Heating plants outside Denmark use an additional boiler in their heat production, meaning that more money is necessary to run such a process, says Ella: “A boiler needs to run with an even load at all times, in order for it to be ready to cover all the peak loads. This solution is not very smart, because the extra energy produced is wasted. With a storage tank, you have an extra amount of water in your tank that you could use in case your boiler breaks down.” It takes many years of experience to understand the issues and requirements related to storage tanks. As Ella explains, knowing how to develop the technical part that is inside the tank is crucial: “No water mixing may occur. When there is cold or relatively cold water in the bottom and warm water in the top, you must ensure that there happens no mixing here, so that the water delivered has the right temperature when it reaches the consumer. So there is a lot of technique here, an accumulation of experience that started evolving since the development of district heating in Denmark 25 years ago”.
When it comes to business succession, it was not self-evident that Ella would take over the company after her father. F.W. Rørteknik’s new owner has, nevertheless, always been part of the company from the very beginning. Having accompanied her father to construction sites since her very early years, to helping with the cleaning to holding previous student positions that enabled her to make quality testing manuals, work environment and environment plans - all this process has contributed to F.W. Rørteknik being a natural place for Ella Lambertsen to develop her ideas: “When I finished my engineering studies, I went to Norway and worked there for six years. It was at that time that I have discovered how fun it actually was to be an entrepreneur. I found out that I have this entrepreneurial flair, where you can wake at night with ideas and think 'Here is something I forgot'. So my father asked me one day if I would be willing to take over. I was not something I was thinking about."
Isolation of 3300 m3 pressure-less tank for Vojens District Heating. 21,5 in diameter x 14 m
The Danish company structure is based on small and medium- sized enterprises that do not have the means to go frequently abroad as bigger companies, but this is not to say that international markets are forgotten. F.W. Rørteknik built a 4,500m³ tank in Chile for Arcon-Sunmark two years ago. Ella explains how the company puts eyes on unexplored investment opportunities: “Our goal for the future is to direct 10% of our business towards exports. We are a small company in a global context, but we see ourselves gaining a larger share abroad. The question is just how big a share we will go after and how we will do it”. Norway is also a market that has potential for F.W. Rørteknik because of the country’s energy structure: besides having the hydropower producing energy and delivering cheap electricity to consumers, it was established that all public buildings must be supplied with district heating. Therefore the company has seen this as an opportunity to help the Norwegians embark on the district heating journey. Ella explains: “The process is going slowly, but he have always seen Norway as a country that could capitalize on the experience and advantages of district heating. We have been working on this for five years and we are confident that it will pay off”.
The top of the tank consists of a welded dome – delivered in parts.
Ella also shares with us her reflections on the changes that have happened during the transition: “Storage tanks have been built in Denmark for the past 20 years and it is perhaps a little limited how many companies will be able to enter this market in the future. In that way, Denmark is a small market. We have therefore thought a lot about the new plan set by European Union’s energy commission for how energy should be developed in order for Europe to become independent from Russian gas. District heating is a big part of this plan, the reason why we would like to associate ourselves with it. We have done this for 20 years, so we have the experience to know which solution is best and what works”.
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