On the Highway Towards Carbon Neutrality: Recovering Waste Heat
Finland’s carbon neutrality target for 2035 is ambitious. There is no single way to achieve this target since combating climate change requires action from all sectors of society. The Valtatie 30 property, located at Hatanpään valtatie 30, Tampere, is contributing to the fight against climate change by implementing a large-scale thermal energy project that has been in planning for some time. The property owner Castellum has set a company-level goal to be carbon neutral by 2030.
Nokia, one of the property’s tenants, has set a goal to halve its 2019 emission level by 2030 and be climate neutral in 2040. Nokia has invested in its Tampere office and is currently developing the Nokia R&D vLab data centre in the property – meaning that they will require more electricity in the future.
In 2016, district cooling by Tampereen Sähkölaitos was introduced at Valtatie 30. As the energy revolution was progressing in huge leaps, the experts at Tampereen Sähkölaitos presented the idea of selling waste heat generated by the property’s data centres to the open district heating network. It was the best possible timing, as the property had already made preliminary plans with Sweco and Nokia to utilize waste heat to heat the property.
Heat pumps play a key role
With the Oilon industrial heat pumps made in Finland to be installed at Valtatie 30, it will be possible to process the waste heat energy from low-temperature data centres so that it is suitable for use in a district heating network – up to a temperature of more than 95°C. One essential part of the new heat pump project is the renewal of the cooling principle of server cabinets in the data centres, which will make it possible to raise the temperature of the cooling water of the servers. This renewal will also enhance heat pump function and improve pumping efficiency.
The heat output of the Valtatie 30 heat pump system is significant, which is why Tampereen Sähkölaitos is building a new district heating connection pipe from the property to the larger trunk line in Lempääläntie. In this way, the thermal energy produced at Valtatie 30 is made available to all customers in the district heating network. In the initial phase, the thermal energy produced will be approximately 42 GWh annually, which covers the annual heating energy needs of more than 2,500 detached houses, i.e. approximately 15% of the total number of detached houses in Tampere. When the thermal power is increased according to current plans by 2025, a total of approximately 85 GWh of thermal energy will be produced for the needs of other customers.
Joint climate efforts and win-win situations
To make optimal use of the possibilities of the heating network, cooling and heat pumps, Valtatie 30 will invest in heat pump technology, which will be used to process the waste heat generated in the property for distribution to other customers via the district heating network. The amount of energy fed into the district heating network is significant from the point of view of Tampereen Sähkölaitos, and therefore part of its efforts against climate change. Tampereen Sähkölaitos has already made and will continue to make significant investments to increase renewable energy production. The cooperation with the Valtatie 30 property is one of the most significant measures to increase combustion-free district heating.