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Alfa Laval keeps investing to achieve sustainability goals in Chinese market

By YUAN SHENGGAO China Daily Updated: 2022-11-08

Industrial specialist Alfa Laval has made efforts to realize China's dual carbon goals with its advanced technology and practices, and has become an advocate of sustainable development.

Alfa Laval's new Taicang Advanced Service Center in Jiangsu province is one of the largest service centers in Asia. CHINA DAILY

The Swedish company has provided heat transfer, separation and fluid handling solutions since Gustaf de Laval, the inventor of the world's first separator, founded the company in 1883.

As one of the earliest foreign-owned companies to enter the Chinese market in 1984, the company is not only a witness but a beneficiary of China's reform and opening-up.

Over the past decades, Alfa Laval has contributed to China's modernization through cutting-edge technology and industrial know-how, and has been in a position to help address sustainability challenges with its three core technologies.

Christian Thomsen, president of Alfa Laval's Northeast Asian region, believes that to seize the Chinese market, Alfa Laval needs to offer innovative and sustainable solutions across energy, chemical, food and water treatment, biopharma and marine industries. Meanwhile, Alfa Laval must grow with the green opportunities in this vast and diversified market.

Green focus

By 2050, it is predicted that there will be a 47 percent increase in global energy demand, according to a report released by the United States' Energy Information Administration. Given this growing need, Alfa Laval attaches great importance to accelerating sustainable solutions with its four cornerstones: energy efficiency, clean energy, circularity and sustainable food.

The company has supported the marine industry for more than 100 years with solutions in most key vessel applications. It has also taken the initiative to speed up the use of clean energy.

It has provided solutions with methanol, one of the possible fuels to achieve carbon neutrality, and begun a new phase in decarbonization. In 2021, the American Bureau of Shipping granted Alfa Laval the marine industry's first approval in principle for firing boilers with methanol.

The company is working with a range of current and future marine fuels while developing clean energy to help realize sustainable shipping.

At the ongoing fifth China International Import Expo, the Alfa Laval E-PowerPack — another solution based on Organic Rankine Cycle technology in marine sustainability — is gaining much attention.

By reusing waste heat and taking advantage of a main engine's fuel, it offers energy efficiency by converting waste heat directly into clean electrical power. This enables marine vessels to boost efficiency and shrink their carbon footprint.

Alfa Laval is also in close collaboration with its partners to upgrade energy infrastructure to accelerate the commercialization process. It recently joined the Hydrogen Council, with more than 140 companies from across the globe, to utilize hydrogen and foster a clean energy transition for a more sustainable future.

To reduce carbon dioxide emissions and expand new energy installations' footprint, much effort and investment has been put into exploring clean energy opportunities. These include carbon capture, utilization and storage as well as green chemicals.

In the food industry, Alfa Laval's improved technology has helped fluid treatment processes to reduce unnecessary consumption and increase productivity, ensuring product quality and safety. Also, the company has entered new fields of plant-based protein and alternative protein.

The company has dedicated to many municipal environmental projects. More than 1,500 of Alfa Laval's separators have been used for sludge dewatering since their first application in the Shanghai Caoyang water purification plant in 1994, contributing to environmental protection.

Commitment to China

"China has always been a vital market for our global business expansion. Alfa Laval has always held onto its commitment to invest in China, launching a number of advanced new applications and key projects," Thomsen said.

In the past five years, Alfa Laval has continuously invested in the layout of production facilities and upgraded service capabilities, so as to grasp development opportunities in China and to better serve local customers.

In 2019, Alfa Laval launched a new logistics center and the third phase of the decanter manufacturing facility in Kunshan, Jiangsu province. It produces decanters, high-speed separators and centrifugal units, providing a strong supply chain and after-market service for sourcing spare parts of localized products in China.

To support the development and upgrading of the Asia-Pacific shipbuilding industry, especially in China, the Qingdao marine boiler factory became fully operational in 2020.Designed with a variety of low-carbon and emission reduction operation systems, it is one of the largest marine boiler manufacturers worldwide. It is also one of the biggest facilities invested by Alfa Laval in China.

Meanwhile, the second phase of the Jiangyin factory in Jiangsu began operation in 2021. Featuring the complete Alfa Laval heat exchanger portfolio, it satisfies increasing demand by providing high-efficiency solutions to customers in critical industries.

In July, the new Taicang Advanced Service Center in Jiangsu officially opened. It is one of the largest service centers in Asia and also one of the most sustainable and advanced facilities of Alfa Laval. Also, in this advanced center, Alfa Laval is building its Asia academy to provide strong testing capabilities, exhibit innovative technologies, and to train both employees and customers.

"Alfa Laval will 'walk the talk' by continuously contributing to realize China's dual carbon goals with its advanced technology and practices, and will continue to invest in China in the future," Thomsen said.

"We are, right now, on the investment case for continuously expanding production capacity of our Brazed and Fusion bonded heat exchangers for heat pump market. Also we are expanding our service center network in China to better serve our local customers," he added.