District Heating Funen (Fjernvarme Fyn), situated in Odense (the third largest city in Denmark) has exchanged the entire park of heat meters - in total about 60,000 meters. And at the same time a truly innovative solution for the meter readout has been introduced: The city’s garbage vans collect heat meter data automatically.
A large scale concept for automated meter readout was requested, but with due regard to the utility’s specific need for data. The solution needed to be at the same time simple and economical, but without compromising the data security. These specifications seemed to call for a customized solution.
The outcome of the discussions was a mobile radio network - a semi-automated solution that reduces the costly and security sensitive human factor to a minimum.
At a relatively early stage of the process, the idea occurred to take advantage of an
already existing infrastructure. The garbage vans were in the beginning mentioned merely as a humorous remark, but soon all parties realized the perspectives of this scenario: the garbage vans do not only drive regularly, they also come near every single household.
The idea was to use the ’automation’ of this routine by equipping the garbage van with a transceiver that could receive signals from the meter and manage the data export to the utility.
Consequently, the “Garbage Van-Solution” was born. A decisive factor was that the heat meter and system provider, Kamstrup, could guarantee that the driver would in no way be influenced by the radiation from the transceiver, and that he could go undisturbed about his work.
The system requires no manual operation and no obligatory procedure. The data readout takes place automatically when the garbage vans drive their usual route.
From collection of energy data to analysis of energy data
The garbage van-solution has quickly spread. Currently, ca. 40,000 heat and water meters are being installed in a multi utility-system in Esbjerg. Multi billing is an obvious opportunity with automated reading.
The mobile radio solution sets the operation costs at a minimum. The investment will probably be recovered within eight years. The main reason for the cost reduction is the small amount of work force needed for the data collection. But apart from the financial benefit, District Heating Funen also takes advantage of a much more detailed overview of individual household consumptions to the effect that customer service and energy consulting have improved considerably. Problems with supply and particularly irregular consumption patterns are now registered far earlier than before; and, in addition, a much more accurate statistic opens up to a more controlled load management based on exact knowledge of the energy demand.
Customer: District Heating Funen (Fjernvarme Fyn)