AEE INTEC wins the Helsinki Energy Challenge with a team of international partners
Helsinki is striving to be a leading city in the energy transition to a sustainable future, and aims to become CO2 neutral by 2035. To achieve this goal, the city decided to launch a competition in February 2020 – the Helsinki Energy Challenge – specifically to meet the issue of sustainably decarbonising its heating network. On Tuesday, 16th March, an international jury selected four winners, including the European HIVE team (taken from “Hyvä”, meaning “good” in Finnish) which took first place out of a total of more than 250 entries. HIVE consists of the international group ENGIE (FRA) and its subsidiary Storengy (FRA), the Finnish solar collector manufacturer SAVOSOLAR (FIN), the technical consultants of NEWHEAT (FRA) and PLANENERGI (DK) as well as the Austrian research institute AEE – Institute for Sustainable Technologies (AEE INTEC).
Coal fired power to finish by 2028
HIVE is proposing a solution for the city of Helsinki that provides for an end to burning coal by 2028, no further burning of fossil fuels beyond 2035, and a reduction in the use of biomass to 50% of demand by 2024. This solution, based on both proven and innovative solutions, provides a combination of seawater heat pumps, solar thermal energy, electric boilers and large heat storage systems to provide sustainable and efficient district heating. This mixed portfolio of plants using sophisticated technologies further increases the reliability of the system. Furthermore, a number of optimisation and digitisation measures contribute to the efficiency of the overall system and flexibility both in operation and in planning. This plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 78%, in line with the Helsinki objectives. The implementation of the plan will occur over the next 15 years, increasing local added value and creating local jobs.
The solution was made only possible through the excellent and close cooperation of competent industrial partners, such as ENGIE, and the innovative and professional expertise of research partners such as AEE INTEC, which is also a member of the ARC (Austrian Research Cooperation).
As Ingo Leusbrock, Head of Cities & Networks at AEE INTEC, commented: “Working together in HIVE on the Helsinki Energy Challenge was an exciting and demanding project for us, where we had to cover all facets of decarbonisation in one city, addressing both innovation and economics. Our team has proven to be a winning combination of individuals and organisations, with extensive experience in the energy sector and in the development of complex district heating and cooling projects that has been instrumental in achieving success. With our experience and expertise in the field of advanced district heating supply, we were able to make an important contribution to a truly successful overall concept. We are really looking forward to seeing Helsinki put the combination of the HIVE master plan with the plans of the other prize winners into practice. And we will be pleased to continue the journey with the city by participating in implementation.”
The Helsinki Energy Challenge covers an endowment totalling € 1 million, and the prize for the 1st place to the HIVE consortium is for € 350,000. In the coming weeks and months, the HIVE consortium, together with the City of Helsinki and the local energy supplier, will be discussing and advancing the concept further.