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Decarbonised heating and cooling systems support the energy transition

Leading the way towards zero carbon heating and cooling systems

Sweco has been involved in facilitating the delivery of renewable and lower-cost heat through district heating projects across Europe for decades. Sweco consultants have worked together with clients to provide a range of solutions in district heating to become more heat efficient, reduce carbon and benefit from the savings to be made by adopting greener methods.

The potential for district heating and cooling to radically shift the climate goal agenda for cities is significant. Better, smarter city environments are a priority across Europe and around the world where domestic, commercial, and industry environments are being reimagined to provide cleaner and more efficient heating and cooling.

Energy consulting services

In Belgium, Sweco is a permanent partner for Lotus Bakeries in Lembeke, providing a range of energy consulting services for the company since 2013. Projects range from feasibility studies for heat recovery on a new compressed air compressor, a comprehensive measurement campaign, draft provision, simulation, profitability calculations and elaboration of the control strategy as well as regulation of the grant application.

Our collaboration with Sweco runs extremely smoothly. For Lotus Bakeries it’s an added value to be able to rely on the knowledge, drive and passion that Sweco employees generate in order for us to achieve our goals. – Lotus Bakeries

Natural gas savings

In collaboration with the client, a creative solution was developed so that a considerable amount of residual heat from the new compressed air compressor, which is usually lost to the atmosphere, is profitably recovered. By doing this, the heat demands of an industrial washing machine along with other hot water consumers in the plant are met, which results in significant natural gas savings for Lotus Bakeries.

In addition to drafting the client’s Energy Plan to fulfil Energy Policy Agreements (EPA) in the context of associated aftercare, including annual EPA-monitoring and reporting to the Flemish Energy Agency and elaboration of planned study measures, Sweco consultants have collaborated with the client to conduct energy audits in the various production sites of Lotus Bakeries as well as energy studies on cooling (ice water production, distribution and consumption) and large electrical installations where concrete economy measures are examined for both technical and economic feasibility.

Decarbonisation through technological development

Another example of how Sweco energy consulting and engineering services help support businesses in the energy transition to shift climate goals can be found in Finland where Sweco consultants are collaborating with Fortum to drive technological development for decarbonisation.

Fortum, the European energy company which is also the largest electricity retail business in the Nordics with more than 2 million customers, chose Sweco as implementation designer for Finland’s largest air-to-water heat pump plant.

The development of new technologies in a demanding operating environment and with an ambitious schedule requires close cooperation with knowledgeable partners. Pioneering development work in Vermo will continue to enable a care-free and competitive supply of heating and cooling to our customers. It is an important part of our constantly updated heating system and permanently clean energy production. –  Thomas Ekholm, Manager of New Solutions, Heating & Cooling Finland at Fortum.

Zero-emission district heating for residents

The new industrial-scale air-to-water heat pump plant will rise on the current site of the company’s thermal plant in Vermo, Espoo in southern Finland. When completed in 2023, the plant will provide zero-emission-free district heating to the residents of Espoo, Kauniainen and Kirkkonummi, as well as cooling for the nearby area.

The 11-megawatt plant generates heat directly from the outside air and the waste heat of properties. Thermal energy is recovered from the air by means of a medium and is transferred to customers through the water cycle. Fortun’s air-to-water heat pump plant in Vermo reduces CO2 emissions equivalent to the carbon footprint of thousands of Finnish residents. The electricity used by the plant is CO2 free and origin certified. The Vermo air-to-water heat pump plant is an important step in moving from coal and gas to clean and decentralised forms of energy production.

I am pleased that our good cooperation with Fortum continues and that we will work together to secure the conditions for renewable energy production for future generations. A large part of the climate work is raising awareness in households, and the technology used by the plant is already familiar to Finns and easy to understand.  – Erik Skogström, Division Director, Sweco

Espoo Clean Heat programme

The project is part of the Espoo Clean Heat programme, which will implement completely carbon-neutral district heating production this decade and is the largest single climate act taken by the cities in the region. In 2020, the plant received investment support from the Finnish Ministry of Employment and Economy, which aims to accelerate the voluntary abandonment of coal by prioritising non-combustion based methods. Fortum has previously successfully piloted air-to-water heat pumps connected to the district heating network on a smaller scale.

Based on the results obtained in the pilot, Fortum intends to build more plants, and if successful, it is possible to implement even larger heat pump plants as part of the Espoo district heating system. The air-to-water heat pump plant complex connected to Fortum’s district heating network is already the largest in Finland. Sweco has previously also been responsible for the basic design of the project and consulting for the construction permit.

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