Loviisan Lämpö Invests in Polar Night Energy's Sand Battery in Pornainen – Towards Non-Combustion Heat Production

Loviisan Lämpö's CEO Mikko Paajanen and CapMan Infra's Investment Director Sauli Antila with Polar Night Energy's Product Sales Manager Matti Ulvinen and CEO Tommi Eronen (from left to right) at Pornainen district heating plant. The new Sand Battery will be built next to the old district heating plant. PHOTO: Marjaana Malkamäki

 

Polar Night Energy and the Finnish district heating company, Loviisan Lämpö, have entered into an agreement to build an industrial-scale Sand Battery in Pornainen for Loviisan Lämpö’s district heating network. The heating power of the new Sand Battery is 1 MW and it can store up to 100 MWh of thermal energy, making it about ten times larger than the Sand Battery in operation in Kankaanpää since 2022.

The purpose of the Sand Battery is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions of the district heating production in the Pornainen municipality and introduce a new flexible heat production technology.

"Loviisan Lämpö is moving towards more environmentally friendly energy production. With the Sand Battery, we can significantly reduce energy produced by combustion and completely eliminate the use of oil," says Mikko Paajanen, CEO of Loviisan Lämpö.

The impact of the investment on total emissions is approximately 160 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, translating to nearly a 70% reduction in emissions from the district heating network of Pornainen. In addition to eliminating the usage of oil, the combustion of woodchips is expected to decrease by around 60%.

The municipality of Pornainen is enthusiastic about the new heating method, aligning with its goal of "Towards a Carbon-Neutral Pornainen." Many of the municipality's own buildings, including the Comprehensive School, town hall, and library, rely on district heating.

"Our municipality welcomes all innovative development projects that reduce emissions in district heating operations and contribute to network expansion," says Antti Kuusela, Mayor of Pornainen.

The Sand Battery is flexible in both its electricity usage and district heating production. It is charged from the electric grid using charging algorithms developed by Polar Night Energy, minimizing the cost of electricity used for charging while meeting the heat demand of the district heating network. The thermal energy storage capacity corresponds to almost one-month heat demand in summer and a one-week demand in winter in Pornainen.

"We want to enable the growth of renewable energy. The Sand Battery is designed to participate in all Fingrid's reserve and balancing power markets. It helps to keep the electricity grid balanced as the share of wind and solar energy in the grid increases," says Mikko Paajanen.

Loviisan Lämpö is owned by CapMan Infra fund, a part of the investment company CapMan. CapMan's vision is to be the most responsible private assets investor in the Nordics, committed to creating a sustainable future by addressing climate challenges and utilizing resources efficiently.

"Loviisan Lämpö’s investment in the Sand Battery is a concrete step towards CapMan's climate goals. We are committed to reducing our carbon dioxide emissions and seeking solutions that lead us towards net-zero emissions, of which this innovative solution is an excellent example," says Sauli Antila, Investment Director at CapMan Infra.

Polar Night Energy will deliver the Sand Battery to Loviisan Lämpö as a turnkey project. The Sand Battery will be approximately 13 meters high and 15 meters wide. The estimated duration for construction and testing is around 13 months. The project has received support from Business Finland's new technology energy aid.

"It's exciting to build a large-scale thermal energy storage, which will also act as a primary production plant in Pornainen's district heating network. This is a significant step in scaling up the Sand Battery technology," says Liisa Naskali, COO at Polar Night Energy.

Polar Night Energy's CEO Tommi Eronen and Loviisan Lämpö's CEO Mikko Paajanen planning the new Sand Battery for Pornainen district heating network. PHOTO: Marjaana Malkamäki

 

The Sand Battery in Pornainen Will Have Tulikivi’s Crushed Soapstone as the Storage Medium – a Choice That Promotes Circular Economy

Loviisan Lämpö's new thermal energy storage will use crushed soapstone produced as a byproduct of Tulikivi's manufacturing process. Tulikivi is the market leader in heat retaining fireplaces in the world.

"Collaborating with Polar Night Energy is an interesting venture into new business, leveraging the traditional strengths of soapstone, such as excellent heat conduction and retention properties. This collaboration supports Tulikivi's goals of maximizing the utilization of raw materials," says Heikki Vauhkonen, CEO of Tulikivi.

Sand Batteries can use sand or sand-like materials as the storage material. Soapstone conducts heat better than conventional sand. According to research conducted by Polar Night Energy and Tulikivi, soapstone is an excellent choice for Loviisan Lämpö’s Sand Battery due to its unique properties.

"We always choose the thermal energy storage medium based on the customer's needs. Examining and testing different materials is crucial for us to use materials that are suitable in terms of properties, cost-effectiveness, and promotion of circular economy," says Liisa Naskali of Polar Night Energy and adds, "Tulikivi is a well-known and traditional company. The soapstone they use is a very Finnish thing. It's great to collaborate with Tulikivi."

"This collaboration supports Tulikivi's goals of maximizing the utilization of raw materials," says Heikki Vauhkonen, CEO of Tulikivi.

 

About the companies

Loviisan Lämpö is a Finnish district heating company that supplies district heating to its customers in Loviisa, Pukkila, Pornainen, Pyhtää Siltakylä, Pyhtää village center, and Lappohja. Loviisan Lämpö is owned by CapMan Infra.

CapMan is a leading Nordic private asset expert with an active approach to value creation. We have developed hundreds of companies and real estate assets and created substantial value in these businesses and assets over the past 30 years. We have over €5 billion in assets under management and our investment strategies cover real estate and infrastructure assets, natural capital and minority and majority investments in portfolio companies.

Tulikivi is the market leader in heat retaining fireplaces in the world. Tulikivi was born by combining Finnish knowledge of arctic conditions, wood heating know-how and a unique soapstone reserve.

Polar Night Energy is a Finnish startup that designs and manufactures high temperature thermal energy storages for wind and solar energy. The Sand Battery developed by the company enables a significant increase in wind and solar energy production while reducing the use of fossil fuels. The company was founded in 2018.

 

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