News / 20.5.2016

Helen will build a new large heating and cooling plant in Helsinki

Helen will make a significant investment in district cooling energy by building a second industrial-scale heating and cooling plant in Helsinki. This investment will reduce Helen’s carbon dioxide emissions as fossil fuels can be replaced by heat pumps in district heat production.

Helen will build a new large heating and cooling plant in the cooling centre located under the Esplanade Park. Its production use will start in spring 2018. The investment will include two industrial-scale heat pumps producing cooling and heat. They will increase the cooling output of the Esplanade cooling centre to a total of 50 MW.

- As a result of the investment, Helen’s carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by an estimated 20,000 tonnes per year when we can replace the use of fossil fuels with heat pumps in district heat production, says Helen’s Director Heikki Hapuli.

With district cooling, heat produced by the sun, machinery, equipment and people is recovered from homes, offices and shopping centres in Helsinki. Currently, cooling is produced in the summer period primarily in the Katri Vala heating and cooling plant and with cooling energy stores.

With its district cooling system, Helen is the largest producer of solar heat in Finland. On the hottest days of the summer, it is possible to recover up to 800,000 kWh of renewable district heat a day with district cooling using the current capacity. This corresponds to the daily need for hot tap water of 250,000 Helsinki residents.

World’s largest heating and cooling plant in Helsinki

The majority, over 60%, of district cooling in Helsinki is produced in the world’s largest heating and cooling plant of its kind, producing district heat and district cooling. The plant is located in a rock cavern excavated under the Katri Vala Park in the district of Sörnäinen in Helsinki. Last year, the plant produced a record amount of heat, 422,000 MWh. This amount corresponds to 7% of all district heat in the Helsinki region. 

In the Katri Vala plant, heat and cooling are produced by five large heat pumps. They utilise the thermal energy of purified waste water and the thermal energy of the sun, which is brought in from properties via the cooling network. In their most efficient mode, the heat pumps produce both cooling and heating simultaneously. The new heat pumps will also produce both cooling and heating.

• The investment includes two new heat pumps: 2 x 7.5 MW of cooling and 2 x 11 MW of heat.
• The heat pumps will increase the total cooling output of the Esplanade cooling centre to 50 MW (new heat pumps 15 MW and the existing cooling accumulator 35 MW). 
• A total of 15 MW of heat can be recovered with the output of the heat pumps.
• The length of one heat pump entity is about 11 m, its width about 6 m and height about 5 m.
• Value of the investment is over EUR 10 million.
• The new heating and cooling plant will be ready for production in spring 2018.
• The district cooling system in Helsinki is the third largest in Europe, and it is the most rapidly growing cooling system in Europe.


Read more about the topic

Heating Carbon neutrality