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District heating network - The distribution channel for modern energy

The district heating network links energy production and users.

District heating is the most popular form of heating for properties and homes in large cities in Finland. District heating is made possible by the underground district heating network that most of the properties in the large cities are connected to. Finland is an international leader in both the production and use of district heating. Relative to population, Finland is the largest producer of district heat in the Nordic countries. The heat produced by local thermal power plants is used to heat single-family homes, commercial buildings and industrial plants.

The district heating network links energy production and users. The energy that flows through the district heating network is as environmentally friendly as the generation forms connected to it. New forms of production and innovative technologies can be integrated into the district heating network as production methods evolve and that makes it highly adaptable.

Another absolute advantage of district heating is the local nature of the production: heat is produced close to the heat users. District heating for the people of Vantaa is produced at the Waste-To-Energy Plant and the Martinlaakso Power Plant. In the Waste-To-Energy Plant area, heat is produced using mixed household waste and commercial and industrial waste that cannot be recycled. The raw material for heat at Martinlaakso is domestic wood fuel. The High-Temperature Incineration Plant, which will come on stream in 2025, will produce energy from hazardous, non-recyclable waste.

District heating is an important choice for many companies and cities on the journey to achieving their own climate targets. The district heating network enables entire cities to become carbon neutral as the network makes it easy to deliver climate-friendly heat to a large number of people.

What is the district heating network?

A district heating network is a closed, two-pipe underground network in which the thermal energy produced at a production plant flows to users as hot water. In Vantaa, 42 million litres of water run through the network. One pipe carries the hot water to the buildings, while the other pipe returns the water that has released its thermal energy so that it can be reheated. The heat is transferred to the property via heat exchangers: the actual district heating water does not circulate in the heating network of the buildings; rather, the service water is heated by the heat exchanger.

About 100 degrees and 100 years

The temperature of the water in the district heating pipes going to buildings ranges between 80 and 115°C, depending on the weather. In the return pipe, the water that has released its thermal energy is typically around 35 to 50°C. This is demanding for the underground pipes. Modern district heating pipes are extremely low maintenance and have a long service life. A modern district heating pipe can last up to 100 years. Due to the harsh Finnish winters, the district heating pipes are buried at a depth of around 1 meter and are well insulated and therefore their heat losses are typically minimal. The Vantaa region has a total of 600 kilometres of district heating network.

Towards carbon negativity with determination

Vantaa Energy has reduced carbon emissions from its energy production by more than 70 % compared to 2014 levels through its determined efforts. Work towards increasingly climate-friendly energy continues and Vantaa Energy aims to be a carbon negative circular economy energy company by 2030. Our carbon negative plans are based on circular economy solutions to ensure that energy and limited resources are circulated as smartly as possible. In energy production this means for example using existing raw materials that cannot be recycled.