Optimized and controlled use of the district heating network in Lieto
The district heating plant built by Liedon Lämpö Oy, which produces district heating and industrial steam, was commissioned in October 2020. In connection with the new plant, also about one kilometer of district heating network line was built. Vexve's valves together with Vexve's smart underground control and monitoring solutions, guarantee the reliable operation of the district heating plant and the network.
Liedon Lämpö Oy produces and offers environmentally friendly district heating for the inhabitants of Lieto. The municipality is located near Turku, in the Southwest region of Finland. Liedon Lämpö has around 30 kilometers of district heating network and 147 customers. Their customers are mainly commercial and municipal properties and housing associations.
The new heating plant built in Luolakallio in 2020 produces district heating and industrial steam. With industrial steam, it is possible to achieve higher feed temperatures which are required in industrial processes. In the case of Lieto, the industrial steam produced by the plant is utilized by a pet food factory next to the plant, which needs it in its manufacturing processes. The heat generation capacity of the new plant is 10 megawatts, of which industrial steam accounts for about 3-4 megawatts. If needed, the steam is also used in district heating, because the network extends to the center of Lieto and the industrial area called Avanti.
“We started building a new district heating plant in May 2020 and commissioning took place during October 2020. Next year, we are planning to build a wood chip plant on the adjacent plot, which will utilize the automation systems of this district heating plant. After building the new plant, the main production of district heating will be transferred to Luolakallio,” says Anne Ahtiainen, CEO of Liedon Lämpö.
Vexve's smart solutions ensure network efficiency and reliability
To this project, Vexve delivered Vexve valves, Hydrox hydraulic control products, and new iSENSE Opti, and Pulse smart monitoring solutions, which are ensuring efficient and reliable district heating network operation.
With the help of iSENSE Opti, the changing conditions of underground district energy networks can be detected in real-time, so that the control of the network can be optimally adjusted with the help of measurement-based data. With the help of accurate measurement data, areas cooled by high heat loss and unfavorable flow direction can be easily located from the network.
“Because more production facilities are connected to our network, we want to monitor the behavior of the network and optimize the management of the network. By monitoring the network, we get information about the flow direction of the network, and we can ensure the adequacy of district heating for the entire network area. That is why the iSENSE Opti system is really important to us,” says Ahtiainen.
In addition to iSENSE Opti, Vexve's new iSENSE Pulse system was also installed in the network. iSENSE Pulse can be used to locate potential problem areas in the network.
“iSENSE Pulse is based on pulse measurement. It can be used to detect internal and external insulation leakages. External leakage refers to leakage from the soil through the shell of the insulation, which can cause corrosion on the surface of the pipe and eventually lead to leakage. The system is also suitable for network acceptance checks, as detecting problem areas within the warranty period brings significant savings to energy companies,” says Riina Lahti, Vexve's Product Manager.
Hydraulic control solutions enable safe valve operation
Vexve hydraulic actuators and the HCU Manual + control unit were also installed in the new network. Hydraulic actuators and control units are a safe and reliable solution for all conditions. The control unit enables the control of several valve pairs flexibly, even if they are located far apart.
“Compact-sized and weatherproof hydraulic control solutions are a great choice for even the most challenging conditions. Due to their size, the actuators can be installed directly in the underground chambers, and large concrete bunkers are not required. Controlling the actuators is flexible and easy with the help of HCU control units,” says Lahti.
Smart solutions as part of the district heating strategy
With the new iSENSE smart monitoring solutions, Vexve wants to support the national district heating strategy 2030. In the vision, district heating plays a key factor in the future climate-neutral society and is customers' first choice by 2030. The new strategy highlights smart solutions that enable reliable and effortless conditions services for customers. According to the strategy, such smart solutions are energy systems that can be managed in an environmentally, energy, and cost-effective way, meeting the customer needs.
“Technologies like iSENSE are one way to make the network more efficient. For example, with iSENSE Opti monitoring solution, it is easy to increase the efficiency of the network. When we get information about the status of the network, we can control the flow temperature and through this obtain savings”, says Ahtianen.