A circular economy energy company
For Vantaa Energy, circular economy is a means of growing resource wisdom and ensuring successful operations also in the future. During 2020, the company took unprecedented steps forward in circular economy and published its target of phasing out fossil fuels by 2026. In the promotion of circular economy, it is important to find partners that are enthusiastic about creating something new. It is possible to spearhead the energy transition with cross-disciplinary solutions.
Circular economy is currently an interesting element for Vantaa Energy especially from two points of view. The first one is related to the treatment of waste and the utilisation of heat produced in it, the second to the seasonal storage of heat.
– During 2020, the biggest step by far on the circular economy path was the decision to launch the extension project of the waste-to-energy plant, i.e. an investment of some 150 million euros, to resolve the problem related to the utilisation of non-recyclable end-products from the waste companies’ treatment facilities. At the same time, we contribute to phasing out the use of fossil fuels in energy production, says Matias Siponen, Business Development Manager of Vantaa Energy.
We have taken large steps forward in the utilisation of waste, but it is not yet possible to utilise all waste as materials. Residue from waste treatment contains a considerable amount of energy for heating homes in Vantaa, and the extension project of the waste-to-energy plant enables this cycle even better than before.
Vantaa Energy is also building the world’s largest seasonal heat storage facility to store waste energy produced in the summer season and discharge it in the winter when the heat demand is at its highest. The project is unique due to its technology and scale – the amount of heat that can be stored corresponds to the annual heat consumption of an average town the size of Tuusula.
New results through cooperation
In 2020, the joint Power-to-Gas project between Vantaa Energy and Wärtsilä was launched, studying the carbon dioxide capture from the flue gases of the waste-to-energy plant to produce synthetic carbon-neutral gas for heat production and for use in transport. The fact that, in the future, gas will be used as fuel by the operators that actually transport the waste represents circular economy at its best. This way energy moves in a cycle, which is excellent. At the same time, Vantaa Energy would also obtain synthetic gas for its own use, enabling phasing out of natural gas in 2026.
As a whole, partnerships play a huge part in circular economy and in making structural changes. Waste management companies are naturally important partnerships, and we aim for long-term cooperation projects with them in order to find means for more efficient utilisation of resources. To find these means, we need mutual competence and an innovative sense of a common purpose. An example of this is the utilisation of waste heat from data centres, the success of which is in the interests of many.
– When you think about the utilisation of waste heat from industry or service production and how it would provide value for all sides, you need close cooperation with various stakeholders in order to achieve a smart ecosystem, Siponen describes.
That way, those who will gain from it from different aspects are property investment companies with their environmental targets, data centres, and Vantaa Energy. Partnerships are hugely important because alone it is difficult to achieve energy or circular economy transitions.
Emissions reduction is at the heart of everything
Vantaa Energy has been granted the quality certificate ISO 9001 and the environmental certificate ISO 14000. The quality and environmental certificates are an indication of the high quality of business operations and the sustainability of activities. We hope that, for the customers, the certificates also communicate about the standard of operations and the efforts to continuously reduce emissions from energy production.
– With the decisions we make now, we aim to produce value for customers so that we take care of finding smart, environmentally friendly and economical solutions on behalf of the customer. The only thing the customer needs to do is use the heat, says Siponen.
Vantaa Energy has a clear direction for 2021. The most significant projects are the measures to be taken in order to phase out fossil fuels and the promotion of the waste-to-energy project so that the plant can start production use during 2022. We also aim to continue the joint project with Wärtsilä and the development projects taking place around heat production.
– We constantly aim to observe waste heat areas in the customer interface, and the seasonal heat storage facility will spawn new, exciting opportunities for us once the summertime energy can be utilised for real. Moreover, a lot of interest is shown in us as a result of this project, Sipponen tells.
The stakes are strongly on a fossil-free 2026 and far into the future in carbon-neutral operations. We will be seeing higher integration of various operators, interlinked sectors and connections to the energy system. We are talking more and more about smart grids and technologies, all of which are aiming for increasingly higher resource wisdom.
Vantaa Energy’s Business Development Manager Matias Siponen is responsible for the long-term development of production in Vantaa. His tasks include securing favourably priced and environmentally friendly energy solutions for Vantaa residents now and in the future.