Waste incineration company Returkraft AS has signed a letter of intent with Viking Heat Engines.
The contract is for the purchase and operation of CraftEngine machines at Returkraft’s facilities in Kristiansand, Norway, and is worth EUR 500.000 – 700.000.
Returkraft sees the CraftEngine as an interesting possibility to harness excess heat generated by its plant and produce electricity. Returkraft delivers large amounts of heat to the local district heating system, but also produces a lot of heat that goes to waste.
|Odd Terje Døvik and Tore Hansen-Tangen|
"Such exploitation has the potential to improve Returkraft’s energy efficiency and profits, granted a successful partnership results in larger scale installations of more CraftEngines in its current size or as larger units," according to the letter of intent.
The plan is to install two or more CraftEngines at the plant and - based on the experience from running these, launch a commercial version specifically adapted to Returkraft and other similar companies that need help transforming untapped energy into electricity.
The machines will be installed at Returkraft in 2013. As soon as the technical, financial and operational issues have been ironed out, the letter of intent will be replaced by a more comprehensive project- and cooperation agreement to make sure all parties' technological, financial and environmental interests are being met.
”Inspirational and exciting”
”Together with one of Norway's most competent companies in this field, we have laid the foundation for converting waste heat into energy,” says John G. Bernander, CEO of Viking Heat Engines AS. ”Through the letter of intent, Returkraft is showing social responsibility by helping to promote new technology developed by a small company. I think they believe the CraftEngine will have a great value for them in the future."
|Odd Terje Døvik and Tore Hansen-Tangen|
Bernander is proud that the letter of intent is between two local companies, and is looking forward to tailoring expertise and technical solutions that could be applied by 20 similar waste incineration plants in Norway and numerous waste heat producing companies worldwide.
”The potential is huge, but first we need to test several engines - simultaneously, in order to maximize their effect at Returnkraft’s various operations. The system will be developed and put in place by the summer of 2013 in collaboration with Enova - a state energy consultancy which has identified waste heat as a major energy resource in Norway and expressed great interest in this collaboration project," says Bernander.
The former head of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) is impressed with the professionalism and enthusiasm at Returkraft, where he sees an interest from both top management and the guys on the floor in developing a technological solution which is significantly smaller than what they’re used to working with today.
Local innovation and a possible source of income
"Expectations of our cooperation with Viking are twofold," says Odd Terje Døvik, Managing Director at Returkraft. "Firstly, it's exciting to be able to use our excess heat to help a local company with the development of a very exciting new product. At the same time, I don’t deny that if this cooperation project is successful, it could be financially beneficial for us as well."
|From left to right: Tor Hodne, Jostein Mosby (Returkraft), Odd Terje Døvik (Returkraft), Tore Hansen-Tangen, Renato Sensi (AVL), John G. Bernander, Andreas Mueck (AVL)|
Døvik thinks the first CraftEngine will be in operation by the end of the summer and is already planning for its own showroom. Returkraft has 2,000 visitors annually, many of them students, and Døvik wants to display its partnership with Viking Heat Engines to show how diverse and future-oriented the company is.
"We are working on other projects as well," he says. "There are several parties who are thinking about how they can best make use of the vast amount of energy that’s wasted at our plant every day, but none of them have come as far or invented something as clever as CraftEngine's inventor Harald Nes Rislå."
Fact box - Returkraft AS
Returkraft is Agder county's municipal waste incineration plant at Langemyr in Kristiansand, Norway.
The advanced, state-of-the-art facility, that cost NOK 1.5 billion (EUR 2 billion) to build, was put into operation in 2010. The incineration furnace is a 18-meter long, 9-meter wide and 30-meter high steel colossus that burns waste at a temperature of 1,000 degrees Celsius. The energy that’s generated annually from the waste, in the form of electricity and district heating, is equivalent to the energy need of 20,000 households. The recycling of 120,000 tons of waste saves the environment an annual emission of 96,000 tonnes of CO2.
At the opening of the plant in 2010, Former Environment Minister Erik Solheim, said: "Returkraft AS’ facility kills two birds with one stone: The waste is used in a sensible way, which reduces emissions, and residents get heating and power that, to a large extent, replace fossil fuels. "
Returkraft is owned by seven renovation companies in the region and employs a staff of 23 people.
Returkraft is also a place of learning. The company has its own teacher, auditorium, student laboratory and educational programs covering environment and energy for different age groups.