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The new snow-melting equipment, Source: City of Helsinki / STARA

Modern device uses seawater heat to melt snow in Helsinki

Modern device uses seawater heat to melt snow in Helsinki

The new technology has proven to be cost-effective and environmentally friendly

Last month, Helsinki’s construction service company STARA began testing a new snow-melting and cleaning device that uses seawater heat. On 27 April, the municipality revealed the results of the experiment, noting that the new method has proven to be much more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than transporting snow to snow-receiving sites.

Expanding on this, the City of Helsinki shared that the innovative device used an average of 40 kWh of electricity to melt one snow load (costing only about 5 euros). This result is undoubtedly impressive when considering that transporting one snow load in Helsinki otherwise consumes much more energy and costs 80-120 euros instead.

“Such solutions save both costs and the environment. Of course, a single device will not replace a large snow receiving site, but when there are more devices in different parts of the city, the change will be significant. Next winter, we will try an even bigger and more energy efficient device,” explained the Head of Stara’s Urban Technology Maintenance Unit, Ville Alatyppö.

Making the city cleaner

In addition to melting snow, the device can also filter debris and contribute to a cleaner city. According to a press release, more than 8 cubic metres of rubbish were discarded during the experiment. Taking this further, one snow load contained roughly 50 litres of rubbish (face masks, gloves, empty cans, bottles, and others). 

The Production Manager for Urban Technology Maintenance at STARA, Tero Koppinen, commented on the device’s cleaning feature last month, sharing:

“In cramped Helsinki, there is little space for storing snow, and there is a lot of pressure to find solutions, especially near the beaches. If the experiment is successful, then we are closer to a solution where the snow no longer has to be dumped untreated into the sea.”

Now, after having melted 160 truckloads of snow and filtered out litres of rubbish, the device has indeed proven to be a success.

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