HELSINKI, Finland — The Finnish Funding Agency has given funding for the next few years to the Neo-Carbon Energy Project. This project aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by storing wind and solar energy. This is a big chance for Finland to succeed on the global market as in the past. Germany has led the nations in the development of solar and wind power, though it looks as though that title might soon be given to China and other Asian countries.
The Neo-Carbon Energy Project will allow Finnish companies to take part in international research focused on energy production. The goal of the project is to create a base of information and several potential testing sites. Accomplishing this would enable Finland to show that it belongs among the global elite.
“Solar and wind energy can provide major opportunities to create new jobs and export products for Finland,” said Pasi Vainikka, the Project Coordinator and Head Scientist at VTT.
Vainikka added that the main purpose of the project is to develop a way to store solar and wind energy as regular fuel, like gas or oil. The project would also develop energy storage on a larger scale, allowing it to be connected to the network in which the Finnish people receive their energy.
Currently the total budget for the project is around seven million euros, although the Finnish Funding Agency has granted the project five million euros for two years of funding. The project is a three-parter and includes researching the future of energy systems, developing new energy systems and enhancing the current research done toward energy storage.
“The project hits the strategic core of Lappeenranta University of Technology operations: green energy and collaboration with excellent partners,” said Christian Breyer, a professor at Lappeenranta University of Technology.
Breyer added that the project allows for the opportunity to refine some of the research methods previously used, allowing for a chance to make a strong entry into the energy market.
However, there is difficulty in developing the project. An emission-free energy system that is based entirely on solar and wind energy like the one they’re working on has a major challenge to work around from the start. Unlike oil or nuclear energy, wind and solar power have varying levels of supply. One day could be super windy, the next day could consist of no wind whatsoever.
Another challenge that scientists face is the creation of new legislation related to the energy market as the Finnish legislation has yet to take note of the need for new forms of energy or the distribution and storage that would be needed once the new forms of energy are developed.
Yet scientists believe that not only would changing the way energy is distributed bring positive socioeconomic change by allowing people in developing nations the chance to have access to energy, but also households would be able to act as suppliers of energy in the future to the local and national power grids.
“The foresight competence of Finland Futures Research Center will target, identify and interpret changes in the operating environment and the opportunities provided by them,” said Sirkka Heinonen, a professor at Finland Futures Research Center.
Heinonen added that special attention would be given to any new innovations that might be developed through the project, and that the potential business opportunities for the country would now be able to be explored thanks to global energy landscape’s changes.
– Monica Newell