CURIOUS PEOPLE LAPPEENRANTA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
HAVE THE COURAGE TO WITHSTAND FEAR Impossible. Canâ€™t be done. Too different. Statements like this pique our interest. The world seems full of problems, but most people are plagued by a passive mentality. We must shake off our passiveness and dare to operate in an increasingly complex world â€“ to withstand fear. We must boldly look further and go off the beaten path even though it means facing insecurity, struggles, and greater risks. We need to break new ground far and high enough to see into the distance. We must build something completely new. This is especially the responsibility of us scientists. By going nowhere and grumbling, we only dig ourselves a deeper hole. Those who make up excuses or stand on the sidelines will not go the distance. The world will not become a better place if we play it safe or gaze into the rear-view mirror. Change is achieved through passion and taking chances.
Juha-Matti Saksa Rector, LUT
New energy. Now. Fuel from carbon dioxide recovered from the atmosphere. Storing solar and wind power. Households as energy producers. All this characterises a fully renewable energy system that will be financially and technically feasible around the world in 10-30 years.
TEXT Reeta Toivanen PHOTO Teemu Leinonen
Professor of Energy Efficiency Jero Ahola studies how electricity from renewable sources and carbon dioxide captured from the atmosphere can be used to produce, for example, fuels, chemicals and food.
IF HUMANKIND PLANS TO GO FORWARD IN A SUSTAINABLE MANNER, THE ENERGY SYSTEM MUST CHANGE.
VISION: A WORLD OF RENEWABLE ENERGY The Paris climate change agreement aims to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees. Now the world seeks solutions to achieve this target – dramatic, visionary, and disruptive solutions.
Finland has an excellent opportunity make its mark in this revolution. Finland possesses strong expertise in electrical engineering and information and communication technologies, which will enable the energy revolution.
LUT is in the process of creating a completely new energy system based on emission-free, low-cost, independent energy. Researchers are designing an emission-free energy system based primarily on solar and wind power.
"I see no reason why Finland couldn't be in the driver's seat. No one has taken the wheel yet," says Vainikka.
"If humankind plans to go forward in a sustainable manner, the energy system must change," emphasises LUT's Docent Pasi Vainikka, the director in charge of the Neo-Carbon Energy research project. Neo-Carbon Energy aims to create a new type of energy system and develop the related business sector in Finland. The research revolves around storage solutions for solar and wind power and producing fuels from carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In such a system, households can produce electrical energy, sell it to the electricity distribution network, and buy it back as, for instance, fuel for their car. The research results indicate that solar and wind power will be the most economical sources of energy in the future. It would be worthwhile for the largest markets in Asia to transition to a fully renewable energy system within 5-10 years. In Russia, Central Asia, India and South America, such a system would become profitable by the year 2030. In Finland, this would take place by 2050. The economic reality combined with environmental factors will lead to a major energy system revolution. This requires not only new energy storage technologies and services, but also new legislation concerning the energy business, energy markets and value chains.
NO ONE BEHIND THE WHEEL YET A renewable energy system is a multi-billion-euro business opportunity. It impacts all sectors of industry. The focus of business in the energy sector will shift from raw materials to technologies and services.
The energy revolution is a business opportunity for SMEs. According to Vainikka, developing a new idea into a product and business often requires a new, specialised start-up. It may grow into a large-scale actor independently, or as is often the case, be bought and merge with a larger enterprise. Large corporations do not necessarily have the mechanisms and staff to create new types of business activities internally.
GROWTH STEMS FROM MARKET CREDIBILITY "Finland has every opportunity to become a top contender in cleantech, but we had better get busy. Finland is not internationally known for adopting cleantech solutions, which affects our credibility as an exporter of clean technology. We talk the talk but don't walk the walk," states Vainikka. Specialising and growth require market credibility, which is established through investors and customer references. Also Finland is currently launching many extensive collaborative projects seeking specifically to obtain references to support export. This was not the case a decade ago. "The most important aspect in obtaining customer references is to ask what customers want to become. People don't buy products or services – they buy upgraded versions of themselves. This also applies to companies," explains Sami Saarenketo, Head of the LUT School of Business and Management. The energy revolution can be viewed from a number of angles: realism, restrictions, threats or opportunities. "The steam engine would have amounted to nothing if the first ‘lunatics’ hadn't gone out on a limb and made things happen. We need to take conscious risks and understand how the world is changing," the researchers say.
– Pasi Vainikka.
