News / 18.6.2018

New heat pump to be built again in Helsinki

Helen is continuing its investments in the recycling of excess heat by building a new heat pump to complement the underground heating and cooling plant located in Sörnäinen. Thanks to the new heat pump, the thermal load of the Baltic Sea will be reduced considerably when the heat of the purified waste water will be recovered even more efficiently than before.

To be commissioned in 2021, the new heat pump will be built in the world’s largest heating and cooling plant owned by Helen Ltd and located under the Katri Vala Park. The plant already has five large heat pumps, and it has been possible to raise their production volume each year by developing the production process.

Last year, the plant produced more heat than ever before, a total of 570,000 MWh. Due to the new heat pump, it will be possible to increase the plant’s production volume by as much as 200,000 MWh, i.e. by almost 30%. With the new pump, heat will be recovered from the heat of waste water that has already been utilised, which will significantly improve the efficiency of recycling thermal energy. Moreover, this will substantially reduce the thermal load ending up in the Baltic Sea along with waste water.

The new pump will also improve the plant’s year-round availability. As a result, it will be possible to operate the plant in the coldest periods more often than at present.

Extra space was excavated for the Katri Vala heating and cooling plant already in its construction stage with a view to any future expansion. The plant was commissioned in 2006. It will now be easy to install the new heat pump in that space.

- The production volume of the heat pumps that have been in operation for over ten years has increased annually by developing the production process alone. It is now a good time to also invest in a new heat pump and, as a result, we will be able to increase the plant's output throughout the year,” says Helen's Director Heikki Hapuli.

The heat pump investment is worth a total of some EUR 20 million. The investment will reduce Helen’s carbon dioxide emissions by about 65,000 tonnes per year.

Excess heat is recovered from purified waste water and properties

The thermal energy of purified waste water and the thermal energy of the sun, which is delivered to the plant from properties via the cooling network, are utilised in the Katri Vala plant excavated into the rock cavern in Sörnäinen. In their most efficient mode, the underground heat pumps produce both cooling and heating simultaneously. Helen’s volume of heat pump production is also increased by the new heat pumps, which are located under the Esplanade Park and currently in trial operation. The Esplanade heating and cooling plant will be inaugurated in August. As a result of the new investment, the annual energy generated by Helen’s heat pumps will increase to almost one terawatt-hour, which corresponds to the heating need of a city the size of Kuopio or half of the heating need of Espoo, Tampere or Turku.


Heat  pump investment

• The new, sixth heat pump in the Katri Vala heating and cooling plant will be taken into production use in summer 2021.
• The district heat output of the new heat pump is 18 MW and cooling output 12 MW.
• The investment will raise the thermal output of the Katri Vala heating and cooling plant to a total of 123 MW and cooling output to a total of 82 MW.
• 130,000 MWh more excess heat will be recovered each year. This will reduce the thermal load conducted into the Baltic Sea by the same amount.

Katri Vala heating and cooling plant

• World’s largest heating and cooling plant producing district heat and district cooling in a single process.
• Located in a rock cavern excavated under the Katri Vala Park in the district of Sörnäinen in Helsinki.
• The heat production of the Katri Vala plant meets the heating need of most of the city centre of Helsinki in the summer.

Katri Vala heating and cooling plant