Geoenergy and coffee bring old partners new ideas
Time was tight and there wasn’t really enough space. Not enough to drill 115 geoenergy wells for a factory which production was running as usual and that was also under construction, with workers and traffic all over the place.
“Experience and cooperation make obstacles disappear. If not – we have a cup of coffee together and solve any problem.”
This is how Mirka’s project office manager, Jari Lemberg, describes the partnership with Adven. A partnership that after 20 years keeps on developing.
It is a bit of a jigsaw puzzle. The creation of the low-emission hybrid energy solution at Mirka’s Power Tools facilities, in Jakobstad, Finland. It is designed to keep the factory facility self-sufficient in heating and cooling and it combines a new geofield, heat pumps, solar panels and a district heating system. The latter as back-up for the coldest days of winter. This way, the production facility of Mirka runs on 98 percent renewable energy.
The energy system was put in place during 2023 with business ongoing as usual, but not only at Mirka’s factory. Production was also running at another company being a tenant in the very same facility. Beside this, there was construction work going on for the expansion of Mirka’s existing factory. This means construction workers and equipment were all over the property. Not to mention the heavy traffic.
A box from heaven? Well, to some extent that is what an energy central is to an industry, here carefully put in place by our supplying partners.
“To install the pipings only, connecting two properties of which one was under construction was… Well, we had a bit of a challenge”, Anssi Juvonen, Adven’s sales manager, recalls.
Confidence among partners
Despite the concerns of Anssi Juvonen and his team at Adven, there wasn’t much worry from the other side of the table. On that chair was Mirka’s project office manager Jari Lemberg confidently seated. He has been with Mirka as long as the two companies have been partners in energy, just over 20 years.
“We know from experience that Adven has the ability of managing demanding situations”, Jari Lemberg says without hesitation.
He refers to the common history of the two companies which includes a handful of energy systems, in various Finnish locations. Actually the cooperation started already before by the turn of the century. He hardly dares to mention it, but back then the two partners in energy worked with heavy fuel oil boilers.
“Fortunately, those days are long gone. Now we are, since many years back already, operating CO2-chasing energy solutions together, at several Mirka-sites, all over Finland”, Jari Lemberg emphasizes.
Heat pumps and heat recovery
Geoenergy is solar energy stored under our feet. It is one of the most climate beneficial energy forms that we know of and can be extracted from the bedrock or from the surface of the soil. It can be utilized for both heating and cooling. In the Jakobstad factory it is used for both purposes depending on the season, and the solution is boosted by heat pumps.
Mirka produces tools and solutions for surface finishing and for the precision industry and the Power Tools factory in Jakobstad produces mainly electric sanders.
When the expansion of Jakobstad’s Power Tools facilities began in 2022, it was to meet the increased demand for electric sanders. While at it, one of Mirka’s goals was finding an efficient and more sustainable energy production for the whole new site. The geoenergy based hybrid system now in place met the goal and also reduced the factory’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by 900 tons.
Climate & business join forces
“CO2-reductions are a key ambition of Mirka’s, but the Euro”, Jari Lemberg underlines, “is actually a good consultant too.”
He is referring to energy efficiency as saving not only carbon dioxide emissions but also costs. As his energy partner Adven keeps repeating, Mirka too states that climate and business really do walk hand in hand. Less energy used is a win-win, and both climate and regulations demand actions. Emissions ratios and allowances set by the EU and others will be more strict and rigorous over time.
In terms of energy systems, the two managers do not consider the Jakobstad hybrid solution as being big. Speaking of geoenergy solutions though, they do. The 115 geoenergy wells, each of them 340 meters deep, are as said reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the Jakobstad factory by 900 tons annually, but it is more to it than that.
New dimension of tailor-made
For Mirka it is not only a new geofield. It is also their first, but certainly not the last, geoenergy based energy system. To Adven the combined challenges of the hybrid solution in Jakobstad were special – like the installation of the energy central. There was actually not enough workspace and logistics were tight.
“In a situation like this our long-term cooperation comes in handy as we could plan our every move very carefully together”, Anssi Juvonen explains.
As there was no space to construct the energy central at the site in Jakobstad, Adven didn’t. The central was instead built elsewhere, put in a container, transported to Jakobstad – and lifted into place pretty much as if putting a cassette into a video player back in the days.
“We have done this a few times when we are really lacking workspace and we call it the container solution”, Anssi Juvonen explains.
The site was up and running during springtime 2023 and Adven and Mirka employees got together to conclude the project phase. The collaboration between the companies continues for at least another 15 years.
To Mirka the long-term partnership, the Energy as a Service® concept and the local staff are vital. Two decades of cooperation bring experience, skills and good practice. Also, as Jari Lemberg underlines, with time people get to know each other and build cross company teams handling needs and solving problems together.
“We just have a coffee and discuss. After a cup, or sometimes two, the problem is solved! It’s as easy as that”, says Jari Lemberg and gets a nod from Anssi Juvonen.
Figures from the project:
- Geofield: 115 wells, each 340 meters deep
- Heat pumps 1,650 kW and an air-to-water heat pump 340 kW
- Solar panels 90 kWp
- Share of renewable energy 98%
- Carbon dioxide emissions reduced by approximately 900 tons a year