Following the decision to invest in a new electric boiler this spring, trial runs were started in November and the boiler was commissioned in December as part of EPV’s electricity portfolio. The new electric boiler supports EPV Energy’s New Electricity Revolution strategy excellently, as well as its mission to achieve zero-emission and flexible energy generation and consumption. The electric boiler is an important component of the clean heat generation system of the future and an essential part of EPV’s adjustable production capacity.
The simplest way to explain how the electric boiler works is to describe it as a large kettle.
“It uses electricity to make heat. In practice, water from the boiler’s primary circuit is pumped into the water tank containing electrical resistors, and the boiler’s output capacity is controlled at the tank’s surface. The heated water from the primary circuit of the electric boiler is distributed via a heat exchanger to the thermal energy storage (TES) facility and to the district heating network of Vaasa. The boiler has an independent automation system, which is connected to the main automation system of the power plant site as a single heat production unit. This enables the smooth control of district heating in conjunction with the Vaskiluoto power plant and TES facility. The project also uses the infrastructure and facilities of another, decommissioned power plant. For example, its transformer, switchgear and the boiler building,” says Mats Söderlund, Vice President, EPV Heat.
Sector coupling at its best
EPV’s goal is to use new sources of electricity production to connect the energy needs of different industries by developing solutions based on new electricity, for example, in heat generation. The electric boiler is also a component of the clean heat production system of the future. A clean heat production system is a long-term, emission-free solution that will secure heat supply for the regions and also support the needs of the new weather-dependent electricity system.
This electric boiler project provides excellent support for the needs of the future energy system that involves sector coupling.
“With the heat the electric boiler produces and using the thermal energy storage facility, we can optimise the heat loads and shutdown periods of the Vaasa power plant better than ever. Additionally, the electric boiler allows the power plant longer shutdown periods. Together with thermal energy storage optimisation, it can create significant benefits and improve the usability of the power plant system’s heat generation. This is also a step towards emission-free heat production,” Söderlund says.
The electric boiler supports EPV’s risk management and reliability to a considerable extent. As renewable energy production increases, the electric boiler also supports the provisions for adjustment of the electricity system. When emissions are reduced, the structure of the production capacity changes significantly and, at the same time, it becomes more limited and the dispatchable generation capacity is reduced. These changes place new demands on the electricity system. In the future, the electricity system will need more and more regulation capability and TES facilities. By using an electric boiler, we can help to take advantage of low electricity prices in situations where there is a great deal of renewable energy in the electricity system.
The existing infrastructure in Vaskiluoto fully supports the new project
Utilising the existing infrastructure in Vaskiluoto has made the boiler project possible.
“The boiler will be located at the power plant site, where the infrastructure required for it can be easily built and connections to the rest of the power plant site’s infrastructure are feasible. Without the existing infrastructure, the cost of the electric boiler project would be many times higher,” Söderlund explains.
Using an electric boiler does not produce emissions like combustion technology does. The project is therefore also in line with Finland’s and the EU’s climate targets. The electric boiler is also one of the solutions included in the programme Towards a Fossil-free Finland.
Facts about the electric boiler
- Capacity 40 MW (electric boiler measurements: height 6.5 metres, cylinder diameter 3 metres)
- Maximum temperature of the supply water 130°C
- The electric boiler is very quick to set up, quick to adjust and easy to use. Boiler regulation capability 0–100% in 50 seconds
- The main component of the electric boiler system, the electric boiler, is delivered as one component. In addition, the system includes the customary pumps, pipes, heat exchangers and valves, etc.
- The district heating pipelines of the power plant have pre-fitted flange connections for the electric boiler as part of the TES facility investment
- The power of an electric boiler is regulated by the capacity of the heating elements inside the boiler
For more information contact: Mats Söderlund, Vice President, EPV Heat, tel. +358 10 505 5059