June 17, 2016

Finland produces fuel from solar power

The production plant that aims to convert solar power-produced electricity into gas or liquid fuels, is to be completed in 2017.
The production plant that aims to convert solar power-produced electricity into gas or liquid fuels, is to be completed in 2017.
Lappeenranta University of Technology

Lappeenranta University of Technology and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland are building a unique demo plant that will pilot the production of renewable fuels with solar power.

The pilot project’s goal is to convert solar power-produced electricity into gas or liquid fuels. The sun, water and carbon dioxide extracted from air will act as the raw materials for power. According to professor Jero Ahola from Lappeenranta University of Technology, this is probably the first time when water and carbon dioxide are taken from the air in this kind of test plant.

The plant, which has been named Soletair, will be used to demonstrate how processes can be combined in a way that allows the utilisation of renewable electricity in the production of, for example methane, fuels and chemicals. The demo plant could thus also function as a fuelling station for vehicles that run on hydrogen or natural gas.

“The project will produce expertise for enterprises in various fields, and it will result in a multidisciplinary industrial integration that no one company can achieve on its own,” says Pekka Simell, principal scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. “Collaboration will strengthen the expertise of Finnish industry in this sector.”

According to VTT, to help cut carbon dioxide emissions all industry sectors must be within the scope of emission-free energy production. In practice, the future’s most important energy market will be the electricity market, where different sectors of industry will operate with electricity produced from carbon dioxide emission-free energy sources.

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