Waste from Gävle heats up Sandviken

The BillerudKorsnäs plant in Gävle will supply Sandviken Energi with residual heat through a 22 km pipeline. Photo by BillerudKorsnäs.

In May, the first step was taken to connect Gävle and Sandviken with a district heating line. The investment, which has received SEK 210 million in support from Klimatklivet – will lead to a substantial reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. FVB has designed a couple of sections of the line and will also contribute to the follow up on the contract.

Connecting Gävle and Sandviken with district heating has been investigated on several occasions over the years, but it is only now that the project will get under way. Several factors work together to make it a good investment and create major environmental benefits. 

What led to the investment is that Sandviken Energi needs new heat production. They have a production plant with peat as the main fuel and that boiler is getting old. The energy company faced an investment decision to either build their own new plant or find a way to use residual heat from Gävle. 

Plenty of residual heat

“By using residual heat from the BillerudKorsnäs factory and heat from Gävle’s CHP plant, we are ensuring sustainable district heating for a long time to come both in Sandviken and Gävle,” says Oskar Jönsson, project manager at Gävle Energi.

“There is also a major reduction in greenhouse gases, which has led to the project being awarded a grant from Klimatklivet of SEK 210 million. The grant has been crucial for the project to get off the ground,” says Oskar Jönsson. 

After a couple of years of planning, the construction is now underway. There will be a total of 22 kilometers of pipeline and two pump stations. In addition to the two energy companies, Gästrike Vatten is also involved in the project, and they are laying a water line along parts of the route. 

“Laying the pipeline affects 53 landowners and it is always a major effort to get contracts in place with everyone. Gästrike Vatten will place water lines in the same trench, which is flexible and efficient in terms of resources,” says Oskar Jönsson. 

However, the district heating project has not exactly gone according to plan. The project had to change part of the route for the line in the design phase. Originally, some of the lines were going to be laid in ground that crossed a number of power lines. The placement was chosen to reduce further encroachment on landowners, but a study showed that it was associated with major health and safety risks. Therefore, FVB had to plan a new route, which has caused the project to be delayed by about six months.

“On the other hand, FVB has been easy to work with and we expect the system to be up and running by the year-end 2024/2025 as we had originally planned. The test run will be considerably shorter than we initially thought,” says Oskar Jönsson. 

FVB is also responsible for parts of the follow-up on production, which means that they will check that the contractor is completing the project in accordance with what has been prescribed and that the final result is meeting expectations.

The trend of connecting cities

The fact that district heating is being built between Gävle and Sandviken right now does not surprise Tobias Seborn at FVB, who believes there is a trend of cities connecting district heating systems and that it is becoming more and more common in Sweden. The reason is that many small and medium-sized energy companies have old production plants, and they are faced with a choice between investing in their own new, relatively expensive production or getting their base load from a nearby operator. 

“Making use of residual heat from a factory or nearby CHP plant has been done for many years, but I believe there is now a growing amount of cooperation, mainly due to the fact that more players are open to looking at all available options and more cooperation.” 

“Whether the cooperation is going happen is usually a question of money, but the increased interest means that more potential collaborations are being investigated and the opportunities for more projects are also increasing. 

FVB is currently participating in several projects connecting district heating between different locations, including Köping-Arboga and Oxelösund-Nyköping. This involves feasibility studies, detailed project planning, construction management, and procurement. 

For more information:
Emil Bäcklin 026-14 07 30

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