CLEANTECH EXPORT BUILT ON CUSTOMER REFERENCES Researchers around the world disagree on how rapidly an emission-free energy system and cleantech on a large scale could be adopted. For Finland to be able to take full advantage of the business opportunities related to the transition, the country must be able to commercialise its cleantech inventions better. International comparisons show that even though Finland is able to develop products and technologies, it is always one step behind in their successful commercialisation Nevertheless, the Finnish cleantech sector needs small and medium-sized enterprises which grow and internationalise boldly.
LUT IN FIGURES
INVENTIONS REPORTED EACH YEAR.
STRATEGIA 1st IN FINLAND 2nd IN CONTINENTAL EUROPE 8th WORLDWIDE SISLU
THE MOST SATISFIED STUDENTS
RESEARCH-BASED START-UPS A YEAR.
IN SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATIONS IN 2012-2015 (PUBLICATION FORUM).
LARGEST LUT IS THE THIRD LARGEST ACTOR IN THE INTERNATIONAL MASTER'S PROGRAMME MARKET IN FINLAND.
IN FINLAND STRATEGIC TARGET:
FIRST ENTREPRENEURIAL UNIVERSITY IN FINLAND TO MEET THE OECD CRITERIA.
COOPERATION WITH INDUSTRY. TOP 20 PERCENT OF THE TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION RANKING LIST (THE UNIVERSITY RANKINGS 2015-2016 ).
LUT HAS THE MOST PATENT APPLICATIONS OF ALL FINNISH UNIVERSITIES AND IS FIFTH AMONG ALL DOMESTIC APPLICANTS.
THE EMPLOYMENT RATE OF LUT GRADUATES IS EMPLOYMENT RATE. 93-97 PER CENT.
CHALLENGER. LUT is among the world's 20 most promising universities. According to Firetail, these rising stars could challenge the academic elite and become globally renowned by the year 2030.
DIGITAL AGILITY "When our students learn to design, execute and manage marketing in highly dynamic sectors, such as the high technology industry, they can make it in any market," says Hanna Salojärvi, Head of the Master's Programme in International Marketing Management (MIMM). THREE SKILLS ABOVE ALL The basic concept of the MIMM programme is to combine strategic marketing, international business, and technology management. The programme has a real-world take, teaching a blend of scientific and practical professional skills through concrete assignments in cooperation with business enterprises. This approach has proved useful in the world of work. Graduates have listed the three most valuable skills they have learnt in their studies: analytical skills, a general understanding of business, and the ability to work in teams. "This is the feedback we’ve been after because we have spent a great deal of time thinking about what students should know when they enter the world of work," explains Professor Sami Saarenketo. As the working world evolves, factual data becomes obsolete. Organisational citizenship and problemsolving skills, however, are needed in specialist jobs now and in the future.
HIGH-QUALITY EDUCATION AS THE STARTING POINT Over the years, LUT has received many teaching awards and international accreditations or quality labels and certificates. The university keeps on developing its education. The Master's Programme in International Marketing Management (MIMM) is the first Nordic programme to receive the five-year EPAS quality label of EFMD, a network association for management development.
PREVENTING THE REGRESSION OF DIGITAL NATIVES
The significance of digital technologies can be seen both in the professional world and in students. Education must keep up with the generation of digital natives and the changing world of work. "Digital natives will regress if schools force outdated learning methods and systems on them. Our aim is to avoid this regression and enable digital natives to transition in an agile way from school to the world of work," relates Saarenketo. Despite the key role of technology, so-called soft skills are still hard currency on the job market. Students must be analytical and able to solve problems, work in teams, and understand the customer.
AWARD-WINNING AND INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISED The MIMM programme has received a number of awards and the coveted international EPAS quality label. Salojärvi believes that the quality label is the result of long-standing, successful development work that has created a culture of continuous development, steering the programme towards the right choices. The results speak for themselves: applicants and graduates have increased in number. A total of 88 per cent of the programme's graduates find themselves in a job corresponding to their education within three months of graduation. Two thirds of graduates have a job with international duties.
Most of LUT’s degree programmes in technology have been awarded international EUR-ACE, Euro-Inf and ASIIN quality labels. The Degree Programme in Industrial Engineering and Management has been chosen as a national Centre of Excellence in university education on three occasions. The Finnish Business School Graduates' teaching award has been presented to the LUT School of Business in 1998, 2008, 2012 and 2013. Further information: www.lut.fi/tutustu-meihin/laatu
IEC STUDENTS PROMOTE THE INTERNATIONALISATION OF BUSINESSES In the International Entrepreneurship Challenge (IEC), students help businesses to grow and branch out internationally. Students of the Master's Programme in International Marketing Management (MIMM) prepare an internationalisation plan for a real-life company as their course assignment. They select an international market for the company, prepare a plan for entering the target market and for landing the first 20 customers, and draw up a budget for the first two years. The companies chosen for the IEC are small and medium-sized technologydriven businesses with the desire to grow and internationalise. Many businesses consider that they have profited from the students' plans. The course has also given students the opportunity to apply what they have learnt to practice. Some have even landed a job as a result. The number of companies involved in the project varies annually from six to nine. In 2015, a foreign company took part for the first time. The IEC has already been organised ten times in connection with the MIMM programme.
