen production. With hydrogen storage, it is possible to “store electricity” and control consumption based on the supply of produced electricity. A Swedish hydrogen strategy will be presented this summer. It will be interesting to follow the development and see where there will be overlap with the district heating industry.

FVB celebrated 50 years last year and this year we will celebrate again. In 2021, we mark 30 years of employee ownership. This contributes to what we call “sustainable business.” Employee ownership creates positive and unifying driving forces. It also allows FVB to protect its long-term focus and independence, which feels very valuable.

Summer is approaching. Covid vaccinations have now gained momentum and there is growing hope. We hope to meet with customers again soon and also spend time with colleagues. FVB would like to wish all our customers a warm and reasonably social summer.
Leif Breitholtz,

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