Sign In
Information about science based innovations, solid facts to support decision-making, performance and business development for VTT’s partners, customers and anyone interested in high technology and its applications.
A magazine on science, technology and business

Arctic solution

​​​​​​​​

The perfect pilot environment for Arctic solutions

Sami Anteroinen | 9.11.2016

​VTT is developing Arctic and cold climate solutions that will shape the future of global industry and transport.  

Safe, year-round shipping in the highly fragile Arctic environment is a major challenge – exceptionally reliable and durable solutions are needed for operating in freezing and fragile climates. VTT Research Scientists Jaakko Heinonen and Vilho Jussila believe that Finns have plenty of Arctic expertise on which to build.

– Shipping has traditionally been our main global strength, but new Finnish spearhead sectors are emerging – offshore wind power is a good example of this, Heinonen says.

Things are happening in the north, now that there is so much global interest in the Arctic and icy regions. Natural resources in the Arctic, such as oil, gas and minerals, are raising interest because climate change is making them more accessible. At the same time, the opening of new sea routes such as the Northeast and Northwest passages, will provide huge opportunities for Finnish shipbuilding.

 

Utilising maritime resources

At VTT, we discuss Arctic and cold regions in a broader context, in which the sea is viewed as a resource. The sea can provide a "multi-platform" for a range of activities and be a source of food, energy and even entertainment.

– The concept of marine resource covers activities such as renewable energy production, transport, trade, tourism and fishing, explains Heinonen.

Shipping is clearly under rapid and sustainable development. Liquefied natural gas-fuelled LNG ships are among the new directions being taken. Research Scientist Vilho Jussila wonders whether other kinds of ships should be banned from entering the fragile Arctic regions.

– This would eliminate particulate emissions. In addition, the effect on the surrounding sea area would be much milder if a vessel were damaged.

 

Nature's own testbed environment

Heinonen and Jussila believe that no international brand could withstand a reputation as a spoiler of Arctic nature. That is why, as environmental awareness grows, Finland has an excellent opportunity to function as a testbed environment, in which various parties can test their products and services.

– Finnish conditions would enable full-scale tests. We have a pilot environment that is almost Arctic in nature, says Heinonen.

Testing of this kind would be supported by Finnish modelling and simulation expertise. Heinonen points out that, while simulations cannot wholly substitute for testing in challenging, authentic conditions, they can eliminate several unnecessary intermediate steps.

– There would be less need for 'trial and error'.

 

Testing expertise in a single location

VTT aims to build a world-class environment for validating the compatibility of Arctic solutions, which would bring together the related Finnish expertise. At least measurement, the verification of offshore structures, computation software and automated port operations could be developed within the same environment.

– For example, solutions are needed for the logistics and maintenance challenges posed by ice and snow. Safety is being improved, as well as efficiency, says Vilho Jussila.

The construction of an Arctic testing centre would be a natural continuation of VTT's Strategy for the Arctic Region, which has built up momentum in recent years. Heinonen, who joined VTT in 2001, believes that the Arctic theme soared to the top of VTT's agenda in 2013 and was selected as a spearhead programme in early 2015.

– This represents a long continuum, given that we experienced our first Arctic boom at the end of 1980s.

 

A lasting impression

The interaction between different ice structures is a key area of the researchers' work. Heinonen believes that one of the toughest nuts to crack is the problem of ice loads on ships and marine structures.

– This is still not fully understood, but we are continually finding out more about how well, say, propellers and marine structures withstand ice loads, he says.

They are also investigating how to make the engines of ships that are ploughing through ice function within their optimal limits – and how to secure energy generation by offshore wind parks. Research Scientists at VTT are tackling these themes despite limited direct funding from industry.

– This work is nevertheless important because the ice load is a key criterion when designing structures and equipment, adds Heinonen.

When we understand the properties and behaviour of ice, we can use automation more extensively in the Arctic region in areas such as remote monitoring and management. 

 

The big freeze is a hot topic

So, how much do we need Arctic and cold climate solutions on a planet that is steadily warming? Heinonen and Jussila remind us that winter has not deserted the northern hemisphere – for example, almost the entire Baltic Sea was ice-bound just five years ago.

– The Baltic Sea and Gulf of Bothnia are key regions for us, but there are also opportunities in China and North America, for example, Heinonen says, adding that Finns have unique know-how which is in demand all over the world. 

– National cleantech operations are strongly linked to the EU's Blue Growth programme. Finland must be at the forefront of sustainability, which is a core value of the programme, comments Heinonen.

– That is where we will find the business models that take us far into the future, he speculates.   

 

 

