Kruunuvuori öljyluolat

Kruunuvuori oil caves as heat storage for a new residential area

Kruunuvuori oil caves as heat storage for a new residential area

Utilization of solar energy bound to seawater in the summer months as thermal energy in heating the houses in winter in a new residential area is a cost-effective and climate friendly solution. However, such system requires large empty spaces for storing the warm seawater for the winter months. Such caves, formerly used in diesel oil storage, exist in the upcoming Kruunuvuorenranta neighbourhood in Helsinki. Before use, the residual oil in rock fractures and groundwater need to be remediated.

Helsinki is growing with a new neighborhood. Kruunuvuorenranta is the westernmost part of Helsinki's Laajasalo. Much of it was for a long period of time used as ​​an oil port, but today a large new maritime residential area is being planned in its place.

In connection with the former oil port, large rock caves have been excavated in the bedrock under the upcoming residential area, which can be used for heating the the houses by storing seawater heated by the sun in the summer, and utilizing the thermal energy contained therein. Although the caves have been emptied and cleaned, residual oil is still seeping into the groundwater seeping the caves. Before reusing the caves, the oil must be remediated, so that the environment is not endangered when the caves are emptied during winters.

In cooperation with the Finnish Environment Institute, AFRY studied the ability of the native microbiota of the Baltic Sea to degrade oil compounds in a pilot experiment simulating the in situ conditions. The pilot experiment proved that the oil was degraded rapidly in seawater treatment, suggesting that the natural microbiota is capable of oil remediation. Encouraged by this, the project has moved on to the next phase, where the caves are partially filled with seawater.

The project was funded by the Environmental pool for the energy industry and others.

Project information

  • Client: Helen Oy and Skanska Talonrakennus Oy
  • Project: Utilization of Baltic Sea microbes in the clean-up of oil caves
  • Time: 2018–2019
  • Location: Helsinki
  • AFRY's role: research, implementation of a pilot test

Ota yhteyttä

Aura Nousiainen

Environmental Consultant, Environmental Consulting