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From oil to bioenergy

Peat technology

Energy research has always been important at VTT. In the 1950s, VTT researched peat characteristics, gasification and drying on an industrial scale in the peat and oil technical laboratory’s briquette plant.

 Finland was also an early member of the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA.


Future energy solutions aim to curb emissions and the resulting climate change. Biofuels are one means of reducing emissions. VTT has done pioneering work in the development of biofuels.

St1 Biofuels uses the Etanolix method, developed at VTT, in the production of bioethanol from bakery and brewery waste.  

  In Vietnam, VTT has been involved in the ENERFISH project, producing biodiesel from the fish gutting waste of a fish processing plant.

Oxygen combustion and fluidised bed technology

Despite the increased use of biofuels, coal remains a significant source of energy. Roughly a third of the carbon dioxide emissions caused by man originates from energy production with fossil fuels. In cooperation with operators in the field of energy industry, VTT has been researching a technology that could be used to incinerate coal with pure oxygen separated from air. As far as is known, VTT’s laboratory equipment in 2005 was the first time in the world when oxygen combustion and fluidised bed technology were combined.

In collaboration, Foster Wheeler Oy and VTT have developed a circulating fluidised bed boiler functioning under supercritical steam conditions with 15 to 20% lower carbon dioxide emissions compared with traditional boilers. Foster Wheeler has applied the technology in Poland.

Carbon Capture and Storage, CCS, is a significant technology for the long-term reduction of emissions. The best carbon dioxide capture, transportation and long-term storage solutions for Finland are being sought in the CCS Finland project led by VTT.  


 Research in nuclear energy

Research in nuclear energy began at VTT in the early 1970s. Right from the beginning, VTT’s research helped ensure the safety and operational reliability of the Loviisa and Olkiluoto nuclear power plants. Almost 30% of electricity in Finland is currently generated by nuclear power. VTT is still actively involved in both domestic and international research collaboration that supports the safe use of the current power plants and the development of new technical solutions for their successors. For example, VTT has performed internationally unique plane collision tests, validating certain calculation methods important for the safety of the power plant's containment building.


VTT has also participated in the development of final disposal solutions for nuclear waste and is involved in the ITER fusion reactor programme, which may enable the use of fusion power on an industrial scale.

Wind power technology

VTT has been involved in the development of wind energy from the early 1980s, and the next generation of wind power plants was born at the end of the 1980s. The use of wind power has grown fast abroad. In Finland, thus far only around 0.2 % of electricity is generated using wind power.

VTT has collaborated with, for example, the wind power technology manufacturer Moventas, and created new solutions to support the product development and design of gear systems for large wind power plants and the predictive monitoring of the condition of the gear systems and power transmissions of the wind power plants.


Energy Visions books

VTT has published energy vision books, based on research knowledge, to support discussion and decision-making on energy issues. The scenarios presented in the latest such book, Energy Visions 2050, show that the development and implementation of technology and global climate cooperation make it possible to curb climate change. However, it requires the renovation of the entire energy system by the year 2050.  


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