Hydrogen has been put forward as an important remedy in reducing climate change. "However, there is no single winning technology related to hydrogen, but there are winning business concepts that require technical solutions of different types", says Antti Arasto, Vice President of VTT's new research area Industrial energy and hydrogen. Technologies linked with the hydrogen value chain as well as management of larger integrated entities are right at the core of the solutions.
The solutions, by their nature, are often value networks involving many actors, and their successful implementation requires nimble, network-like activity and the strong utilisation of digitality. In addition to technological innovations, responses from VTT include bringing actors from innovation networks together and offering prospects for solutions for tomorrow.
“At VTT we are leaders in technological development based on decades of experience in, for example, solid oxide electrolysis, Power-to-X synthesis processes, as well as the function and integration of systems. We centred hydrogen research on the new Industrial Energy and Hydrogen research area, where I had the pleasure to start as Vice President in May. Meanwhile, we are opening new key roles in modelling, industry, electrification, as well as the scaling of the hydrogen value chain as solutions for European actors”, Antti Arasto says.
The complex subject matter involving hydrogen requires practical experience and piloting of the development of the different technologies of the value chain combined with systemic skills and knowledge, and a system approach. “This enables a unique understanding of the possibilities that hydrogen creates for both low carbon use and business. We will make these skills and knowledge extensively available to companies and other innovative actors”, Arasto says.
Through piloting to wide-scale climate solutions
The world is changing very fast, decarbonisation is picking up speed and there is an urgent need for solutions that push back against climate change. This is also reflected in the rising cost of emissions allowances. First, we will need piloting and demos with different technologies to show on a broad front that hydrogen and electrification are an important part of extensive climate solutions. At the same time, we need bold breakaways, concrete steps toward scalable solutions on a commercial scale.
“Our goal is that three years from now Finland will have significant industrial demonstrations linked with hydrogen value chains for export. For VTT this means that we plan to play a significant role in at least three industrial-scale projects and in promoting the upscaling of production using Finnish technology”, Arasto says.
Last autumn VTT implemented a hydrogen road map for Business Finland identifying concrete first steps from Finland's point of view. In addition to these and other ongoing projects, a need to create closer international cooperation was also recognized. Enabling Finnish actors to seek a relevant role on the European and global market would require a brisk forward-looking approach. In addition, national cooperation to achieve sufficient references on the domestic market is one concrete step on the way to success.
It is in the interests of VTT to make a hydrogen revolution together with Finnish actors and to actively help build bridges for these actors to European innovation forums. In addition, VTT actively promotes Nordic cooperation with other innovation actors and enterprises in the Nordic region.
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