Hot Heart: artificial islands for recreation & energy storage
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Hot Heart: artificial islands designed for recreation and thermal energy storage

Carlo Ratti Associati

Hot Heart: artificial islands for recreation & energy storage
By Editorial Staff -

Is it possible to create artificial islands for thermal energy storage that also function as a leisure hub?

The answer is a resounding yes. Hot Heart, a project developed by Helsinki Energy Challenge–winner Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA), has been designed to reduce the CO2 impact of the Finnish capital’s heating systems to reach 2030 targets. The project takes the form of an archipelago of thermal storage islands that double as habitat for tropical forests (or for any number of ecosystems from around the world) as well as a venue for public and educational events. It’s the product of collaboration between CRA and Ramboll, Transsolar, Danfoss Leanheat®, Schneider Electric, OP Financial Group, schlaich bergermann partner, and Squint / Opera.

Located off the coast of Helsinki, Hot Heart will be the largest facility of its kind in the world when completed. The project comprises ten cylindrical floating reservoirs, each one 740 feet (225 m) in diameter. In total, they can hold up to ten million cubic meters of water. The system works like a giant thermal battery: low- or negative-cost renewable energy is converted into heat, stored in tanks, and then pumped into the city’s heat distribution network during winter.

“Renewable energy production is becoming cheaper, but storage is still extremely expensive,” says Carlo Ratti, founding partner of CRA. “Our idea is to use giant thermal batteries to store energy when prices are at low or negative levels, and extract it when required by the local heating network when demand is high. This model would work equally well in many coastal cities with similar climates.”

As the winning entry in the Helsinki Energy Challenge, Hot Heart is expected to enter the master planning phase in 2021 and be fully implemented by 2028.

An international collaboration for the Helsinki Energy Challenge developed by the teams below:
CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati (Design)
Ramboll (General Engineering) – Mika Kovanen, Kreetta Manninen
Transsolar (Climate Engineering) – Monika Schulz, Thomas Auer
Danfoss Leanheat® (Demand Management Engineering) – Oddgeir Gudmundsson, Jukka Aho, Juho Nermes, Lauri Leppä, Nico Klecka
Schneider Electric (Technology Partner for Sustainability and Energy Efficiency) – Jani Vahvanen
OP Financial Group (Financial Analysis)
schlaich bergermann partner (Lightweight Structural Engineering) – Mike Schlaich, Boris Reyher
Squint/Opera (Communications Partner)

Multimedia Credits: Squint-Opera
Images Credits: CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati

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