Helsinki is one of the leading cities in the fight against climate change, with the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2035. The heating system is at the heart of the battle, as its emissions account for more than half of Helsinki’s total emissions. The City of Helsinki arranged the year-long international Helsinki Energy Challenge to find future-proof solutions to heat the city during decades to come.
Emissions-neutral heating can be reached through many different solutions
An international jury decided to select four winners from the ten finalists in the Helsinki Energy Challenge. The awarded proposals illustrate the diversity of the challenge and the diversity of approaches necessary to achieve a flexible and resilient system. The awarded teams have significant international competence.
The finalist solutions emphasised that the heating system of the future must be resilient and acknowledge upcoming technologies, but that we should not stop to wait for them. The optimization of energy production and consumption is another priority in the future heating system.
The competition showed that the heating system of the future is made up of several partial solutions and actors, which have been optimised to work together. A system of this kind challenges the traditional approach. In the future model, there are many actors and the integration of interests requires deliberation of the thoughts and operating models.
The awarded proposals of the Helsinki Energy Challenge are
HIVE, a flexible plan, based on proven technologies and solutions, such as seawater heat pumps, electrical boilers, solar thermal fields and demand side management measures; the plan is capable of integrating new technologies if and when these emerge.
Beyond fossils, an energy transition model based on open and technology neutral clean heating auctions, paving up the path to carbon neutral Helsinki in a flexible and innovation enabling way.
Smart Salt City, a solution that melds a novel thermochemical energy storage and artificial intelligence with commercially available energy technologies.
Helsinki’s Hot Heart, a flexible system made of 10 floating reservoirs filled with 10 million cubic metres of hot seawater that can receive different energy sources as input. Four of the cylindrical tanks that make up Helsinki’s Hot Heart would be enclosed with inflatable roof structures to create a new leisure attraction.
The awarded proposals illustrate the diversity of the challenge and the diversity of approaches necessary to achieve a flexible and resilient system. The awarded teams have significant international competence. In addition to the four award winning proposals, the City of Helsinki grants a recognition award to the team “CHP Consumers to Heat Producers” for an eye-opening description of the diversity of the heating challenge and relevant stakeholders.
The competition attracted 252 proposals from 35 countries. All ten finalist proposals can be downloaded from the Helsinki Energy Challenge website. A database will also be completed on the site in the coming weeks, where all the proposals of the first stage of the competition that have given permission to share their work will be distributed.
Image Credits: Helsinki Marketing