Power of the North – Hybrid heating and cooling for the whole neighborhood in Oulu

Oulun Energia’s production and distribution of electricity and heat to its customers is cleaner and eco-friendlier than ever. For example, in the district of Karjasilta in the city of Oulu, an innovative hybrid heating system now provides heating and cooling for the whole area while minimizing carbon emissions.

During the following decade, a smart energy system will be built in Oulu’s Karjasilta area. The smart fourth-generation district energy system will heat and cool the area’s properties. The residential area will be built by Hartela Oy, and Oulun Energia is responsible for implementing the district energy system. Karjasilta’s hybrid heating and cooling system is manufactured and supplied by HögforsGST.

The district of Karjasilta will be built during the 2020s

Oulun Energia first partnered with HögforsGST in the EU-led MakingCity project, where Oulun Energia helped implement novel solutions for the lower-carbon heating of urban environments in the residential area of Kaukovainio in Oulu. In addition to Kaukovainio’s project, HögforsGST’s skills and knowledge have been tested in other EU projects, such as the RESPONSE project.

– Last year, within the framework of the EU-funded RESPONSE project, we delivered a system to the Turku Student Village, in which 4GDH (4th Generation District Heating) solutions were piloted in a district heating system. The experiences gained from the Turku pilot project enabled developing of a similar system in Oulu. The Karjasilta system is like an entire 4GDH town, but on a smaller scale, HögforsGST’s Business Director Juha Virkki says.

A unique system

As part of the MakingCity project, a building complex piloted in Oulu was based on innovative energy technology. The goal was to produce energy self-sufficiently more than what is brought to the complex on an annual basis. The production utilizes waste heat generated in the complex.

– Together with HögforsGST, our experience with the new hybrid system in Kaukovainio was excellent. It is highly efficient since heat pumps use surplus heat from district heating and cooling to produce increased heating capacity, says Reijo Pantsar, development manager in heating services at Oulun Energia.

Reijo Pantsar from Oulun Energia is happy to work with HögforsGST’s experts

A hybrid system that heats and cools the whole district of Karjasilta in Oulu has now been set up. The system is equivalent to the one in the Kaukovainio project but at a much larger scale. HögforsGST was also a major contributor to this project, providing equipment and design.

Juha Virkki says that although HögforsGST has plenty of experience in designing and delivering district heating systems, the Karjasilta system is by far the most significant smart energy system project in HögforsGST’s history.

– We have implemented quite a few traditional district heating systems, but the system in Karjasilta is the most extensive smart district energy system we have ever designed and manufactured. Heating and cooling are produced by a combination of heat pumps and district heating. In addition, the heat generated from the production of district cooling is utilized in heating, and surplus heat can be transferred to Oulun Energia’s district heating network. One could say that this is a true Megahybrid, Virkki laughs.

Karjasilta’s HybridHEAT system is HögforsGST’s largest smart energy system delivery

Delivered ready for operation

– With HögforsGST, the supply chain has worked really well. Together we have planned the overall implementation, the cost-efficiency, and how to accommodate the equipment on site. HögforsGST has provided the design and equipment practically ready for use and even delivered some of the equipment factory-installed so that all we had to do was connect our pipes to the system, Pantsar says.

In addition to its state-of-the-art nature, the system was delivered as a prefabricated entity. The entire system with pipes and cabling was manufactured and tested at HögforsGST’s Leppävirta factory before delivery.

– Thanks to prefabrication, the number of parts to be manufactured on-site is reduced, and thus the amount of work is reduced as well. In this case, the installation was carried out by a local contractor with the support of an expert from HögforsGST. We tested a similar delivery method in a hybrid system previously delivered in Jyväskylä, although back then our own team took care of the installation, Juha Virkki adds.

The system plays an important role, considering the objective of carbon neutrality for cities and Finland as a whole. These innovative approaches to sustainability best serve that goal.

– This is a true Fourth Generation District Heating solution. It is the way of the future. As far as I know, this solution, and the MakingCity project as a whole, is the first of its kind in the world, Pantsar points out.

Although the Karjasilta and Turku regional hybrid systems are primarily new technology, familiar and proven technology lies at the core of both systems. Fiksu Control System developed by HögforsGST controls the operation of both systems.

– Our Fiksu Control System scales well to the needs of systems of different sizes. In the city of Oulu, for example, we have properties ranging from two terraced houses to Karjasilta, an entire residential area. Although the size difference between the sites is huge, Fiksu Control System works great for both purposes, Virkki says.

The prefabricated and modular HybridHEAT system is faster and more cost-effective to assemble

Unparalleled technical support

– The systems have worked great, and we have absolutely no complaints. HögforsGST’s technical support helped us get things up and running, and we have always reached them by phone whenever we’ve had any questions, Pantsar says.

Oulun Energia also uses HögforsGST’s equipment and services in its other district heating implementations, and the experiences from those have been equally positive.

– I would definitely recommend HögforsGST for various solutions as our experience with them at Oulun Energia has been very good, Pantsar adds in conclusion.

Contact us

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Arto Pukari

Sales Manager / Northern Finland
+358 400 738 038

Juha Virkki

Business Director / Engineering Services

+358 505505266