Bold Imprints towards Carbon neutrality from the (B)oldest City in Finland
Turku’s current climate plan, with one of the most ambitious climate targets-carbon neutrality by 2029- was unanimously approved by the city council in June 2018. One year after, there are already several bold footprints of walking the talk. Some of the bold footprints towards a carbon neutral Turku by 2029 are:
Advanced and sustainable drinking water production
The water consumed in the Turku economic region is of excellent quality. Artificially infiltrated ground water is treated through an economically and ecologically friendly process. Artificial groundwater is produced by pumping water into infiltration basins, where over the course of three to four months the water is filtered and cleansed, becoming groundwater. The precise, innovative and unique method can be easily applied in other parts of the world. More information can be found in Turku Regional Water Ltd.’s video. Turku used to be infamous for bad-tasting water. Three different sources of clean water are being used in the Turku region, which is unique even in Europe.
Heat recovery from waste water
The Turku regional energy company’s heat pump plant in Kakola, located near the city centre, utilizes wastewater’s heat to produce both district heating and cooling for buildings in the Turku region. With heat pumps the remaining heat energy from the water can be recovered instead of being directly discharged into the sea. Kakola’s heat pumps correspond to the heating needs of approximately 24 000 citizens. All refinery sludge is also used to produce biogas. In many municipalities, waste water treatment is the biggest consumer of energy, but Turku is among the few cities where this process produces more energy than it consumes. From the perspective of circular economy, it is essential to utilize resources in waste water, such as sludge and energy. The current wastewater treatment plant is a regional solution with neighbouring municipalities. It is located underground in the centre of the city, inside a rock. The waste water treatment plant in Kakola is a unique plant built underground, where steady conditions enable the optimization of the treatment process. Facilities located under the ground are not sensitive to storms, winds, rain or cold that would cause additional costs or challenges. Costs of wastewater treatment are evened out by recovering energy from wastewater. A heat pump is used to recover district heat that will allow 15,000 apartments around Turku to be heated. During summer, the plant produces district cooling. In addition, biogas is produced from the wastewater sludge and end use of sludge among land masses or in agriculture is developed. Presently, the plant produces 10 times more than it consumes. The plant also has solar panels for energy production and local technologies are tested there.
Two-way district heat system pilot in the sustainable city district, Skanssi
In Turku we are developing a Sustainable Development District, named Skanssi, where we pilot a two-directional heat trade and a low-temperature (65 ºC) district heating network. Here we can develop near-by energy production and distribution. Two-way systems make heat-trade possible, and in the future heat-users can play a more active role in managing their own energy consumption.
Topinpuisto circular economy hub
In cooperation with 15 organizations Turku launched a circular economy network and hub in 2016. Topinpuisto as the hub is called, develops public-private cooperation in circular economy and waste management. The Topinpuisto hub has special expertise in textile recycling, municipal and company waste management, biogas production and the recycling of industrial metals. Topinpuisto has a Visitor Centre which offers a pedagogic approach to circular economy and possibilities to host delegation visits
The Naantali Multi-Fuel Plant
Turku Energia sells district heating and cooling from its own production facilities, owned by the affiliated companies. Completed in 2017, the multi-fuel power plant in Naantali aims at clearly reducing the use of coal for energy production in Turku and replacing with bioenergy, which will significantly reduce CO2 emissions. Most biofuels, such as wood chips and bark, are sourced from the local area and possibly by sea transport.
The City bike system as a part of the ‘Föli’, Turku Region Public Transport
The development and maintenance of a high-quality urban bicycle system, in principle, as a year-round service, with a natural combination to public transport and the increased use and expansion of the network is a sharing economy solution. The initiative offers the possibility for its users to use a good urban bike system that is integrated into the city public transport network.
Strengthening carbon sinks and nature-based solutions as part of Turku’s Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan-SECAP
Urban parks and related green infrastructure will be further developed to mitigate climate change (carbon sinks) and to support preparedness (runoff waters, effect on microclimate). Green-blue factor will be taken into use in construction planning. Maintaining soil and using long-lasting woodwork will be preferred in construction. Using wood as construction material is developed and its share is increased.
The Turku Student foundation’s Solar Energy-powered Building
Aitiopaikka is an energy-intensive building with 255 student apartments and 515 roof solar panels producing enough energy for the building and excess to share. The excess energy generated by the solar panels is distributed in the area. The peak power of the solar power plant is 165 kW. The excess energy generated by the solar panels is distributed in the area. At best, 50% of electricity can be transferred to neighbouring buildings. The values of the Turku Student Foundation include sustainable development and solar energy is one of the foundation's sustainable development measures.
Smart Chemistry Park
The Smart Chemistry Park is an innovation platform and cluster for start-ups and SMEs delivering solutions to bio-, and circular economies and cleantech. The core competence of the companies in the Smart Chemistry Park stems from different fields of chemistry. With their unique know-how, the companies deliver products or technology expertise to a wide variety of industrial sectors, for example the metal, energy, paper & packaging, building, and life science industries.
Textile recycling, sorting and refining facility pilot
Together with its partners, the Southwest Finland regional waste management company (Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto Oy) owned by 17 municipalities, is developing a textile recycling and utilizing network and piloting a waste textile management plant. The development of circular economy is being promoted by both the operations of the company and the provision of guidance in sustainable actions to customers and public services. In the last couple of years, the textile processing plant in south-west Finland has been collecting textile materials. The long-term goal is to cater for the processing of recycled textile from the whole country by identifying the type of processing that is needed by companies using the Finnish recycled textiles. At the same time, the processing plant is responsible for waste management according to the EU waste directive EU waste directive which states that separate collection of textile waste must be organized by 2025