News / 28.9.2023

Waste heat plays a significant role in a sustainable energy system – the Katri Vala heat pump plant can provide heating for an entire medium-sized city

Helen has completed the expansion of the Katri Vala heat pump plant, which is the world’s largest plant producing district heating and cooling from purified waste water The seventh and last heat pump at the plant was deployed last spring after an expansion project that took three and a half years.

Following the expansion, the heat pump plant located in Helsinki’s Sörnäinen district, beneath Katri Vala Park, has a heating capacity of 160 MW and a cooling capacity of 100 MW following the expansion. The plant produces over 1,000 GWh of heat per year – enough to cover the majority of central Helsinki’s heating needs during the summer season, and equal to the heating consumption of the city of Kuopio.

Heat pumps are powered by emission-free electricity and do not generate any carbon dioxide emissions. The plant is a great example of the circular economy at its finest: it recovers the waste heat in purified waste water and uses it to heat homes and other properties in Helsinki. Heat is also generated from district cooling return water.

Over 300 MW of heat pumps by 2025

Over the past few years, Helen has invested in increasing its carbon-neutral production in line with its strategy. Our goal for 2025 is to reduce emissions by 80% compared to 1990. We also aim for carbon-neutral energy production by 2030.

“In heat production, we have a strong focus on taking advantage of waste heat and environmental heat. Our energy platform and our district heating network, which has a length of over 1,400 kilometres, enable the intelligent utilisation of new technologies and production methods. Heat pumps are an essential part of a sustainable energy system,” explains Timo Aaltonen, Senior Vice President, Energy Platform and Production Solutions at Helen.

We have invested in various heat pump solutions, including the recovery of waste heat from data centres and the Vuosaari sea water heat pump. We are currently building a new heat pump plant in Eiranranta. The plant is expected to be completed at the end of 2025. The plant will reduce Helen’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by over 80,000 tonnes.

The highly efficient plant will produce heat from water that has an exceptionally low temperature and has already previously been utilised in district heat production in the Katri Vala heating and cooling plant. The district heat output of the heat pumps will be approximately 90 MW and the district cooling output will be about 60 MW. The plant will produce approximately 300 GWh of heat per year, which corresponds to the heat consumption of the city of Rauma.

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