Westenergy’s primary task is to refine the unrecyclable waste supplied by the owner companies into electricity, heat and renewable materials. The sustainability and efficiency of the operations are constantly developed.
In 2022 the usability rate of Westenergy’s WtE plant was a full 100 percent! It means that the plant was in operation throughout the year apart from the service stop in March, and no production disruptions took place last year. To be able to operate a WtE plant with a single production line with-out disruptions for an entire year is very exceptional, and we are very happy with the high usability rate of the plant.
In 2022, Westenergy refined approximately 195 000 tonnes of waste into energy – into 90 giga-watt-hours of electricity and 400 gigawatt-hours of district heating. Westenergy produced 54 per-cent of Vaasan Sähkö’s district heating and the amount of electricity produced in the plant co-vers the need of some 4 500 electrically heated houses.
In the summer, the excess thermal energy was stored in Vaasan Sähkö’s energy storage in Vaskiluo-to, and in the fall when the demand for heating increased, energy was unloaded from the storage into the district heating network. In this way we were able to even out the gap between the produc-tion and demand and improve the energy efficiency of the plant.
In 2022, the energy market became relatively unstable, and we reacted to the situation by maximis-ing the production of electricity in the plant. The turbine was, therefore, by-passed more seldom last year than usually. By-passing the turbine refers to a situation where energy is produced solely in the form of heat, not electricity. The instability in the global situation caused also significant price fluctua-tion and elevated the prices of the chemicals used in the flue gas purification. With the help of pro-found planning and preparedness we were, however, able to ensure the stable operation of the WtE plant in a challenging situation.
Westenergy’s WtE plant is operated by Production Manager, Production Engineer, and a team of 15 Operators.
In 2022 the new incoming road, waste storage area, and automatic truck scale were put into opera-tion. This also included a new access control system. We are now able to store waste during service stops and production disruptions neatly indoors in the waste hall.
Circular economy has been strongly present in the project as for instance, recycled concrete rubble and ground material such as stone rubble and surface soil found readily in the area were used in the construction of the area. This year we aim to optimise the reception process.
Efficient maintenance creates the conditions for keeping Westenergy’s WtE plant in operation nearly throughout the whole year. The maintenance team of the plant is currently formed by Maintenance Manager, Electrician, Automation Mechanic, three Mechanics, and Apprenticeship student. In 2022 we reached the usability of 100 percent with which we are very pleased. Efficient preventive maintenance and a skilled staff are of key importance when aiming at high usability.
In March last year, the first service stop for a year and a half was organised. All the maintenance and repair work that require that the plant is shut down are carried out during the service stop. Last year, it was estimated the service stop to take two weeks, but we were able to start production ahead of schedule. This is a great thing regarding energy production. Last year we changed, for example, the draining lines of the superheaters which helped reach the high usability rate. In addition, routine preventive maintenance and periodic inspections were carried out both in mechanical and electricity and automation maintenance. The condition assessment of the boiler revealed that there still is no significant wearing and the next maintenance work for the boiler will be carried out in 2027. The wearing of the equipment is more concrete in the flue gas purification system.
The impacts of the war in Ukraine to the global situation were reflected also in Westenergy’s maintenance. This caused, for instance, delays in delivery times of different products and in getting offers from suppliers. The prices of products changed relatively fast which prolonged the purchase processes. We have prepared ourselves for these uncertainties with careful planning. In 2021, no service stop was organised in the plant so there was more time than usual for planning and prepar-ing the service stop in 2022.
Maintenance needs to be developed continuously, and we have started a project for implementing a new maintenance system. Read the online annual report for CMMS Project Engineer Johan Nevanperä’s work with the new maintenance system!
I started working at Westenergy four years ago when I had a summer job in mechanical mainte-nance. Later, I participated also in the service stops of the plant. Last year, I completed my thesis which was a study on different maintenance systems suitable for Westenergy, and when I had completed the thesis, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Energy Technology from the University of Applied Sciences in Vaasa. I decided to study energy technology as I considered the energy sector a rapidly developing industry that offers versatile career opportunities. At Westenergy, I have been able to see the fast development of the energy sector, technology, and systems related to it.
After graduation, my work at Westenergy continued, and I currently work at Westenergy as CMMS Project Engineer. My responsibilities include developing a new light ERP system that includes man-aging co-operation partners and suppliers, contract management, and purchasing. After the imple-mentation of the ERP system, I’ll continue working with the maintenance system. The project is chal-lenging as the new maintenance system will include, for instance, purchasing, contractor manage-ment, maintenance reporting, and cost control in addition to maintenance functions themselves. In addition, the ERP and maintenance systems must be interoperable. The projects are very interesting and offer a good possibility to learn new things about the company. I greatly enjoy when I get some-thing I have worked with, to work well. In that sense, work with the ERP and maintenance systems suits me especially well.
Currently I do background work and configuration regarding the implementation of the maintenance system, and the project with the ERP system proceeds at the same time. The project is about imple-menting entirely new systems which means that I co-operate actively with the staff. Co-operation is fluent although it is a bit challenging to find time that fits into everyone’s calendars. I feel that my views are taken into account well in the project. My experience in the plant maintenance has been useful when planning the functionalities of the maintenance system.
I have enjoyed working at Westenergy as I consider that operations are developed here open-mindedly, and everyone has the possibility to have an influence on things. In addition, the work at-mosphere is good and working methods are flexible. I live in Seinäjoki but I am able to carry out over a half of my working hours as remote work, and usually it is enough that I’m at the office once a week. Remote work saves time and money as I don’t need to commute every day.