A Danish engineering company and EPC contractor, with a mission to develop, supply, erect, commission and service biomass fire power and CHP plants, Aalborg Energie Technik a/s (AET) was founded in 1996 by its current CEO and two fellow colleagues: “From its very first day of operations, AET has always been proud to be more than ‘just a place to work’,” explains marketing manager, Dino Ovcina. “Carrying the spirit of its founders, who have a vision of making the company the best working place in the world, AET is very much a flat organisation that promotes open communication between its employees.
“This close co-operation naturally also extends to the company’s clients. Punctual and optimal execution of several challenging projects and major tasks at the same time understandably places a heavy burden on the company’s organisational structure. It is at this point where the close relationships between individual experts from different departments of the business really comes to the fore. Operating as a matrix-based project organisation enables AET to make a flexible, effective and punctual approach to each task it undertakes.”
When approaching a task, one representative from each of the departments involved will typically establish a project group. An AET employee is free to enter into one or several project groups, depending on the nature of the tasks involved. Once established, the group, which is managed by an experienced project manager, co-ordinates and handles the interests and operations of each project, while also being responsible for the fulfillment of all contractual obligations as its relates to quality and the observation of time limits.
“Good engineering is absolutely fundamental when it comes to designing and supplying reliable biomass power plants,” Dino continues. “In order to achieve the optimal level of plant performance day after day, each of the components needs to be carefully engineered, fully optimised and integrated so that they together function as a whole. It is the belief of AET that this is best achieved by being able to carry out both the detailed design of the most essential parts, and the overall basic component designs, in-house.”
Combined with other factors, this approach allows the company to supply biomass plants that themselves generate a number of advantages. These plants are able to boast availability of more than 99 per cent, and 96 per cent when planned stops are taken into account, providing stable electricity, heat or steam production throughout the year, as well as a higher boiler efficiency level, which itself results in a greater net output for the same amount of fuel. Other characteristics include robust technology, which works to avoid unnecessary shutdowns. Furthermore, AET biomass power and cogeneration plants have low in-house power consumption and low maintenance costs. Moreover, these plants act as an environmentally friendly solution, producing lower flue gas emissions.
“The vast number of well functioning references the company has throughout Europe is another thing that really differentiates AET from others within its field of expertise,” Dino says. “When it meets potential customers that are interested in building a biomass plant, the company is able to offer them an invitation to visit one of its existing plants to see with their own eyes that what AET is offering on paper does function extremely well in reality.”
As Dino goes on to highlight, the last 12 months have seen the company continue to make considerable strides: “Even in the face of difficult economic conditions AET has been able to bring in 20 new employees into the company over the last year. This means that it now employs 100 people, predominantly engineers, who are all based in Denmark. In addition to this, AET has, in a consortium with another Danish company, an operations and maintenance contract on the Western Wood Energy Plant in Wales.”
One of the more exciting news items involving AET in recent times is its successful tendering for a second contract in the UK. This contract for a co-generation plant, to be located in Rothes, Scotland, will see the facility go into operation in the second quarter of 2013, and has been valued at approximately 35 million euros: “On a turnkey basis, AET will supply the biomass boiler plant, flue gas cleaning plant, fuel handling plant, water steam system, electrical and control system and steam turbine generator,” Dino says. “At the facility a combination of the whisky distillery by-product from the local area and wood chips will be combusted in the boiler. This will generate around 7.2 megawatts of power, enough to supply roughly 9000 homes with electricity.
“In addition to this, the co-generation plant will supply approximately 12 tons per hour of process steam to an evaporation plant, which will be built on the same ground and used for the production of a syrup for the animal feed market on the basis of another distillery by-product, pot ale.”
In order to increase its presence in the UK marketplace, AET has made several conscious business decisions, one of which is the appointment of a British sales agent, Peter Elliot, who is based in Yorkshire and possesses considerable experience of both the industry and of working with other Danish companies. Moreover, AET will once again be represented at the All Energy 2012 exhibition in Aberdeen in May.
“Other primary and secondary markets for new sales mainly include Western European countries, however it has also started to investigate several Central and Eastern markets on the continent,” Dino highlights. “These markets each have substantial amounts of biomass resources and with each having plans to increase energy production from renewable sources in the years to come they present AET with many interesting opportunities. The potential work in these countries will go along way towards assisting the company in achieving its goal to double in size over the next two-to-three years.”