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Fortum’s 49 MW Kivenlahti bioheat plant enters into commercial operations

In Finland, combustion technology providers KPA Unicon Oy has announced that it has handed over for commercial use the 49 MWth biomass-fired Kivenlahti heat plant in Espoo to energy and utility major Fortum Oyj. This facility will replace one of the two coal-fired units from Fortum's Suomenoja power plant raising the share of carbon-neutral district heating in Espoo to 40 percent.

In October 2018, Fortum announced that it was investing around EUR 40 million in a new biomass-fired heat plant in Kivenlahti, Espoo where two wood pellet boilers already produce district heat. The planned annual heat production of the facility is 350–380 GWh and the new plant will allow for the decommissioning of an old coal-fired boiler in Suomenoja.

The new bio-heating boiler plant in Kivenlahti is an important step in our Espoo Clean Heat program, which goal is to generate completely carbon-neutral district heating in this decade and to discontinue the use of coal in 2025. The biomass-fired heating plant will replace one of the coal-fired units from Suomenoja power plant, said Panu Ahrnberg, Head of Production at Fortum.

KPA Unicon was selected to supply a 49 MW Unicon Renefluid bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) boiler plant complete with a flue gas condenser and a heat pump which will enable the production of up 58 MW of district heat. The new bioheat bio-heating boiler plant was handed over for commercial use on May 5, 2020.

It has been a pleasure to be involved in meeting Fortum’s heat production needs and to work together towards a cleaner future. The delivery was a confirmation that KPA Unicon has the technology and ability to supply plants of this size, helping solve the green energy investment needs of the Helsinki metropolitan area, said Jukka-Pekka Kovanen, Managing Director of KPA Unicon.

High efficiency and low emissions

Advanced combustion technology, efficient heat recovery, flue gas condensing, and heat pump technology enable it to achieve the highest efficiency on the market. Special attention has been paid to the environmental friendliness of the bio plant. KPA Unicon’s BFB boiler utilizes carbon-neutral biomass that is not suitable for other uses, such as forest residue chips and demolition wood.

In addition to the availability of climate-friendly fuels, during the implementation of the plant special attention has been given to combating local emissions. According to KPA Unicon, the plant’s dust, nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions have been managed using the “most advanced technologies in the industry”, which ensure local emissions that are significantly lower than the regulations and recommendations of the authorities.

Fortum’s 49 MWth biomass-fired Kivenlahti heat plant in Espoo, Finland (photo courtesy KPA Unicon).

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