Apply within 5 days
Deadline: Dec 17, 2018 07:00 AM
Kickoff: Jan 08, 2019
Helsinki, Finland
max 30 000 € pilot project + 4-year service contract / max 500 000 € procurement

This Is Snow Problem with Stara

Stara is looking for external innovation partners to provide means for handling snow in a more convenient, safe, and environmentally-friendly way. The proposed solutions for the challenge may focus on either preventing or minimising the negative effects of snow removal, including processes and methods for melting, cleaning, and/or disposing of snow already at its original location or in the relocation sites, the ‘snow depots’.

The challenge

Snowy winter days might be an essential part of the true Finnish winter, but they are just as much a challenge for keeping our cities functional and enjoyable with clear streets. Stara provides the City of Helsinki the services for handling routine snow removal, and is now looking for new and innovative solutions for cleaning snow that cannot be left on the streets.

Currently Stara’s snow removal process consists of collecting excess snow and transporting it to assigned relocations. Some of these spots are on land, while there are also three locations in Helsinki where snow is transferred to the sea. In Kyläsaari and Viikki there are methods for treating the meltwater before it gets to the sea. In Hernesaari snow is unloaded directly to the sea, which also requires the site to have a constantly running service to keep it from freezing over.

By hosting This Is Snow Problem, Stara wants to reduce the unnecessary stress caused to the environment by the current process, and make room for snow utilisation opportunities that currently are wasted. The collected snow is not the problem in itself: the uncleanliness of it is. City snow contains all kinds of impurities, including for example microplastics, dust and stones, substances used for prevention of slipperiness, and small particle pollution from surface wear and fossil fuels. This leads to two kinds of consequences. First, as dirty snow melts, unwanted particles end up in the water system through various routes - be these directly or indirectly via infiltration or open ditches. The particles cause blockages but also an inconvenient need for digging the polluted soil back up from the sea and transporting it to expensive handling sites. Second, dirty snow cannot be utilised for any other purposes, like for example cooling or energy production, at least not without significant maintenance costs.

Stara is looking for external innovation partners to provide means for handling snow in a more convenient, safe, and environmentally-friendly way. The proposed solutions for the challenge may focus on either preventing or minimising the negative effects of snow removal, including processes and methods for melting, cleaning, and/or disposing of snow already at its original location or in the relocation sites, the ‘snow depots’. The solution ideas and concepts presented in the competition might be either connected or separate to/from the service vessel that keeps the Hernesaari location from getting an ice cover and to/from the filtering systems used in Kyläsaari and Viikki snow depots.

The host

Stara is an independent department of the city of Helsinki and provides the construction services the city needs. The department takes care of repairing buildings, planting trees and shrubberies, laying streets and cycling lanes, and keeping the city clean.

The Urban Environment Division (Kaupunkiympäristön toimiala) - which is responsible for planning, construction and maintenance, building supervision and environmental services in the Helsinki city environment - is among the most significant customers of Stara.

The process

The This Is Snow Problem Innovation Challenge is organised as Innovation Partnership Procurement according to the Act on Public contracts and concessions (1397/2016). Please check the official documents of the procurement to get the full information of the process and the details of the procurement (documents in Finnish).


Picture: Helsingin kaupungin aineistopankki, Janne Saavalainen / editor Reija Jousjärvi.