The Neo-Carbon Energy project aims to create competencies that open doors for Finnish companies to take part in global research and development focused on energy production and the storage thereof. 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.
The total project budget is €7 million and Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, is providing €5 million in major strategic funding until 2016.
The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is collaborating with two Finnish universities, Lappeenranta University of Technology and the Finland Futures Research Centre at the University of Turku, to launch the Neo-Carbon Energy project which targets the storage of solar and wind energy.
"We can refine our strong competencies in energy markets, electrical engineering, energy and environment technologies in the development of a new energy system. We believe that the project will lead to even more extensive cooperation with international top universities”, says Professor Christian Breyer from Lappeenranta University of Technology.
The project will focus on three aspects of solar and wind energy storage:
Future research which is related to global challenges and energy systems.
The development of energy systems.
The enhancement of competencies related to the development of energy storage technologies.
“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.
Carbon 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.’
Besides new energy storage technologies and services, the energy transition is going to require the creation of legislation related to the energy business, to energy markets and new business chains. Finnish legislation is yet to take into account the needs of new energy sources, their distribution and storage, including the trade in solar and wind energy generated by private citizens.