FLIE in talks with FNsteel - Feasibility study electric boilers

The Fieldlab Industrial Electrification (FLIE) is the place where industry can gain knowledge about the potential of electrification, test new technology and get it ready for implementation. But what does that look like in practice? In this column, we talk to FLIE project partners about their experiences. This time, we talk to Matthijs van der Schoot (manager Director FNsteel) and Shishir Sable (Manager Engineering & Energy FNsteel). Together with FLIE and Blue Terra, they conducted a study on the sustainability options of the natural gas-fired hot water network.

Steel wire reels

About FNsteel

FNsteel produces steel wire for high-quality many applications, including for the automotive sector and for mechanical engineering. The organisation's ambition and strategy for the coming years is to decarbonise significantly. For instance, FNsteel aims to save 25% of CO2 by 2025 and to be completely natural gas-free by 2035. In the short term, sustainability can be achieved very quickly, by electrifying their natural gas-fired hot water boilers. From this issue, the plan arose to start a feasibility study, with an investment proposal for replacing the natural gas boilers with electric boilers.

How did you get in touch with FLIE?

Shishir: "Through a digitisation scan, conducted by a Business Developer from FME, we got into a conversation about our sustainability plans." Matthijs: "Once we started talking, our project around electrifying e-boilers came up. We discussed grant opportunities and scans. Soon we started working on the project plan."

What are the main findings of the study?

Says Shishir: "By applying a combination of direct electrification and waste heat utilisation, it is possible to largely eliminate the use of natural gas in our hot water network in a cost-efficient manner. A new wire storage shed, where the wire coils are stored conditioned, is best equipped with underfloor heating instead of space heating, this is a more efficient way of heating."

Flie En Blue Terra

How did you experience this trajectory?

Matthijs: "I am extremely happy with it. It turned out to be a good report. I am extremely satisfied with the cooperation with Blue Terra. A super basis for decision-making. The project also got off the ground super fast because of the cooperation with all parties."

What was FLIE's role in this?

Shishir: "FLIE provided smooth guidance. Always willing to talk with us! The help during writing the project plan was also very nice. Then the help during the grant application was perfect!"

Matthijs: "That was, of course, completely a surprise. That this was possible in this way. We ourselves could never have discovered this or closed it. We tried it through another route, but the subsidy from the City of Rotterdam that we came into contact with through FLIE was not yet on our radar."

Where do you stand now?

Shishir: "The study gave good insight into various opportunities to reduce our CO2-emissions from the hot water network. In an engineering study, we will work out the technical details in the coming period. We expect to be able to move to implementation by the end of 2023." 

Matthijs: "Alongside this, we are exploring what else is possible. This is mainly in the field of energy and sustainability. What next step is possible in the plant?" 
Shishir: "We are also looking at the potential of a hydrogen backbone. What is the industry doing? Can we set this up together with the surrounding area? We are trying to set this up through the municipality to discuss it with other entrepreneurs and the province and make a joint approach." 

Finally, what would you like to pass on to other companies looking to make their processes more sustainable?

Matthijs: "Above all: go into it very openly. Look at all the options out there. That's what we did. The solution that came out best for us now was not the one I had thought of first. That's because all the alternatives were well worked out. It is fact-based. Based on good engineering."

Shishir: "We already had a number of options in mind and explored, but never worked out in such detail. The feasibility study gave us a good impression into the integral story. That helped us make a good decision with all options in mind."


About FLIE

FLIE is a joint initiative of Deltalinqs, FME, Port of Rotterdam, InnovationQuarter and TNO and is closely supported by the Province of South Holland, the Municipality of Rotterdam and the ERDF grant.

Does your organisation have sustainability ambitions and would you like to explore the possibilities of electrification? Or do you provide an electrification solution and would you like to get in touch with end users and other important stakeholders? Then contact us. We will be happy to help you!

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