FVB-News 47: Message from the CEO

FVB celebrates 50 years this strange year, which was largely characterized by the prevailing pandemic. We reflect on the very exciting journey FVB has made over five decades and on how district heating and district cooling have developed in Sweden over this time.

It is impossible to reflect on the world around us and the current situation without touching on the now protracted pandemic. All companies have been affected by this to a greater or lesser degree and most have now switched to a more remote and digital way of working. For FVB, the pandemic had a major impact on our 50th anniversary, among other things. Instead of a conference trip abroad, the anniversary celebration became an unusual and digital event at home. Nothing beats being able to meet all the wonderful employees (and our customers) face to face at a physical event, but FVB’s digital anniversary event was as good as it could have been considering the current circumstances – some customers were involved, older influential FVBers participated via video, and FVB’s employees chatted. Good technical planning and an energetic moderator were additional ingredients that made the day interesting and memorable.

When we think about FVB’s exciting and successful journey over 50 years, I must first and foremost bring up the competent and committed staff who have delivered sustainable energy solutions to our customers year after year. I would also like to mention my two predecessors in the position of CEO.

Birger Abrahamsson, who founded our company, was very competent technically and an entrepreneur from head to toe. He quickly managed to make a small company into a serious player in the industry.

Björn Andersson, who was FVB’s CEO for 18 years, was involved in making many crucial strategic decisions which led to long-term success for the company. Björn’s down-to-earth leadership and humanistic outlook helped form the great culture and friendly feeling that still characterizes the company, even though the company has grown a lot over time.

Over our 50 years in the industry, many FVBers have made a special imprint and influenced the company’s development. This is especially true of the pioneering work in connection with FVB’s establishment in Canada. Anders Rydåker’s efforts in district cooling and the implementation of this “product” in Sweden is also a success story. Today, district cooling is well established in Sweden and several energy companies are in line to set up district cooling. In this FVB Newsletter, you can read about how district cooling systems are currently being optimized, for example in Stockholm, where the system is very well developed but the need for further development and optimization requires smart solutions. Halmstad Energi & Miljö has also enlisted FVB’s help to review its district cooling business. This is important work. Several energy companies that have had district cooling in their “energy mix” for a number of years probably need to review their district cooling business to make sure the capacity, efficiency, and profitability are at the right level.

Another former FVBer who has really made an impression both at FVB and in the industry is Sven Werner. In this FVB Newsletter, we can read about his reflections on the development of district heating in Sweden over 50 years and what the future holds for district heating in Europe. These are very thought-provoking reflections. It is clear that FVB has followed along with the journey Sven describes but also that we participated in and sometimes led the development in certain areas. It is interesting to note that Swedish district heating has been a success story, but paradoxically enough, the technological development has lagged behind for a long time. Perhaps this makes sense? Large infrastructure systems that are built under certain technical conditions (and thus for certain temperature levels) may not be so easy to renew. It is indisputable that the conditions and requirements for new district heating systems in Europe are different and require serious technological development. Those of us who will further develop district heating in Sweden and internationally need to respectfully take in Sven’s wise thoughts and ideas.

FVB has completed a successful assignment for Umeå Energi where an older production plant was digitally mapped using 3D scanning. This is an area where we’ve seen some serious technological development, and it will be interesting to see how it develops in the future. Many plant owners, like the forward-thinking Umeå Energi, probably have a need to document, make control calculations, and modify old plants, partly to enhance safety. FVB is ready to help!

You might think that district heating, which has long had a dominant role in the Swedish heating market, does not experience much expansion. So it is fun to read about the project for E.ON in Barkarbystaden. A completely new district will be built and most of the buildings will be equipped with district heating. A challenging rerouting of a transit line will be done within the project. Stockholm and its suburbs are growing at a rapid pace, which leads to substantial expansions of district heating.

Although the district heating area lacks new technical solutions, you cannot complain about the industry’s constant ambition to refine our existing solutions. In an R&D project funded by Energiforsk, FVB and Rise will investigate what is optimal with regard to flow rates in service lines. Old truths will be challenged, and details will be honed.

We are getting close to Christmas. A kind of Christmas we have never experienced before. We have to travel less, meet up less, keep our distance and hang in there!
All of us at FVB want to take the opportunity to wish all our customers a Merry Christmas and a Happy (and healthy) New Year.

/Leif Breitholtz, CEO

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