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SCIENCE Automation brings intelligence to transport

TECHNOLOGY Radiation-free security screening with the terahertz camera

BUSINESS Business opportunities hidden in wastewater


1/2014 46

Intelligent transport a trump card for Finnish exports.

22 62

Emission regulations put pressure on old power plant boilers. Modelling helps in finding new solutions.

W채rtsil채 joins forces with VTT to develop a new product family of azimuth thrusters.

The research sector needs dynamism and new impulses to remain strong. JUKKA PEKKARINEN

Contents 1/2014 VTT IMPULSE NOW


A glimpse of the future.............................. 2 Focal point................................................. 6 Jukka Pekkarinen, Mika Maliranta and Erkki KM Leppävuori Brazil paves the way for bioenergy........ 12 Column..................................................... 19 Olli Ernvall

6 SCIENCE Science news...........................................................20 Modelling and simulation in new power plant concepts..................................................................22 Research scientist Lars Kjäldman, Jani Lehto, Perttu Jukola, Jari Lappalainen, Timo Pättikangas, Hannu Niemistö, Tommi Karhela, VTT Intelligent transport through automation...............30 Senior Scientist Satu Innamaa, VTT VTT utilises Fabry-Perot interferometer technology..............................................................36 Research Scientist Anna Rissanen, Principal Scientist Heikki Saari, VTT


“Adopting cooperative working methods would benefit the development of the whole mining industry.”


60 The markets for wearable technology are growing rapidly. TECHNOLOGY Technology news..............................................................44 Intelligent transport a trump card for Finnish exports....46 High-tech competence is taking Finland to the global markets in intelligent transport. Return on investment.......................................................52 A good idea backed by a couple of business angels.


Cell screening leads to new cancer treatments..............56 Discovery of a mechanism that has been concerning cancer researchers. IPR first to international markets.....................................60 VTT attracts global attention through its IPR assets. Boost for propeller development.....................................62 W채rtsil채 opens a new test centre in Tuusula. Productive uses for Finnish biomass..............................66 The start-up of Bioruukki is an important opening for VTT.

76 BUSINESS Business news.................................................................70 Sustainability and acceptability for mining operations...72 The extractive industry is experiencing a renaissance and adapting to a changed environment. A future without wastewater?.........................................76 The availability of clean water is decreasing throughout the world.

Wastewaters conceal many unused business opportunities.


“Green growth contains large growth potential.” Jutta Urpilainen Minister of Finance

Competencies generate growth


easures aimed at growth play an increasingly important role in politics. In connection with its decisions on the budgetary framework, the Government placed significant emphasis on measures that would fuel more stable and rapid economic growth. Our fundamental problem is the structural transition that has taken place in our economy over the past decade. FOR MANY TRADITIONAL industrial sectors the encounter

with the digital era has left them with lower demand and weaker sales. On the other hand the electronics sector has found itself in some difficulty. Our future investments must prioritise political action that enhances economic growth. One of the main goals is to revise our operating models to give better support to innovation-based businesses. ENCOURAGEMENT towards innovation must be seen as

a cornerstone of Finnish society. An increasing proportion of future economic growth will be created through intangible investments. This will largely stem from competence capital based on education. An effective innovation policy needs an effective­ university and research system. We must also ­renovate our systems of basic and adult education. Old methods will not carry us forward forever. ONE OF THE LARGEST high-technology transitions con-

cerns automation and digitalisation, causing the trans-

formation of production and services into fully electronic form or to extensive use of electronic elements. Finland must position itself at the forefront of digitali­sation. Public service electronic service channels, growth funds and the opening of public information resources will help improve profitability and create opportunities for entirely new business operations. ANOTHER MAJOR TRANSITION in global demand and pro-

duction methods is related to increasing environmental problems and efficient use of natural resources. These are reflected in higher demand for carbon-neutral energy solutions, energy efficiency and cleantech in general. This means major challenges and opportunities for Finnish know-how and its renewal. Green growth contains large growth potential. NEW BUSINESSES and economic growth stem from

know-how and competencies. Finland is seeking to increase research and development investment to more than four per cent of its gross domestic product. To achieve this goal, our innovation policy must also encourage enterprises to increase investment in the creation and utilisation of high technology. Our export industry, in particular, should increase their R&D resources. For this work to succeed we must also implement a structural reform of our research­system in order to improve its impact, and to create­new bridges for sharing research results among research­ institutions and business enterprises. n

VTT develops new technologies on the basis of science and expertise. It is vital to possess the ability to look into future, and foresee the development of technology, services and science. The “A glimpse of the future” section maps the way to the future on the basis of current science and our expertise.

This is what the path looks like.


hierarchy to the horizon

Methods for better decision-making

2  VTT Impulse


The future is made, not predicted, quips Mika Nieminen, project manager for the Strada project. Before we get to the making part, however, we must know what is worthwhile doing and why. Text Katri Isotalo


he time span for societal decision-making can be three years or three decades, but seldom are good decisions based solely on the current situation. One must be able to anticipate­the needs of the future and the effects of the decisions. In order to support decision-making that is becoming increasingly complex, VTT is developing a model interconnecting the change in the operating environment, an analysis of the current operating models and new innovations under development. Understanding the socio­ technical issues of the changes as a whole is essential. The method is suited both to societal decision-making and, among others, the planning and follow-up of major reorganisations. The goal is to provide an improved method for making far-reaching decisions. Its key ideas are to form shared views of the future, reinforcing the change paths through, for example, the creation of networks, and trying out alternative paths of development. Making decisions requires goals and strategy The model, developed in the STRADA (Aiding strategic decision-making and steering transformation) project, is formed of a combination of foresight, system dynamics, evaluation of impacts, and methods for instilling interactivity and innovations into decision-making. The creation of the model began in 2011 with three topics. The topics chosen were bio­ economy, reorganisation of the social welfare and health care services, and transport planning.

– At that time, bioeconomy was on everyone’s lips, but even identifying the players proved extremely challenging. When we talk about bioeconomy, are we talking about energy production, agriculture, forestry, chemistry or something else?, asks Mika Nieminen of VTT, the Strada project manager. – We soon learnt that common goals and strategy must exist before advanced decisionmaking methods can be applied. At the very least there needs to be a system that we can develop. In transport planning and the renovation of social welfare and health care services, the goals were clear, making the creation of a model easier. The number of actors surprised the health care sector The reorganisation of the social welfare and reorganisation of the social welfare and health care services originated from the question of how management of chronic illnesses could make the transition to a customer-oriented service model. The current health care service model is based on treating acute problems. Because a chronic illness cannot be cured, the service should be aimed at helping the customer manage in everyday life. The need for change is justified both by the humane importance of the services and by financial aspects. A new kind of decision-making model was created in the Strada project in order to initiate changes. It was essential to include as many as possible of the factors affecting decisions and

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practical operating models. Workshops and the tools developed in them by Strada played a central role in driving the change. Three workshops were arranged, with participants in the largest including authorities in the field, health care IT companies and private health care ­providers, researchers, and patient and other associations. – It wasn’t until the workshops that many people’s eyes opened to the great number of players in their field, says the head of the research team, Johanna Kohl of VTT. Her tasks in the workshops included coaxing the participants into naming the largest obstacles to change and finding the processes that need to be altered in order to achieve change. – It has been great to see that the different players have started to see themselves as part of a larger team, says Kohl. The decision-making model was created in cooperation with the Pirkanmaa-based Kurkiaura project. Kurkiaura has been developing a regional, customer-oriented service model for people with cardiovascular disease. The intention is to extend application of the model, together with the change promotion model, to other chronic illnesses at the national level. Hybrid agents build connections Kohl and her colleague Sirkku Kivisaari recommend the use of hybrid agents as one solution for getting wide-scale changes to take root. A hybrid agent is a bold and curious person who is able to speak in the languages of the different players both regionally and nationwide. Visionary hybrid agents who take the long view are able to build connections ­between local experiments and the processes of the dominant system. They are able to navigate smoothly amongst different management and operating styles. The researchers emphasise that it is also worthwhile seeking experience from other sectors and across municipal and organisational borders. The model supporting decision-making, developed in Strada’s social welfare and health care case study, is already being used at least by the extractive industry and in the renovation of energy production.

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Timing is key Strada’s third case study concerned the future of the Helsinki Metropolitan Region’s trans­ port system. The target state was defined as the emission-free transport presented in the EU’s White Paper by the year 2050. The following vision paths that could lead to the target state were chosen: increase of public transport and decrease of private motoring, transition to biofuels, and electric cars. It is relatively easy to list factors that need to be taken into consideration in transport planning: commuting, location of jobs today and in the future, development of legislation on emission reductions, various tax policy decisions and their impacts, technological development of transport means and timetable systems, and the readiness of passengers to change their behaviour. Significantly more difficult is to anticipate the impact these factors will have on each other and the end result. The dependencies of the different factors were simulated using system dynamics. For the purpose of modelling the system, the team brainstormed the kind of incentives that would be required by implementation of the different vision paths. The intention was to take the different interest groups into consideration as extensively as possible, all the way to the emotional reactions of individual users. – The modelling gave interesting results, particularly with regard to the timing and order of the measures, says Principal Scientist Toni Ahlqvist from VTT. If the measures were implemented in the wrong order, or implemented simultaneously without taking their cross-media impacts into consideration, an increase in private motoring, for example, could occur against expectations. Ahlqvist talks about counter-intuitive results that the model made clearly visible. This has to do with launching technical innovations to the market, for example. If, for instance, an electric car is launched without an adequate charging network, many consumers would be disappointed and unwilling to switch to an electric car after the negative initial experience, even after the charging network is providing full coverage. n


making becoming increasingly difficult. The workings of society have become more complex, and we have begun to understand that the decisions of one sector also affect the operational prerequisites of other sectors. Indeed, a transition should be made from hierarchical operating models and sector-specific solutions to horizontal and networked procedures. Globalisation and European integration mean that networks must reach outside national borders. Decision-making is also made more difficult by the increasing rapidity of change. The widespread development of information and communications technology has made the transfer of information much faster than before. Societal decision-making has also faced new challenges in the form of increased competition. The importance of the markets in societal steering has been increasing since the 1980s, entailing, for example, opening the public-sector functions to the markets. – Even if the decision-makers were to identify the above-mentioned challenges, decisionmaking is often based on scattered information and lacks sensitivity to changes taking place in the operating environment. The follow-up of the effects of decision-making is also rather lacking, say VTT Research Scientists Mika Nieminen and Kirsi Hyytinen in summarising the problems in societal decision-making. Making decisions may thus have unanticipated effects. Inadequate drafting of legislation is a good example of this. – For example, when the Eurozone was being created, operational models for today’s problems were rarely conceived or even anticipated, which has led to ad hoc decision-making aimed at correcting the situation. It is also evident that the alternatives and consequences of implementing the State’s productivity programme were not

­ xamined at the right number of levels during e planning. The goals for effectiveness and productivity have thus ended up in conflict with that of saving. Key choices and decisions in companies may also be based on a temporary market situation and changes taking place in the short term, say Nieminen and Hyytinen.

Continuous learning In addition to decision-making becoming increasingly complex, initiation of the Strada project was based on the development needs of wide-scale effectiveness assessments. Up to this point the assessments have placed strong emphasis on outside expertise. – If the persons being assessed were to participate in the assessment in a more active role, the roles and learning from mistakes would be more effectively transferred into practice, says Mika Nieminen, who has worked with assessment methods for a long time. A multi-discipline group of around 15 VTT research scientists have been involved in Strada. Experts in different methods such as assessment, anticipation, modelling and instilling, learn that the methods complement each other and that the combination of the methods results in entirely new methodologies. The same amalgamation of the knowledge and skills of different specialists should also be achieved in everyday decision-making. The more complex the issue, the more difficult it is to perceive the dependencies of the affecting factors. Systematic methods make decision-making easier by combining dispersed information into purposeful information packages. Basic research on strategic decision-making and steering of change, and the resulting theoretical basic model, have now been completed. The next step is piloting of the model.

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All sights on gene


• •

Research Director, Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA), 2009– (Part-time) Professor of Economics, University of Jyväskylä, 2009– Doctor of Philosophy (Economics) Has also worked as researcher at Statistics Finland

6  VTT Impulse


ration Text Hanna Rusila Photos Vesa Tyni

If we want to avoid being left behind on the ladders of success we must be able to reverse the declining trend in labour productivity. According to economics experts Jukka Pekkarinen and Mika Maliranta, the key element here is regeneration.


Economic Policy Coordinator, Ministry of Finance Doctor of Political Sciences (Economics) Managerial positions at the Ministry of Finance 2006–2010 and 2011– Has previously acted, for example, as researcher and director at the Labour Institute for Economic Research VTT Impulse  7



he Finnish economy will – perhaps – finally take a tentative upward turn this year. 2013 turned out far weaker than expected, and Finland continues to sail in rough seas. With the population ageing at an increasing speed and the share of working-age population dwindling, pressure to cut public expenditure is high. Economic Policy Coordinator Jukka Pekkarinen,­an experienced economics expert at the Ministry of Finance, highlights the power of regeneration – and growth of productivity in particular – as the key to finding a solution to this difficult equation. Finnish labour productivity grew at record speed in the 1970s, and was still improving at the turn of the millennium. In spite of subsequent technological advances, the rate since then has stagnated at zero level. This is a perplexing phenomenon, since the general impression of the situation is quite the opposite. The development of productivity and the underlying reasons are a keenly researched subject, but we are somehow running out of ideas on how to reverse the direction,” says Pekkarinen. State providing assistance for enterprises Mika Maliranta, Research Director from the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA), also underscores the importance of productivity. He finds the current trend nonetheless­ logical:­the productivity statistics are dominated­by rising economies such as China, the kind Finland once used to be. The more worrying aspect is that trend comparisons made over recent years show Finland to have fallen behind its most important competitors, such as Sweden and Germany. – In relative terms, productivity in Finland has crashed. At the same time, our labour costs have risen more rapidly than anywhere else. These factors have created a problem with ­competitiveness, to which decision-makers must now react, says Maliranta. Maliranta sees competitiveness as having already begun to slip in the early 2000s. He, too, finds it hard to suggest a proper way of intervening in the situation. 8  VTT Impulse

Political decisions alone are not enough; the companies themselves must also have a strong desire to regenerate. VTT and other research institutes have their own important role to play in this process. – The rate of productivity is ultimately decided by companies. The State can provide­ long-term support through indirect methods­ of intervention, such as continuing to allocate­ resources for education and R&D, says ­Maliranta. Pekkarinen stresses the part played in the nation’s productivity by the efficiency of public service provision. – Money has been misspent in health care, and the current municipal structure does not work. His list of key methods in curbing public expenditure includes harnessing the opportunities provided by ICT, the social welfare and health care reform, and the enhancement of treatment chains. A deficit of nine billion euros The government plan to solve the economy’s sustainability problem by cutting public expenditure by three billion euros is inadequate. In Pekkarinen’s opinion, as much as nine million euros will be needed to strengthen the public economy. – The decisions should preferably be made during the next government term. The un­sustainability of the dependency ratio was predicted decades ago, but, as he points out, “major solutions have yet to be turned from words into deeds. Higher taxation will not be the answer because the Finnish tax rate is already approaching the maximum level. Nor does Pekkarinen see any margin for new tax reliefs, even though these could boost the economy. The focus must turn to our power of regeneration. – Improved employment rate; longer working careers; the reform of the pension system; and reduced structural unemployment, says Pekkarinen, defining the key factors to be added to productivity growth. Maliranta also comments on the need to keep labour costs down. The price of labour has an essential impact on the eagerness of companies to create jobs in Finland. Wage moderation is no long-term solution, but research shows it to work in acute situations. Politicians can provide support by reducing the secondary expenses of labour, he says.

The rate of productivity is ultimately decided by companies, says Mika Maliranta.

