An energy market in fast transition
Demands across all regions increased significantly compared with the previous year, both for products and solutions as well as for our service and maintenance offering. Orders grew by 27 percent and a strong driver behind this development is the continued desire for greater energy efficiency and circularity to reduce emissions and costs.
The unexpected increase in the oil & gas sector due the Russian invasion of Ukraine also supported our growth during 2022. On a division level, the discontinuation of new orders in Russia as a consequence of sanctions have been more than compensated by other countries looking to boost energy efficiency and secure alternatives to Russia’s energy supply.
Sales of products and solutions related to energy efficiency, which today account for about 80 percent of the division’s business, are primarily fuelled by the new generation of heat exchangers. In 2022, strong demand was particularly evident in end-customer segments such as HVAC and Process industries.
Interest in energy efficiency is also driving increased demand for services, which helps ensure the smooth running of customers’ existing equipment. At the same time, service remains an area with significant potential for growth, and the offering is continuously being expanded. This also involves developing new service models, for example where the sale of a product is linked to long-term maintenance agreements including energy audits that identify energy savings in the customer’s processing equipment to ensure optimal usage.
During the year, the roll out of the new gasketed heat exchanger product platform continued. This technology, which features improved performance and uses less energy, means Alfa Laval is able to offer the most comprehensive range of heat exchangers in the company’s history. Furthermore, 2022 was also a year where the increase in production capacity continued, which was important in a year of continued high demand. The growing demand for energy efficiency applications is expected to continue, and Alfa Laval will continue to invest in sufficient capacity to serve and support this transition in the years to come.
Energy transition and circularity
It is evident that there is an accelerating ambition to reduce the environmental footprint and seek alternative fuel and energy solutions, driven by both societies, companies and end-customers. Alfa Laval’s know-how and technologies are crucial in an energy market exposed to constant shifts in trends. The growing adaptation of biodiesel and other non-fossil fuels creates demand for pre-treatment and new refining processes for the extraction and purification of raw materials. At the same time, significant investments are being made in new types of energy, such as solar and wind power and the development of hydrogen as an energy source. Heat transfer expertise is key in the new emerging energy landscape. This means Alfa Laval is well positioned to harness the many business opportunities that are now emerging.
Increased focus on circularity is also key to ensure better use of resources. Industrial processes generate waste and wastewater. Water management strategies such as zero liquid discharge can minimize freshwater intake, reduce costs and enhance the sustainability of overall plant operations. Alfa Laval’s systems have greater energy efficiency than comparable systems with equivalent capacities and is at the same time are more compact, which means a lower overall installation cost for the customer.
A new digital playing field
Investments in digital infrastructure, in combination with a changing customer behaviour, means that e-commerce continues to grow faster than sales through the traditional channels. To support this development, further investments are being made to the e-commerce platforms to further enhance their capabilities and add more user benefits. Services are also becoming more digitalized through sensor technology, remote monitoring and, in the long term, innovative image recognition technology, which helps identify maintenance needs. Overall, it’s about new, smart services that save time, reduce risk and improve overall cost efficiency for the customer.
Significant end markets
HVAC & Refrigeration
Oil & Gas
Making the transition to cleaner energy
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), there are two main factors that will enable the Paris agreement’s targets to be met: increased energy efficiency and transitioning to renewable fuels. Alfa Laval has the technologies, the expertise, and the necessary
collaborations to contribute to both.
Around 50 percent of the emissions that need to be cut by 2030 to reach the Paris agreement can come from technologies that are already available today. This can be achieved either by implementing innovative technology that reduces energy consumption compared to traditional solutions, or by adding technology to existing processes that captures and reuses waste heat for other purposes. Alfa Laval’s solutions do both – and in many different industries and applications.
For example, in Hamburg, Germany, Alfa Laval’s specially designed heat exchangers will be used to recover waste heat from a sulphuric acid plant, which will then be reused for district heating for more than 23,000 households. When the installation is complete, it will enable annual savings of 100,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Data centres are rapidly becoming a major source of carbon emissions. In five years, they will consume 20 percent of the world’s power capacity. More than 35 percent of a data centre’s energy consumption is used for cooling servers. However, Alfa Laval’s compact heat exchangers can capture and reuse waste heat from servers and distribute it to district heating networks.
While increased energy efficiency in current processes will help make significant gains in the short-term, reaching the Paris agreement will require an increased use of renewable energy sources.
The challenge is that many renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, do not always produce energy when demand is highest. However, developing efficient energy storage solutions can help overcome this challenge and facilitate the shift towards renewable energy sources. Alfa Laval initiated and is part of the Long Duration Energy Storage Council (LDES), a global body comprised of technology companies, users and investors, with the ambition of achieving a net-zero power grid by 2040.
There are also other clean energy sources, such as ammonia and hydrogen. According to the IEA, hydrogen is one of the leading options for storing energy from renewable sources and enabling transportation over long distances. Within this field, Alfa Laval will supply compact heat exchangers to the world’s largest green hydrogen plant, being built in the Middle East.
During the year, Alfa Laval joined the Hydrogen Council as one of about 140 companies from across the globe representing the entire hydrogen value chain. The long-term goal is to utilize hydrogen to foster the clean energy transition for a better, more sustainable future.
Alfa Laval is committed to being part of the solution and reduce its own footprint. In June, Alfa Laval announced a collaboration with SSAB, the global Swedish steel company, to develop and commercialize the world’s first heat exchanger made using fossil-free steel, and in November the first units were produced. The collaboration is an important step in Alfa Laval’s journey to become carbon neutral by 2030.