Carbon-negative district heating starts in Finland

A scheme to provide carbon-negative heat into a district heating network has begun in Tampere, Finland – the first time this has been done commercially, according to the project’s developers.

The heat is provided from a factory in the Hiedanranta district in Tampere, which burns wood and turns it into biochar through pyrolysis. The carbon in the biochar is then sequestered in the soil, while the heat from the Carbofex factory is used in the city’s district heating network.

The heat is being bought by Tampereen Sähkölaitos, the Tampere electric company, which will distribute it to its own customers via its district heating network.

The scheme follows other innovative sources of heat that are feeding into the network – two years ago, a housing company in Tampere started selling its excess heat to be used in the district heating scheme.

‘Buying district heating from Carbofex supports Tampereen Sähkölaitos’s aims of energy network openness, of being a pioneer and of using solutions that are sustainable from a climate perspective. When several producers can produce energy for the district heating network, it helps to ensure a competitive and stable price for district heating,’ said Jukka Joronen, Vice President, Energy Markets at Tampereen Sähkölaitos.

The district heating produced from the Carbonfex factory is estimated to be enough for the annual heating needs of around 30 multi-storey blocks. The factory is expected to capture up to 2,500 tonnes of carbon a year – every kilogram of biochar produced will sequester around 3.5 kg of carbon in the soil.

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