The Finnish Climate Fund presented the solutions of its investment targets in the SuomiAreena panel. Geothermal energy, gas turbines and recovery of materials from waste slag are examples of technologies that solve the challenges of climate change and offer growth opportunities for Finland.
In the spring of 2022, QHeat became one of the Climate Fund’s first investment target companies, when the fund decided to support QHeat’s growth with a capital loan of 3.3 million euros (read the previous announcement here). QHeat’s solution was presented at the Climate Fund’s SuomiAreena panel on July 12.
“In order to increase energy self-sufficiency and the share of renewable energy sources, the energy system must be partly decentralized closer to the user. Centralized production of renewable energy, such as pellets or biofuels, is still mostly based on burning, which is a problem in terms of emissions,” explained Erika Salmenvaara, CEO of QHeat.
When discussing the energy system, the differences between ground source heating and geothermal energy also came up. Whereas ground source heating is obtained from a depth of a few hundred meters and it comes mainly from the sun, geothermal energy is obtained from a depth of one to two kilometers and it comes from the earth’s core. “Geothermal energy is therefore an inexhaustible natural resource that will not run out,” Salmenvaara stated.
QHeat’s medium-deep heat wells are a practically emission-free solution for large heating needs and residential blocks. As a rule, 2–3 geothermal heat wells are enough to heat one large block. Since one well only requires about three square meters of plot area, the solution is ideal for compact construction.
The Climate Fund supports promising technologies to overcome the early stage uncertainty
The Climate Fund is a governmental special mission company that helps Finnish solutions that combat climate change and accelerate the low-carbon industry to grow. In addition to QHeat’s Salmenvaara, Aurelia Turbines’ CEO Matti Malkamäki, Magsort’s CEO Niklas Törnkvist and Climate Fund’s CEO Paula Laine participated in the discussion of the Climate Fund’s panel. Aurelia Turbines produces efficient gas turbines for the industrial sector, replacing fossil fuels with hydrogen. Magsort has developed a technology that can be used to recover desired materials from waste slag – for example, metal and cement.
Laine stated in the panel that funding often slows down the rise of new, alternative technologies. Investing, for example, in new equipment, which would enable fulfilling all customer orders, is not necessarily immediately possible. “In this uncertain interim phase, the Climate Fund comes to the rescue,” Laine described.
With the capital loan received from the Climate Fund, QHeat will acquire up-to-date drilling equipment, which will enable drilling wells faster and more predictably than at present. In addition, the aim is to collect and utilize data from the new drills, which can be used to make the drilling process even more efficient.
“In terms of our growth, it is extremely useful to get funding at such an early stage. The technology focused on medium-deep heat wells has significant potential to become Finland’s next export product. In addition to Finland, the patent for our heat well was recently approved in Canada,” said Salmenvaara.