Under-achievement in research and development Like other Nordic countries, Finland also provides extensive support for research and development. Budding success stories appear here and there, but no “new Nokia” has been found to patch up the hole torn by structural change in our national economy. Researchers have differing views on the effectiveness of R&D investments. Pekkarinen thinks there is also room for improvement in this area. – In the light of the figures, the innovation sector appears to be under-achieving. Major investment in R&D must in future yield better results, he says. Maliranta, on the other hand, would view the situation over the longer term. – Investment in innovations is always a risky business, where results are not immediately apparent. In international comparison of the number of patents registered, for example, Finland still places third. The value of R&D activity in relation to our gross national product has fallen, but the change is largely explained by Nokia having dropped out of the calculations. The company invested exceptionally large amounts of money in research. Both Maliranta and Pekkarinen are of the opinion that R&D must remain Finland’s spearhead for the future. The State plays a key role in this. – National governments are typically the drivers of innovation – this applies particu-

larly to innovations considered radical or revolutionary. The Internet, for example, came into being this way. Nor should we overlook the role of major corporations in innovation, even where we are focusing on start-ups and SMEs, says Maliranta. New impulses for research No philosopher’s stone has been found to show us which incentives produce the best results. Many countries promote a view advising broad-based targeting of support for innovation. We could mention the tax-deduction of R&D expenses for small companies as one instance. Finland, on the other hand, has favoured a more selective model, emphasising direct support through VTT and Tekes, for example, says Pekkarinen. He feels the current situation demands that both approaches are considered. Maliranta, on the other hand, says that success of the Finnish model would strengthen cooperation between companies and contribute to the spread of technological know-how, benefiting the national economy as a whole. – One of our weaknesses is that our production structure is too one-sided, says Pekkarinen. – Economic recovery in the case of Sweden, for example, with its more versatile structure, has been much easier. On the other hand, a small country needs to select specific focus areas. VTT Impulse  9


Jukka Pekkarinen stresses that being forced to create something new produces results.

Finland’s trump cards will continue to be the high level of education and training and the multidisciplinary basic research conducted by universities and research institutes. Pekkarinen would nevertheless hope for more international contributions. – We still have too few foreign researchers. The research sector needs dynamism and new impulses to remain strong. Good and bad incentives The economic regeneration desperately needs investments. High-cost Finland, however, hardly ranks among the most attractive countries in this respect. Both Maliranta and Pekkarinen consider that with tightening tax competition between countries the lowering of corporation tax to 20 per cent would be seen as an important decision. In a global economy, any investment incentives must be considered very carefully. Mali­ ranta points out that poorly considered subsidies may distort investment. – In many situations, it would probably be advisable to combine local technology expertise with the marketing skills of multinational corporations. Wrongly targeted support funding may defeat the interest of companies in this kind of collaboration, he says. Similar danger lies in tax incentives. 10  VTT Impulse

– By favouring the domestic business activity, we are implicitly punishing the international one. Providing excessive support for Finnish ownership, for example, may produce negative results, says Maliranta. Necessity breeds innovation According to a recent expert report on the state of the Finnish economy, the State should intervene in competition as little as possible, nor should excessive funding be provided. There is no shortage of money out there – it just needs to find the right targets. – Looked at this way, necessity breeds innovation. Being forced to take the initiative and create something new brings results, Pekkarinen says, summarising the message of the report. Maliranta also believes strongly in competition in the search for higher productivity growth. He refers to ‘creative destruction’, where obsolete structures are being replaced by something new and more dynamic. – The struggle between companies is a central driving force behind reforms, he says. According to Maliranta, every operation has its individual life cycle. – Nokia created world records in the length of time it maintained its position at the top. The future of Finland is not dependent on sector. Business ideas and how they are implemented is far more important, Maliranta concludes. n



CEO of VTT, sees no reason why Finland should not continue to be competitive in terms of technology. A small country may have few resources, but it can also be agile and flexible. – Finns traditionally need some push before something new starts to emerge. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Once we decide to get on with something, we then make it happen, he says. In the increasingly competitive operating environment, Leppävuori considers the combinations of different technologies as Finland’s primary strengths. In the ICT industry in particular, we have competencies released from Nokia that need to be refocused. – If we can do this smartly, competitiveness of the traditional export industry will also improve. For example, the forest industry needs new kinds of products, refined in Finland. The price per kilo must be high enough to make exports profitable, says Leppävuori. Research and new insights have a key role to play in this. – Research institutes are instruments of success. We develop solutions in collaboration with companies, and they bring income and jobs to Finland.

– There must be something coming out of the end of the pipe all the time, not just once in five years, says Leppävuori with emphasis. He considers public funding essential both for companies and research organisations. – The funding can be used to encourage companies to take bigger risks. SMEs in particular would be quite unwilling to take risks if there were no public funding available. VTT’s new motto “Technology for Business” refers to the effectiveness of research needing to penetrate society as a whole – through the success of the export industry and generation of jobs, for example. – We are also involved in research that is not directly linked with companies, such as energy policy research, and traffic and fire safety studies. These are aimed at the public good, says Leppävuori.

Both rapid and measured research needed Benefits from research are needed both in the long and short term. Leppävuori points to biotechnologies, for example, as being based on long-term basic research. The construction and electronics industries, on the other hand, take advantage of existing knowledge by producing rapid applications. In VTT’s nominated strategic research areas the aim is to create applications within a few years. Such areas include bioeconomy and intelligent transport.

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paves the way for


Second-generation technologies applied in the use of plant-based biomass for energy. Brazil − the El Dorado of sugar cane − leads the way. Text Hanna Rusila Photos Odebrecht, Valmet and iStockphoto

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e have long been aware of the enormous potential of biomasses as a source of energy. Until now, however, extensive industrial exploitation has been both expensive and controversial. So-called ‘first-generation technologies’ are generally based on using the sugars of edible plants for biofuels, raising concerns of a worsening global food shortage. This kind of production also consumes considerable amounts of energy and causes­emissions, while its by-product, plant waste, is difficult to use. The search for replacement technologies has been fervent. One of the most important − if not the most important − trendsetters within the sector is Brazil, where production of bioethanol from sugar cane began as early as the 1970s. VTT established a research centre of its own in São Paulo in 2011 to take advantage of Brazilian know-how. A joint three-year venture was initiated with Odebrecht Agroindustrial, part of the Odebrecht Holding, one of the largest industrial conglomerates in the southern hemisphere, in the summer of 2013. Here VTT is developing second-generation technologies for the company for cellulosebased bioethanol production. – Bioethanol is our main project in Brazil during the first phase. The goal is besides this ­project to help us attract additional research projects within the country’s sizeable energy sector, says Matti Siika-aho, Principal Scientist from VTT. From cane sugar to cellulose Brazil grows more sugar cane than any other country in the world. First-generation ethanol production refines the sugar and sucrose from sugar cane into biofuel. The sugar extraction process leaves behind large amounts of bagasse, fibrous residue with high cellulose content. Although this can be burned in the refining plant furnaces to produce electricity, the efficiency ratio currently attainable is not always optimal. Second-generation fuel technologies shift the focus to refining the plant cellulose. Because cellulose is hard to break down, the process is a­­

14  VTT Impulse


Odebrecht’s Morro Vermelho Agroindustrial plant produces more than 80,000 litres of ethanol annually from sugar cane biomass.


CELLULOSIC ETHANOL OPENS MANY DOORS VTT BRASIL Ltda began its operation almost three years

complex one that continues to demand several stages and the consumption of large amounts of energy and chemicals. Odebrecht − one of the top names in bio­ ethanol production − is due under its threeyear project to build a demonstration plant ­refining cellulosic ethanol. The company selected VTT as one of its partners on the strength of its experience in using biomass for fuel production. – VTT brings valuable research competence to the project. So far, no single solution has proved better than any other, so various technologies will probably live side by side for some time, says Frederico Ramazzini Braga, who manages innovation activities at Odebrecht Agroindustrial. The stages in second-generation biomass refining include pretreatment and hydrolysis. Braga says that for its technology choice Odebrecht is leaning towards a biochemical treatment process. The other alternative would have been thermochemical treatment. – VTT’s strong competencies in hydrolysis and C5 fermentation show clearly in the joint venture, he points out.

ago in São Paulo. The research centre currently has 13 employees, with around half focusing on cellulosic ethanol cooperation with Odebrecht Agroindustrial. Matti Siika-aho, Principal Scientist, and Nilson Boeta, CEO of VTT Brasil, both describe biofuels and bioenergy as VTT’s spearhead project in Brazil, but point to several other plans under development. The biomass refining technologies developed for the energy sector can be extensively exploited in the future in different industrial sectors. – VTT has a lot to offer, for example to the cellulose and paper industry. Our technologies can be used to develop cellulose into high added-value products. One example is a special fibre refined from the eucalyptus tree which has high absorbency, making it an ideal material for babies’ nappies. This R&D makes use of nanotechnology, for example, says Boeta. – We are currently exploring cooperation opportunities with the forestry and chemical industries. The Brazilian gold mining sector also offers interesting prospects. Siika-aho is satisfied that VTT Brasil has succeeded in recruiting doctoral-level experts, fluent in both Portuguese and English. That such people could be found was not self-evident. – Our researchers need to prove their worth in the Odebrecht project. Apart from achieving a successful outcome in the project, we are also expected within three years to perfect the relevant methods and know-how to a level that allows their continued use in diversified research, says Siika-aho, giving his vision of the future. VTT Impulse  15


Odebrecht alone is expected to produce 22.5 million tonnes of sugar cane this season.

Doubling production per hectare Nilson Boeta, CEO of VTT’s research centre in Brazil, believes the Odebrecht cellulose ethanol project will have a major impact on the country’s bioenergy sector. The project receives funding among others from the PAISS programme, intended to accelerate reform of the Brazilian sugar industry. – Odebrecht has grown rapidly and is likely to become the largest ethanol producer in the country before long. The aim is to use the technologies currently under development to achieve a significant increase in production within the sector, says Boeta. Boeta estimates there are 150–200 companies in Brazil producing bioethanol in some 400 production plants. Odebrecht alone is expected to produce 22.5 million tonnes of sugar cane this season. – If the volume of bagasse that we currently burn could be refined cost-efficiently into bio­ ethanol, the production per hectare of biofuel, as the end product, would double, says Boeta. VTT’s Siika-aho is also excited about the project. − Although the demonstration plant planned by Odebrecht is globally not the first of its kind, commercial production of cellulosic ethanol is nevertheless still in its infancy. 16  VTT Impulse


– The company is a forerunner within its field, which makes it a preferred partner for us. Odebrecht’s first-generation bioethanol plants are very advanced, Siika-aho says. Biofuels and cleantech Another Finnish partner, Valmet, is involved in the Odebrecht project, and will be delivering the pretreatment equipment to the demonstration plant. Valmet is also interested in the Brazilian bioenergy market, and presently operates primarily within the cellulose industry. The company currently employs more than 400 people in Brazil. – Bioenergy is a very important future area of operation, and we are examining the opportunities it offers. Valmet is fully prepared for the rise from supplier of pilot technologies and demonstration plants to full commercial-scale supplier, declares Marita Niemelä, Vice President, Strategy at Valmet Pulp and Energy. All things considered, Brazil is a land of opportunity for Finnish companies. One of the tasks of VTT’s local research centre is to act as a bridge between Finnish enterprises and local business life. – We have been visited by ministerial-level delegations and representatives of various companies. In addition to providing research services, the idea is for companies to have at their disposal a body that understands the Brazilian business environment and regulations, and supports their market entry, says Nilson Boeta. – In Brazil, more and more actors are focusing on cleantech and sustainable solutions. VTT can play its part in helping Finnish companies to gain a foothold in the country, he adds. Diversification of the energy sector Energy production in Brazil is headed by hydro­electric power, followed by biomasses, of which bagasse holds by far the largest share. Most Brazilian sugar cane farming is highly modernised and optimised, and customarily referred to as agroindustry. While next-generation technologies enhance energy production based on biomass, other energy options are also being explored. – Pine trees and eucalyptus grow in Brazil, but are currently largely used by the wood processing industry. Apart from sugar cane, crops include soybean, wheat, corn, fruit, and various oil plants. Agricultural waste is well suited for biomass use, says Matti Siika-aho, listing the options.

The Suzano Papel e Celulose plant, launched at the end of 2013, was Valmet’s first turnkey cellulose plant delivery in South America. The plant is one of the biggest in the world.

Nilson Boeta, on the other hand, highlights sources of renewable energy more familiar to Finns: – Wind power production is on the increase, particularly in Northern Brazil and in the southern tip of the country. Demand for solar energy is also on the rise. Energy efficiency may provide one opportunity for Finnish companies. Brazil is also developing environmental awareness. – An energy conservation culture barely exists at the moment, but there are definite signs, although Finns are far more advanced in this sense than the Brazilians, says Boeta. Integration of electricity and ethanol Brazil launched the PAISS programme, backed by the local development bank BNDES and others, to target reform of the country’s enormous­sugar energy industry. Its primary aim is to increase field production per hectare. – Although there is local market demand for cellulosic ethanol, biofuel prices in Brazil­ are defined by political decisions. Major international­actors are therefore particularly VTT Impulse  17

Cars in Brazil use more alcohol than gasoline as fuel.

interested in the use of biomass as a renewable feedstock in their processes, says Siika-aho. As it is, local bioethanol plants have already been integrated into the electricity production­ system. Discounting ethanol, for example, ­Odebrecht plants produce 3,100 gigawatt hours of electricity annually. According to ­Frederico Ramazzini Braga, this is enough to cover the energy consumption of 16 million Brazilian families for one month. The plan is to integrate second-generation ethanol production into both first-generation production and electricity production. Siika-aho points out that energy is only one of the options available for the use of biomasses. – New technologies enable the refining of sugar cane biomass into various chemical industry products. As is the case with the companies operating in Brazil, VTT has also set its sights on the future. Siika-aho believes that large feedstock and ­production volumes create major opportunities. n

18  VTT Impulse

ENZYMES AND FERMENTATION AT THE CORE VTT’S principal focus in the Odebrecht project is on

the study of enzymes used in second-generation bioethanol production processes, with further focus on the fermentation of sugars derived from sugar cane extraction residue. – Bagasse contains plenty of wood sugar, xylose. As traditional yeasts are incapable of converting it to ethanol, VTT is developing new types of yeasts that can, says Matti Siika-aho. – In addition to developing yeast strains, we are studying the most cost-efficient way of refining the feedstock into sugars. We are also examining how these technologies could be used more effectively in industrial-scale processes. The question of enzyme production is financially significant. – The logistical expenses will be enormous if Brazilian bioethanol producers have to buy their enzymes from abroad. This is reflected in the final product prices, Nilson Boeta points out. – The biggest challenge lies in developing the technology to a level that allows all 400 bioethanol production plants to produce their own enzymes, he says, summing up the Brazilian standpoint on VTT’s R&D goals.


Olli Ernvall Editor-in-chief VTT Impulse

“We must now find the answer to three questions.”

Technology shock treatment as our economic growth hormone! this magazine makes no attempt to act as daily news media, the link between economic topics and technology in this issue is unavoidable. Discussion of the local economic recession and lower export figures for high technology represents undoubtedly justified self-criticism. Finland is now at a crossroads. Should we choose the path of indecision that leads nowhere? Or make radical decisions that involve risk but, if successful, will lead to growth and well-being? A glance in the rear view mirror can be healthy as long it induces us to learn from our mistakes. We must now find the answer to three questions: Have we become blinded by the continuous success of ICT growth in recent years and are we, in the now turbulent waters of the global market, close to slipping overboard from the Finnish ship of well-being? Do we allocate national funding to the slow build-up of long-term competences – and this is a billion-euro question – or directly into innovation funding and new technology promoting the emergence of new enterprises and the creation of competitive, highly-refined products? Is this direct approach the way our expertise and capacity for refinement can be used for the rapid creation of products that succeed on the market and that the markets want to buy? Looking in the mirror is unlikely to blind us, and certainly worth doing. ALTHOUGH

THE ARTICLE ON PRODUCTIVITY, in particular, pro-

vides plenty of food for thought. The decline in labour productivity growth since the mid 1990s is an undeniable fact. What has caused this stagnation in the economy over the last few years? Were the present economic structural problems already visible six years ago, in 2008, with technology export value still above EUR 11 billion, trade export-led, and highly

refined products in great demand? This was a time when solid Finnish expertise was transformed into products, reflected in prices and economic growth. THE FOLLOWING FIGURES help us to understand

this development. The report Development of productivity in the national economy 1976– 2012 published by Statistics Finland at the end of 2013 says that in 2012, the growth rate of labour productivity in the whole national economy was –1.6 per cent, having been 0.4 per cent in 2011 and 3.0 per cent in 2010. According to the same report, the respective growth rate of total factor productivity was –1.5 per cent in 2012, having been 0.5 per cent in 2011 and 3.0 per cent in 2010. In this situation, how can Finland achieve the economic growth that is the basis of an affluent society? Without work there is no productivity, and without jobs there is no economy. Someone, then, has to create jobs so that we can offer people work. Who will do it? The public or the private sector? What kind of work will be most productive, and create more economic growth and wellbeing? The premise, at least, is that all work is valuable. In the present economic situation all eyes are on technology, which for the last few years has been the backbone of our exports and accounts for most of Finland’s economic growth. This growth has and will be generated by technological developments. FROM PRIMARY PRODUCTION we will move through

refinement to the production of services in which we can exploit new technology. At the same time we will be developing new export products and service concepts through innovation. In this fertile soil, growth will begin to bud. This is the road for Finland. n

VTT Impulse  19

SCIENCE Innovation prize for an allergy vaccination

Improving the reliability of ice friction assessment SLIDING SPEED and ice temperature affect the surface friction of ice more

than had previously been thought. The thermodynamic model developed by VTT research scientists revealed that under certain conditions ice warms and melts when an item of material slides across its surface. The ice then becomes more slippery. Conversely, the friction coefficient can rise a hundredfold when sliding speed reduces and the temperature drops. VTT’s new thermodynamic model offers a method for determining friction­between ice and practically any kind of material, under any conditions. A novel aspect is the modelling of the reciprocal contact between blocks of ice, which promises benefits in icebreaker development, among others. It is also possible to model ice topped by melt water or rain water. Uses for the model include applications connected with the maintenance of roads, runways and pedestrian routes, or in developing tyres, footwear and winter sports equipment.

