Energy & Enviro Finland

Mainpage 2/2008, 17 June 2008


Editorial: Low carbon life -  perspectives and prerequisites 

By Professor Sirkka Heinonen,
Member of the Club of Rome


In the face of the acerbating climate change we should start opening up perspectives and prerequisites for low energy life, and low carbon life, in particular.  It is important to think what kind of a new mind set is needed for achieving energy efficient communities. I wish to emphasize the importance of long-term systematic futures thinking and the importance of monitoring the continuous change of the operating environment.
Climate change can be seen as a driver for low energy life. We will perhaps see the emerging of a new life, a low carbon life, by introducing a new thinking into the economy.
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Finnish municipalities roll up their sleeves to fight climate change

Five municipalities - together with businesses, researchers, and public administration - are about to start a project with objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions more than what is required by EU goals and more quickly than has been agreed. The long-term goals reach as far as 20 years into the future, and the ultimate goal is a carbon-neutral municipality.
The project will support the future development of the municipalities and promote the introduction of climate-friendly technology. The procedures developed within the project will be applicable in other municipalities in Finland and elsewhere in the world.
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New program for more sustainable energy use launched

Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, has launched a five-year energy program that focuses on energy saving and energy efficiency of communities.  The aim is to reverse the trend in energy consumption and simultaneously to increase welfare and create new business - in terms of sustainable development.
In Finland, the communities consume almost as much energy as industry, and consumption is increasing year after year. Thus, energy saving poses a major challenge for companies, the public sector and consumers.
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Web poll to turn climate change concern into practical action


The neighbourhood association in a suburban area of the City of Helsinki, and the Finnish Environment Institute carried out a project in which people's knowledge and opinions concerning climate change were assessed and new patterns for interaction between citizens and experts developed.
The project consisted of a web poll and a neighbourhood meeting with invited speakers representing as well the Finnish Parliament as environmental expertise to obtain new information that would help to develop efficient means to encourage Finnish people to make choices that help to protect the climate.
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BIOFUELS

Second generation biofuels are around the corner

Second generation biofuels are around the corner, and  have clear environmental benefits compared to the conventional first generation ethanol and biodiesel. Integration of biofuel production into a pulp mill compared to a stand alone biofuel production are clear, according to Pöyry. But still more know-how is required for their profitable production.
The new biofuel technologies, such as for production of ligno-cellulosic ethanol and biomass-to-liquid (BTL), use a non-food renewable feedstock like residues from agriculture and forestry or specific energy wood.
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WASTE MANAGEMENT

Spent grain burns into clean energy

Based on extensive development work, Wärtsilä biopower plants burn now a mixture of wood chips and spent grain into clean energy.  In 2009, the company will complete two combined heat and power plants for the international brewing company Scottish and Newcastle. As far as  is known, this is the first time spent grain is used in a full factory scale for energy production.
The spent grain is a side stream product of the brewing process. It consists primarily of grain, i.e. cellulose, and other residual compounds, which are not converted to fermentable sugars by the mashing process. The brewery process is consuming electricity and steam produced from fossil fuels. Using spent grain improves sustainability of the process.
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Closed-loop system recovers energy from municipal solid waste

Ekokem Ltd. has in cooperation with municipalities and industry created a closed-loop system for recovering renewable energy from source separated municipal solid waste.  Energy is utilized to produce power and heat. Heat is distributed by local district heating networks for the households and industry of two cities. The system was awarded in the World Energy Globe Award gala.

The system comprises of a newly organized source separation and collection system of municipal waste, a modern waste-to-energy plant and a new transfer pipeline connecting two district heating networks together
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An unique solution to treat slaughterhouse waste on-site

During autumn 2009 almost all waste and wastewater from the biggest private slaughterhouse in Norway will be treated in an integrated waste treatment solution to be delivered by the Finnish company Preseco Oy. The end products will be compost, biogas and clean water. The plant has capacity to process 20 000 tons of slaughter waste, 10 000 tons of food waste and 115 000 cubic meters of wastewater per year.
The new plant makes it possible to treat biowaste also from the community without unnecessary transportation.
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HOME AUTOMATION

Adding energy saving features into home automation comes easier 

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has together with its European partners launched a thee-year project to develop a platform which makes it possible to add energy saving applications into one's home almost as simply as putting a sticker on a door. The overall goal of the project is to produce and test technology that will simplify the development and deployment of opportunistic computing applications to a considerable degree.
Today, the full cooperation potential of the current low-level technology remains unexploited due to the inability to program such object collections in a straightforward way.
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WATER TREATMENT

Nano-engineered nonwoven purifies water efficiently 

Ahlstrom, a Finnish company,  has introduced an advanced nonwoven filtration technology based on nanoalumina fibers. The  technology can efficiently and economically remove a large variety of contaminants including virus, bacteria and humic compounds from water stream. Humic compounds are naturally occurring, ultrafine particulate organic compounds, about the size of a virus, produced by the decay of natural organic matter found in surface waters.
Prior to the advanced nonwoven, humic compounds were not able to be completely removed by microfiltration or ultrafiltration polymeric membranes.
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INTERNATIONAL

Russia harmonizes its chemical legislation with EU Reach


As the EU is Russia’s largest export market, we are working to pass our own Reach act and aim to harmonize it, as well as the system of classification and labeling of chemical substances, with the EU’s Reach, says Igor Kukuškin, Executive Director of the Russian Chemists Union. The Union has taken an active role in preparing Russian industry for the new realities of the European market.
In many issues Russian Chemists Union works in cooperation with the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland, for instance in the entry into the Responsible Care program.
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