Known for its famous Tsingtao Brewery, the city of Qingdao in Shandong Province, China, has witnessed dramatic changes to its economic health in recent years.
The city boasts one of the fastest GDP growths in China over the past decade thanks to burgeoning local businesses along with foreign investment that is due, in part, to its location on the coast and proximity to Japan and Korea.
QDHP moves away from domestic pumps
As a district heating thermoelectric group, QDHP supplied nearly half of the energy needed to some 3.36 million square metres in the city. Obsolete thermoelectric power products meant ultra-high voltage use, however, resulting in overcapacity of the domestically made water pumps. Failure of these pumps would jeopardise the safety of the heating supply.
“The water pump is an essential part of the heating supply process. In the past, we mainly used domestic-brand pump suppliers. The quality of the brand would be inconsistent, and the failure rate relatively high,” says Kang Yiao, Deputy General Manager at QDHP.
“Eventually we realized that to improve the pumps’ capability we needed to choose circulator pumps where the product efficiency was higher compared with domestic brands. The products supplied by Grundfos matched that requirement. The quality and efficiency were superior to some of its competitors, and the pumps developed by Grundfos consume less power, which is essential in heating supply.” The pump inside the heating system is the only component that uses electricity, he adds.
Since 1998, QDHP has integrated Grundfos pumps and technology into the province’s heating supply. After more than a decade of collaboration with Grundfos, QDHP has established itself as a premium player in the nation’s heating industry and a pioneer in modern heating supply practices.
“Our companies’ cooperation is critical in supplying high-quality heating solutions to the consumer and beneficial for both partners now and in the future,” says Kang Yiao. “Dual development of both brands remains a key component to Qingdao’s largest heating enterprise.
“With Grundfos products, we save 20% of our electricity – about 600,000 kWh – using the latest technology, combustion efficiency and operation efficiency increases.”
Kang Yiao, Deputy General Manager at QDHP
Strategies save money in the long-term
Grundfos after-sales service provides training for QDHP staff, educating employees on the advanced technology from Denmark and trying out the latest models of pumps and bespoke power-saving solutions. These power-saving solutions are a key component in optimizing the heating supply, and saving energy means saving money.
“Our relationship with Grundfos began when the Qingdao Gaoyu environmental protection technology development company referred us to Grundfos’ superior product,” says Kang Yiao. “Although the price was higher than domestic products, we understood the value and savings that could be made.”
Kang Yiao estimates that the Qingdao thermoelectric group consumes some 3 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of pump power annually.
“With the Grundfos products, we can save about 20 percent of the electricity – about 600,000 kWh – using the latest technology, combustion efficiency and operation efficiency increases,” he says. “In return, we can improve the atmospheric environment, reducing carbon emissions, and produce cleaner energy.”
Enjoying a higher return on investment
“The mechanical shaft seals in Grundfos’ pumps are manufactured using high-grade steel,” Kang Yiao says. “The quality-assurance process reduces ongoing maintenance of the equipment and increases the life of the product. The pumps also produce less noise, are highly reliable and ultimately provide a greater return on investment than the products available on the domestic market.”
Grundfos has become a key supplier of heating components for QDHP. Services such as an energy audit allow QDHP to analyse energy flow, collect information and improve energy input into the heating supply.
QDHP’s investment in modern, Grundfos technology makes the company unique in the Chinese heating supply market. QDHP sends some of its employees to the company’s headquarters in Denmark to learn about operating strategies, new technology and how Grundfos technology differs from that of domestic suppliers.
The focus on modernization makes QDHP influential with other Chinese players. But like many municipal heating companies in China, QDHP has faced hydraulic balance problems in the past. High energy consumption coupled with the transition from outdated technology led to the company use oversized pumps.
“The biggest challenge for us is energy conservation and emissions reduction,” Kang Yiao says. “We believe that Grundfos employs superior energy-saving solutions.”
“Grundfos has played a key role in our expansion, since it supplies critical equipment for delivering quality heating solutions.”
Kang Yiao, Deputy General Manager at QDHP
Grundfos provides a smaller pump that can do the same job as a bigger one, he says.
“Grundfos’ products offer highly efficient solutions,” he says. “QDHP strives for quality, and we are willing to invest in the long term. This equates to a reduction in field maintenance and increased power savings. The benefits of a superior product are clear.”
Today, QDHP continues to grow, managing more than 80 percent of the heating supply in Qingdao. After securing contracts with the local government, the company had its most successful year in 2012, and it has become a recognized distributor of high-quality heating solutions to residential buildings, thanks to its advanced technology.
“We will continue to expand and establish our brand in China,” Kang Yiao says. “Grundfos has played a key role in this expansion, since it supplies critical equipment for delivering quality heating solutions. Qingdao Heat & Power Company stands for quality and credibility – that is why we are honoured to partner with the Grundfos brand.”
Delivering the latest technology
Grundfos supplies Tsingtao Heating Power Group with the latest water pump technology in its district heating system, including more than 2,000 units of the TP vertical in-line volute pumps and the CR pump range for the heating station, along with PACO-KP for the boiler feed, ranging from 355 kW to 630 kW in capacity. In addition, Grundfos has supplied several units of its Grundfos ThermosmarT intelligent, thermal equilibrium-regulating system for district heating.
Grundfos also has an after-sales service facility in Qingdao. Grundfos is working towards optimizing QDHP technology systems to allow the company to save more energy without affecting the outcome.
The largest heating enterprise in Shandong
Qingdao Heating Power Group (QDHP), the district heating company in the city of Qingdao, is the largest heating enterprise in Shandong Province.
The annual generation capacity is 790 million kWh. It has built a 172-kilometre steam pipeline network, a 2,000-kilometre hot water pipeline network, 19 heat source plants (including heat and power plants and heating stations), and 13 primary heat-exchange stations. The heating areas cover 51 million square metres with 372 company-unit customers and 380,000 residential customers.
The company’s total assets amount to RMB 6.2 billion (USD 1 billion), and its annual sales are RMB 2.1 billion. The group comprises 18 subsidiaries and has more than 2,500 employees.