The European Association of ­Research and Technology Organi­ sations EARTO has awarded VTT an innovation prize for the technological development work behind the vaccine. The foundation for the develop­ ment work rests on a scientific breakthrough. Research scientists were able to determine how an IgE antibody binds an allergen, and were the first to present a ­detailed 3D structure, which proved to be different from that anticipated before.

x 100

The friction coefficient of ice

can rise a hundredfold when sliding speed reduces and the temperature drops.

A new method for the production of cancer medication VTT and its partners in the EU SmartCell project have developed new methods for improving the efficiency of pharmaceutical production by means of plant biotechnology. Biotechnological production techniques offer an affordable and environmentally friendly alternative to the chemical synthesis of rare and complex pharmaceutical compounds. 20  VTT Impulse

Photo: Vesa Tyni


Intelligence on the move IN THE LAST few years, Satu Innamaa’s work as

Research Scientist has focused on the impact assessment of intelligent transport services and the development of proactive traffic management. – Traffic is present in everybody’s life, and any means to make it smoother, safer and more environmentally friendly will benefit us all. Intelligent transport, in other words combining information and communications technology with transport applications, provides new opportunities for achieving these goals, says Innamaa. Innamaa is also fascinated by intelligent transport as a research field because it is constantly changing. – Intelligent transport services are developing all the time. Today’s visions will be ready for field trials in a few year’s time, and available to consumers not long after that.

SATU INNAMAA • Senior Scientist in VTT’s Sustainable Transport Systems team • Joined VTT in 2002

VTT Impulse  21

Modelling and




Traditional power production is undergoing radical change. In addition to traditional challenges – use of low-quality fuels, tightening of emission limits, striving for higher steam values – the power production system is now also influenced by the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind energy. Modelling is a valuable tool for seeking and evaluating solutions to these questions. Text Lars Kjäldman, Jani Lehto, Perttu Jukola, Jari Lappalainen, Timo Pättikangas, Hannu Niemistö, Tommi Karhela

22  VTT Impulse



ecause of the need to control the stabil- and pollutant reactions, the distributions of temity of the electricity grid, the intermit- perature and of concentrations of chemical spetent nature of solar and wind energy cies, and the heat transfer distribution on heat poses completely new challenges for transfer surfaces. Combining CFD results with the dynamics and mode of operation of solid analysis of the conditions of the boiler material fuel fired power plants. In the future, such plants components makes it possible to estimate the will be expected to follow load changes faster availability of the boiler furnace with respect to and operate with a wider load range. There will e.g. slagging, fouling and corrosion. also be the need to store energy at the plant in VTT has 25 years of experience in the develdifferent ways. opment and application of CFD to the study of The key task in the use of bio fuels and waste- furnace processes, including pulverised fuel, oil derived fuels is to manage the possible risks and gas fired furnaces, bubbling (BFB) and cirrelated to corrosion and fouling of the boiler. culating (CFB) fluidised beds, grate fired furThe higher steam values also ‘pressurise’ the naces and recovery boilers. In most studies the development of boiler material technology. In major focus has been on the decrease of emiscoal combustion, the goal is to decrease the sions while maintaining sufficient burn out emissions of carbon level and good fur­dioxide in electricity nace availability, notaproduction through bly t he re du c t i on TIGHTENING OF EMISSIONS increased efficiency, of nitrogen oxides LIMITS HAS NECESSITATED achieved by supercrit(NO x ) through inical steam values. The furnace methods such THE RETROFITTING OF use of more difficult as proper air stagMANY OLD BOILERS. and often local fuels is ing and fuel injection, increasing worldwide, advanced low-NO x while the future capability of co-combust coal, burners or selective non-catalytic reduction biomass and gases, such as natural gas, is evi- (SNCR) technology. dent. Investigation has also begun into different The air staging principle for bubbling fluidways of combining solar energy and the tradi- ised bed boilers (BFB), developed in cooperational power plant. tion between Fortum Oy and VTT, is presented Tightening of emissions limits has necessi- as an example of the application of CFD modeltated ­the retrofitting of many old boilers. Invest- ling (ref: VGB Powertech 11/2013, 75-79). ment is needed in the near future, both in boiler A fluidised sand bed stands at the bottom of technology and in the cleaning of flue gases. a BFB furnace. Fuel is fed into the furnace from The combined production of heat and electric- fuel chutes located somewhat above it. Largeity (CHP), well known in Finland, is also in a size fuel particles fall on to the bed, burning state of flux. As the aforementioned solar energy there, while small particles may be combusted and various air and earth pumps become more during flight higher up in the gas space, i.e. in common, the demand for district heating will the freeboard area. Bed temperature should be decrease, with the resulting drop in incomes kept between certain limits, around 800–850 °C, ­becoming a consideration for plant owners. partly to ensure complete combustion but also to avoid bed agglomeration and sintering. CFD modelling in the design and process The NOx emitted originates mainly from fuel development of boiler furnaces bound nitrogen due to relatively low combusComputational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) in the tion temperature also in the freeboard area . The design and process development of new boiler reduction of nitrogen emissions in furnaces is furnaces and retrofits of existing boilers is a key based on the staging of the combustion air; this tool for decreasing emissions and enabling reli- is because in oxygen-rich conditions the fuel able operation with varying fuel mixtures. CFD nitrogen is easily oxidised to NO, whereas in modelling is capable to reveal the relevant phe- oxygen-lean conditions the previously formed nomena occurring inside a boiler furnace such NO is reduced to molecular nitrogen. as flow field and residence times of gases and of The general idea of air staging in a BFB fuel and ash particles, progress of combustion boiler is presented in Figure 1. Combustion

VTT Impulse  23

FEEDBACK FROM PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF THE AIR STAGING PRINCIPLES SUPPORT THE MODELLING RESULTS. air is ­typically introduced in three stages. Primary (1’ry) air and in many cases some amount of recirculated flue gas (FGR) is fed into the ­furnace from below through the bed, and used to fluidise the bed into the bubbling mode. The secondary (2’ry) air level is usually located above the fuel chutes, and the tertiary (3’ry) air level in the upper furnace. In the developed air staging principle, the furnace can be divided into three combustion zones: zone I below the secondary air elevation, zone II between secondary and tertiary air levels, and zone III above the tertiary air elevation. Proper choice of the air staging levels, and of the division of the amount of air introduced

Alternative A NOx control

between the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, can minimise the formation of nitrogen emissions and simultaneously maintain good furnace availability. Development of the air staging principle was based on the results obtained from the simulation of several alternative firing cases. As an example, simulation results are presented for cofiring of forest-based biomass and peat in a BFB boiler with the capacity of 175 MW (fuel power), and with two tertiary air levels in addition to a secondary air level. The CFD modelling concept, and especially the NOx sub model, was roughly validated against available plant output data. Figure 2 shows the simulation results. The predicted NOx emission compares well with the measured average value and is inside the 10% fluctuation from the average value detected during operation. To investigate different air staging alternatives for this reference case, several cases were conducted varying the level of secondary air injection and distribution of air among the primary, secondary and tertiary air levels. Forest-based biomass, peat, or the combination of biomass and peat in the energy ratio 30%/70% were considered for combustion. The total air ratio was kept at the constant value 1.2. Figure 3 presents some simulation results showing the influence of the air ratio of zone I on the simulated furnace exit gas temperature

Alternative B low furnace & bed T control

additional air to zone I improved mixing of fuel and air enhanced NOx reduction

no additional air to zone I e.g. if high furnace volumetric loading compromised NOx­ performance

zone I reasonably high SR 2’ry air feed set at higher position

zone I low SR 2’ry air feed set at lower position

NOx reduction in zones I & II

Main NOx reduction in zone II

A or B chosen based on furnace design, dimensioning and typical mode of operation.

FIGURE 1. 24  VTT Impulse

Air staging principles in a BFB and the combustion zones I, II and III.


CFD modelling results for a 175 MW (fuel power) BFB boiler.

(FEGT), the furnace exit concentration of CO, and NOx emission. According to the results, by increasing the amount of zone I air it is possible in the combustion of biomass and the co-combustion of biomass and peat to simultaneously decrease the NOx emission and the furnace exit CO concentration, and to lower the furnace exit gas temperature and, correspondingly, increase the heat transfer rate from the furnace. The predicted furnace exit CO level becomes much higher in peat combustion, and even increases along with the zone I stoichiometric ratio. This is due to small particle size leading to enhanced heterogeneous combustion in the freeboard and shorter residence time for CO burnout. This issue could be tackled by improving mixing at the secondary and tertiary air levels, as shown in Figure 4. Through the CFD simulation of various alternatives the following recommendations were obtained: • It is beneficial to set the 2’ry air feed at a lower vertical position when operating the furnace without additional air introduction because of a particular need for bed temperature control in case of e.g. very dry fuel or heavy volumetric loading of the furnace. This, however, leads to somewhat compromised NOx performance. NOx reduction largely takes place in the combustion zone II between 2’ry and 3’ry air elevations. • With additional air introduction into the low furnace the combustion zone I can be more

efficiently used for NOx reduction together with zone II. In this case, from the NOx point of view it is beneficial to set 2’ry air elevation at higher vertical position. • Minimum NOx emission is achieved by using additional air introduction to optimise the zone I stoichiometric ratio combined with a higher position for 2’ry air feed. In addition, furnace exit CO and furnace exit gas temperature can be reduced simultaneously, also lessening the tendency for upper furnace fouling and corrosion. The optimal zone I stoichiometric ratio depends on fuel type. • Burnout and furnace heat transfer can be enhanced, and upper furnace temperature distribution smoothed, by paying attention to 2’ry and 3’ry air system design to improve mixing conditions. According to the CFD results no drawback in NOx is expected. Observations and feedback from practical applications of the air staging principles support the modelling results. Dynamic process simulation in power plant design Dynamic process simulation is a computational method for mimicking process plant behaviour in various transient situations. Modelling typically includes a clearly larger process area than in the case of CFD, thus being also coarser in accuracy. Typically, phenomena are described in one dimension, for example flow in a pipeline is discretised in the axial direction only. Modelling creates a virtual plant that is operated in a simVTT Impulse  25


Effect of zone I stoichiometry with additional air feed on simulated furnace exit gas temperature (FEGT), on furnace exit CO concentration, and on NOx emission. Combustion of forest-based biomass or peat or a mixture of these in a BFB boiler. Stoichiometry of zone I: SR1-A < SR1-B < SR1-C.

ilar way to the actual plant, thus requiring the inclusion of the relevant parts of automation and electric systems. In practice, this means at least the main control loops; sequences and interlockings are also modelled when the targeted transients demand. Electric system modelling typically covers the generator and the connection to the grid, as well as the power supply of process equipment if power failure studies are of interest. Typical applications for dynamic simulation are evaluation of process and control design, automation testing, training simulators, and different types of analysis. Training simulators are the largest of the applications, and the project may include testing of the automation application before commissioning of the plant. Another use for automation testing relates to automation system renewal projects in nuclear power plants, where old analogue systems are updated to digital. Use for the purpose of engineering and analysis is common in both industry and research institutes, and among nuclear safety authorities. Apros is commercial simulation software (, which has been jointly developed for almost 30 years by VTT and Fortum. It is used for dynamic studies of conventional and nuclear power plant processes, as well as other industrial processes in almost 30 countries worldwide. A recently published Simantics-based ( new Apros user environment facilitates fast and intuitive modelbuilding and improves connectivity with other 26â&#x20AC;&#x201A; VTT Impulse

engineering tools. Dozens of reported successful applications have proven that a reliable system model can be built based solely on design information. This enables evaluation of the design, and observation of potential problems before the engineering project proceeds to implementation. The modelling resolution is selected depending on the project needs. Dynamic process simulation can be applied in both process and control engineering, but the highlight is its ability to enable simultaneous evaluation of the results of these disciplines. This is of utmost importance in the case of novel process concepts where a new process design is automated for the first time. In commissioning and operation the process and automation must co-operate seamlessly. Typical critical design topics are dimensioning of control devices, limit switch values, size of buffers, timing of sequence steps, interlockings, synchronisation of operational mode changes, the need for check valves and tuning of control loops. The more complicated the system, the more difficult it is to discover different functional chains and estimate their meaning for safety, operability and economy. Relevant operations can be studied by simulation, and repeated with different design alternatives, which enables comparison and eases ­decision-making. The rise of solar and wind power has increased the demand for rapid start-ups and shut-downs among traditional power plants. This calls for


Effect of 3’ry air injection on mixing and combustion of CO in the end part of a BFB boiler furnace.

plant flexibility and automation, but also deliberated practices for operating plants in a safe and equipment-friendly way. The heat stresses significantly influence the expected life time of the system. Apros has recently received tools for assessing the heat stresses and life time of the equipment during the simulated transients. Integration of different process systems introduces complexity in system operability. For example, a power plant capable of carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage (CCS) includes oxygen production and CO2 processing units whose operation must be synchronised with the boiler island. On the other hand, the use of pure oxygen introduces new safety issues in various failure or malfunction situations. This kind of process featuring clearly different operating modes, and requiring smooth operation between the modes, challenges the traditional design methods. Dynamic process simulation offers a tool for testing different approaches virtually. Figure 5 presents a sample of simulation results in a project using Apros to evaluate Foster Wheeler Energia Oy’s 300MWe CCS-capable power plant concept Flexi-Burn® CFB1) in transient operations. The plant is initially operated in the air firing mode as in conventional power plants. The firing mode is then switched to oxy firing enabling CO2 capture. Air as an oxidant is replaced by a mixture of recirculated flue gas (RFG) and oxygen (GOX) from the ­cryogenic ­distillation plant. The left picture presents the


1 ) Flexi-Burn® is a trademark of Foster Wheeler AG, registered in the U.S., EU, Finland VTT Impulse  27



28  VTT Impulse

major gas flows; the right picture the composition of the flue gas. Water steam side, with supercritical steam conditions, and the turbine island were also included in the modelling scope. Despite the recognised benefits, dynamic simulation is not yet routinely used in plant engineering projects, at least outside the nuclear power industry. One reason is the general incompatibility of simulation and other engineering tools. VTT is committed to develop co-use of simulation and engineering software tools. Software inter­ faces have been implemented between Apros and, for example, Siemens’ COMOS, and Intergraph’s SmartPlant. Examples of co-use include model data exchange between a P&ID tool and the simulator, automatic generation of models, and document management. The developed interfaces make it easier to join dynamic simulation as a natural part of the engineering workflow. Coupled simulations using Apros and CFD codes Co-simulation with Apros and CFD code enables detailed three-dimensional modelling of one process component that is coupled with a complicated system of pipelines and other process components. Two different types of coupling can be readily identified. In one-way coupling, Apros simulation provides boundary conditions for the CFD calculation, but no feedback from the CFD calculation to the Apros simulation occurs. In two-way coupling, the CFD code also provides boundary condition for the Apros simulation.

Apros simulation of firing mode switch from air to oxy mode with the CCS-capable Flexi-Burn CFB power plant concept.


CFD model of a mixing tank coupled with an Apros model of a pipeline system.

