Stepping up North Karelia region by development of energy, chemical and material technologies (investments)
The project is funded by Just Transition Fund (JTF). The project is implemented by University of Eastern Finland (coordinator) and Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
Research and education have recently been developed by increasing the systematic exchange of information and developing common research infrastructure at different levels. The knowledge base has been built especially in the field of forest bioeconomy, where the goal has been jointly implemented business projects and testing services serving businesses. However, the changes in the world order have caused a revolution in the energy sector, which requires quick and bold leaps towards the hydrogen economy. At the same time, the management of emissions from energy production and other industrial activities plays an increasingly important role. The Puhtia project pair supports the diversification of North Karelia’s regional economy and the creation of new jobs, especially by developing energy technology and technological solutions for processing natural resources.
Puhtia projects executed together with the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) and the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) develop the technical capabilities of research and training units to produce services to serve companies in the region with access to RDI cooperation to solve technical challenges and develop goods and services. In the investment section of the project pair, research platforms and demo equipment will be updated for 1) technical training material research, prototype laboratory, mushroom and hybrid material laboratory and measurement and modeling of energy efficiency 2) processing of biomass into chemicals and measurement of greenhouse gas emissions from forestry and land use, especially old peatlands and peat bogs, and 3) energy storage and production of hydrogen economy companies and project implementers service technology.
In the development project section, the educational contents of the university’s DI education are promoted to meet the needs of the industry in the region and the regional operation of the Natural Resources Center as a competence center for materials technology focusing on renewable natural resources and their products is strengthened. In the integration, the sub-branches of materials technology, circular economy and energy efficiency included in technical education are especially taken into account. In the Materials unit, a collaborative FABLAB prototype workshop is developed, conditions are created for materials characterization services, and a unique laboratory unit is built for the production, testing and product demonstration of new mushroom and hybrid materials. In the processing of biomass into chemicals, the needs of companies and the benefits brought by the circular economy are taken into account. The energy and emissions work package includes the recycling of CO2 through green hydrogen into liquid fuels (energy storage) and the direct utilization of green hydrogen with fuel cells in energy production. The project develops research infrastructure necessary for companies, and companies are also offered a low-threshold opportunity to access the equipment of research institutes in their own development work, and this also enhances the use of already existing research infrastructure. The joint use of R&D information in the region is being developed in cooperation with the GreenHub network development project, in which Business Joensuu plays a key role.
The goal of the project is to develop the equipment resources of the region’s R&D operators, to increase the utilization rate and to build closer cooperation than at present. As a result of the project, several companies in the region will start product development cooperation with the University of Eastern Finland and/or Natural Resources Center and this cooperation will create a mutual competitive advantage and information exchange.