COMPANY REVIEWS

The company reviews are written in teams of 2-3 people on behalf of the group. This was to enable full participation from all the members through out the tour and to share the work load. Our aim was to have a photo of the team representing the group with the speaker from each company accompanying the company review, in some companies, we somehow missed out that moment. To maintain a uniform look and show where we have come from, the teams in charge had to wear white T-shirts with the Novia UAS logo so that they stand out from the rest.

ABB Oy, Finland

By Cynthia Söderbacka & Yingbin Zheng

What attracted us to ABB was the Solar Power Plant that they have on the roof top at the Pitäjänmäki factory. We did not get to see the power plant but we got more than that. We got a warm welcome from Heidi Paakkonen, Satu Virtanen & Teijo Kärnä who was the main presenter.

Teijo briefly took us through the history of the company, what they do (will not talk about it here as we already have a brief summary of ABB under the “Companies will visit” on this very blog) and how to apply for a job in ABB.

He then went on to the main topics of the presentation which was on efficiency, renewable energy and technology. According to Teijo, efficiency is the first step to curbing the energy challenges that we face, not just in Finland but globally.

Did you know?

                             42% of the world electricity consumption is by industries of which 2/3 is by motors only?”

At ABB, they have a solution for this, frequency converters. These increases the efficiency of the motors. Energy challenges have an impact on the economic, social and environmental aspects. Renewable energy (solar & wind) is also a big factor. We have always talked about intermittence as the biggest challenge but Teijo said nuclear is intermittent because it is either there or not, but solar & wind is variable as the chances of both not being available at the same time are slim. He also touched on technology, how to manipulate the energy that we have to the best of our advantage. When we talk renewable energy and technology, Smart Grids cannot be left out, changing the game in the energy sector, the customer can also sell to the service provider…..and that is the future we are heading to.

Take-aways: Three things to aim for in solving energy challenges : efficiency, renewable energy & technology.

Our visit rounded off with the tour of the machine factory. It was nice to see motors and generators being born from thin sheets of metal to gigantic structures. The mechanical engineering students enjoyed the factory tour so much, assuring them that ABB can be their “home” career-wise.

From the presentation and tour of the factory, it was easy to see that ABB is where it is due to its skilled work force,  commitment to environment protection and health of the workers. It certainly became a dream work place for many of us, though for now, the Energy & Environmental engineer don’t seem to have a huge place but from the presentation, this will change a lot in the near future.

Thank you ABB, being the first company on our tour, it raised our morale & expectations of the whole trip!!!

blog ABB

 

ST1 Oy (Biofuels), Finland

By KC Roshan & Tapani Nick

We visited St1’s office in Helsinki on the first day of our tour, right after the visit to ABB. Erja Hazley gave us an hour long presentation about St1, which was interesting and very informative. Also the duration was appropriate after the long tour we had around ABB just two hours before.

The presentation started with the organization of St1. Put plainly, St1 is operating in Sweden, Finland and Norway.  In 2014 Tuuliwatti, owned by St1 and S-Voima, produced 35% of Finland’s wind power. They have an investment program with a goal of reaching 500 MW wind production in Finland.

The company is also installing the first Scandinavian industrial scale pilot geothermal heat production plant in Espoo, with power up to 40 MW. These 7 kilometer deep boreholes will hopefully be able to cover 10% of the district heating requirement in Espoo.

The most interesting topic of the presentation was bioethanol. St1 produces this from various feedstock, mainly residues of food industry, municipal bio-waste and cellulosic residues, for example saw dust. St1 has invested in R&D on bioethanol production and as a result, they produce the cleanest biofuel in the world, when considering the whole production chain and life cycle. The waste trucks that collect the feedstock for the bioethanol plants are running on the very fuel that is produced from the waste they carry. The way the company has managed to create this waste and pollution reducing loop is quite impressive.

The visit ended with us getting the opportunity to sniff the bioethanol products made from municipal organic waste, residues from bakeries and breweries, and saw dust. The most pungent one was without a doubt the municipal organic waste.

 

STATKRAFT AB (District Heating Plant, Trosa), Sweden

By Kangcheng Xia , Rajan Adhikari & Sami Lieskoski

We had a very friendly reception at Statkraft’s Trosa district heating plant. Our visit started with a brief but efficient presentation on Statkraft and district heating at Statkraft by Rolf Ebbvik. Statkraft is a Norwegian company, with most of its energy generation originating from hydropower. It is the biggest supplier of renewable energy in Europe due to Norway’s plentiful hydropower generation capability. District heating is expected to grow more rapidly in Norway than Sweden, as district heating has already been rather common in Sweden for a while (as it has been in Finland). The amount of energy generated by district heating in Norway has increased 6 times over a period of a few years. After the presentation of the company we got a tour of the district heating plant. The choice of fuel for district heating is wood, which was found lying outdoors in heaps. There is some oil as a back-up reserve when maintenance work is being done at the district heating plant. The fact that the district heating power plant was not very large (about 13MW maximum power) meant that it was very easy to see and get a good overview of the whole plant. At the end of our visit at Statkraft, we pondered on the energy sources of the future. While the share of renewables, mainly wind is expected to grow in the Nordic countries, we could feel that Finland is a bit of an outsider as it is the only country that is building more nuclear power.

