New, unique heat pump utilising sea water heat to be built in Vuosaari

Helen will build a heat pump in connection with the Vuosaari power plant, utilising the power plant’s own cooling water circulation and the heat of sea water as heat sources. A heat pump of this scale utilising the heat of the sea water is unique in Finland.

Helen aims to reduce emissions from energy production and increase the amount of renewable energy. The company has recently invested especially in heat pumps and heat accumulators, and the new heat pump to be built in Vuosaari pursues the same objectives. What is novel in the Vuosaari solution is the utilisation of the heat of sea water – this has not been tested in Helsinki or, as far as we know, anywhere else in Finland until now. The heat pump will utilise thermal energy absorbed in sea water during the summer and the excess heat from the internal cooling water circulation in the Vuosaari power plants, turning it into district heat.

”The heat pump is an excellent solution to increase the efficiency of the Vuosaari power plants’ own production process. With the heat pump, we will be able to recycle the excess heat of the cooling waters in the production process and utilise it in the district heating network. By utilising the heat of sea water we can extend the annual operating time of the heat pump and that way improve the profitability of the investment,” says Helen’s Project Manager Karoliina Muukkonen.

Heat pump investments are part of a climate-neutral future

The smart energy system and the district heating and cooling networks in Helsinki make it possible to combine new technologies and production methods in a flexible way. At Helen, heat pumps are seen as an important part of the future energy system: they are a natural way to utilise new heat sources in district heat production.

The Katri Vala and the Esplanade heating and cooling plants have already been built in Helsinki. It is possible to produce the majority of the required district heat in the summer by recycling waste and excess heat. The Katri Vala heating and cooling plant is currently being extended with a new, sixth heat pump, and the Vuosaari heat pump will increase Helen’s recycled heat production even further.  

More about the possibilities of using sea water heat pumps in Helsinki in the blog.

Facts:

  • A heat pump will be built as part of the process of the Vuosaari CHP plant, to be located in a separate annex next to the current power plant building.
  • The heat sources of the heat pump include the excess heat of the internal cooling water circulation of the power plant in the winter months and, during the rest of the year, the heat of the sea water that can be utilised for about half of the year on average.
  • It is estimated that the heat pump will be utilising, on average, 20 per cent of the heat of the sea water and 80 per cent of the excess heat of cooling waters from the power plant’s internal process circulation.
  • The heat pump is large on the Finnish scale, corresponding to the size of the pumps in Helen’s Esplanade heating and cooling plant.
  • The district heat output of the heat pump is about 13 MW and district cooling output 9.5 MW.
  • The construction will start in 2020, and the new heat pump will be in production use by 2022.
  • The value of the investment is about EUR 15 million.
  • The heat pump will reduce Helen’s carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 30,000 tonnes per year.
  • Helen is already using two underground heating and cooling plants: the Katri Vala plant in Sörnäinen and the Esplanade plant in the city centre. The Katri Vala plant is current being extended with a new, sixth heat pump.
  • Electricity tax has a considerable impact on the cost-effectiveness of the heat pumps.

The heat pump is large on the Finnish scale, corresponding to the size of the pumps in Helen’s Esplanade heating and cooling plant.

Published: 04.04.2019 08:30

Seija Uusitalo
Communications Manager
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