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Full steam ahead with emissions reductions

A heating solution created at the Fermion plant in Oulu won the Energy Genius of the Year 2019 award. The plant uses its own production process to generate heat.

“We realised that the exhaust steam generated during our production process could be used in the plant’s heating system. We invested in a heat exchanger, which has paid itself back even sooner than we expected. Our carbon dioxide emissions have decreased by 42,700 kilos per year.”

– Ari Koskela, Head of Technical Operations at Orion

The hidden potential of exhaust steam was identified during an energy review at the Fermion plant in Oulu in 2009. At the time, however, it was not yet clear how this potential could be used. In 2018, a new realisation was made that led to the acquisition of a heat exchanger and the installation of the equipment during a maintenance shutdown in the summer of 2019.

The exhaust steam is now recovered and used to heat the property and process water. The heat exchanger makes it possible to use 100% of the waste heat. The results of the preliminary calculations were exceeded, and only a positive problem remained:  how to use all of the heat recovered.

Why raise the bar?

Plants generate excess heat, which usually represents wasted energy. “Using excess heat plays a significant role in improving national energy efficiency and reducing emissions,” as the jury of the Energy Genius of the Year award explained. The successful project at the Fermion plant shows that heat can be harnessed profitably, even in a short period of time.

How are we raising the bar?

The power of excellent examples encourages us to broaden our impact well beyond the Oulu plant. The positive experiences gained from this investment have prompted us to identify and implement similar opportunities to use waste heat in the other six plant locations of the Orion Group.

The use of exhaust steam for heating has reduced our carbon dioxide emissions by 42,700 kilograms per year.