In Apros 6, two-way coupling of Apros with ANSYS Fluent CFD code has been implemented at VTT in cooperation with Fortum. The coupling of the codes is illustrated in Figure 6, where a model of a mixing vessel is coupled with an Apros model. Fluids are flowing into the mixing vessel via two inlets, and the mixture flows out from the vessel via two outlets. The codes are coupled at the inlets and outlets, where they exchange information on the flow rates, temperatures and species components of the mixture. In Apros 6, a user interface for defining the coupling is available. Apros parses the Fluent case file and shows the inlet and outlet boundaries where coupling is possible. The chosen inlets and outlets are then connected to the special coupling nodes of the Apros model and the type of the coupling is defined. The codes run in parallel and exchange coupling information at each time step by using message-passing libraries. Coupling one-dimensional code with threedimensional code poses several challenges.

When fluid flows from the Apros model to the CFD model, Apros only provides average flow velocity to the CFD code at the coupling interface. Suitable velocity and turbulence values need to be generated at every point on the coupling interface. Numerical stability of the co-simulation is also an issue. It is necessary that the codes exchange information several times within each time step. Semi-implicit coupling of the codes has been found to be a suitable method. Co-simulation with Apros and CFD code has potential applications in the analysis of furnaces and boilers. Other types of coupling of the codes would also be useful in these applications. Coupling on heat transfer surfaces or in heat exchangers, e.g., CFD simulation of the furnace processes coupled to Apros simulation of the water/steam side would be important especially in load changing situations, and valuable for the design and optimisation of plant operation. n

VTT Impulseâ&#x20AC;&#x201A; 29

Transport gets


Arrival of the first ’cooperative cars’ that communicate with each other adds further fuel to the rapid spread of automation in road transport. Text Satu Innamaa

30  VTT Impulse

few years and continue to do so. The above is one example of how driver support is developing. Cooperative cars are already entering traffic, communicating with each other by sending local wireless warnings of slippery roads, sudden braking, a motorway standstill, or a blockage or other potentially dangerous situation. They also remind the driver of traffic signs, or indicate the best speed for approaching traffic lights so there is no need for the car to stop1. Cooperative systems such as these are already available on some cars as high-end accessories, but will soon be more common.



dvanced driver support systems act as an extra pair of eyes and ears, helping out when the driver fails to spot danger or inadvertently breaks the rules of the road. Foreseeable changes in the trans­port system will be based largely on driver behaviour and behaviour modification. It will be interesting to see whether drivers accept the new technology, and how they use it. Will the technology affect their driving and mobility on a more general level, for example, as the designers of the technology believe? Development work extends beyond road use on rubber tyres; systems are being developed for improving the traffic safety and comfort of pedestrians and cyclists, as well as increasing their opportunities for mobility.

Cooperative driver support systems VTT has been studying the effects of cooperative vehicle systems in extensive field tests under Towards automation the DRIVE C2X project2, coordinated by DaimLet’s take an example: a squirrel runs into the ler together with the European car industry, street in front of a line of cars; the first driver vehicle system developers and other research brakes suddenly to avoid hitting it. institutes. VTT carried out field-testing in TamWhat might happen today: The driver of the pere, where the drivers’ cars received inforsecond car has just heard his ring tone, and at mation on slippery sections of road, roadside the critical moment looks at his phone to see vehicle breakdowns, road works, and current who is calling. He sees too traffic signs. Drivers were late that the car in front also warned if they were has stopped, and crashes speeding. VTT’s responsiAUTOMATION into it. bilities in the project also IN ROAD TRANSPORT What might happen included the work package soon: The first car’s sudfor assessing the impacts of IS SPREADING MORE den braking triggers a the systems. This extensive RAPIDLY THAN WE local wireless warning to project will determine the MIGHT HAVE IMAGINED. impacts of various coopethe cars behind. The second driver, concentrating rative driver support syson his phone and unaware tems on driver behaviour, of events, hears the warning instantly relayed by the amount of driving, traffic flow, environmenhis car and gains vital seconds of reaction time. tal impacts and safety, as well as the cost-benefit A few dents might result, but the chain of crash- ratios of the new systems and how readily users ing cars will be shorter than today’s. will adopt them. The results of the study will What might happen in the future: The instant be ready by summer 2014. A further aim of the the second car is warned of sudden braking project is to support development of the systems ahead, it stops by itself. The driver, lifting his and their wide adoption. eyes from the phone in surprise, but seeing no Shown to their best advantage, advanced crashed cars, watches a squirrel scampering driver support systems act as an extra pair of away before driving on. eyes and ears, assisting when the driver fails to Automation in road transport is spreading spot danger or inadvertently breaks the rules of even more rapidly than we might have imag- the road. The systems also warn or inform the ined. We are no longer talking about a single driver of situations that the driver is not yet able Google vehicle in California or Nevada; tech- to see for himself, such as an impending traffic nologies such as intelligent cruise control and jam. By directing cars to drive at a speed that self-parking are already a reality, in Finland, prevents queuing at traffic lights, such systems too. Cars have developed rapidly over the past can also improve urban traffic flow. Foreseeable

VTT Impulse  31

Photo: DRIVE C2X


Examples of cooperative systems.

changes in the transport system will be based largely on the behaviour and behaviour modification of the system users, in this case, drivers. It will be interesting to see whether the drivers accept the new technology, how they use it and whether, as the designers believe, the technology will affect their driving and mobility on a more general level. Some questions remain unanswered. Will the new, â&#x20AC;?easierâ&#x20AC;? driving tempt people to drive in poorer conditions, or when tired? Will car mileage or the amount of driving increase? Determining and understanding the impacts of new systems will therefore be important. Transport policy objectives aim at increasing the number of pedestrian and bicycle journeys, as well as the use of public transport3. The danger is that the new driver support systems will work against this objective. Services extend to other road users Not all systems currently being developed to make road use easier and safer are aimed solely at passenger car traffic. Some that enable communication between other types of vehicle and the highway infrastructure are already in place. 32â&#x20AC;&#x201A; VTT Impulse

The vision of the ongoing TEAM project4 is to add smartphones and cloud services to the mix, and to encourage road users other than motorists to cooperate actively in traffic. The result could be new solutions for various transport chains, optimisation of public transport, or smoother traffic at intersections through intelligent right-of-way priorities. Many systems supporting the use of public transport have long been familiar. Up-todate modern route guides make travelling and everyday living easier, and turn public transport into a more attractive alternative. Applications covering all forms of transport display the different alternatives to private car use. The route guide also shows how motoring and public transport can be combined to enhance a journey through use of park-and-ride instead of parking in the city centre. Dynamic systems such as these, based on the real-time traffic situation or, better still, road condition forecasts, demand high-quality situational awareness of the state and condition of the entire transport system. VTT has been researching and developing the short-term forecasting of traffic flow and disruptions. The subject matter is particularly

challenging, with traffic a highly dynamic phenomenon affected by a multitude of rules and human factors, and forecasts dependent on relatively scarce situational data. Development work is not limited to road use on rubber tyres; the VRUITS project is developing systems for improving the safety and comfort of pedestrians and cyclists in traffic, as well as increasing their opportunities for mobility.5 Although there has been a long-term downward trend in the number of road traffic fatalities, this is not the case with pedestrians and cyclists, and in some locations fatalities have even increased. The goal is to ensure the present and future safety of traffic system users who are most vulnerable.

Photo: TEAM

Systemic change The transport system is changing, and the interaction between humans and the system changing with it. As automation increases it will be interesting to see if a shift takes place, for example in the interaction of pedestrians and cyclists with car users. Will drivers have more time and opportunity to observe other road users? Or will they simply leave everything to the car? If the latter turns out to be the case, the functioning and reliability of the car’s systems in various situations and conditions will become critical. Will pedestrians and cyclists place greater trust

in either the car or its driver noticing them and giving way? What if only some cars are equipped with these sharp-eyed systems, and the rest continue to rely entirely on driver perception? Will these more accident-prone cars cancel the decrease in accidents brought about by the more advanced cars? What level of penetration is necessary before automated (autonomic) cars produce changes in interaction, and how quickly will these changes take place? This is an area requiring a significant amount of research in the years to come. The next step will be a more general assessment of the effects of progress and proliferation of automation in road transport – beginning with the behaviour and behaviour modification of motorists and other road users, and ending with the effects at transport-system level. This assessment is made challenging by the slow rate of automation. The situation for some time to come will be one of traffic comprising fully manually operated cars and a gradually increasing number of more intelligent cars. Nor are the effects likely to be linear. The increase in vehicle automation will also affect traffic flow through human travel patterns and driving behaviour. The safe gap to the vehicle in front is smaller with a fully autonomous vehicle than with a traditional vehicle driven by a human. This increase in the road’s transport capacity can







based functions










Vision in which all road users cooperate to improve traffic flow. VTT Impulse  33

Photo: Vesa Tyni


be maximised if vehicles are connected to each other in ’platoons’. The perception of ’normal’ driving held by those driving traditional vehicles may evolve to match that of drivers of autonomic vehicles as numbers increase, leading to a potential change in the dynamics of the entire traffic flow. Some technically ready automatic driving systems are already available to consumers, although many questions remain over systems and schedule. Automation is nonetheless predicted to spread rapidly, with Mercedes, GM and Nissan promising a fully automatic vehicle by 2020. The boldest forecasts claim that up to 70 per cent of transport in 2030 will be fully automatic. The more conservative say it will take 30 years from the launch of a new system to achieve 95 per cent coverage. Estimates show, however, that even a ten-per-cent utilisation rate would have an impact, for example on traffic safety.6 Whenever it arrives, this change is something we shall be following with keen interest. n

Bibliography 1.Laitinen J, Mäkinen T, Innamaa S and Penttinen M. (2013) Keskustelevat autot liikenteessä. Liikenteen suunta 4/2013. Finnish Transport Agency, Helsinki. 2.DRIVE C2X:


3.Ministry of Transport and Communications (2013). Kohti uutta liikennepolitiikkaa, Älyä liikenteeseen ja viisautta liikkujille. Toisen sukupolven älystrategia liikenteelle. Ohjelmia

Satu Innamaa (DScTech) is a Senior Scientist in VTT’s Sustainable Transport Systems team. Dr Innamaa joined VTT in 2002. Her areas of expertise include intelligent transport systems, their impact assessment and proactive transport management.

ja strategioita 1/2013, MTC, Helsinki. 52 p. 4.TEAM: vision/ 5.VRUITS: 6.Schagrin, M. and Gay, K. (2013). Developing a U.S. DOT Multimodal R&D Program Plan for Road Vehicle Automation. Retrieved on February 3, 2014 from gov/presentations/CV_PublicMeeting2013/ PDF/Day2_Automation.pdf

34  VTT Impulse

We add

intelligence to wearable technology. We develop new measurement solutions and user interfaces for wearable technology. Please contact us for further information! Juha Palve, VP, Electronics



Interferometer technologies

Fabry-Perot interferometer (FPI) are tunable optical filters that enable miniaturisation of spectrometers into small hand-held sensors for use in various applications.

Text Anna Rissanen and Heikki Saari

36â&#x20AC;&#x201A; VTT Impulse



Light going in


PI filter structures can be manufactured of Fabry-Perot interferometer operation and an for wavelengths ranging from UV-visible image of a realised MOEMS FPI chip with restto thermal infrared, with both MEMS- wavelength (no applied tuning voltage) at 430 based large-volume processing meth- nm (visible colour blue). ods and piezo-actuated filter assembly in smallOur FPI technology is distinguished by two to-medium volume. Our technology is robust, different manufacturing platforms: optical small and mass–producible, and facilitates high- MEMS-based chips (MOEMS FPI) and the sepperformance sensing in a cost-effective way. arately assembled high-performance piezo-actuOptical spectroscopy is an attractive measure- ated tunable filter structures (Piezo FPI), shown ment method for various applications, enabling in Figure 2. These two platforms have enabled us identification and characterisation of materi- to develop sensing solutions for both high-volals, gases and substances based on their unique ume MOEMS applications and customised highspectral fingerprints in a non-contact, selective performance PFPI optical instruments. manner. Fabry-Perot When produced interferometers are in large volume with structures that funcM E M S m anu f a c TIGHTENING OF EMISSIONS tion as active, tunaturing methods, the ble wavelength filters potential low cost of LIMITS HAS NECESSITATED in small, robust and the individual FPI THE RETROFITTING OF MANY light-weight microchip allows the disOLD BOILERS. spectrometers and covery of novel spechyperspectral imagtral sensing applicaers. These filters can tions in which use of be combined with different types of detectors current bench-top spectrometers has been preand optical light sources to realise optical sensors vented by high price and sheer bulk. and instruments for spectroscopic analysis, with A unique feature of VTT’s FPI compared to applications ranging from gas sensors to hand- other microspectrometer technologies is the held instruments. size of the optical apertures, which we can make The Fabry-Perot interferometer consists of large enough to enable replacement of typical two reflective mirror surfaces, typically thin film single-point detectors behind the optical filter Bragg reflectors, with a gap between the mirrors with imaging detectors. This combines spectrosand integrated electrodes within the membrane copy with imaging to create hyperspectral camstructure. The passband wavelength of the filter eras. Here the piezo-actuated FPI technology – is tuned by adjusting the distance between the with its large optical apertures and the ease in mirrors. The figure below shows the principle which spectrometer performance specification



Bragg mirrors

Light coming out


Principle and cross-section of a tunable MOEMS FPI filter (a) and picture of a visible-range FPI chip with optical aperture at rest-wavelength in blue (~430 nm) (b) VTT Impulse  37


Packaged microspectrometers: MOEMS module for large production volumes (a) and piezo-actuated FPI module for small-to-medium-volume production (b).

can be customised for high-performance UAV, space, process measurement, security and medical applications – has proven especially suitable. Besides allowing multiple applications in both point-spectroscopy and imaging, the optical aperture also offers a price reduction benefit for optical sensing instruments. Whereas grating-based microspectrometers require linear array detectors that can be prohibitively expensive, especially with the need for cooling in the infrared, FPI functions with a single detector element. This can mean a difference of several thousands of euros in the final price. Microspectrometer technology for high-volume applications VTT has been active in recent years both in the development of application-based measurement instrument solutions and in the highly researchoriented manufacturing and process integration of optical MEMS (MOEMS). Gases, liquids or substances have unique spectral fingerprints that are situated in different parts of the spectrum of light; thus by developing MEMS solutions for various wavelengths it becomes possible to produce sensors that can detect different substances. Development of the process integration technology enables the customisation of filter structures in terms of optical specifications based on different application requirements. By carefully selecting thin-film materials, process steps and conditions, it is possible to create MOEMS FPI process platforms for devices sensing in various wavelength ranges. VTT’s journey with optical MEMS (MOEMS) Fabry-Perot interferometers began in the 1990s 38  VTT Impulse

with the development of Vaisala’s Carbocap ® carbon dioxide gas sensor, which operates in the mid-infrared (MIR) wavelength range [1]. Near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy, and the use of molecular IR spectrum absorption, has been employed extensively in identifying substances based on their characteristic optical fingerprints, and as the basis of non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) sensors consisting of light source, absorption path, wavelength-selective optical filter and detector. MOEMS FPIs enable efficient realisation of low-cost, stable NIR microspectrometers for NDIR sensors as a single-beam, multi-wavelength approach that allows measurement of multiple spectral points with only one detector and a single light source. The benefits of using such a setup compared to several separate detectors include very good long-term stability and high selectivity. Potential markets for microspectrometers have been growing rapidly in recent years, leading to concentrated development of several MOEMS microfabrication process platforms aimed at realising filter elements for various applications and wavelength ranges, from UV-visible to thermal IR (Figure 3). In 2008, VTT set out to develop a novel NIR microspectrometer process platform for a sensor aimed at automotive industry measurement [2]. Our technology’s main competitive advantage in the NIR range –monolithic surfacemicromachined MOEMS construction based on tensioned membranes – creates structures with excellent robustness, withstanding up to 18,000 G of shock impact [3] while being insensitive to vibrational effects that may distort the opti-

cal measurements. This high robustness is based on surface-micromachining and gives VTT’s MOEMS near-infrared (NIR) microspectrometer technology a clear lead over the competing miniaturised spectrometer solutions [4] that are commercially available. Robustness is especially important for applications with vibration and movement, such as automotive, mobile and hand-held sensors, where elements with movable mass parts or grating-based microspectrometers with line detectors cannot necessarily meet performance requirements. With visible wavelengths, the thickness of the thin films within the FPI mirrors decreases because the optical thickness must be a quarter of the wavelength ( λ/4). This increases the requirements for the thin film materials used, and demands the ability to control the deposition process in terms of film thickness, uniformity and conformality. With the emergence of atomic layer deposition (ALD) technology, VTT in 2010 created the first visible wavelength Fabry-Perot interferometers, providing significantly improved resolution compared to previous FPI devices in this wavelength range [5]. Although grating-based microspectrometers are available for visible light, these devices are unsuitable for imaging applications and have a non-monolithic fabrication process. Further improvements included increased optical aper-

UV/visible FPI





Ultra-compact chip spectrometer

UV 200–350 nm


Visible 350–800 nm

Low NIR 0.8–1.1 μm

Near IR 1,1–2,5 μm

Mid IR 3–7 μm

Thermal IR 7–12 μm

MEMS FPI platforms from visible, near- and mid-infrared (IR) to thermal. VTT Impulse  39

Photo: Sami Tirkkonen


HEIKKI SAARI Heikki Saari completed his MSc Engineering degree at the Helsinki University of Technology, Department of Technical Physics, in 1980, and his doctoral theses in 1996. He has been the principal scientist in a number of space and remote sensing instrument development projects. His work has been published in more than 60 scientific journals, and he has six patents. Dr Saari’s areas of interest include hyperspectral camera technology and applications, MOEMS sensor applications, and drone and nanosatellite spectral camera technology. Dr Saari is currently the Principal Scientist in VTT’s MOEMS and BioMEMS Instruments team.

