VTT and University of Jyväskylä are investing in the research of new large-scale energy storage solutions

Project news

The BitKein project, initiated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the University of Jyväskylä, aims to enhance the efficient utilisation of bioresources as energy storage and facilitate transition to a greener energy system. The project, which started in September 2023, seeks novel and economically viable methods to address increasing fluctuations in electricity market prices. The proposed solutions aim to reduce the average cost of electricity in the market, enhance the profitability of additional solar and wind power installations, and contribute to carbon sequestration.

The transformation of the electricity system towards lower emissions is on the focus of the green transition. The increasing share of wind and solar power in the electricity grid intensifies the price volatility of electricity. For a comprehensive and sufficiently rapid green transition, it is essential that the electricity system also includes energy storage and low-emission adjustable production. Power price fluctuations pose risks, especially for end-users. Simultaneously, the low cost of electricity during windy and sunny periods slows down new investments in wind and solar power.

In the BitKein project, the focus is on three large-scale solutions for adjusting the electricity system and storing energy:

  1. Saving limited resources of sustainable solid biofuels by using electric heating in power plants when electricity is cheaper than solid fuels.
  2. Electrified calcination of calcium carbonate, including storage of lime and carbon dioxide, and re-carbonation.
  3. Flow batteries suitable for large and stationary applications

Technically, the utilisation of cheap electricity in the electronic heating of large incineration plants is the closest to commercial applications. Combined heat and power plants play a crucial role in our current energy system because their electricity production is typically highest during the greatest electricity demand. However, in these combined heat and power plants, fuel is still combusted even when electricity is cheaper than the fuel. This combustion is necessary because the plants cannot operate below their minimum load. By heating, e.g., the fluidized air in these plants during periods of cheap electricity, we can reduce or even eliminate the need for combustion. This approach saves bioresources for more valuable purposes, such as acting as carbon sinks and serving as energy storage during periods when other electricity production is less available.

Solutions aiming further to the future involve utilising carbon dioxide as an energy storage medium and implementation of flow batteries. Carbon dioxide can be used as energy storage medium together with lime. Calcium carbonate is one of the most widely used raw material on Earth and its decomposition to carbon dioxide and calcium oxide by using electricity absorbs a lot of energy. The same energy is released when carbon dioxide and calcium oxide are recombined. Flow batteries can be suitable for large scale stationary energy storage applications that can be integrated to electricity grid and renewable energy sources. They can play a role in stabilizing fluctuations in renewable energy production and mitigating price volatility.

The main objective of the BitKein project is to understand the technical and economic feasibility of large-scale energy storage solutions. The project aims to promote growth-oriented and job-creating business opportunities, as well as internationalization, for both large companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

More information

VTT, Eemeli Tsupari, Principal Scientist, [email protected], +358407207363
VTT, Jyrki Raitila, Senior Scientist, [email protected], +358407195117
University of Jyväskylä, Matti Haukka, Professor, [email protected], +358040805466
University of Jyväskylä, Manu Lahtinen, Senior Lecturer, [email protected], +358408053696

BitKein is VTT’s and the University of Jyväskylä’s group project, which is coordinated by VTT. 
Project duration: 1.9.2023 – 31.5.2026
Total budget: 1 548 786 €
Regional Council of Central Finland has granted 1 152 362 € EU-funding for the project.

Companies participating in the financing the project are Alva, Vantaan Energia, Lahti Energia, Savon Voima, Kuopion Energia, Kokkolan Energia, Kainuun Voima, Metsä Group, Elisa, Sumitomo, NewStars&Co, FinnVolt and Sähköäijät.

www.bitkein.fi (in Finnish)

BitKein project financier logos
Eemeli Tsupari
Eemeli Tsupari
Principal Scientist
Jyrki Raitila
Jyrki Raitila
Our vision beyond 2030

The efficient utilisation of renewable and carbon-neutral energy in industry, transport, and construction holds a key position in solving climate issues.