NREP Logicenters, a leading Nordic real estate investor and developer, and QHeat, a next-generation energy company, have completed their joint pilot project to build a deep geothermal well in Espoo, Finland. The pilot aims to provide a near zero-emission energy solution that can produce up to 40 times more heat energy than traditional ground heat.
NREP Logicenters and QHeat’s pilot project on a deep geothermal well has been completed at NREP Logicenters’ logistics property in Koskelonkuja, Espoo. The pilot is Finland’s first functional geothermal heating plant that can heat as well as cool large property complexes in a nearly emission-free manner.
The deep geothermal well, located on NREP Logicenters’ property, is approximately one kilometer deeper than a regular geothermal heat pump, which enables greater production of energy. The well, which was taken into use in January, is 1,300 meters deep and is estimated to produce more than 1,000 MWh of heat energy per year, which equals the heat consumption of approximately three apartment buildings. The well covers 60–80 percent of the 16,000 m2 logistic property’s heating. In addition, QHeat’s technology enables the property’s cooling during the summer.
“The heating of buildings represents approximately one fourth of the total energy consumption in Finland, and most of this energy is produced with fossil fuels. The only way we can reach our goal of using only renewable energy in our properties is to pilot and scale new solutions such as this one,” says Jani Nokkanen, CIO and partner at NREP.
The drilling of the deep geothermal well began at the end of July 2019, and the well’s heat production began in January 2020. The pilot is part of the Smart Otaniemi innovation ecosystem and received nearly half of its funding from Business Finland.
“We are excited to put into operation Finland’s first functional geothermal heating plant. We are grateful to Business Finland and NREP for funding this pilot. We believe that this technology has significant export potential as a solution to decrease emissions from heating and cooling,” says Miska Eriksson, QHeat’s CEO.
The energy production of NREP Logicenters’ deep geothermal well will be tested during spring and the company aims to utilize the technology also in its other properties.
“QHeat’s technology has great potential, as it enables emission-free geothermal heat also in densely built urban areas. We have already identified large projects in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area in which we would like to scale the technology,” Nokkanen continues.
Nordic real estate investment company NREP and Logicenters will build the world’s first deep geothermal well with seasonal storage capability in Espoo in cooperation with the energy industry start-up QHeat. The project pilots a new, nearly emission-free energy solution for large real estate, producing as much as 40 times the heat energy of traditional geothermal heating.
The deep geothermal well developed by QHeat is a medium-depth geothermal well drilled to the depth of approximately two kilometres and can heat and cool large real estate areas or regional grids with near-zero emissions. The solution enables emission-free geothermal heating in growing urban areas, as well, as it is well suited to dense housing areas and groundwater areas. The pilot is carried out at the NREP Logicenters’ logistics property in Espoo, and it is estimated to reduce the property’s CO2 emissions by as much as 90 per cent. The project is set to be completed by the end of November.
“By piloting new solutions, such as QHeat’s deep geothermal heat, and by scaling them into wider operating models, we are actively introducing new ways to reduce the environmental impacts of real estate in the industry. We are also continuously exploring possibilities to improve energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy in our properties. We are committed to reducing the climate emissions of real estate and to promoting energy efficiency, because real estate and construction produce approximately a third of Finland’s carbon footprint,” says Jani Nokkanen, partner at NREP.
Finland’s goal is to reduce emissions by at least 39 per cent from the 2005 level by the year 2030. With deep geothermal heat, emissions from real estate heating can be reduced by as much as 95 per cent compared to fossil fuels. If solutions such as deep geothermal heat can be scaled to even 5 per cent of Finland’s real estate stock, it would mean a reduction of half a million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, or four per cent of Finland’s emission target, according to QHeat’s calculations.
“A clean future lies beneath our feet. With deep geothermal heat, we can make good use of the warm summer months, because during the summer, we can store waste energy from cooling into the ground and then use it for heating in the winter. Deep geothermal energy has significant export potential as a solution that can mitigate climate change by reducing the emissions from heating and cooling on a global scale,” says Miska Eriksson, CEO of QHeat.
Qheat’s deep geothermal heat technology is patented and has been tested in cooperation with Finnish experts and universities. The project has received funding from Business Finland as part of the Smart Otaniemi initiative.