VTT Impulsehttps://www.vttresearch.com/ImpulseVTT Impulse
Business for transportationhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Business-for-transportation.aspxBusiness for transportation
Developers of the futurehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Developers-of-the-future.aspxDevelopers of the future
Minister of Energy would like to expand emissions tradinghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Minister-of-Energy-would-like-to-expand-emissions-trading.aspxMinister of Energy would like to expand emissions trading
Cleaner city traffic with wood-based dieselhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Cleaner-city-traffic-with-wood-based-diesel.aspxCleaner city traffic with wood-based diesel
The story of Finlandhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/The-story-of-Finland.aspxThe story of Finland
Towards carbon-neutral materialshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Towards-carbon-neutral-materials.aspxTowards carbon-neutral materials
Boost for propeller developmenthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Boost-for-propeller-development.aspxBoost for propeller development
Brazil paves the way for bioenergyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Brazil-paves-the-way-for-bioenergy.aspxBrazil paves the way for bioenergy
How to become a leading country in flexible energy production systemshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/How-to-become-a-leading-country-in-flexible-energy-production-systems.aspxHow to become a leading country in flexible energy production systems
Technology enables good urban livinghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Technology-enables-good-urban-living.aspxTechnology enables good urban living
A birthday gift from us to ourselveshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/A-birthday-gift-from-us-to-ourselves.aspxA birthday gift from us to ourselves
Advancing cyber security on several frontshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Advancing-cyber-security-on-several-fronts.aspxAdvancing cyber security on several fronts
A machine is more humanehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/A-machine-is-more-humane.aspxA machine is more humane
Finland is good investmenthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Finland-is-good-investment.aspxFinland is good investment
Renewing industrial practices creates a new competitive edgehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Renewing-industrial-practices-creates-a-new-competitive-edge.aspxRenewing industrial practices creates a new competitive edge
More than siliconhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/More-than-just-Silicon.aspxMore than silicon
Impulse 1/2017https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-1-2017.aspxImpulse 1/2017
From a fishing port to a model district for smart energyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/From-a-fishing-port-to-a-model-district-for-smart-energy.aspxFrom a fishing port to a model district for smart energy
Open-source infrastructure in product development for the electromechanical industryhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Open-source-infrastructure-in-product-development-for-the-electromechanical-industry.aspxOpen-source infrastructure in product development for the electromechanical industry
Pilot plants forge innovative ideas into business activitieshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Pilot-plants-forge-innovative-ideas-into-business-activities.aspxPilot plants forge innovative ideas into business activities
Digitalization in RTOs: Speeding up the development of bio-based technologies with digitalizationhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Digitalisation-in-RTOs-Speeding-up-the-development-of-bio-based-technologies-with-digitalization.aspxDigitalization in RTOs: Speeding up the development of bio-based technologies with digitalization
Solar Foods Oy: Tailored nutrition for a space exploration modelhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Solar-Foods-Oy-Tailored-nutrition-for-a-space-exploration-model.aspxSolar Foods Oy: Tailored nutrition for a space exploration model
International entrepreneurship does not happen overnight it needs to be nurturedhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/International-entrepreneurship-does-not-happen-overnight-it-needs-to-be-nurtured.aspxInternational entrepreneurship does not happen overnight it needs to be nurtured
IPR first to international marketshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/IPR-first-to-international-markets.aspxIPR first to international markets
Business developmenthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Business-development.aspxBusiness development
Low carbon energyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Low-carbon-energy.aspxLow carbon energy
Smart Citieshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Smart-Cities.aspxSmart Cities
Bioeconomy and circular economyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Bioeconomy-and-circular-economy.aspxBioeconomy and circular economy
The rise of robotic carshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/The-rise-of-robotic-cars.aspxThe rise of robotic cars
Health and wellbeinghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Health-and-wellbeing.aspxHealth and wellbeing
Impulse 2/2014https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-2-2014.aspxImpulse 2/2014
Finnish expertise for solving global problemshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Finnish-expertise-for-solving-global-problems.aspxFinnish expertise for solving global problems
Digital societyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Digital-society.aspxDigital society
Smart industryhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Smart-industry.aspxSmart industry
Bio-based carbon dioxide to be recycled in Nokiahttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Bio-based-carbon-dioxide-to-be-recycled-in-Nokia.aspxBio-based carbon dioxide to be recycled in Nokia
Impulse 1/2016https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-1-2016.aspxImpulse 1/2016
Can a phone help you achieve peace of mind?https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Can-a-phone-help-you-achieve-peace-of-mind.aspxCan a phone help you achieve peace of mind?
Sensor of tomorrowhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Sensor-of-tomorrow.aspxSensor of tomorrow
Swift and agile in business and in the foresthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Swift-and-agile-in-business-and-in-the-forest.aspxSwift and agile in business and in the forest
Clearing the way for new materials with ChemSheet technologyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Clearing-the-way-for-new-materials-with-ChemSheet-technology.aspxClearing the way for new materials with ChemSheet technology
Pervious pavements – new solutions to prevent urban floodinghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Pervious-pavements-new-solutions-to-prevent-urban-flooding.aspxPervious pavements – new solutions to prevent urban flooding
Digitalisation in closing the gaphttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Digitalisation-in-closing-the-gap.aspxDigitalisation in closing the gap
Senior Scientist Jukka Hemila, VTT: From technology hype to customer understandinghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Senior-Scientist-Jukka-Hemila-VTT-From-technology-hype-to-customer-understanding.aspxSenior Scientist Jukka Hemila, VTT: From technology hype to customer understanding
Leca – filtering a cleaner futurehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Leca-filtering-a-cleaner-future.aspxLeca – filtering a cleaner future
Better beer based on long-term researchhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Better-beer-based-on-long-term-research.aspxBetter beer based on long-term research
Impulse 2/2015https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-2-2015.aspxImpulse 2/2015
Hybrid methods offer new solutions for metals recyclinghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Hybrid-methods-offer-new-solutions-for-metals-recycling.aspxHybrid methods offer new solutions for metals recycling
New materials developed from plantshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/New-materials-developed-from-plants.aspxNew materials developed from plants
The perfect pilot environment for Arctic solutionshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/The-perfect-pilot-environment-for-Arctic-solutions.aspxThe perfect pilot environment for Arctic solutions