Climate-friendly heat pumps for district heating

Fenagy is working with a ground-breaking idea within sustainable district heating technology, which is an essential piece in the solution to the climate crisis, and which, due to the high gas prices, is in extra high demand right now. In its short life, the company has experienced very large growth and thus needs a production management system to keep track of order receipts, inventory and purchase orders - so that production can keep up.

Johan Jermiin


We supply heat pumps and cooling systems with intelligent integration for the micro and macro energy grid,"

Johan Jermiin, project manager in Fenagy.

Fenagy produces heat pumps and chillers for district heating and district cooling, where the ground-breaking idea is to use CO2 as a coolant. "CO2 is a sustainable working medium without environmental side effects," says Johan Jermiin. But can excessive amounts of CO2 create a greenhouse effect in the atmosphere? Yes, but CO2 actually belongs to what is called "natural refrigerants", as it is already found and metabolized in nature. CO2 is not ozone-depleting, which is why it is much better for the environment than ordinary refrigerant, which has a high ozone-depleting potential (see the table).


ODPGWP
CO201
Regular refrigerant0 - 15100 - 14,000

ODP = Ozone Depletion Potential | GWP = Global Warming Potential

In 2020, the EU introduced a ban on refrigerants where the GWP exceeds 2,500 (Environment Agency, 2016, page 5). Read Fenagy's five advantages of using CO2 at the bottom of the page.


By using nature's own material as a coolant and using green electricity, Fenagy has made the heat and cold production CO2-neutral. "The idea has been a long time coming, but has only been made possible within the last few years," says Johan. Legislation and taxation meant that it previously did not make sense to use electricity for heating. Today, however, it is a completely different matter with the high focus on green transition and the increased gas prices caused by the war in Ukraine. "CO2 is actually already a standard working medium in refrigeration systems in supermarkets etc." says Johan.


How do you make climate-friendly heat pumps and cooling systems?

The technology is based on electrically driven heat pumps and chillers. The plant weighs between 11-12 tonnes and consists of a number of components such as frame, compressor, pumps, pipes and valves. The CO2 gas is passed through the system by an ejector and gives off heat. The heat is stored in tanks for heating industrial buildings, greenhouses, technical buildings, etc.

Heating system

Heating system under construction.

The units in the system are controlled by a PLC (programmable logic controller), which can control both capacity and evaporators as well as defrosting of refrigeration systems. That is there is a small computer in the system which can automatically control evaporators and defrosting, which ensures that the system operates optimally. A single Fenagy district heating system can supply heat to approx. 400 households.

In connection with the current conflict in Eastern Europe, Fenagy's solution has proven to be a solid investment not only for the environment, but also for the budget account: "The war in Ukraine has caused the need for district heating to increase," says Johan. It is especially the high gas prices that currently make district heating ideal. "With the current price trend for gas, district heating, whose heat is produced with electricity, becomes even more attractive," Johan points out.

Obviously some electricity is used to operate the heat pump, but you get 3-4 times as much energy out of it,” says Johan. Even though the prices of electricity are sky high right now, there is still a profit to be made. Often you also want to heat up at night, so that you have warmth during the day, as energy prices at night are lower than during the day.



Fenagy's production process

Fenagy has since 2020 used Tracelink for Order planning, Inventory management and Purchasing. It is a significant prerequisite for the company to be able to keep up with the volume of new orders.

Tracelink

Overview of order phases, stock and purchases in Tracelink.

Fenagy divides their orders into three main phases:
(1) Purchase of elements, (2) Forging / assembly and (3) Commissioning at the customer.


Purchase of items

  • Fenagy works with customized and factory-built systems, which is why a new order rarely resembles the previous one. When Fenagy receives a new order, however, they use a previous design that resembles so that they can visualize a product consumption in Tracelink and make a purchase. Afterwards, the new order is drawn and the extra elements are added so that Fenagy can make the right stock move. The purchases are received with a tablet, which means that the goods are taken into the warehouse via the Tracelinks app.

Forging / assembly

  • Once the various components have been bought home and put in stock, the assembly process can begin. The elements are picked from the warehouse and the parts are forged onto the facility. Some welding work is sent for X-ray inspection in Aalborg to ensure that the finished product is quality assured based on the legitimate requirements. "When the system is complete, the heat pumps are tested for pressure and leak-proof by an external company," emphasizes Johan.

Commissioning at the customer

  • The system can be mounted in different ways. Sometimes it is supplied as a loose facility that is fitted in a machine house on-site. At other times, Fenagy delivers the entire engine house, where the system has already been installed. The systems are designed so that it is easy to service compressors etc. while the system is in operation; no matter the customer adaptation.

Welding

Welding work at the facility.

Tracelink's storage solution

Fenagy has recently changed their Tracelink storage model from FIFO to batch. It is an advantage, as batch ensures traceability in relation to suppliers and can be used for certificates. Fenagy uses a "picking list" that shows the stock items and their associated location. The picklist uses QR-codes to define the warehouse locations and is designed to show the oldest batch. When items are to be picked and used in projects, the employee looks up the location of the item in the pick list, finds the item in the warehouse and presses "pick" in the Tracelinks app. When several items must be picked at the same time, the locations are sorted in order, so that the employee does not have to go back and forth in the warehouse if several items are near each other. That is Tracelink makes a form of "route planning" so that goods can be picked faster and more efficiently.


In other words, Fenagy has streamlined production so that the company can handle the large volume of orders - especially because the employees quickly find the materials in the warehouse, and since it is easy to get an overview of missing components, so that purchases can be made for new projects . That is that Fenagy has an overview of what is happening and must happen in production, work processes go faster and orders are delivered on time. It is thus easy for Fenagy to keep production running safely with fewer bottlenecks as the order volume grows.


Fenagy's benefits of using Tracelink

  • The company can easily keep an overview of the stock.
  • The company ensures the traceability of their materials with batches.
  • The company always picks the oldest batch in the warehouse.
  • The company can quickly see which components are missing and make purchases.
  • With the picking list, the company quickly finds the materials in the warehouse.
  • The company delivers the orders on time.

Read more about Fenagy.


October 2022

CO2 as refrigerant

Five advantages of using CO2 as a refrigerant, mentioned by Fenagy:

  • CO2 is a natural remedy.
  • CO2 is neither toxic nor flammable.
  • CO2 has a low GWP and is not ozone depleting.
  • CO2 provides high efficiency with low complexity in plant design.
  • CO2 has wide temperature ranges within heat, cold and frost.