The future of energy now: Gruyère energy full steam ahead

Everyone is talking about climate protection. Gruyère Energie S.A. is making progress and is energetically promoting the development of the district heating network in the city of Bulle and other municipalities in the region. At the same time, Gruyère Energie is developing a system for measuring heat consumption.

Founded over 130 years ago, Gruyère Energie S.A. is the most important regional energy supplier in Gruyère. The company provides a comprehensive portfolio of products and services for the supply of electrical energy, thermal energy and drinking water as well as for the entire building technology sector. With a strong focus on energy efficiency, the utilisation of waste heat and renewable energy such as photovoltaics, the Gruyère Energie Group is a key player in promoting the energy transition in the region and is constantly investing in the necessary infrastructure.

Continuous expansion of the district heating network

Around the turn of the millennium Gruyère Energie S.A. had already put a district heating network into operation. Since then, the company has been continuously developing the network. At present, it supplies around 16,000 inhabitants of the region with energy via almost 150 kilometres of pipelines, which is largely generated from waste heat. “The production and distribution of district heating is one of our core competencies and has a high priority”, explains Lucas Andrey, Automation and Supervision Engineer. “95% of the 120 GWh that we distribute each year via our network comes from sustainable energy sources.”

Bachofen's Digest 2024 - Gruyère Energie SA
Bachofen's Digest 2024 - Gruyère Energie SA
Lucas Andrey

Upgrade of substations throughout the entire network

A technical hub in the distribution of district heating is the interface between the main distribution network and the heating systems of the buildings. Here, the substations are installed, transferring the heat of the water supplied to the building’s own heating installations via heat exchangers. Heat supply and the heat consumption are also measured in the substations. As part of the rapid expansion and renewal of its district heating network, the engineers at Gruyères Energie have developed a new switch box, which was manufactured by the subsidiary Ensapp SA and is used in the substations for existing and new consumers. “We are installing around 100 substations per year for new customers and will implement 500 retrofits over the next five years”, explains Lucas Andrey.

The Intesis HMS gateway from Bachofen as an unconventional solution

For communication between the controller and the heat meter, Gruyère Energie SA was looking for a module that could read an M-Bus meter and translate the data into Modbus TCP. The choice was made to use the Intesis gateway from Bachofen technology partner HMS. As this component had never been used for this special case before, the engineers from Gruyères Energie and the product managers from Bachofen put their heads together to ensure that the Intesis gateway actually met the specific requirements of this application.

Successful implementation in a special application area

So far, 17 units have been put into operation, which fulfil expectations one hundred percent. Lucas Andrey is very pleased with the Intesis MAPS configuration tool, which enables quick and easy configuration even with a large number of installations. He was even more impressed by the fact that Bachofen was also able to make a competitive offer in terms of price. However, the foundation of the long-standing relationship between Gruyère Energie and Bachofen is the expert technical support of the Bachofen specialists. “This support saves us engineers an enormous amount of time in the development and commissioning of our installations”, says Lucas Andrey. For Bachofen, this is a very motivating message.