40  VTT Impulse

ture size [6] for realising hand-held imaging instruments (Figure4) [7], and demonstration of a monolithically integrated ultra-compact chip spectrometer [8]. Development of optical MEMS development over the past two years has focused on the longer thermal IR wavelength, which shows high potential for analysing various gases and for some novel imaging-based applications. Here, the challenge is to obtain a good optical contrast between the thin film materials in order to show high resolution. We presented a unique FPI structure in which the mirrors consist of silicon and air, creating a large range of operation and showing significant improvement over other tunable filters in this wavelength range [10, 11]. Our innovation received a nomination for Highlight of the Year 2012 from the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering. We recently demonstrated the first FPI chips for low NIR, the wavelength region between visible and near-infrared [11]. One advantage of this visible/lower NIR range is the opportunity to employ low-cost silicon-based detectors that offer a sensitive and cost-efficient detection option in comparison to thermopiles and InGaAs detectors. Miniature hand-held hyperspectral imagers measuring in the lower NIR range offer sensing potential for various health applications, such as skin cancer, endoscopy, oxygen saturation of tissue (diabetes) and analysis for example of teeth, skin and veins. Instruments for a variety of applications Over recent years, we have aimed to demonstrate the benefits of FPI technology by building demonstrators and instruments that target different applications. MOEMS microspectrometers have been used in compact hydrocarbon analysers [12] (Figure 5) and to demonstrate

Hand-held hyperspectral camera.

gas sensing (for example acetone) in thermal IR [13]. Our latest technology for gas analysers includes highly sensitive large-aperture piezoFPI platforms for mid IR [14]; the first demonstration operates between wavelengths of 4–5 µm, while the second platform is for correlation spectroscopy where the interferometer provides a comb-like transmission pattern mimicking absorption of diatomic molecules at the wavelength range of 4.7–4.8 µm. Hyperspectral cameras combine two powerful analysis features: spatial image data and spectral data. Current hyperspectral imaging instruments on the market are typically very expensive, often costing between $50 000 and $100 000. VTT’s hyperspectral cameras are small, handheld and much lower in cost, especially if massmanufactured. The size and price range sets the potential for finding completely new applications for the technology. VTT’s hyperspectral cameras have already found their way into several applications, including unmanned aerial vehicles for agriculture-, forest and environmental monitoring [15, 16], the Nanosatellite Aalto-1 mission [17], crime scene investigation [18] and industrial chemical imaging. Medical applications for spectral cameras are especially interesting: results from a fundus camera in the detection of glaucoma and diabetes [19] are already promising, while there is further promise in a hyperspectral camera for skin cancer detection [20]. VTT has also developed a single UV-FPI with filtering performance sufficient to allow detection of minute traces. No such device has previously been built. The Swedish Defence


Hydrocarbon gas analyser.

Photo: Sami Tirkkonen


ANNA RISSANEN Anna Rissanen is the Team Leader of VTT’s MOEMS and BioMEMS Instruments team. She completed her MSc Engineering degree at the Helsinki University of Technology, Department of Electrical Engineering, in 2003, and her doctoral thesis on biomicrosystems at Aalto University in 2012. Her research area covers the design of optical MEMS Fabry-Perot interferometric structures and process integration development, and interdisciplinary research. Dr Rissanen’s work has been published in more than 22 scientific journals, and she has multiple patentable inventions. VTT Impulse  41



Standoff Raman imaging system.


Malinen, J. “MEMS- and MOEMS-

[8] Rissanen, A., Kantojärvi, U.,

[1] Blomberg, M., Torkkeli, A., Lehto,

Based Near-Infrared Spectrom-

Blomberg, M., Antila, J., Eränen,

A., Helenelund, C., Viitasalo, M.,

eters”. Encyclopedia of Analytical

S., “Monolithically integrated

“Electrically tuneable microma-

Chemistry. 1–36. (2014).

microspectrometer-on-chip based

chined fabry-perot interferometer in

on tunable visible light MEMS FPI”,

gas analysis”, Physica Scripta. Vol.

[5] Blomberg, M., Kattelus, H.,

Sens. Act., A, Vol. 182, 130 – 135,

T69, 119 – 121, (1997).

Miranto, A., “Electrically tunable


surface micromachined Fabry-­ [2] Antila J., Miranto, A., Mäkynen,

Perot interferometer for visible

[9] Tuohiniemi, M., Blomberg, M.,

J., Laamanen, M., Rissanen, A.,

light”, Sen. Act. A, Vol. 162 ( 2), 184

Akujärvi, A., Antila, J., Saari, H.,

Blomberg, M., Saari, H., Malinen, J.,

– 188, (2010).

“Optical transmission performance

“MEMS and piezo actuator based

of a surface-micromachined Fabry-

Fabry-Perot interferometer tech-

[6] Rissanen, A., Akujärvi, A.,

Pérot interferometer for thermal

nologies and applications at VTT”,

Antila, J., Blomberg, M., Saari, H.,

infrared”, J. Micromech. Microeng.

Proc. SPIE 7680, 76800U (2010).

“MOEMS miniature spectrometers

Vol. 22(11), 115004, (2012).

using tunable Fabry- Perot interfer[3] Rissanen, A., Broas, M., Hokka,

ometers”, J. Micro/Nanolith. MEMS

[10] Tuohiniemi, M., Näsilä, A.,

J., Mattila, T.; Antila, J., Laamanen,

MOEMS 11(2), 023003/1 – 6 (2012).

Mäkynen, J., “Characterization

M., Saari, H., “Robustness and

of the tuning performance of a

reliability of MOEMS for miniature

[7] Antila, J., Kantojärvi, U., Mannila,

micro-machined Fabry-Pérot

spectrometers”, Proc. SPIE 8614,

R., Rissanen, A., Näkki, I., Ollila, J.,

interferometer for thermal infrared”,

861409 (2013).

Saari, H., “Spectral imaging device

J. Micromech. Microeng. Vol. 23 (7),

based on a tuneable MEMS Fabry-

075011, (2013).

[4] Antila, J., Tuohiniemi, M.,

Perot interferometer”, Proc. SPIE

­Rissanen, A., Kantojärvi, U., Lahti,

8374, 8374-15 (2012).

M., Viherkanto, K., Kaarre, M. and

42  VTT Impulse

[11] Rissanen A., Mannila, R., Tuohiniemi M., Akujärvi, A., Antila,

Research Agency FOI has collaborated with VTT in developing a system capable of precise selection of Raman shifts in combination with high out-of-band blocking, working in the UV range where no comparable filtering systems are commercially available [21]. The system shown in Figure 6 is based on VTT-developed compact, high resolution (~0.2 nm @ FWHM) UVFPI. The stable operation of the UV-FPI module under varying environmental conditions is arranged by controlling the temperature of the module and using the closed loop control of the FPI air gap based on capacitive measurement. Business from technology for the future Our ultimate goal is to create business from FPI technology and to build international value chains that profit Finnish industry. A further aim of creating growing business and new workplaces in Finland will be boosted by the

launch in spring 2014 of a VTT spin-off, Spectral Engines, offering near- and mid-IR point spectral sensors targeted at industrial process control, gas sensing and portable field analysers. By the end of this year, VTT is scheduled to start a project with Finnish industrial partners, including VTT Memsfab, for increasing production volumes of the NIR FPI elements to large-volume automotive scale production capability. Miniaturising spectrometers to instruments that can be hand-held allows the creation of solutions both for high-performance space- and medical applications and for addressing the large-volume consumer markets within health & wellness and the Internet of Things. Spectral imaging for consumer devices might very well be the next big new business opportunity – products that employ smart mobile devices to detect skin cancer, for example, are already within reach. n

J., “Tunable MOEMS Fabry-Perot

gas spectroscopy at mid-IR”, Proc.

spectral cameras for detecting and

interferometer for miniaturized

SPIE. 8992, 89920C. (2014).

separating crime scene details”,

spectral sensing in near-infrared”, Proc. SPIE 8977, 89770X (2014).

Proc. SPIE 8359, 83590P (2012). [15] Saari, H., Pölönen, I., Salo, H., Honkavaara, E., Hakala, T., “Minia-

[19] Kaarre, M., Kivi, S., Panouillot,

[12] Mannila R., Tuohiniemi , M.,

turized hyperspectral imager cali-

P.-E., Saari, H., Mäkynen, J., Sorri,

Mäkynen, J., Näkki, I., Antila, J.,

bration and UAV flight campaigns”,

I., Juuti, M., AIP Conf. Proc., Vol.

“Hydrocarbon gas detection with

Proc. SPIE 8889, 88891O (2013).

1537, 231 – 237 (2013).

Perot interferometer”, Proc. SPIE

[16] Pölönen, I., Saari, H., Kaivosoja,

[20] Saari H., Neittaanmäki-Perttu,

8726, 872608 (2013).

J., Honkavaara, E., Pesonen, L.,

N., Pölönen, I., “ VTT’s hyper-

“Hyperspectral imaging based

spectral camera shows promising

[13] Mäkynen , J., Tuohiniemi, M.,

biomass and nitrogen content

results in detection of skin field

Näsilä, A., Mannila, R., Antila, J.,

estimations from light-weight UAV”,

cancerization”, VTT press release

“MEMS Fabry-Perot interferometer-

Proc. SPIE 8887, 88870J (2013).


microelectromechanical Fabry-

based spectrometer demonstrator


for 7.5 μm to 9.5 μm wavelength

[17] Mannila, R., Näsilä, A., Viher-

range”, Proc. SPIE 8977, 89770U

kanto, K., Holmlund, C., Näkki, I.,


“Spectral imager based on Fabry-

[21] Glimtoft, M., Bååth, P., Östmark

Perot interferometer for Aalto-1

, H., Saari, H., Mäkynen, J., Näsilä,

[14] Kantojärvi, U., Varpula, A., An-

nanosatellite”, Proc. SPIE 8870,

A., “Towards eye-safe standoff

tila, T., Holmlund, C., Mäkynen, J.,

887002 (2013).

Raman imaging systems”, accepted

Näsilä, A., Mannila, R., Rissanen,


paper, SPIE Proceedings 9072,

A., Antila, J., Disch, R., Waldmann,

[18] Kuula, J., Pölönen, I., Puup-

T., “Compact large-aperture Fabry-

ponen, H.-H., Selander, T., Reini-

Perot interferometer modules for

kainen, T., “Using VIS/NIR and IR


VTT Impulse  43

TECHNOLOGY Hyper-spectral camera detects early stages of skin cancer

Smoother passenger traffic across the eastern border THE SMART TRANSPORT CORRIDOR between Helsinki and St. Petersburg will bring

new services for passengers, car drivers and public transport. Development of the VEDIA Multi-Service concept, led by VTT and Vediafi Ltd, brings together newly opened mobile services that will result in smoother passenger traffic across the eastern border. Key problems for border crossers have been identified, including roaming charges and reliability of operation, poor accessibility of weather and driving condition information throughout the journey, and poor usability and availability of services in various languages. The VEDIA Multi-Service is a key element of the Finnish-Russian intelligent transport spearhead project, the Helsinki–St. Petersburg Smart Transport Corridor (STC). The project will create new intelligent transport services for passenger traffic crossing the eastern border, in collaboration involving authorities, research institutes and enterprises. In the VEDIA Multi-Service, the problems associated with roaming will be reduced by making the Internet connection and VEDIA services available free of charge on board Allegro trains and at the Vaalimaa border crossing station. The services will be implemented on the VR on-board wireless Internet, and are available to all train passengers via smart phones and mobile devices. Services in the first phase will be available to road and railway transport users, but will later also cover travel chains using other forms of transport.

VTT has developed a lightweight, ultra-precision hyper-spectral camera for the detection of skin cancer. From the surface of the skin, the camera recognises even early stages of cancer that are invisible to the naked eye. Partners in the pilot research include the University of Jyväskylä, the Päijät-Häme Central Hospital and the Skin and Allergy ­Hospital of Helsinki University Central Hospital. The preliminary results have been promising.


The hyper-spectral camera’s image section measuring 12 cm² enables large portions of the skin to be imaged each time.

Growing algae in Finnish conditions The ALGIDA project coordinated by VTT examined how algae-growing can be promoted in Finnish conditions. Algae can be used for example to produce biochemicals and biofuels. The ALGIDA project proved the possibility of growing algae in Finland by using air and industrial emissions as the source of carbon dioxide in summer and waste sugar in winter. 44  VTT Impulse

Photo: Asqella

VTT’S SPINN-OFF Asqella Ltd is in the process of

commercialising its revolutionary passive THz imaging technology, capable of remote detection of concealed items. The company has received nearly one million euros in funding from business angels, VTT Ventures Ltd and Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. There is substantial demand for the new highthroughput screening applications in areas such as loss prevention, event security, and security in public places. The technology will be available on the markets in 2014.


Security checks enter a new era – The absence of radiation means there are no health concerns in using the product. The financing we have received will catalyse product development and help in building the routes to market. The product has a global market, says Arttu Luukanen, Managing Director and founder of Asqella, who previously worked as VTT’s Research Professor in the fields of micro and nano systems. Other members of the Asqella team include Aleksi Tamminen (left), Tom Tagliavia, Arttu ­Luukanen (middle), Mikko Leivo and Anssi ­Rautiainen.

