A safe and sustainable world
Annual report 2022
Difficult conditions challenged growth plans
FORCE Technology entered the year 2022 with serious ambitions. It sought to achieve growth in the number of employees, investments, revenue, and profits. However, the coronavirus pandemic, strained supply chains, war in Europe, inflation, and the energy crisis made achieving our goals difficult.
ECONOMIC KEY FIGURES
Off to a good start with the 2024 Strategy
In 2021, FORCE Technology launched a new strategy that sets a new direction and specific goals towards the year 2024. Six new market areas made their débuts. This section provides updates on how things are going in Power-to-X, life science, circular economics and resources, wind energy, and hybrid testing.
Fuel cell certification for emission-free shipping
The shipping industry is facing a massive transition to green fuels, including hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol. Ballard Power Systems designs, develops, and delivers fuel cell systems that convert hydrogen to electrical energy through a chemical reaction while producing only water as a by-product. This energy can be used to operate ships, buses, trucks, trains, emergency power systems, and other kinds of systems and vehicles with zero emissions.
Most recently, Ballard developed the FCwaveTM fuel cell module for use in the maritime industry. A single module has an output of 200 kW. By combining multiple modules, it’s possible to power even large craft, like the cruise ferries that run between Copenhagen and Oslo.
However, bringing a module like the FCwaveTM to the market requires testing and approval before it can achieve maritime certification. As part of the certification process, FORCE Technology performed numerous tests on the FCwaveTM. For example, FORCE Technology tested the fuel cell for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). An EMC test can determine whether the fuel cell could disrupt other systems on board a ship, such as the emergency radio.
Additionally, FORCE Technology hosted several climatic stress tests of the module. These tests were configured to show that FCwaveTM can withstand the temperatures in an engine room without incurring damage.
With its certification taken care of, FCwaveTM is officially the world’s first fuel cell module to receive DNV approval for maritime use. This makes Ballard an industry leader in green, zero-emissions shipping.
Comprehensive hearing aid testing grants access to the American market
It is estimated that 466 million people around the world suffer from hearing loss, and this figure is rising. As with all medical devices, hearing aids are subject to strict regulatory requirements. In 2022, the EU introduced even more stringent regulations on medical devices.
These regulations invalidated existing approvals for medical devices, requiring all affected products to be retested. WSA, the third largest manufacturer of hearing aids and accessories worldwide, had to conduct new, comprehensive EMC safety testing on its products. To accomplish that, it turned to FORCE Technology for assistance.
One of the company’s goals was to gain access to the American market with over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, alongside Sony. These hearing aids can be purchased directly from retailers without first seeing a doctor or getting a prescription. Obtaining approval for OTC devices in the United States is no easy task. The OTC device regulations are codified in a 200-page document that took five years to develop.
Thanks to FORCE Technology’s consultancy services, comprehensive testing programme development, and documentation, WSA and Sony were able to secure approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration, enabling them to launch the their first OTC devices on the American market.
Resources and circular economy
Wind turbine blades: from waste problems to waste opportunities
Wind turbines are a symbol of the green transition, but they also pose a waste problem. What do we do with worn-out wind turbine blades, anyway?
Up until now, the solution was typically to bury them in the ground, but Clenflex, an SME, had a better idea: reusing the composite material in turbine blades for objects like small tanks and boxes for life vests and lifeboats. With this in mind, the company participated in a MADE Demonstration Project together with FORCE Technology.
As part of the project, the glass fibres and binders from worn-out wind turbine blades were separated using heat before being moulded into new glass fibre plates. Tests conducted on the new plates showed that the recycled glass fibres have 25-30% of the strength of new glass fibres, but this is no obstacle to large-scale recycling.
There are countless products that do not require glass fibre to be as strong as they need to be in wind turbine blades, or where recycled glass fibre can be used in some parts of the product, while new glass fibre is used in areas where maximum strength is needed.
Clenflex is now working on scaling up this process so larger pieces of composite material can be recycled in larger facilities that might eventually create jobs and become exporters.
Digitalisation and hybrid tests
Digital twin strengthens training of dairymen
Many things can go wrong in dairy operations if data, processes, and maintenance are not under control down to the last detail. In view of this, FORCE Technology and the Alexandra Institute have developed a digital twin of a pasteurisation system at Kold College as part of a pilot project. The digital twin is expected to help employees and vocational school students to make better decisions and develop smarter procedures.
An IoT tool can collect data, such as temperatures in production systems, and the twin can simulate dairy production operations—for instance, it can predict how much biofilm will be formed. Minimising the formation of biofilm during the production of dairy products is desirable. The data collected will allow dairy employees and students to adapt procedures and prevent this problem from occurring.
Preventing biofilm from forming reduces costs, improves safety, and boosts hygiene and resource efficiency. It also allows Kold College to prevent unnecessary downtime, where nothing is being produced.
The goal is for the digital twin to eventually be used to train future employees of dairies in Denmark and the other Nordic countries.
Floating wind turbines can produce energy for the whole world—and then some
Offshore wind turbines have been used, studied, and refined for three decades now. Offshore turbines have clear advantages; as a rule of thumb, they can produce 50% more energy than turbines on land. However, offshore wind has traditionally been limited by the fact that turbines can only be installed at sea floor depths of up to 60 metres. Deeper waters require floating foundations.
This technology is currently in development, and Stiesdal Offshore, based in Denmark, is one of the world’s leading developers of floating foundations for offshore wind turbines. The business is one of few actors in this area to have conducted a full-scale demonstration project with a floating offshore wind turbine. In December 2021, Stiesdal Offshore’s TetraSpar Demonstrator began operating in Norwegian waters with a depth of 200 metres. Another variant, known as TetraSub, was selected for an upcoming offshore wind project in Scotland.
FORCE Technology has tested both foundations on a small scale. The goal was to collect data on how floating wind turbines behave when subjected to winds of different speeds and waves of various types, including how they are impacted by what is referred to as a 50-year wave.
The turbines can be placed in waters with depths from 60 to 1000+ metres, and the floating foundations can be used around the world without the need to build new structures for every offshore wind project.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), floating wind turbines have enough growth potential to provide 10 times the entire world’s energy consumption, which would make them major contributors to the green transformation.
We take responsibility
As a GTS institute, FORCE Technology has a special role in society, and that role comes with special obligations and responsibilities. We aim to make the world safer and more sustainable. To that end, we are actively working to minimise our CO2 emissions, promote diversity, and refine technologies, making them available to businesses through participation in research and development projects.
FORCE Technology strives to make the world safer and more sustainable. For that reason, we prepare a climate statement every year, allowing us to use the right data to set ambitious targets for reducing our emissions.
Distribution of CO2 emissions in 2022:
As part of our social sustainability work, we are actively engaged in promoting gender diversity. We have signed DI’s Gender Diversity Pledge, and in 2022, we set specific targets for gender diversity in our company.
Female employees in 2022:
Goal in 2024: 25 %
Female managers in 2022:
Goal in 2024: 22 %
Female board members* (excluding employee elected) in 2022:
Goal in 2024: 33 %
* The proportion of female board members incl. employee elected members is 50 %.
Research and development
As one of the large GTS institutes in Denmark, we are an important part of the Danish innovation system, and through participation in R&D projects we help mature new technologies and make them available to companies. In 2022, we had record R&D activity – and increased participation in national initiatives.
R&D revenue, MDKK
Knowledge partner in 12 of 13 clusters
Member of the board in 6 of 12 clusters
Member of 176 standardization committees
12 professional clubs
1,500+ individual members
530+ member companies