New record reached with heat pumps in Helsinki

A record amount of renewable district heat was produced last year with the large heat pumps operating in the underground rock cavern in Sörnäinen, a total of 491,000 MWH. We also recovered over 16 per cent more waste heat than in the previous year.

Helen’s heating and cooling plant located under the Katri Vala Park made a new production record, and a total of 491,000 MWh of heat was produced with five large heat pumps. This amount would be enough to heat up a town the size of Kotka or about 27,000 detached houses (heating and hot water).

– The production volumes of heat pumps, which have now been in use for ten years, have increased year by year, by as much as 16 per cent last year. By developing the production process of the heating and cooling plant, we have increased the production output of the current heat pumps without having to invest in new machines, says Helen’s Director Heikki Hapuli.

The thermal energy of purified waste water and the thermal energy of the sun, which is obtained from properties via the cooling network, are utilised in the plant excavated into the rock cavern. In their most efficient mode, the heat pumps produce both cooling and heating simultaneously.

Helen is currently building another large heating and cooling plant in Helsinki. The new heat pumps, which will produce both district heat and district cooling, will be located in the district cooling centre located under the Esplanade Park. Their production use will start in 2018. The investment will reduce Helen’s carbon dioxide emissions by about 20,000 tonnes per year.

In 2016, Helen’s total district heat production was 7,100 GWh, i.e. about 10% higher than in the previous year. The increase was attributable to the cold weather and the number of new residents. The majority of district heat was produced at combined heat and power plants at Vuosaari, Salmisaari and Hanasaari, which generate both electricity and heat in the same process.

Renewable district heat now also from pellets and biogas

Last year, the Katri Vala heating and cooling plant produced 7 per cent of the total district heat in Helsinki, using renewable energy sources. The Hanasaari and Salmisaari CHP plants burn pellets with coal, and last year the plants used a total of 37,000 tonnes of pellets. Domestic biogas was also used for the first time last year in the district heat production by heating plants. 

Katri Vala heating and cooling plant

• World’s largest heating and cooling plant producing district heat and district cooling.
• Located in a rock cavern excavated under the Katri Vala Park in the district of Sörnäinen in Helsinki.
• Heat is recovered from the return water of district cooling and from the purified waste water from the Viikki wastewater treatment plant.
• The heat production of the Katri Vala plant meets the heating need of most of the city centre of Helsinki in the summer.
• Waste energy recovered with district cooling is processed in the heating and cooling plant to be used further as district heat.
• Completed in 2006.

Esplanade heating and cooling plant
• Under construction in a facility excavated underground in a cooling centre that is already in operation.
• 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.

Heat pumps in Helsinki

Published: 15.02.2017 13:15

Seija Uusitalo
Team manager, communications