Finland’s VTT fuels new green technologies
Scientific breakthroughs and innovations are drivers of future growth for the Finnish economy.VTT
A green engine simulation tool developed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is one example of how the centre is creating ways to shape a better future.
The tool is the centrepiece of the VTT-led GECFD research project, helping to develop novel cost-effective technologies needed for green fuels and the digital modelling of their use. The project hopes to significantly expedite their commercialisation.
One area where the simulation platform will be used is to assist an RDI ecosystem's development of internal combustion engines utilising green fuels for marine applications. The Zero Emission Marine ecosystem is spearheaded by marine tech company Wärtsilä and seeks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from what is one of the world’s most polluting industries.
As shipping remains a significant source of carbon dioxide emissions, VTT is promoting the transition to carbon-free fuels.
Aside from this, the end products that emerge during the GECFD project can also help with the development of synthetic fuels themselves. Neste, a leading producer of sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel, is involved in an ecosystem tasked with finding new solutions in this realm. The company is one of the largest in Finland and was incidentally recently acknowledged for its sustainability efforts.
Given that the GECFD platform is created using open-source software, the simulation tools developed in the project will become freely available upon its completion. The 1.1-million-euro project is funded by Business Finland and participated by AGCO Power, Koja and Vahterus.
Sustainable growth ahead
VTT is actively moving forward in other development areas, having outlined some significant new research investments for the next three years.
“VTT’s role is to be bold with future-oriented progress,” said the technical research centre's president and CEO, Antti Vasara.
Neste is a leading producer of sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel.VTT
Among the funding activities is a five-million-euro investment in the next development stage of a local district heat reactor’s nuclear energy concept. A new research and piloting platform for plastic and textile recycling is also to receive backing, to boost its quest to reduce carbon emissions, promote circular economy and limit dependence on imported materials.
The research centre is also involved in a piloting environment for sustainable fibre products located in the city of Jyväskylä. This hopes to substantially reduce forestry energy and water consumption, and enable product innovations.
A digital development platform for biosynthetic materials, meanwhile, is also receiving VTT support to aid the utilisation of AI, biotechnology and synthetic biology to develop completely new, superior, smart and responsive materials at a pace almost tenfold of anything previously seen.
VTT’s Oulu unit has extensively developed wireless wearable technologies.VTT
VTT has additionally invested in the development of its research facilities in Oulu, home to a piloting environment for photonics-based medical devices. This is to significantly expedite the products’ path to the healthcare market.
Apart from these investments, the centre is actively supporting a national initiative to affirm Finland’s position as one of the most important microelectronics and quantum technology centres in the EU. VTT is thus part of a cluster that includes the City of Espoo, Aalto University and members of the Technology Industries of Finland.
VTT helps companies to renew themselves and create new conditions for green transition, said CEO Antti Vasara.
All of the investment and support activities are scheduled for 2023–2025.
“In these areas, we see the next possibility to reach industrial scale through which we can bring new business to Finland. Even in hard times, an organisation like VTT should invest in the future,” Vasara underlined.
According to the VTT CEO, many Finnish and international companies have already agreed to become partners on research themes related to the investments.
“Our goal is to accelerate industry renewal in companies and attract more investments directly to them,” he added.