Kalasatama Invests in Pilot Projects, Solar Power, and Waste Management

Smart Kalasatama is a former industrial area in the City of Helsinki, Finland that is gradually becoming one of the smartest cities on the planet. The current population is approximately 3,000 people, but it is expected to house 20,000 and provide 8,000 jobs by the 2030’s.

Garbage collection is only one of the smart services being researched. A new, innovative pipeline-based waste collection system has been designed. Garbage bins are color coded according to a waste category – mixed waste, biowaste, paper, and cardboard  – and placed in strategic sites around the complex. Waste is automatically sucked by a vacuum into underground pipelines where it is sent on to the local waste management facility at a speed of up to 40 miles per hour. Trucks pick up the full containers from the station and transport the waste to be utilized as recycled material, incinerated for energy, or turned into compost soil.

The Smart Kalasatama Program for Agile Piloting invests in small pilot projects – between 1,000–8,000 euros – that are developing smart services. The program is designed for experimenting in a real-life setting for up to 6 months. The aim is to accelerate the process of idea-to-reality and to learn by practice. The first pilot projects started in the the spring of 2016 and were related to smart mobility services, effective waste management, reducing food waste, and co-creating local services.

Solar power is available to residents from a solar field consisting of 1,188 solar panels at Suvilahti. These were sold as designated panels, whereby customers purchase power produced by their designated panels for a fixed monthly fee, and the value of the power is deducted from their electricity bill. The solar power plant can be monitored in real time online, and customers who have purchased a designated panel will be able see the production of their own panel in an online service.

Collaboration between city departments, residents, industry, and academia is considered to be one of the key factors in  making Smart Kalasatama a success.