Twenty-five years ago, Ljubomir Novković and his family recognised the advantages of renewable energy and started investing in new technology. Today, Alfa-gas Term is recognised as the best supplier of thermal energy plants providing clean energy, and is in demand both in Serbian and on the region’s markets. Family ideas are successfully realised with the state assistance, in cooperation with the experts of the School of Technical Sciences of the University of Novi Sad and foreign partners, and their work and clientele keep growing.
Your company mainly deals in building building thermal energy plants and planning gas and water supply layouts. How competitive do you think the Serbian market is locally and compared with global trends?
It was back in 1992 that I set out on a journey into the uncertainty and beauty of entrepreneurship, with boundless support from my family – wife Irina, daughter Maja and son Dejan. Having done the market research, we realised that renewable energy is a field lacking in research, applicability and power plant supply. With selfless expert help from Professor Dušan Gvozdenac and his associates from the School of Technical Sciences in Novi Sad, we’ve been tirelessly perfecting and applying our knowledge in this area. Not only do we install thermal energy plants but we also design them. With major government support, the Serbian market has great prospect. Our country has an excellent geographical position and is rich in waters and geothermal energy. With its favourable climate, the country has an amazing potential to save and substitute oil, coal, wood and gas as primary energy sources. The benefits of renewable energy are cleaner environment, unpolluted air and soil, and as well as a considerable financial savings.
Compared with global trends, we are moving up, and we’re doing it with our own brainpower.
It was back in 1992 that I set out on a journey into the uncertainty and beauty of entrepreneurship with boundless support from my family – wife Irina, daughter Maja and son Dejan
You are a co-founder of the Renewable Energy Society. Is Serbia dedicated to energy awareness and renewable energy?
Compared to 1992, Serbia is now an important factor when it comes to using new, clean technologies. The Renewable Energy Society wants to affirm the use of renewable energy and to educate people about it. We organise lectures for the general public and industry, focusing in particular on the installation of heat pumps, sanitary hot water solar heaters and photovoltaic panels. We have performed well in the industrial application of renewable energy systems, making considerable financial savings. We expect to raise public awareness significantly if helped financially by the government.
We have established successful cooperation with foreign partners such as Viessmann, Vaillant etc. Our current activities include the substitution of a mazut-fired boiler room with a gas-fired containerised boiler plant.
We get great support from the local government, led by the Mayor of Kula Perica Videkanjić and his team, Mr Milojičić, Mr Miljanić, Mr Kostić and Mr Trifunović. They recognise the importance of renewable energy and its benefits.
Your career started in a workshop set up during the war and hyperinflation, and you are now running a respectable company. Does this prove that a Serbian dream can come true or is this simply a Novković reality?
It’s true, starting a business under those conditions wasn’t easy. But if you have faith in your family, yourself and the people around you, and if you have a vision, it’s much easier. Years of hard work and commited staff have helped our business grow and the quality of our work improve.
Of course, it was possible for me to realise the “Serbian dream” ‒ or the “Novković reality” ‒ because in addition to great associates and good people behind me, I had the greatest treasure of all, my grandchildren Leda, Stefana, Bodin and Nikodin.