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In recent years, the demand for district cooling has grown in Finland. To meet the demand, Kuopion Energia started producing district cooling at its new district cooling plant in the summer of 2020. Vexve's reliable ball and butterfly valves are part of the reliable operation of the district cooling plant and network.
Kuopion Energia's district cooling plant in Savilahti started operating in June 2020. The project started from the need for district cooling in the Kuopio University Hospital (KYS) located nearby. In the future, the hospital will use almost 2/3 of the plant's capacity. In addition to the hospital, commercial properties and educational institutions have joined the network. Short distances between the production plant and customers enable energy-efficient operation.
"District cooling is a completely new business model for us. We want to offer our customers not only district heating but also district cooling, and because of this, we had to build a completely new facility and network. The production plant operates independently with the help of automation which means that there is no need to run the plant separately," says Petri Turtiainen, Kuopion Energia's Development Manager.
In addition to the district cooling plant, Kuopion Energia offers heat pump solutions that work with CHC technology for those areas where district cooling cannot otherwise be provided.
"The demand for heat pump solutions using CHC technology has grown considerably in recent years. This is a heat pump system that makes it possible to recycle waste heat into district heating," tells Petri.
The district cooling of the new production plant is ecologically produced. The plant utilizes the cold lake water stored in the shallows of Neulalahti, which is part of the lake called Kallavesi. The water is soaked up into the plant from a depth of 32 meters. A total of 2.8 km of lake pipes have been built for the plant and the pipe has a diameter of 1.2 meters. The water is returned to the lake to a depth of about 7 meters to avoid temperature mixing in the lake.
"At best, the efficiency of the plant is 1:20, which means that the plant can produce 20 kilowatts of cooling energy with one kilowatt of electricity. The plant’s energy efficiency is further increased by the solar panels installed on the roofs," says Petri.
District cooling using cold lake water is a significantly more environmentally friendly option than traditional property-specific cooling. The production plant that utilizes the lake cold of Kallavesi saves electrical energy by up to 80% compared to building-specific cooling devices.
All the large ball valves used in the plant's critical points are domestic. Vexve valves are selected for the plant because of their reliability and long life cycle.
"Networks are built to last for decades, so we also want to invest in quality when choosing valves, so that the valve does not have to be changed during the life cycle of the network. At critical points in the network, it is especially important that the valves are reliable and leak-proof," says Petri.
Vexve’s ball and butterfly valves have been extensively used both at the plant and in the network. Vexve valves manufactured in Finland are specially designed for district energy networks and they work reliably even in the most demanding conditions. Kuopion Energia already has years of experience with Vexve's products and cooperation.
"We have been satisfied with the cooperation with Vexve. We are happy to use Vexve’s products and we always get help quickly if needed," concludes Petri.