The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has joined forces with Lappeenranta University of Technology and the Finland Futures Research Centre at the University of Turku, to launch an extensive development project for a new energy system and its associated Finnish business sector.
The NEO-CARBON ENERGY project will focus on three aspects of solar and wind energy storage:
- Futures research, related to global challenges and energy systems.
- The development of energy systems.
- The enhancement of competencies related to the development of energy storage technologies.
The total project budget is €7 million, with €5 million in major strategic funding for 2014–2016 provided by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation.
Finland to lead the way
The NEO-CARBON ENERGY project aims to create competencies that open doors for Finnish companies to take part in international R&D focused on energy production. The aim is to create a competence base and potential testing areas, enabling Finland to demonstrate that it belongs among the global elite in this field.
‘Solar and wind energy can provide major opportunities to create new jobs and export products for Finland,’ says Pasi Vainikka, Project Coordinator and Principal Scientist at VTT. ‘The purpose of the project is to develop an energy system based on the storage of energy in the form of hydrocarbons, in other words conventional fuels.’
Emission-free energy production will be divided into much smaller units than today, perhaps even with individual households acting as energy suppliers. Households may play a significant future role as suppliers of electric power to both the local and national grid. Their excess electrical energy may be stored by energy service providers, or they could sell this energy and buy it back in the form of fuel for their cars, for example.
‘Any transition in the energy system will be perceived in the context of society as a whole and in changes of lifestyle,’ says Professor Sirkka Heinonen, with the Finland Futures Research Centre at the University of Turku. ‘The potential business opportunities for Finland will be explored in consideration to changes in the global energy landscape, using examples from Chinese and emerging African markets.’