VTT Impulse  45


Advanced high-tech competence, active research and encouraging business atmosphere are taking Finland to the global markets in intelligent transport. Text Ari Rytsy Photos Ari Ijäs

46â&#x20AC;&#x201A; VTT Impulse

KEY PERSONS Matthias Schulze, Jukka Laitinen, Raine Hautala KEY MESSAGE Active research is driving Finland towards global markets as an expert in intelligent transport. VTT CONTACT Jukka Laitinen, Raine Hautala MORE INFORMATION


KEY TERMS intelligent transport, mobility as a service, snowhow, DRIVE C2X, eCall, TransSmart spearhead programme

Intelligent transport a trump card for Finnish exports VTT Impulseâ&#x20AC;&#x201A; 47

The functioning of the weather and driving condition information system is tested at the VTT test site in Tampere.


mong the more significant intelligent transport research projects of recent times is DRIVE C2X, launched­at the beginning of 2011, which tests and develops new intelligent transport services based on communication between vehicles. The project, which concludes this year, has gained extra visibility through the participation, in addition to European research institutes, of a number of European car manufacturers. In terms of its EUR 2.1 million budget and working hours contributed, VTT has the largest contribution in the project. The party responsible for project coordination is the German car and commercial vehicle manufacturer Daimler. – Daimler has been promoting the development of active traffic safety for a long time. 48  VTT Impulse

We believe safety can be boosted by increasing data transfer between vehicles and the transport infrastructure, says Matthias Schulze, Senior Ma­nager of research at Daimler AG. Schulze is fulsome in his praise of the cooperation performed with VTT, and the Finnish testing conditions used most recently during November–December 2013. Applications that included i.e. weather warning for drivers was tested by more than 80 drivers at the VTT test site in Tampere. Information on slippery roads and traffic signs was transmitted to vehicles approximately 400–500 metres in advance. Transmission occurred both between the various vehicles and through the roadside infrastructure. VTT was responsible for steering the testing in Tampere and for collection and analysis of data from all test sites, to be completed

“THIS INTERESTING AREA OF RESEARCH IS ASSOCIATED WITH AUTOMATIC DRIVING.” this spring. Also impact assessment was under VTT’s responsibility in the project. DRIVE C2X traffic tests have also been held in Germany, France, and Italy and elsewhere. – The aim has been to take account of all the different forms of urban traffic. Finland was ideal as a testing site because of its natural winter conditions. It would have been difficult to carry out these tests in Germany, Schulze points out. Helsinki-St. Petersburg smart transport corridor expands VTT is involved in the ongoing Helsinki-St. Petersburg smart transport corridor project, which aims at promoting the start of intelligent transport services between Finland and Russia. The pilots being implemented include realtime services giving information on weather

and road conditions and traffic incidents, and public transport information both onboard for train passengers and at the destination cities to all users. In addition to better and safer traffic, the project aims at expediting new business operations for intelligent transport and creating the conditions for opening up the traffic data produced by service providers. The pilot is scheduled to end in June 2014, when its results will be presented at the ITS European Congress in Helsinki. VTT will be there, displaying Finnish research competence in the form of various demonstrations. – Discussions are taking place on expanding the smart transport corridor project to Sweden and Moscow, and beyond. Apart from passenger traffic, similar services would also be needed in freight traffic, sea transport, and logistics. Russia is also interested in ensuring interoperability between the pan-European eCall in-vehicle emergency call service and the ERA-Glonass emergency message system, and in expanding their use, says Jukka Laitinen, Research Team Leader at VTT. The position Finland holds in the development of intelligent transport between the EU and Russia is unique in many ways. Both parties hope for new, cross-border services, for which the good dialogue that Finland has with Russia serves as a solid starting point. – Despite occasional unforeseen delays in the Russian direction, our role in intelligent trans­ port projects between Russia and the EU is a strong one, says Laitinen. VTT’s technical strengths lie i.e. in the optical sensor technology for collecting road condition information and detection of slippery conditions. The scope of commercial intelligent transport applications that can be derived from this is so wide that predicting the next hit product to match the success of the navigator is quite a challenge. – Finland has the technical readiness for various kinds of applications. For example, we are capable of producing large amounts of traffic data for various kinds of services. Similar opportunities are emerging all the time as new sources of information open up. Where intelligent transport business is concerned, a much bigger question is what the consumers are prepared to spend their money on, Laitinen says. In spite of the challenges, Schulze believes an increasing number of road users in 2020 will be using services provided by the intelligent transVTT Impulse  49

port system. He sees a common desire among car manufacturers to introduce modern solutions in mass-produced cars. At this point it is essential that various actors commit themselves to making investments in new infrastructures, equipment and technology. – We want to continue exploring the opportunities offered by intelligent transport. One of the most interesting areas of research is associated with automated driving, for which we are seeking EU funding with VTT, says Schulze. Traffic safety and competence in road weather information Intelligent transport is about services taking advantage of advanced technologies that make basic everyday functions easier. Development is based on the needs and expectations of ordinary people. People use the voluntary services they find useful, and agree on their use, terms and conditions with their individual service providers. Official services, on the other hand, are an entirely different domain, where important issues to be considered include protection of privacy. One example of an official service that improves traffic safety is the eCall in-vehicle emergency call service, based on the European emergency number 112. The service will be introduced in EU Member States no later than 2017, when it will become mandatory in all new car and van models seeking type approval. In the event of a road accident, the car’s sensors detect the impact and activate an automatic data transmission from the in-vehicle system (IVS) to the nearest public safety answering point (PSAP) giving the vehicle’s exact geographic location and other essential data for rescue operations. After transmission of this minimum data set (MSD), the eCall in-vehicle system opens an audio connection between the vehicle and the public safety answering point where eCalls and other emergency calls are received and processed. VTT has been developing the eCall system in collaboration with the European Commission, Member States, the industry, ­authorities, and other research institutes for approximately 10 years. The latest cooperation effort was the HeERO project, implemented in 2011–2014, with the participation of 15 countries and 82 partners. – eCall will create business opportunities in the retrofitting of heavy goods vehicles, and cars and vans type-approved before 2017. It can 50  VTT Impulse


be implemented as part of commercial service packages for road users, for example, says Raine Hautala, leader of the Trans­Smart spearhead project’s Transport Services theme. The development of intelligent transport services entails a number of win-win situations that will promote traffic safety and fluency of traffic and provide new export and business opportunities for Finnish companies. Good examples of this are the intelligent solutions and services related to road weather information, relevant measuring technologies, and winter maintenance. Finland is brimming with top competence in this area. Road traffic snow-how has been promoted among others in the FIRWE project (Finnish Road Weather Excellence) in collaboration with Arctic Machine, Foreca, Teconer, Vaisala and the University of Oulu. – Developing this product and service entity in collaboration with the top actors in the sector has been a great experience. High-quality competence in road weather conditions and winter maintenance keep Finnish roads and airports open even under the most challenging of conditions, sparking interest from various countries. As e­ xtreme weather phenomena multiply, the business potential of this kind of competence will increase, Hautala believes. VTT has also been involved in the development of other practical solutions, including the Vaisala road weather station, and the traffic monitoring system for official use, commercialised a few years ago, enabling easier detection of road user traffic violations. – Finding suitable business partners for intelligent transport research has been fairly easy.

Intelligent transport is about services taking advantage of advanced technologies that make day-to-day mobility easier.

The sector has proved to have good potential for growth, although the success stories within the game sector have given a slightly skewed image of the opportunities available. Hitting the jackpot in the intelligent transport sector is far more difficult. It requires a lot of research for a start, says Laitinen. – And the research has to include enough information on the impact of the services and their benefits. Assessing and validating this information is one of VTT’s strengths, Hautala continues. New opportunities from changes in mobility In addition to automated driving, the future will bring other mobility-enhancing devices and methods that lay the foundations for new business activity. Hautala sees a major systemic change now taking place that will enable more intelligent mobility with lower carbon emissions, as well as more efficient use of the existing transport infrastructure. – This change will also bring new opportunities for Finnish industry and research. Authorities will also play an important role in this pro-

cess as facilitators of agile experiments and the rapid introduction of user-centric solutions. Smoother integration and more efficient use of data available from various sources will make linking of different travel chains and implementation of new service concepts easier in accordance with the Mobility-as-a-Service principle. This will mean less need to own a car or provide parking spaces, while the authorities will solve traffic problems through buying more services and enhanced service levels rather than building expensive infrastructures. For the ordinary traveller, leaving on holiday, for example, it will be an easy task to plan the car drive to a suitable train station, book a parking space in the station car park, and confirm the necessary transport connections to the nearest airport. – Although intelligent transport holds clear export opportunities for Finnish industry, realising this potential will require a lot of work, as well as new tools. VTT is developing the proper tools in collaboration with companies, authorities and other cooperation partners, among others within the ITS Finland intelligent transport network, says Hautala. n VTT Impulse  51


KEY TERMS Spin-offs, Asqella, Posterfy, VTT Ventures KEY PERSONS Antti Sinisalo, Arttu Luukanen, Mikko Leivo, Anssi Rautiainen, Aleksi Tamminen, Juha Karnasaari, Kari Hjelt, Tomi Mattila, Oskari Heikel, Olli Paloheimo, Tuomas Kannas KEY MESSAGE VTT aims to commercialise the results of research. VTT CONTACT Antti Sinisalo MORE INFORMATION

Return on

investments What do you get when you combine a good idea and a couple of angels? The result is new business activity and growth for Finland. This is why VTT actively assists its researchers to develop new business out of innovations, and supports the initial stages of spin-offs. Text Milka Lahnalammi-Vesivalo Photos Posterfy, Asqella


TT sent a total of five spin-offs on their way in 2013. – Asqella and Posterfy represent the two extremes of spin-offs launched by us. Asqella is a truly specialised high-tech company, while Posterfy’s strength essentially lies in its business model, says Antti Sinisalo, CEO of VTT Ventures. VTT Ventures is part of VTT, and its role in VTT’s overall mission is to generate new business activity in the technology sector. VTT is nonetheless an investor, like any other. – The risk level of our investments is high, so we also expect to achieve high return on our 52  VTT Impulssi

investments, says Sinisalo, describing the company policy. VTT aims to commercialise the results of research, and these are often exploited in the operations of existing companies, either as results of commissioned research or, for example, through licensing. Occasionally the results achieved will not yet be mature enough for market introduction. – Investments are often needed to refine these kinds of results into commercial products. Spinning off is an ideal mechanism for doing this, says Sinisalo. The precondition for both spin-off and licensing is that the investment being commercialised brings sufficient added value to the market. – We’re not in the business of commercialising small improvements to existing technologies. The technology being commercialised should enable the establishment of an entire business operation. Where technology is commercialised, VTT is always the first investor, either by itself or in collaboration with others. VTT can also transfer IPR to companies being established, or provide assistance in building a business model, creating a business strategy, or finding partners and investors. – It means a lot to these enterprises that they receive support from us, and the right to take advantage of the necessary technologies. Our involvement as an investor also gives new companies credibility, says Sinisalo.



Asqella exports security technologies Researchers are expected to have an ability to seek added value by applying the results of their research. For researchers with this kind of orientation it is only natural they become entrepreneurs and generate new business activity in Finland. Arttu Luukanen, CEO of Asqella and spin-off entrepreneur, has studied technology for a long time, both at VTT and in other parts of the world. His aim from the very beginning has been to generate results that can be commercialised. The idea is that if there is no existing company to take commercial advantage of an innovation, it is always possible to set up your own company. – A researcher must be capable of the transformation into business actor, someone who won’t get too bogged down on the details, says Luukanen. On the other hand, as an ex-researcher, he understands that matters need to be investigated carefully. Terahertz cameras see through clothing Luukanen’s company, Asqella, was established by former VTT employees Luukanen, Mikko Leivo and Anssi Rautiainen. The most recent addition to the team, Aleksi Tamminen, had just acquired his doctoral degree at Aalto University. – It took a while to build the kind of business plan a company could be founded on. This was more than just a couple of chairs and a computer. There needed to be investment in hardware, says Luukanen. Asqella began its operations at the end of 2013 with the help of financing provided by four business angels, VTT Ventures, and Tekes. Asqella develops and manufactures terahertz cameras, capable of screening people from a

The terahertz camera will enter the market during 2014.

distance for objects concealed under clothing. The image is generated by the change in natural terahertz radiation emitted by the human body caused by a concealed object. Examples of camera use include touch-free security inspections in public spaces, at major events, on public transport or even at staff exits in shops. Towards regulated markets in due course Asqella’s potential customers include security sector operators, major events, authorities, and airports. – The airport business is the biggest individual market area, but a hard one to access, as it requires expensive and time-consuming certifications, says Luukanen. – We try to get the business going first with smaller actors, and afterwards push for the certifications required by airports and authorities. Asqella’s international market prospects are also strong. – One of our investors operates in Singapore and is opening markets to Asia for us. The Middle East is also interested in this kind of security technology. Luukanen emphasises the importance of investing in marketing and sales. Asqella has just hired a sales manager for the U.S. market with experience in the security business. – We aim at reaching a sales target of half a million euros and some 1-4 customers by the end of the year. The goal for next year is to quadruple turnover. VTT Impulse  53

Dry your hands with an advertisement While in the shopping centre toilets drying your hands, what if you were to see an advertisement instead of a plain white towel dispenser? VTT technology experts and the innovators at the HeyDay advertising agency established Posterfy and introduced an advertising display on Lindström towel dispensers. At the Lindström office in Helsinki’s Kalasatama, Juha Karnasaari, Product Manager, Hygiene Services, presents the design faces of towel dispensers, familiar from any toilet facility. – When drying your hands on a cloth towel, you’re in effect tied to the dispenser. With paper towels, you generally start hunting around for a waste bin straight away, but cloth towels mean you are staring at the dispenser all the time you’re drying. That got us thinking some time ago how we might make use of the front of the dispenser as advertising space, says Karnasaari. In March 2013, representatives of the HeyDay advertising agency came to meet Karnasaari wanting to introduce a few crazy marketing ideas. The meeting resulted in an idea to incorporate electronic displays on the face of the towel dispenser that could be used as advertising space. At this point, the necessary technology was under development in a VTT project that also involved HeyDay. It seems obvious that integrating a display in this way is barely worth the effort unless it is wafer-thin, uses very little power, and allows wireless updates. – Connecting towel dispensers to the power supply can’t be done easily or cost-effectively because each toilet facility usually has several, says Karnasaari. With the technology developed by VTT, the display is so stingy with power that it runs up to one year without recharging, and can be updated via a mobile network. Posterfy provides the display Beginning operations in December 2013, Posterfy was established on the basis of the technology developed in the project. The Posterfy innovation is a cordless display that can be placed anywhere and functions touch-free. The image on the display changes with hand movement, or, in the case of the Lindström dispensers, every time the customer pulls the towel. – This is one of the fundamental cornerstones of our product: we can calculate the actual times an advertisement is shown, and invoice on that basis, says Kari Hjelt, Posterfy’s CEO. 54  VTT Impulse

Advertising revenue covers costs of towel dispensers Lindström has 100,000 towel dispensers in toilet facilities all around Finland. The devices are leased to the customers, and Lindström’s service chain takes care of deliveries, installations, servicing, and maintenance. – With the help of the advertising application, some of the towel dispenser costs can be covered by advertising revenue, which also makes the business model cost-efficient and attractive to the owners of the facilities, says Karnasaari. Advertising concepts are always tailored on a case-by-case basis so the owner can choose to exclude advertising of its competitors, for example, or advertisements that conflict with operations. On the other hand, advertising display can help the proprietor promote sales of certain products by using individually maintained content. Smart operation enhances maintainability Lindström also wanted their towel dispensers to be smart in more than one sense. Connection to the mobile network now makes intelligent dispensers possible. For example, the papers used by cleaners to mark inspection times can now be replaced by information on the display. The dispensers can also send a message if towel rolls run low or servicing is required. The new towel dispensers will be adopted by the first shopping centre in May. – Our goal is for the dispensers to be in place at several dozen sites by the autumn, and by the turn of the year to be able to offer them to major chains, says Karnasaari, describing the company’s plans.

Posterfy’s business concept also includes the production of advertisements.

Posterfy employees work in a hundred-year-old detached house.

Technology and marketing expertise in the same company Bringing together pioneering skills in technology and advertising has resulted in wireless displays for public spaces that update remotely, function touch-free, and calculate every customer contact. Posterfy’s business concept also includes the production of advertisements. Posterfy Oy, established by the VTT experts and the HeyDay advertising agency, operates in a century-old wooden building in the middle of Leppävaara, Espoo, manufacturing touchfree displays with low power consumption, and selling advertising space for them. Posterfy was established jointly by Tomi Mattila and Kari Hjelt fron VTT, and Oskari Heikel, Olli Paloheimo and Tuomas Kannas from HeyDay. The essence of Posterfy’s business idea lies in the combination of technology and marketing competence. Hjelt, who acts as CEO, and Mattila, in charge of product development, focus on the display’s technical development and costefficient production process, while Heikel, Paloheimo and Kannas, with 13 years of experience in digital and outdoor advertising, know how to conceptualise the advertising solutions brought to the display. Turnkey advertisements With Posterfy devices, the advertisements change through hand movement, making it possible to calculate the actual times an advertisement is seen and invoice the advertiser accordingly. – This is a new feature in outdoor advertising, says Paloheimo, who acts as Posterfy’s creative director. The product idea was first generated in a VTT commercialisation project. Posterfy began operations in December 2013, at which point VTT Ventures capital and IPR assets were transferred to the company. Partner Lindström also invested in the company. Also Tekes is as an investor of Posterfy and it also funded VTT’s technology commercialization project earlier.

