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Helsinki announces energy challenge winners

Goal of the competition was to find urban heating solutions that can be implemented in Helsinki by 2029 and that potentially could contribute to decarbonising city heating around the world.

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Soluitions will help other sustainable cities as well as Helsinki. Photo: Jussi Hellsten
Soluitions will help other sustainable cities as well as Helsinki. Photo: Jussi Hellsten

Four innovators have been named winners of the €1m Helsinki Energy Challenge.

 

The goal of the year-long international competition was to find urban heating solutions that can be implemented in Helsinki by 2029 and that potentially could contribute to decarbonising city heating around the world.

 

Carbon neutral

 

In the fight against climate change, the Finnish capital bids to become carbon neutral by 2035. The city was offered as a testbed where future-proof heating solutions could be developed.The heating system presently accounts for more than half of the city’s total emissions.

 

The competition attracted 252 proposals from 35 countries with 10 finalists selected by an international jury.

 

The winning solutions were:

  • Hive, a flexible plan, based on proven technologies and solutions, like 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 the way to carbon neutral Helsinki in a flexible and innovative way
  • Smart Salt City, a solution that combines 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 energy sector is going through a remarkable revolution and we are faced with a systemic change on many different levels. We did not expect the competition to yield one solution, which solves the whole puzzle. Instead, we now have in our hands a very wide range of solutions, which will help not only Helsinki, but also other sustainable and innovative cities looking for heating solutions,” said Jan Vapaavuori, mayor of Helsinki.

“We now have in our hands a very wide range of solutions, which will help not only Helsinki, but also other sustainable and innovative cities looking for heating solutions”

“At the same time, the €1m challenge is one way for Helsinki to participate beyond its own relative size in solving the global climate issue. Helsinki stands out as an internationally networked pioneer in the local implementation of global responsibility. Helsinki is committed to sharing the solutions of the competition and learning with all cities.”

 

In addition to the four winning proposals, the City of Helsinki granted a recognition award to energy designer CHP Consumers to Heat Producers for its tripartite solution of electrifying heating, creating a new heat procurement market and new vision for the district heating network.

 

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