News / 31.3.2022

Helen’s sea water heat recovery project progresses - project alliance partner sought for the development and implementation phases of Sea Water System in tendering process

Helen has launched public procurement concerning the selection of a project alliance partner for the Sea Water System project section. With the call for tenders, Helen aims to find a world-class constructor partner to form a project alliance with, to develop and fully implement the Sea Water System. The project alliance for the Sea Water System would be formed by Helen and the constructor sought in the tendering process.

- We are seeking a world-class constructor to join us as a project alliance partner, with whom we would first develop the overall solution for the Sea Water System and later implement it, achieving the jointly agreed targets, says Helen’s Senior Project Manager Saku-Matti Mäki.

The Sea Water Heat Recovery Project consists of two sections, the Sea Water System and the Salmisaari Heat Pump Plant. The Sea Water System includes an approximately 17 km long water intake tunnel, which will probably be implemented with a tunnel boring machine (TBM). The tunnel boring machine would be utilised in the Finnish bedrock for the first time in this size category. In addition, the Sea Water System includes a water discharge tunnel estimated to be 9 km long.

The operation of the Sea Water System project alliance is estimated to be launched with the development phase in September 2022 after the competitive tendering for the constructor has been completed and the contract for the development phase of the alliance has been signed. The development phase will last for about two years. The development phase means moving to the design phase in terms of the Sea Water System.

In general, the project alliance model pursues strategic goals, such as: mitigation of financial and operational risks involved in challenging projects, as well as the utilisation of opportunities, an enhanced quality of the result, increased productivity of construction, open and trust-building culture, a collective spirit, and success of all parties in the project. Studies related to the utilisation of seawater are familiar at Helen because the harnessing of seawater in heat production has been studied at Helen already since 2016. A new, unique heat pump utilising the heat of seawater is currently being built at Helen’s Vuosaari power plant.

Studies on the Sea Water System and the heat pump plant to be located in the Salmisaari energy production area are progressing as planned

In terms of the environmental impact assessment, which was launched in May 2021, Helen has progressed to the report phase. During the past winter, Helen carried out temperature measurements to establish the availability of seawater heat in the winter season. In the coming months Helen will study matters related to test fishing, benthic organisms, and seabed sediments in the sea areas.

- We are moving to carbon-neutral heat production where heat pumps, utilising environmental and waste heat, play a significant role. The Salmisaari project now studied is a good example of combining existing heating and cooling networks, i.e. energy platform, with innovative technologies and production methods of the future. The studies of the project are progressing smoothly, and we may be able to consider moving on to the design phase during the summer. The weighing of the actual investment decision will not take place until after a diligently completed design phase, says Timo Aaltonen, Helen’s Senior Vice President, Production and Asset Management.

Helen is transitioning to a distributed energy system where energy is produced in a carbon-neutral way from the air, water and waste heat. Various heat pumps are a significant part of a distributed energy system. When implemented, the currently studied seawater heat recovery system and the heat pump plant planned for the Salmisaari energy production area would have a significant role in the heat production of Helsinki after the current decade.

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