POSTERFY’S BUSINESS CONCEPT ALSO INCLUDES THE PRODUCTION OF ADVERTISEMENTS. – The concept was developed full-time for a year under Tekes’ Creating Business from Research programme, says Mattila. Posterfy develops and manufactures the devices in collaboration with its subcontractors, and provides the software and advertising spaces as a cloud service. These then appear on the display via the mobile network. If necessary, Posterfy is also capable of producing the marketing material. – We sell the advertising space on the devices, rather than the devices themselves. The device has to pay itself back in the form of advertising revenue, says Hjelt, describing the business policy. Advertising people and engineers under one roof – This spin-off wouldn’t have got far without our being able to combine technologies and marketing competence, says Paloheimo. – Our image of VTT was quite conservative, not being aware of the extent of their world-leading technologies. Research and marketing business both require creativity, and value silent knowledge and lessons learnt. – We are all willing to expose ourselves to new ideas and to take risks. We complement each other and learn from each other, Hjelt says, with emphasis. Posterfy’s business culture is further strengthened by the heating up several times a week of the old building’s sauna. n VTT Impulse  55


KEY TERMS DNA repair mechanism, cancer research KEY PERSONS Juha Rantala, Thanos Halazonetis KEY MESSAGE A finding on a DNA repair mechanism, published in December 2013, has not been described before in either human or mammal animal cells. VTT CONTACT Eero Punkka MORE INFORMATION

Cell screening leads to new cancer

treatments Why do cancer cells sustain DNA damage? Why do cancer cells, unlike normal cells, fail to die as a result of DNA damage? Cancer researchersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; concern in finding the mechanism was ended by its discovery through a microchip method developed by Juha Rantala. Text Paula Bergqvist Photos Jussi Vierimaa

56â&#x20AC;&#x201A; VTT Impulse



hanos Halazonetis and Jiri Bartek first

proposed in 2008 the activation of a specialized DNA repair mechanism in tumour cells experiencing oncogene induced replication stress. This mechanism repairs the damage caused by forced DNA replication in cancer cells, but also results in errors, such as mutations, and changes in DNA copy numbers. Researchers were then able to undertake further research to uncover new information on cancer initiation and progression. VTT’s Medical Biotechnology unit in Turku had the necessary competence, cell screening equipment and RNAi libraries to perform this further research. A finding related to all types of cancer The study results reveal that the repair mechanism is activated in cancer cells already in the early stages of the disease, in connection with the activation of oncogenes. Oncogene activation causes so-called ’DNA replication stress’ as cancer cells begin to replicate their genome faster than a healthy cell. Chromosomes break up and the normal DNA structure changes. VTT Impulse  57

A gene screening technique developed by Juha Rantala lies behind the new finding.

– We showed that the mechanism causing genomic changes in cancer cells is caused by the oncogene itself, and not by an external factor. We believe this to be a fundamental mechanism involved in majority, if not all types of cancers, Dr Juha Rantala explains. – Growth at the initial stage of cancer is not always malignant, but we can already detect DNA breaks caused by replication stress and indicating the development of cancer. The tumour develops, there are further genomic changes and the cancer cell becomes increas-


ingly malignant as the cell’s normal regulation mechanisms are disrupted. This new information is ready for immediate use in cancer research. – Microchip-based screening was a brand new method in 2004 when I finished my studies and started working for VTT. My competence in various technologies meant that development of microchip technology using robotics became a natural part of my job, says Rantala. The microchip method enables use of complex assay techniques for screening that would be impossible with traditional methods. The first version of the research method based on RNA interference was developed in the USA in 2003 by Professor Olli Kallioniemi and his team. Efficiency increased a hundred times The traditional screening method enables measurement with one microtitre plate of the functioning of a few hundred genes. The cell microchip screening method developed by Rantala is up to 100 times more efficient, with widespread uses for a number of measurement and screening needs. The method also creates savings in

research costs since the amount of expensive reagents, or culture mediums, needed for growing cancer cells, and RNA molecules used for gene silencing, is much smaller compared to traditional screening. – This tool enables us to produce findings that will accelerate the development of future cancer medicines. The reliability and versatility of this method has been proven in several research projects, says Rantala. The research results are now openly available to researchers. Targeting personalised cancer treatment Juha Rantala works as Research Professor in the Knight Cancer Institute at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), one of the USA’s fastest-developing cancer research centres. The university is particularly renowned for its research on leukaemia and other blood and heart diseases. – Last year, we achieved very interesting new findings in the field of breast cancer, and are working on a few high impact publications. Our future aim is to be able to define rapidly the best suited treatment for each patient that will be as effective as possible. The key to this is screening examination of drug collections using the patient’s own cells, says Rantala. n

The method based on cell microchips is up to 100 times more efficient than the traditional method.


A FINDING on a DNA repair mechanism

known as Break Induced Replication Repair (BIR), published in Science magazine in December 2013, has not been described before in either human or mammal animal cells. Cancer cells use the mechanism to repair DNA damage resulting from uncontrolled DNA replication. The genes that participate in the repair mechanism were discovered by Juha Rantala and Thanos Halazonetis. Among others participating in the study was Thomas Helleday from the Karolinska Institutet. The research was part of the EU’s GENICA project.

VTT Impulse  59


KEY TERMS IPR (Intellectual Property Rights), patents, international cooperation, wearable electronics KEY PERSONS Juha Palve KEY MESSAGE VTT attracts global attention through its IPR assets. VTT CONTACT Juha Palve MORE INFORMATION

IPR first to

INTERNATIONAL MARKETS Text Kati Johansson Photos VTT, iStockphoto


nternational companies are drawn to patents in IT and electronics that have been generated in Finland. Today, almost half of VTT’s assignments in this sector come from foreign countries. Important market areas include Germany, the United States and Japan. – Our IPR assets are often the factor that attracts foreign customers to us, and distinguishes us from our competitors.­We currently hold around 1,300 patents, says Juha Palve, Vice President, Customer Solutions. Sale or licensing of IPR, or intellectual property rights, often involves more extensive cooperation. – Typically, we will ­c ollaborate with the customer to build something 60  VTT Impulse

new around VTT-owned IPR. In this way, we combine licensing of technology with innovation of new solutions or applications, says Palve. New partners The electronics segment at VTT has been distinc­t ively international for a long time. While R&D investment in Finland has dwindled recently, we at VTT have been more active in seeking growth from beyond our borders. Palve considers this approach has worked. – One example of a recent successful initiative is our partnership with American InterDigital, a major corporation specialising in communications development and patenting. The cooperation concerns user-centric context research and future mobile phone technologies, says Palve. VTT also recently established a strategic partnership with Germany’s European Center for Information and Communication Technologies (EICT). EICT is an organisation that supports research and development within ICT, bringing together private and public actors.

• VTT holds 355 patent families, with around half in ICT and electronics. The patent family consists of patents and patent applications that concern the same invention. • Patents and patent applications held at VTT total approximately 1,300. • In 2013, VTT filed 291 notifications of invention and 20 notifications of software.




THE MARKETS for wearable technology

VTT is seeking a firmer foothold in the German market through EICT within competence areas such as intelligent energy systems and the Internet of Things. The involvement of both Finnish and German companies in joint projects will also act as a spur to Finnish trade and industry. – Heading for international markets comes naturally to us, as many of our customers act globally. There are very few today that can operate solely on the domestic market. Science and research is in any case fundamentally international, Palve points out. – International cooperation also gives us an opportunity to assess how our own operations and technological level measure up. Solutions to European problems ICT and electronics are key segments when seeking solutions to the big challenges facing industrialised Europe: ageing population, ­increasing health care challenges, and an industry compelled towards ever greater efficiency. Boosting the efficiency of industrial production and focusing on self-care as part of health care are global trends for which VTT can offer its own competencies and solutions. Apart from the Industrial Internet, other issues currently attracting great attention in the international market include wearable technology and health care solutions. n

are growing rapidly. You might already be carrying a small laboratory in your pocket even as you read! Wearable technology, self-diagnostics, and health care solutions have all caught the eye of the international markets. Wearable technology grew out of compact-sized data technology or electronics and sensors that can be embedded as part of clothing, jewellery, or other portable accessories. – Miniature-sized solutions that support health care are a combination of several technologies and competencies. We at VTT are in a good position to develop these kinds of applications as we possess several of the necessary competencies, says Juha Palve. One example of wearable technology is a mobile phone application developed by VTT that allows monitoring of personal ECG readings, even at home. An accessory carried in the pocket communicates with the mobile phone, registering arrhythmia and other conditions to help prevent cardiovascular illnesses and the onset of stress that might lead to exhaustion. The records can also be transmitted directly to a physician via the Internet. – Though wearable technology is just starting out, there is a rapid rate of development and growth expectations are high. By 2020, the turnover of wearable technology is forecast at around EUR 30 billion, says Palve.

VTT Impulse  61


KEY TERMS propulsion systems, marine industry, propeller development, Wärtsilä KEY PERSONS Elias Boletis, Jouko Suokas, Pekka Koskinen KEY MESSAGE VTT has joined forces with Wärtsilä to develop a new product family of azimuth thrusters. VTT CONTACT Jouko Suokas MORE INFORMATION



propeller development

62  VTT Impulse


Wärtsilä, supplier of versatile maritime solutions, has opened a new propulsion test centre in Tuusula. Intended for the validation of Wärtsilä’s product range of azimuth propulsion units, the centre was developed in collaboration with VTT and industrial companies. VTT provides the resources for operating the test centre, which will also apply a new kind of R&D approach: joint innovation. Text Antti A. Lagus Photos Wärtsilä


ropellers, the part of the propulsion system that provides the thrust to move a ship forwards through the water, and occasionally backwards, are generally of three types: fixed pitch propellers, controllable pitch propellers, or azimuth thrusters. Wärtsilä, in collaboration with VTT, has been developing a new product range of azimuth thrusters that will enhance vessel manoeuvrability. Azimuth thrusters are used primarily in tugboats, service vessels and ice-going vessels such as icebreakers.

The propulsions systems are designed at the Wärtsilä facility in the Netherlands, with production plants located in Italy and China. For Elias Boletis, Director of Propulsion Programs and Technologies at Wärtsilä, R&D means three things: product development, technology development, and research of a more general nature with other parties. Wärtsilä collaborates with VTT in all three. The testing equipment introduced at Tuusula last November is a new high point in more than 18 years of cooperation between Wärtsilä and VTT. One of the many areas explored by the partners during that time is the vibration and VTT Impulse  63

noise control of ship engines and diesel generator systems. Cooperation on the propulsion unit began in 2010. The preparation of next-generation products revealed the necessity for a good testing environment. Ecosystem under construction – We are trying to build a certain kind of ecosystem around this test centre, and to bring in as many participants as possible to test their equipment and components. We will also attempt to combine the results with those of our suppliers and customers. This is a model where ideas are being thrown around and upgraded, says Boletis. Boletis thinks the working atmosphere with VTT has been very good. VTT has also been able to deliver the assignments on schedule, and their quality has been excellent. The decision was taken to build the test centre in Finland because of VTT’s excellent experi-


ence in experimental research and building and operating testing environments. VTT also has the necessary measuring devices and measurement experience. This is a programme comprising several projects connected with propellers or applications of various sizes, some of which are already on the market. VTT has approximately 20 people participating in the programme. The testing equipment was installed in an industrial hall leased from the Finnish Defence Forces. Although the hall had previously served as maintenance depot for armoured vehicles, its floor needed further reinforcement for testing equipment that weighs approximately one hundred tons. Strict validation process The test centre replicates the actual operating environment by connecting the propeller to a generator and frequency converter, as it

The Wärtsilä WST45U steerable thruster is the first of the new series thrusters to be launched to the markets.

Wärtsilä Propulsion Test Centre is a result of close cooperation with VTT. 64  VTT Impulse

would be on a ship. Because the propeller is out of the water, cooling is provided through showering, and the forces on the propeller simulated by means of hydraulic cylinders. – The testing equipment in Tuusula is used for product validation. Each new propulsion system undergoes a strict validation process prior to entering the market. Here the testing equipment will be a great help, says Boletis. – Even after operating for only three months, we have already established reference data for new tests. Azimuth thrusters are part of our current product range. The tests also covered new environmentally friendly lubricants already in use in the United States and elsewhere. We first wanted to find out how these lubricants affect our azimuth propulsion units. This took us about a month and a half, but now we are ready to build the procedures that will help us and our end customers, says Boletis. The results will help Wärtsilä modify its operating methods and make system adjustments that ensure the lubricants function correctly. According to Boletis, the questions being asked are not black and white, but the starting point was to establish new ways of operation. n

Totem Ocean selected Wärtsilä technology and ordered two of the world’s largest LNG engines for their vessels.

JOINT INNOVATION AROUND THE SAME TABLE A NEW operating method is being tested in col-

laboration with partners: joint innovation. The programme also involves universities and suppliers, including Tampere University of Technology, Luleå University of Technology, Dresden University of Technology, and Munich University of Technology. Companies involved include SKF and ATA Gears. The aim here is to use the material accrued as a basis for academic dissertations, among others. Jouko Suokas, VTT’s Executive Vice President, Smart Industry and Energy Systems, explains that projects have traditionally been run as Tekesor EU-financed projects which then advance to product development. Here the participants sit around the same table and, instead of one person saying what to do, each contributes personal ideas in joint innovation. Suokas considers the cooperation with Wärtsilä an excellent example of how to develop strategic partnerships, engaging significantly more brain capacity in exploring the problems. The Wärtsilä environment provides an excellent experimental R&D opportunity for this totally novel way of operating.

Targeting more efficient and lighter equipment Pekka Koskinen, Technology Manager at VTT, adds that VTT is operating in accordance with its mission in aiming to create industrial jobs in Finland. The joint development ecosystem is the way of the future for producing the products of the future. Where the previous approach was from various angles, these perspectives are now combined into a single entity. – We are aiming to build more efficient and lighter equipment that consumes less energy, has fewer energy losses and uses environmentally friendly lubricants, says Koskinen. The testing equipment will help us understand the forces exerted by water and ice on propulsion devices. The aim of the programme is to produce more compact products and to enhance the reliability of equipment. This also has significant implications for equipment maintenance, which is why Wärtsilä is investing in real-time monitoring of vessels through its servicing centres.

VTT Impulse  65


KEY TERMS Bioruukki, pyrolysis, biomass, cleantech. bioeconomy KEY PERSONS Kari Larjava KEY MESSAGE VTT develops technologies that exploit the full potential of Finland’s biomass and natural resources. VTT CONTACT Kari Larjava MORE INFORMATION


Finnish biomass Text Paula Bergqvist Photos Fortum, iStockphoto

One of VTT’s most important openings this year is the start-up of Bioruukki. The pilot centre opens this autumn in the town of Espoo in Greater Helsinki.

66  VTT Impulssi




ioruukki’s 8,000 square metres will initially house VTT’s new gasification and pyrolysis equipment, together with the biomass treatment processes for serving industrial development needs. Plans have already been made to expand the operations. – We decided to renew the facilities s­ erving our gasification and pyrolysis testing activities so that we could conduct research and serve the needs of the industry in a more comprehensive manner, explains Kari Larjava, Executive Vice President at VTT. The underlying motive behind the project is VTT’s goal of developing technologies that exploit the full potential of our country’s abundant biomass and natural resources for the benefit of the Finnish economy and the growing cleantech exports. – The new premises combine VTT expertise in chemistry, energy and biomass processing. They provide us with an excellent opportunity to achieve bioeconomy-related goals, says Larjava. In addition to Bioruukki at Kivenlahti, Espoo, VTT has testing operations related to bioenergy and biomass research at Jyväskylä, Rajamäki, Tampere and Otaniemi in Espoo. Reaching for international markets through Bioruukki Larjava welcomes companies in the industry – both large and small – to Bioruukki, to take advantage of the facilities and equipment for their own testing purposes. The facilities also serve projects conducted in collaboration with universities and research organisations. Through Bioruukki, companies can take advantage of the operations of VTT’s research unit in São Paulo, Brazil, where VTT has both office and laboratory facilities that can be expanded if necessary.

Wood is Finland’s oil – We may not have oil, but, fortunately, we do have wood. High-quality wood materials are advisable when manufacturing products with high added value, and it is important to find the ideal use for each type of wood. Here in Finland, we use wood for energy in the most sustainable and competitive manner in the world, because we know how to exploit the side streams and waste for producing energy, Larjava points out. Taking advantage of the forest biomass is a crucial task for Finland, as well as for VTT. – We are developing methods that can be applied with various materials. Our R&D places special emphasis on recycling of materials and promoting the use of side streams, as well as on the opportunities for developing new business out of them, Larjava explains. Towards low-carbon energy self-sufficiency – Finland is very heavily dependent on energy imports from Russia. Some of the existing Finnish production capacity is being phased out, which further weakens our self-sufficiency. Now, if ever, is the time to focus on development and investment in new, competitive production. Our forest industry is seeking to make energy a new buttress for its operations, and has a major role to play in this,” says Larjava. The Finnish forest industry’s chief focus is on ways of producing energy, fibre products and chemicals in a single facility. Pyrolysis or gasification of wood? Pyrolysis is the current focus of attention for both VTT and Finnish industry. On the gasification front, VTT is creating new process solutions to boost competitiveness and to serve as a foundation for near-future industrial projects. VTT Impulse  67

The Fortum plant in Joensuu produces bio-oil from wood-based raw material.

