Concept development of circular economy solutions: how does the process goes?
Recovery, or circular economy, solutions help improve industry’s energy efficiency and reduce emissions and waste. Adven plans solutions to boost energy and water processes, without any of the limits imposed by technology, equipment or fuel choices. How does the planning process for a closed-cycle Recovery solution proceed from design to implementation? What are all the areas that need examining in order to be able to achieve a major reduction in total energy demand and perhaps open new business opportunities for the customer?
When we begin discussions with the customer about energy and water usage and related needs and challenges, our expert from the concept development team is involved in the discussions right from the start. Development work often starts with a single concrete problem, and in addition to solving the problem, our Recovery team experts can often bring a new, value-adding solution to the table. We want to collect sufficient initial information that will help us understand the customer’s process as a whole.
Understanding the main processes of energy production and usage
Customers may have some preconceptions about examining the overall process and providing background information. We do not poke into our customer’s production processes with the aim of trying to improve their production; instead, we wish to find out whether we can propose improvements to the main processes in terms of energy usage, reducing waste and using by-products.
Our aim is to understand whether we can offer the customer benefits through improved energy, water and material efficiency. This analysis also strongly steers the implementation of our solutions.
In order to gain insight, we look into energy and water usage, by-products and wastewater. We use key performance indicators to determine unit process efficiencies and, together with the customer, deepen our perception of how we could best create business benefits for them by integrating different areas.
Holistic approach brings out process synergies
A holistic view of the process enables us to identify integration opportunities between different areas. We strive to find synergies or interdependencies between process stages, and start testing different options on the basis of these.
Jumping too quickly to a solution that focuses on one area may result in missed synergy opportunities, or the capacity of a unit may even turn out to be incorrect in the longer term. For instance, analyzing the energy efficiency of processes before deciding on the capacity of a new biomass boiler is a good idea. So instead of immediately determining the capacity of the boiler that the customer might have originally planned to install, we review the different areas of the chain.
In many cases, the customer has already identified process areas that could be optimized, but has not had the will make the investment as payback periods have turned out to be too long. In projects like this Adven can serve as an enabler and take care of the overall investment, project implementation and subsequent plant operation, maintenance and development.
Technology always chosen according to customer needs
Our hands are not tied to any predetermined technology; we always choose the technology that best meets the customer’s needs. This is what differentiates our approach from technology suppliers. We take extensive overall responsibility since we take care of our plants’ performance and make sure that our services deliver on our promise throughout the contract period.
We at Adven build partnerships and create value for your business. Our investment and service models open up entirely new opportunities to develop processes.
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The author, Terho Saaristo, works as a Director of Concepts in Adven Group’s concept development team and is in charge of concept development for new sales projects in the Recovery and Industrial energy businesses in Finland, Sweden and Estonia.