A major grant for bioeconomy development granted Aalto University EUR 10.5 million to establish a bioinnovation centre. This is one of the biggest grants the foundation has ever awarded. Aalto University will set up a multidisciplinary doctoral programme using the viewpoints of technology, art, design and economics in examining the problems of bioeconomy. To lead the programme, Aalto will recruit a professor with strong expertise in materials science and the circular economy, and an ability to network with experts in the field of bioeconomy, creative industries, and growth companies. State-ofthe-art infrastructure will be an important part of the new centre. The forest industry accounts for about one fifth of Finland’s exports of goods. According to estimates, the value of forest and agricultural biomass in Finland could be as much as doubled by 2050 if it is used for the manufacture of products of high added value. As paper consumption decreases, wood will also be available for other products. ‘For example, the price obtained for textile fibres is around 2.5 times the value of dissolving pulp. Finland could have a thriving textile industry that exploits biomaterials, which will multiply the value and employment impacts of the end products. New bio
JANE AND AATOS ERKKO FOUNDATION
materials are also needed in packaging and composites. Future production processes are in line with sustainable development and products are designed so that they can be recycled,’ says Kristiina Kruus, Dean of the Aalto University School of Chemical Engineering. In recent years, members of the Aalto community have developed several promising biomaterial innovations and the new centre will also benefit from
research units already operating at Aalto University. ‘We are extremely grateful to the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation for the support, which will enable a great leap in the development of bioeconomy expertise. By awarding such a significant grant, the foundation is making a bold and visionary investment in sustainable development,’ says Ilkka Niemelä, President of Aalto University.
An emissions-free local energy project to start on campus agreed to modernise the heating and cooling system of a 10-building block to make it emissions-free and virtually self-sufficient. The area’s energy solution will be globally unique. In conjunction with the renovation of the Aalto University-owned building block, located in the campus area, Fortum will build a local-energy-based solution in which the heating and cooling will be produced with industrial-scale centralised air-to-water heat pumps. The heating and cooling will be distributed to the buildings via low-temperature district heating and cooling networks. At the same time, the heat generated during the cooling will be recycled for use in the area, thereby improving its energy efficiency. The self-sufficiency rate of the solution is 70-90 per cent, and, when needed, 10 / AALTO UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE 27
Helin & Co Architects / Aalto University
FORTUM AND AALTO UNIVERSITY have
renewable district heating will cover consumption peaks. The aim is to deploy the new energy solution at the beginning of 2021 and eventually expand it to other nearby buildings.
Illustration of the block to be renovated.