Kari Larjava

68  VTT Impulse

A good example of this is the Fortum plant in Joensuu that produces bio-oil from wood-based raw material. The Joensuu plant is based on fast pyrolysis technology, patented by VTT, in which bio woody biomass is rapidly heated in the absence of oxygen. The facility, integrated into a combined heat and power (CHP) plant, received the EARTO innovation prize in 2012. VTT developed the method for commercialisation for a consortium that consisted of UPM-Kymmene, Valmet and Fortum. VTT is currently investing heavily in upgrading bio-oil to traffic fuel by developing the production process with foreign research institutes and companies. – We are also developing new, integrated gasification plants, thus lowering the investment threshold compared to the many projects that have fallen through under the EU NER300 financing programme. Several kinds of chemicals and biofuels can be produced from the synthesis gas. The challenge lies in the development of new demonstration paths for the technology and risk financing with various actors. VTT aims to simplify the process and to enhance the efficiency of production with the help of gas cleaning and reactor modelling. – We are also developing new operating models where liquid fuels are produced in connections with local power and heat production. Our goal is that more than 75 percent of wood, agricultural and community waste biomass can be converted into transport fuels, power and heat energy, Larjava says.

The EU landfill directive has created a growing need for investment in new concepts for utilisation of industrial and community waste. – The new Bioruukki equipment plays a role in implementing this task. VTT has also developed gasification and gas cleaning of community waste. The operation of Lahti Energia’s Kymijärvi II gas power plant is based on a gasification process developed by VTT. The plant gasifies energy-containing community waste, after which the gas is cleaned and burned in a gas-fired boiler to produce power and district heat. VTT has also developed a gasification method for aluminium containing plastic waste for use in aluminium recovery and recycling. Increasing cooperation – We at VTT are implementing our bioeconomy strategy through national and international cooperation. Our complementary R&D partners include Aalto University and the Natural Resources Institute Finland, which begins operations at the start of next year, says Larjava. Bioruukki offers a new development platform for cooperation projects. A good example of this is VTT and Aalto University’s joint research environment targeting the bioeconomy, which this spring was chosen by the Academy of Finland as one of the national-level research infrastructures. The purpose of the cooperation is to develop methods for upgrading forest biomass to high-technology products. The focus areas of research include industrial biotechnology, chemical process technology and material technology. n

We turn biomass and waste into chemicals and liquid fuels. We develop thermochemical and biotechnical production processes to make biofuels out of biomass and waste. Please contact us for further information! Tuomas Mustonen, VP, Customer Solutions

BUSINESS Machine vision inspects brilliant high-gloss items

New business from birch HALF the weight of birch outer bark consists of betulin and fatty acids of su-

berin. These compounds can replace pine oil and resin in technochemical products, and can also be used in pharmaceuticals. VTT and Savonlinna Business Services Ltd are researching and developing the production potential of products based on birch bark, along with the related business models. This is an attractive option for a Finnish forestry sector in need of new business opportunities. At the moment, birch bark is mainly combusted for production of heat and electricity. At sawmills and pulp plants, birch logs are debarked mechanically in large drums, which means that birch bark is available in great quantities. Large-scale recovery of valuable compounds from birch bark would nevertheless require the construction of an extraction plant costing millions of euros, while high production costs remain an obstacle to profitable production. The BioBarkery project in Savonlinna is currently examining the profit and marketing opportunities for these compounds. An ideal production location could be close to the UPM plywood factory in the Pääskylahti industrial park.

VTT has developed a new machine vision system for the quality control of brilliant high-gloss surfaces. The system enables quality control of complex products, such as bathroom mixers, tableware, cutlery, and even artificial joints. The system will be commercialised by VTT’s new spin-off company, Helmee Imaging Ltd, based in Tampere. Although machine vision is widely used for quality control of industrial processes, up to now it has only been possible to inspect glossy surfaces manually.

90% People in developed countries spend 90% of their time indoors.

More attention to indoor thermal comfort Because people in developed countries spend about 90 per cent of their time indoors, their sense of warmth becomes a key comfort factor for interior spaces. VTT has developed a new method for assessing thermal comfort. The design of future energy efficient buildings will need to pay more attention to the thermal comfort of users. 70  VTT Impulse

Photo: iStockphoto

New business gushing from water BUSINESS

THE RAPIDLY GROWING consumption of natural resources and

rising energy prices make material recycling increasingly necessary. Meanwhile, waste and water management is being integrated into the complex energy and material production chains of society. Profitability is improved by water and waste treatment and recycling technologies efficient in energy and materials. The challenge lies in developing resource- and cost-efficient waste management and water supply systems and competitive recycled products, in a complex operating environment. VTT offers a wide range of expertise in the development of resource-efficient waste and water technologies. Our current development projects include advanced technologies for the recycling and recovery of municipal and industrial waste, new methods of waste refinement and safe disposal techniques. VTTâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s water technology expertise includes industrial process water cycles, and the treatment and utilisation of the resulting water and sludge. We are also developing efficient solutions for clean water production and management of mine waste water, landfill leachates and municipal waste water.

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72  VTT Impulse

The extractive industry is experiencing a renewal and adapting to a changed environment. Text Tiina Saario-Kuikko Photos Antonin Halas ja iStockphoto

Sustainability and acceptability for mining operations


TT of Finland has led a research team to establish a vision and roadmap for sustainable and acceptable mining in Finland and to propose paths and means for achieving this by 2030. The future of the extractive industry has been examined on both the global and national level with curiosity and anticipation. Extractive industry is undergoing a transition and must adapt to the changed environment in order to take a new upward turn. – The principle must be that the extractive industry is based on sustainable and responsible business operations, says manager of the foresight work package and research team leader Johanna Kohl at VTT. – A corporate culture based on sustainability and acceptability put into action may provide a solid business advantage, but this thinking is only just emerging in Finnish mining industry. According to Kohl, the forestry industry has internalised this advantage, particularly through the image value of environmental issues. VTT Impulse  73

Photo: Antonin Halas


Towards a symbiosis of mines and society The vision for the future is the coexistence of society and the extractive industry in which the two breathe in unison and take account of the environment. This is promoted through six vision pathways: a learning and creating mining industry, developing the mining industry’s corporate culture, mining industry accepted by the local community, developing the actions of the authorities, minding the entire mining life-cycle and beyond, and timely and tailored communication. Seven guidelines are proposed for improving the social license of the extractive industry. The industry operators could learn from each other and from other sectors. They are also advised to prepare for incidents and surprises in advance. An early warning system could be developed in order to take account of the stakeholders by foreseeing societal changes and concerns. 74  VTT Impulse

Authority actions could also be streamlined both regionally and cross-governance. The research team further recommends development of the management system and communications, and viewing the many phases of life in the mining industry. Finally, the research team proposes supporting a dialogue between society and the extractive industry in a manner that benefits all. According to Kohl, many of these measures are concentrated on developing the corporate culture and communications. One way this could be realised is by adopting a corporate social responsibility programme and reporting and monitoring applicable indicators. We should also take advantage of opportunities to compare and combine the data available in the systems of the various authorities in order to streamline authority operations. There are several new uses for mines after the end of mining operations.

For example, old mine areas can be converted into tourism and cultural venues. An underground mine could also be turned into a backup hydro-electric power plant as proposed for the Pyhäsalmi mining area in Northern Ostrobothnia. Risk management through cooperation The roadmap for sustainable and acceptable mining provides a number of suggested actions which all emphasise the importance of cooperation. Cooperation is increasingly necessary for cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary contexts, but also between the various societal stakeholders and industry. – Adopting cooperative working methods would benefit the sustainable and acceptable development of the whole mining industry, Kohl suggests. Developing cooperation and its different forms clearly promotes the understanding of issues and enhancing of communications, thus contributing to the dialogue on sustainable and acceptable operations. As a concrete idea for development, stress tests act as a means of ensuring risk management as part of mining companies’ operational systems.An annual stress test could always be linked to a certain theme, for example. The project team suggests acceptability and stakeholder cooperation as one of the stress test themes. By testing the functionality of acceptability processes and stakeholder cooperation, the continuity and sustainability of the extractive industry can be ensured. In this way, resorting solely to a reactive management of crisis situations and communicating about them can be avoided. Tailored communications as part of the development of management systems is also considered a fundamental part of the future of sustainable and acceptable extractive industry.

impacts and economic aspects. “A regional perspective plays a major role, says Helena WessmanJääskeläinen from VTT, who has been coordinating the project. SAM’s main focus is on a so-called social licence to operate, and the related tools. The environmental tools concentrate on water, including developing a water footprint concept, while the economic sustainability tool focuses on new business and service concepts that promote sustainable development. Active cooperation between research and industry has been very important throughout the project. VTT’s research partners in the project were the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) and the Department of Environmental Economics of the University of Helsinki. VTT’s corporate and other cooperation partners included Metsähallitus, Agnico-Eagle Finland, AngloAmerican Sakatti Mining Oy, City of Kuusamo, Pyhäsalmi Mine Oy, Northland Mines Oy, Finnish Association of Extractive Resources Industry, and Sandvik Mining and Construction. n

Onwards with SAM Work continues in the form of vision pathways in the Sustainable Acceptable Mining (SAM) project (2013–2015), which forms part of the TEKES Green Mining programme, as well as through regional economy analyses, water balance calculations and acceptability segments. This spring will see a follow-up of the vision and roadmap segment, during which the roadmap will be updated. – SAM is a sustainable development project led by VTT, including all the elements of sustainability, such as the environment, social VTT Impulse  75

A future



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The use of metals is constantly increasing, but the world’s future mines won’t be able to produce enough new metal. Meanwhile, the availability of clean water is decreasing throughout the world. A solution to one problem might solve others too. Text Paula Bergqvist Photos iStockphoto


ow will we produce copper in 2030 when there will no longer be enough of it in the mines? How can we utilise the energy contained in water? What about contaminants? All eyes turn to wastewaters, which contain many unused business opportunities. – Despite Finland’s abundant water resources, we should also pay attention to water. Energy production,­ for example, uses a lot of water for cooling purposes, says Mona Arnold, Principal Scientist at VTT. For VTT researchers, wastewater is one possible source of minerals. – We are developing methods for the efficient and profitable recovery of minerals, Arnold continues. According to Arnold, we should change our way of thinking and start seeing landfills and water ­treatment plants as potential sources of raw materials and energy. – Technology will be advanced enough in the near future to enable this kind of ’waste factory’ to run on its own. New business from wastewater Wastewater is a potential source of biogas, metals, fertilisers and biomaterials. The challenge with wastewater lies in its large quantities and weak solutions. Cleaning of wastewater is difficult and expensive, especially if taking place only when the water is discharged through a pipe to the waterways. – Industrial wastewater must be treated cost-efficiently at the various stages of the process. At its best, treated wastewater can be recycled into the industrial process, explains Director Kaj Jansson­ from Outotec. Outotec is a Finnish company VTT Impulse  77

s­ pecialising in developing water- and energyefficient refineries on a global basis. Jansson mentions Singapore as a good example of a country that has solved several problems through wastewater treatment. When Singapore started to turn municipal wastewater into drinking water, it also managed to reduce environmental problems in the area. The simultaneous recovery of energy from wastewater reduces the energy demand of water treatment plants. – Finland has excellent opportunities to succeed in the water business. We have know-how in improving both energy and recycling efficiency, as well as in developing intelligent operating systems. Along with the development of control and sensor systems, we will be able to effect a substantial increase in the efficiency of materials use in industrial processes, says Jansson.

Towards environmental efficiency indicators? Jansson hopes a shared set of indicators will be introduced to measure the environmental friendliness of business enterprises – similar to the one already used for household appliances. He suggests evaluation of enterprises on the basis of their waste utilisation rate: one point for recycling, more points for the extraction of main components and manufacture of by-products, full points for companies whose processes generate no solid waste or wastewater. – This kind of indicator would help stakeholders to evaluate the present state of enterprises, as well as accelerate the implementation of new technologies, says Jansson. n


Photo: AJ Savolainen


Photo: Outotec



drinking water is increasing because of the prohibitive cost of purifying salt water. The trend is towards energypositive treatment plants, recycling of phosphorous, direct combustion of waste sludge and treatment plants deploying intelligent operating systems. IN FORESTRY INDUSTRY the transfer to

closed process cycles has long been the trend – especially in Finland. At present, the R&D focus is on bioenergy production, recycling of phosphorous and trace elements, utilisation of lignin, lignan, extractives and hemicellulose, as well as the manufacture of new products – for example, nanocellulose – and intelligent operating systems. IN MINING INDUSTRY the trend is towards

the recovery of valuable materials and contaminants, concentration plants with low water consumption, management of the present water-containing tailings ponds, and intelligent process control systems. The industry is also seeking more sustainable solutions through closing their internal water cycles. Source: Kaj Jansson, Outotec



IN ITS SPEARHEAD programme Green Solu-

tions for Water and Waste (GWW), VTT has developed energy-saving methods for reuse of water in industrial processes, means for recovering minerals and materials from ­waste for recycling, and sensor technology for easy and rapid detection of pollutants. Mycelium mats enable the recovery of metals: VTT has developed a filter made of fungi mycelium enabling efficient recovery of gold or hazardous arsenic without adding extra chemicals to the process. A fungi mat binds metals more effectively than activated carbon. The ­method, which is now at the laboratory s­ tage, is likely to enter production phase in 3–5 years. Algae put to work: Nutrients from sewage plants can be used to grow algae that produces bioenergy and biochemicals. VTT has developed methods that enable the cultivation of algae in Finland’s cool climate, where there is little daylight in winter. Foam dewaters sludge: Sludge treatment is expensive and high in energy consumption. VTT has developed a method where foam that is spread over the sludge to extract more wastewater for reuse.

Pressure-free filtration: In industry, waste­ water is normally recycled using pressure through a membrane. VTT has developed a forward osmosis method enabling filtering without energy-consuming pressurised filtering. This saves energy and costs, and releases more water for the process cycle. Irrigation water from air: Water vapour contained in air can be condensed and recovered for use as irrigation water. This method is particularly suited for developing countries. A coating technology developed by VTT saves water collection costs. Recovery of phosphorous: More phosphorous will be needed in the future for food and biofuel production. Phosphorous is produced in only a few countries at present. VTT has developed an extraction method for separating phosphorous from waste or low grade material into a liquid. Sensitive sensors: VTT indicators facilitate rapid identification of low but hazardous cyanobacterial toxin levels and phenolic, hormone-like compounds, among others. The technology will be ready for the markets within the next few years.

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We provide industry with intelligent solutions.

We develop factories of the future, industrial service business, ecoefficient products and intelligent energy solutions. Please contact us for further information! Teijo Salmi, VP, Marketing and SMEs


VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is the biggest multitechnological applied research organisation in Northern Europe. VTT provides high-end technology solutions and innovation services. From its wide knowledge base, VTT combines different technologies, creates new innovations and a substantial range of world class technologies and applied research services thus improving its clients’ competitiveness and competence. Through its international scientific and technology network, VTT can ensure the efficient transfer and utilisation of information and technology.

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VTT Impulse is VTT’s publication on science, technology and business. Published twice a year in Finnish and in English. Publisher: VTT, Vuorimiehentie 3, Espoo, Finland, P.O. Box 1000, FI-02044 VTT. Telephone +358 20 722 111. Editor-in-chief: Olli Ernvall, tel. +358 20 722 6747. Editorial Board: Erkki KM Leppävuori, Jouko Suokas, AnneChristine Ritschkoff, Kari Larjava, Petri Kalliokoski and Paula Bergqvist. Production and layout: MCI Press Oy. Printing house: Kopijyvä, Jyväskylä 2014. Subscriptions and changes in address: ISSN 1798-0178. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the views of VTT.

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Every third Finnish innovation contains VTT’s expertise. We develop the most important technologies for the future: Big data 3D printing Biosensors Cloud computing Robotics Printable sensors Solar energy Nanocellulose Soil repellent surfaces Human identification Augmented reality Sources: Roles, effectiveness and impact of VTT, VTT and Technopolis Group, 2013 and publication 6/2013 of the Parliament of Finland’s Committee for the Future: Finland’s one hundred new possibilities: radical technological solutions.

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VTT Impulse 1/2014  

A magazine on science, technology and business.

VTT Impulse 1/2014  

A magazine on science, technology and business.