"The availability of water is one of the key questions humankind has to tackle by 2050. We are highly motivated to find the right solutions." Professor Mika SillanpĂ¤Ă¤'s calling is to make clean water available where its supply is threatened. How can we make water accessible to people, agriculture and industry, and help avoid conflicts and a poor standard of living that stem from its scarcity?
TEXT Reeta Toivanen PHOTO Teemu Leinonen
THE TECHNOLOGY ALREADY EXISTS The future looks bleak. Problems resulting from the change include both a rising water level and droughts. The standard of living in emerging economies keeps climbing, meaning that the population in the countries is likely to eat more meat. Meanwhile, the world's population keeps growing. These phenomena increase the need for clean water for drinking and irrigation. At some point, the capacity will be exceeded. Nevertheless, the technologies to remedy the situation already exist. Nearly any type of water can be cleaned for any purpose, but it comes with a price tag. According to Sillanpää, the greatest challenge is to steer the water in the right direction at the right time. All other problems related to clean water come down to this. How can we end a drought if there is no water around? Many major questions in life do not come with one simple answer, and neither does this one. The problem is complex. At one end of the scale, we have processes for industrial and mining waters, and at the other, we have third-world sanitation problems. Sillanpää believes in looking at the problem from new perspectives.
Regardless, Sillanpää is not giving in to pessimism. In his own words, he has chosen the path of carefree dignity. This means that he is doing his best to right the world's wrongs without letting fear get the better of him. "I'd rather search for solutions with a positive outlook than let anxiety take over."
MIKA SILLANPÄÄ »»
Head of the LUT Laboratory of Green Chemistry.
Currently Finland's most cited researcher in the field of chemistry and chemical technology.
Over 400 internationally refereed scientific papers.
19 books and chapters, 76 conference papers, 29 research reports.
Over 700 publications overall.
Publications cited over 10 000 times.
Supervisor of 26 dissertations.
Reviewer of over 180 academic publications.
Has acquired over 20 million euros in funding.
Received an international environmental science award in 2010 from the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE).
One of the principal scientific reviewers for the UN GEO-5 research report.
The Laboratory of Green Chemistry produced 96 refereed scientific papers in 2015.
The Mikkeli-based laboratory has collaborated with over 80 top research partners around the world.
WATER: PRODUCT OR BASIC RIGHT? Solutions often depend on whether water is considered a product or a fundamental right. This dichotomy has provoked many debates in Finland and globally. Sillanpää has his own opinion on the matter. "It might sound callous, but I see water as a product. I believe that type of thinking generates better solutions and fairer results. Despite the beautiful and noble sentiment, considering water as a fundamental right may lead to rigid structures." According to Sillanpää, most people understand the world's water situation. Those whom it concerns most understand it best. Over two billion people live daily with an insufficient supply of water. In contrast, places such as Scandinavia and Canada, where water is available in abundance and where its consumption is arranged in a sustainable manner, may not be aware of the plight of the other half. Nevetheless, Sillanpää emphasises that we should be concerned about the rest of the world. Picturing a future with climate change, we immediately conjure up images of massive migration. International migration due to a lack of clean water is likely to increase tenfold.
CLEAN WATER TECHNOLOGIES LUT's laboratories compose the largest academic water research cluster in Finland. The laboratories develop advanced water treatment processes. The research focuses especially on the purification of wastewater and water circulation in the chemical, forest, and mining industries. The research also seeks new solutions for the food and pharmaceutical industries. The purpose is to find sustainable methods for the purification of raw water, wastewater, and cleaning industrial water circulation systems. By developing new separation and purification materials and green technologies, LUT aims to decrease water consumption, produce fresh drinking water, and clean wastewaters to avoid the pollution of water systems.
RADI CAL SO LUT IONS Clean energy and water, a circular economy, and sustainable business and entrepreneurship are key questions to which LUT seeks solutions through expertise in technology and business. To provide scientific solutions, LUT has established six cross-disciplinary research platforms which aim to make a significant impact.
TEXT Marjo Loisa
The research platforms bring LUT's experts together, crossing the boundaries of fields of science and organisational units. The research platforms are open research programmes which conduct research in cooperation with Finnish and foreign universities, research institutes, and businesses. The platforms generate knowledge which establishes a foundation for radical innovations.
