In Karlshamn, a collaboration between several organisations has created a sustainable, intelligent district heating system. The system is controlled using the latest AI technology and is constantly evolving to create a future-proof sustainable energy supply.
Meeting around 50 percent of demand, district heating is the most common form of heating in Sweden. It is also resource efficient and has environmental benefits, as it is fuelled by different types of waste such as household, forestry and industry waste.
Inspiring innovation through close collaboration
The district heating system in Karlshamn municipality is being further developed into an intelligent system. Municipality-owned energy company Karlshamn Energi is cooperating with NODA Intelligent Systems, which uses AI to apply sophisticated communication to energy systems. NODA uses forecasts to make Karlshamn’s district heating system more efficient and sustainable.
The intelligent district heating system serves 1,500 buildings, including private, commercial and public buildings such as schools. The largest customer is Elleholms Tomater, Sweden’s second-largest tomato greenhouse. It consumes approximately 17,000 MWh annually and relies on clean, smart, low-carbon energy from district heating. Elleholms Tomater also plans to build a fish farm next to the greenhouse, to further reduce return temperatures in the system.
Making use of excess heat
Some 99 percent of the energy in Karlshamn’s district heating system comes from renewable sources. 93 percent of the main supply of hot water to the district heating system comes from excess heat from Södra’s pulp and paper mill in Mörrum, which has installed capacity of 63 MW. The rest comes from AAK, a company specialising in plant-based oils for consumer products, which acts as the main backup supplier, with 22 MW installed and available as standby from September until April. Karlshamn Energi also has several smaller boilers in and around Karlshamn to support the system, mainly fuelled by biofuel.
The development of district heating supported by AI is one of many steps in Karlshamn Energi’s plan for 100 percent renewable district heating, highlighting the importance of innovative collaboration and AI’s role in a more sustainable future.