Lappeenranta's message to Europe: we have the means to slow down climate change

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11-Mar-2020 01:12 pm

Lappeenrannan kaupunki

On 3 March 2020, the City of Lappeenranta and Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (LUT University) presented ways to manage climate change to EU decision-makers and international environmental organisations at the premises of the Committee of the Regions in Brussels. 

A technology has been developed at the Lappeenranta campus to enable the production of renewable fuels by utilising hydrogen obtained from water through electrolysis. The energy required for the electrolysis, in turn, can be generated by wind power. That way, there will be no need for fossil fuels going forward. 

A plan is currently underway for converting the hydrogen generated as a by-product at Kemira’s Joutseno plants and the carbon dioxide released from Finnsementti’s Lappeenranta plants into synthetic fuels and further into gasoline, diesel or kerosene on an industrial scale. The production of synthetic fuels also serves as a solution for the storage of renewable energy.

“We do not have to wait another decade to find the technology to combat climate change, but can act now instead”, says Professor Jarmo Partanen from LUT University.

“We have the raw materials and solutions. We also have young talents at LUT who are able to translate the theory they know into practice.”

New solutions are constantly being developed in cooperation with companies

The City of Lappeenranta is currently experimenting with a heat accumulator based on phase transition technology and is also active in building testing environments together with companies in the industry. The city offers particularly versatile and state-of-the-art research and testing laboratories for companies in the fields of electrical engineering and high-speed technology.

The city itself uses side streams from the forest industry as a source of district heating. Wastewater sludge, in turn, serves as a raw material at the new biopower plant to be completed in Kukkuroinmäki in the spring. Biogas is used as fuel by the vehicles of the City Group and, in the future, by waste collection trucks. UPM is also producing new generation diesel from the side streams of the forest industry.

In addition, LUT University and VTT are developing a modular small reactor as an alternative heat source. The biggest declines in carbon dioxide production in Finland have occurred at the time of the transition to nuclear power. Small reactors are able to avoid the risks associated with the construction of large nuclear power plants.

EU’s Green Deal seeks to increasingly activate citizens

The European Commission’s Green Deal programme emphasises that the involvement and commitment of citizens and all stakeholders is crucial to the success of the programme.

In Lappeenranta, residents have been invited to participate in climate work through various themed sustainable development workshops. Residents have also been involved in the preparation of the city’s climate programme for the next ten years. A separate group has been set up for young people around the drafting of the climate programme.

“Junior University, which is part of the school curriculum, also provides comprehensive education on sustainable development from pre-school through upper secondary school. With education and participation, bringing technological solutions into people’s daily lives also creates security and confidence that we can do something”, says Markku Heinonen, the city’s Development Director.

−     “By sharing information, involving citizens, and through the activities of Junior University, I believe that the city can truly alleviate the climate anxiety experienced by young people, for example.”



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The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
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