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Empowering the energy transition at Fluvius, Belgium

    Transforming the Landscape of Heat Networks in Flanders

    In the heart of Belgium, Fluvius, the Flemish distribution system operator, plays a pivotal role in the energy transition and climate adaptation. As a multifaceted organization, Fluvius is entrusted with tasks ranging from constructing and managing distribution networks for electricity and natural gas to overseeing public lighting, sewage systems, and heat networks.

    At the forefront of this impactful transformation is a dedicated team of experts, including Siebert Mylle, an expert in grid development. We sat down with him to explore his role in shaping the future of heat networks and how Fluidit Heat, a hydraulic simulation solution, has become a welcomed ally in their mission.

    In their capacity as experts in grid development, Mr. Mylle and their colleagues are focused on developing sustainable heat networks in Flanders. His responsibilities include advising municipalities on heat plans, developing high-level concepts, and optimizing existing heat networks for sustainability. This strategic approach aims to align with the broader goals of
    energy efficiency and climate objectives.

    Project Success with Fluidit Heat

    Fluidit Heat entered the story when his colleagues were in search of a hydraulic simulation solution for designing heat networks. Fluidit Heat emerged as the optimal choice, providing a seamless platform to calculate and simulate various heat network concepts. Its flexibility in adjusting hydraulic and thermal parameters proved crucial in understanding the impact on the grid and exploring optimization possibilities.

    For a new heat network project in Flanders, Fluidit Heat played a pivotal role. The tool facilitated thermal and hydraulic calculations for each project phase, enabling the team to make informed decisions regarding hydraulic equipment and optimize the network. Building new models was easy by importing shapefiles with attribute data. The ability to create project templates streamlined their workflow, saving valuable time and ensuring consistency across projects. Earlier Fluvius had to outsource all the hydraulic simulations. Now with the introduction of Fluidit Heat they are able to save significant amounts of money by doing simulations on their own, adds Mr. Mylle.

    The challenges posed by existing, older heat grids in several Flemish municipalities were met with the capabilities of Fluidit Heat. By collecting additional information and utilizing the tool, the team created digital twins of these heat networks. This not only provided a comprehensive understanding of the networks but also allowed for addressing over-dimensioning, making optimizations, and exploring the integration of new heat sources.

    Recommendation and Future Outlook

    When asked about recommending Fluidit Heat to other utility and engineering companies, Mr. Mylle emphatically stated, “Yes.” The tool’s ability to simulate hydraulic scenarios effectively and the responsive support provided by Fluidit were highlighted as key reasons for the recommendation.

    Looking ahead, he shared insights into the development of district heating and cooling in Flanders. There are not that many useful heat sources, especially at high and medium temperatures, and at the same time privately owned buildings find it hard to convey in large masses to create an extensive heat grid. While acknowledging the challenges, Fluvius actively informs municipalities about heat plans, exploring opportunities for collective heating. Where collective heating is not feasible, the emphasis is on promoting sustainability through insulation measures and individual heat pumps.

    Recognizing the need for young professionals in the utility sector, Mr. Mylle proposed a strategy to attract talent: Organizing employer events in educational institutions, cafes, and other gathering spots. Working as an operator of critical energy infrastructure you can really play an important role in energy transition and climate adaptation. States Mr. Mylle as one of the best things working at Fluvius.

    In conclusion, Fluvius, with the aid of Fluidit Heat, stands as a beacon in the transformation of heat networks, showcasing how technology and expertise converge to drive sustainable energy practices. As they continue to navigate the evolving landscape of energy infrastructure, Fluvius exemplifies a commitment to innovation and environmental stewardship, paving the way for a greener future in Flanders.

    Read more about Fluidit Heat here.