Stepping up North Karelian energy, materials and chemicals development
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 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 project, together with the University of Eastern Finland UEF and the Natural Resources Institute Finland Luke, the technical capabilities of the research and training units are developed to produce development services that serve companies in the region and access RDI cooperation to solve technical challenges. In the investment section of the project pair, research platforms and demo equipment will be updated for 1) technical education materials research, prototype laboratory and energy efficiency use needs, 2) biomass processing into chemicals and 3) hydrogen economy energy storage and production technology serving companies and educational institutions.
In the development project section, the educational contents of the university’s technology education are promoted to meet the needs of the industry in the region and the regional operation of the Natural Resources Institute Finland is strengthened as a competence center for materials technology focusing on renewable natural resources and their products, and in starting and operating the technology education. In the integration, the sub-branches of materials technology, circular economy and energy efficiency included in technical education are especially considered. 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 considered. 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 infrastructure 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.