KLEMETSRUD Waste-to Energy Plant, Norway:

By  Nhi Tran & Tomas Kadlec

After taking an energy sleep in Oslo, we headed to Klemetsrud, the largest waste management and energy recovery plant in Norway. We had a very nice welcome speech and a neat presentation from Kristina and Erik. We had learnt about their ambitious goal, which is raising the material recovery from 38% in 2015 to 50% within 2018. In summer time, they even have people hand-checked every bags coming from the whole city to see if the citizens are doing the right way. That means tons of waste have been examined and that must require a lot of works. They also proudly informed us that all waste trucks in Oslo run by biogas. 

“100% reduction of GHG in Oslo by 2030 is what we aim for.”,  Erik said.

Only 10% of residues is going to landfills.

Unlike in Vaasa, in Oslo, they add another type of waste, which is plastics in their recycling system. Oslo citizens have to buy different colors for different waste bags, for examples blue for plastics, green for food waste and white for others. People can buy those bags in any supermarkets and it need to be the ones that are solely purposed for that type of waste (they have a specific color, not any type of that color e.g. green will do) because they use optic separators, which separate the bags according to colour.  

The tour to the waste management plant was really fascinating since the scale of the plant is enormous. The most interesting part is when you can see how the machines work, especially when it comes to separate waste bags. They have optic separator to check the color of each bag and push them in different directions where each waste need their own treatment. In principle, they have the same working methods like in Stormossen and West Energy Waste-treatment Plants back in Vaasa when it comes to waste treatment but rather on a bigger scale. 

The tour was eye-opening to us and I believed some how Klementsrud has inspired us in one way or another. Waste management is not new anymore but still have many potentials in it. I personally would love to work here!!

BW MARITIME, Norway:  

By Moses Enajero & Pau Guitard-Quer

BW Maritime is a company with its full business in delivering energy solutions in the maritime industry located in the city of Norway with some other branches in USA, Singapore, China and many more. It’s a company that deals with various services like BW Offshore, BW LNG, BW LPG, Fleet management, BW pacific and many other products and services with fleets that deliver this product through seacoast to different nations. As part of the world’s focus on reducing the emission of CO2 gas, the company has made this a focus by putting all necessary factors (fuel efficiency plan, speed reduction, planning of voyage etc.) into play to make the world a safe and greener place. It was a great time at the company with a well packed and informative presentation delivered by one of the staff.

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GU Ventures SEA TWIRL, Sweden: By Oscar Teruel-Guisado & Tomas Kienzl

RINGHALS Nuclear Power Plant ( Vattenfall AB): By Daniel Rey- Siso & Shahed Shopneel

KALUNDBORG SYMBIOSIS CENTER, Denmark: By Daniyar Nugmetov & Sergi Gomez-Teres

BIOFOS BIOCAT PROJECT (Energy Storage):

By  Alexander Hofer & Josep Castells

The internationality of this on-going project was fascinating. It includes an idea developed on an American university, implemented in an actual technical product in Germany and established in Denmark to utilize synergy effects for the operation of the site in co-operation with a local company. In addition was the scheduled visit shortly after the completion of the prototype at all and on this account even more exciting to see it in operation.

The basis for the whole technological product is a bacterium, which produces methane (CH4) out of carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen (H2). The site on this account includes a machine producing hydrogen via electrolysis of water with electricity as well as a tank containing the bacterium. The necessary pure carbon dioxide is provided by a local biogas upgrading unit. Following testing should examine the possibility of upgrading biogas by the usage of this prototype.

The application of such devices gives the opportunity to produce methane out of electricity to store its energy inside already existing pipeline and storage infrastructure, which is currently used basically for natural gas. The benefit of the storage of methane rather than hydrogen is mainly methane’s energy content as well as poor storability of hydrogen. In addition the possibility of utilize incidental carbon dioxide reduces GHG emissions.

On the short hand an economical operation of such a device is possible by producing methane for storage in times of low electricity prices and reconversion by combusting for the production of electricity in times of high electricity prices. In the long term the implementation of a smart power grid by excluding any form of fossil and nuclear energy carrier necessitates huge electricity storage possibilities. The tested site enables grid operators to use existing gas infrastructure as storage for energy captured from renewable energy carriers in times of high availability (e.g. strong wind during nights) to cover for the demand in times of less availability and high demand.

The visit of this prototype and its demonstration was highly interesting and is absolutely recommendable for interested parties in smart grids as well as energy storage possibilities in general.