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Tekniska verken i Linköping

The Journey from Exzel to an Integrated and Flexible System - Provides Complete awareness

Tekniska verken i Linköping has the ambitious vision of creating the world's most resource-efficient region. They are subject to very stringent regulatory requirements for environmental follow-up, as well as financial policies. The energy division consequently puts considerable time and effort into matters of energy recovery from waste and environmental reporting.

Assignment: New production follow-up system.

Claes Vallin, energy strategist at Tekniska verken i Linköping, talks about the new production follow-up system, which after a longer test period will be implemented in the autumn of 2015.

Prevas has partnered in developing and building the software platform and also maintains a complete system back-up and can restore both data as well as the entire system.

The departure point was an Excel-based administration platform. But with the new platform, data is gathered in an in-house-developed system based on Prevas' standard products, with all data available at a single location from where all necessary changes are made. The basic concept for the data collection platform was to provide immediate access to all data at one and the same location. A location where everything could be safely stored and modified as necessary – reports, statistics and environmental measurements. We placed this system in the production network so that it would be a closed system with dedicated communications over either leased or company-owned fiber-optics lines out to the plants; an own integrated system that gathered all generated data. Nonetheless, the system is extremely flexible and can communicate with all other relevant devices and databases.

One of the greatest challenges was in environmental follow-up and generating reports for regulatory bodies, where it could be devastating if errors occurred. The environmental requirements are such that if we can't fulfill them, we would have to shut down all operations. Among many other things, we have to submit approximately 10 reports each year with about 1,300 unique topics relating to energy and fuel. This makes having reliable data an absolute must.

To maintain credibility, we must have complete awareness of operations. This involves for example, measuring output at specific boilers and making any necessary adjustments, all from a single location. The information must be traceable so that we can see initial values, who has changed values and why. Gathering data in Excel with linked Excel documents is the exact opposite of this. Although Excel offers a number of benefits, the problem is that it is vulnerable and mistakes are very easily made. And these mistakes are passed on further in the system without being traceable. It should be easy to do things right!

But it's not enough with a database to be able to process data, and the most common method of resolving environmental follow-up in real-time is to use many small systems. By getting this data into a large shared system we can integrate it with data from other systems as well as from local installations, so that production statistics can be more easily produced – statistics for fuel data, taxes, electricity tariffs and environmental statistics. Actually just about any kind of data can be included. What is most important is that we integrate real-time follow-up of production and environmental data.

Legal requirements are very stringent these days, so if we are to work credibly with sustainability matters, we must have full awareness of the substances being released. The solution mainly applies to the large installations in Linköping, but it can be expanded to all other installations as needed.

We are also subject to rigorous safety requirements. Our system may only go down for a maximum of 24 hours each year, and then preferably due to reasons beyond our control.

We're safety fanatics and want extreme flexibility and safety all at the same time – modern technology but in an old fashion way. This type of system is necessary for example, to incinerate waste and to ensure that we do not inadvertently allow propagation of errors made in Excel. The operations we conduct leave no room for mistakes. In procuring the system we prepared a very specific list of requirements with 15 main requirements, 100 sub-requirements and an additional 30 requirements. We have also conducted the entire procurement in close consultation with the suppliers and spent a day and a half with those who were still along at the end of the process. We spent two years on preparations and then another year on negotiations in accordance with Swedish public procurement legislation. There is no similar, off-the-shelf solution on the market. We're the ones with advanced expertise of our operations and the supplier's job is to help us retain it. And we've found the perfect partner.

Testing of the data system is currently underway at our site. Because we must observe extreme caution, we'll be running the old solution alongside the new for three to six months. This says something about how sensitive this is. We cannot risk a situation in which we've steered towards real-time data from the system, only to discover that we've unintentionally failed to fulfill a legal stipulation. We're owned by the Municipality of Linköping and this is also where I make my home. I want to be able feel safe with my heating and power plant. We want to stay on the right side of the regulatory values by a good margin, and be able to operate with the emission quality the community requires.

Do you want to know more about this project or find out what Prevas can do for you, please contact us.

Håkan Serner, e-mail

Tekniska verken i Linköping, reference

Photo: Gärstaverket. Photographer: Åke E:son Lindman

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