Helen is building a new heat pump plant in Eiranranta, southern Helsinki, which will produce district heating and district cooling from the waste energy of purified wastewater.

The total value of the investment is around 100 million euros, and it has been granted around 14.5 million euros of energy investment support from the Ministry of Labor and Economy.

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In the highly efficient plant, heat can be produced from exceptionally low-temperature water, which has already been used for the production of district heat once in the Katri Vala heat pump plant. The facility will reduce Helen’s carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 100,000 tons annually.

“The Eiranranta heat pump plant is an innovative solution to enable carbon-neutral energy production. The investment reduces the use of fossil fuels, such as natural gas, which is a prerequisite for achieving carbon neutrality and later also carbon negativity,” says Helen’s responsible for sustainable energy solutions Juhani Aaltonen in the bulletin.

The new heat pumps enable the energy-efficient production of heat and cooling in the same process, so that waste heat from cooling and waste water can be used in the production of district heat. The district heating power of the heat pumps is about 90 megawatts and the district cooling power is about 60 megawatts.

The facility increases the amount of renewable heat produced by Helen’s heat pumps by approximately 460 gigawatt hours per year.

In addition to the heat pumps, an electric boiler supporting the wastewater process and the district heating system will be built in the facility, which can be used to heat the wastewater in those moments when it is too cool for heat pump production. The power of the electric boiler is 30 megawatts.

In the new plant, experience will be gained in the utilization of low-temperature waste heat.

“The plant can be duplicated anywhere, where waste heat is available and the possibility of connecting to the district heating network,” states Aaltonen.

The purified wastewater used by Eiranranta’s heat pump plant is already used in two processes at Helen’s Katri Vala heat pump plant, from where it is returned to the waste water tunnel at its lowest temperature of about five degrees. This waste water still contains potential thermal energy, which can be utilized in the production of district heat with the help of the modern heat pump technology coming to the new plant.

After recovering the thermal energy, the purified wastewater is returned to the sea.

The plant will be built underground. Excavation work is planned to start in early 2023 and the facility is estimated to be completed at the end of 2025.

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