REFLEX RECYCLING CARBON IN A FLEXIBLE COMPETITIVE ENERGY SYSTEM
SAWE SAFE WATER FOR ALL
By focusing on key technologies of the future, we will solve how carbon can be recycled in renewable energy systems where carbon dioxide is reused and renewable energy stored. The produced energy is emission-free, cost-effective, and independent. This will create new business opportunities and revolutionise the entire energy field.
We aim for a paradigm shift in water treatment: wastewater should be utilised rather than disposed of. We remove harmful compounds from water, creating access to clean water. In a circular economy, we search for innovative ways to treat sludge and to recirculate nutrients. As a result, SAWE provides frugal innovations for new businesses in developing countries.
RED REVEALING EMISSION DISCREPANCIES
DIGI-USER SMART SERVICES FOR DIGITALISATION
By combining the monitoring of the atmosphere with the monitoring of the impact of business and industry on the environment, we will be able to determine the true environmental balances of companies and their discrepancies. We develop indicators to monitor the state of the world’s waters and forests. We will develop an up-todate tool for measuring emission flows. From households to global actors, these tools will promote decision-making in favour of sustainable development.
We engage users in the development and management of digital services. We help SMEs to find solutions and co-create digital services with users for different fields. This can be done in user-driven Living Labs combined with data analytics. We bring users and SMEs together, enabling SMEs to take advantage of the opportunities provided by digitalisation and to increase their competitiveness.
RE-SOURCE RESOURCE EFFICIENT PRODUCTION PROCESSES AND VALUE CHAINS
SIM SUSTAINABLE PRODUCT PROCESSES THROUGH SIMULATION
We need to move from waste management to resource management – from the “take, make and dispose” approach to maximised resource utilisation. Re-source produces knowledge to develop novel processes for recovery, purification and manufacturing. We enable replacing oil-based compounds with bio-based ones in everyday products. We efficiently utilise industrial side streams and waste, which compose a significant material source.
SIM focuses on energy-efficient machine design using realtime simulation. Physical prototypes are not needed, which makes product development more economical and the time from an idea to a product considerably shorter. The users are involved in the product development process in a gamelike way to gather user experiences. The method can be applied to test and develop many central future technologies, such as the industrial internet and intelligent materials.
TEXT Satu TĂ¤hkĂ¤ PHOTO Vesa Laitinen THE MANTRA of a circular economy has been repeated globally for decades. Philosopher and scientist Kenneth Boulding paved the way for the concept in his Spaceship Earth metaphor in 1966. Spaceship Earth is a world view where human beings must find their place in the cyclical, renewing ecological system. Now Boulding's theories are the words the world needs to live by. Even though we are aware of environmental challenges, such as climate change and the availability of food, the nature's own resources have annually been used up by August, leaving the world to increase its ecological debt for the rest of the year. "It is intellectual dishonesty to believe that sustainable development is possible with current operating models. We need new technologies, methods, and understanding to break the cycle of incurring a triple debt: consuming financial, economic and social capital simultaneously," states Lassi Linnanen, Professor of Environmental Management.
It is intellectual dishonesty to believe that sustainable development is possible with current operating models. – Lassi Linnanen.
NOW INSTEAD OF TOMORROW The current economic system applies the linear "take, make and dispose" approach, which has come to the end of its road as non-renewable resources are running out and increasing in price. It is time to transition to an economy that recycles material and value. LUT studies the circular economy from technological, economic and social perspectives. According to Linnanen, we already hold the solution to the problem, but extensive socio-technical systems change slowly. "LUT is now conducting several key technology projects on topics such as the smart grid and an emission-free energy system, which are indispensable in a circular economy. Moreover, we are creating operating models and economic guidelines to help get the circular economy into gear. From the perspective of sustainability science, we evaluate what should be done and what avoided so as not to exceed the Earth's capacity," he explains. Linnanen believes that we can still change course and save the Earth if all measures are systematically steered in the right direction. Change cannot be achieved in a day, but in a decade we should be well on our way. If the necessary measures are not implemented, we will face major crises. "The cost of water and food will increase, living conditions will become challenging, and people will travel less. Restlessness will build up. Climate change has already altered water circulation: many formerly fertile agricultural areas are now less productive. Scarce food resources lead to conflicts and waves of refugees searching for better resources."
ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING
A CIRCULAR ECONOMY
uses natural resources as economically and efficiently as possible
aims for zero waste
recycles materials for productive use
designs products that enable the extraction of materials for recycling
transforms material previously classified as waste into reusable resources
According to Linnanen, new business models and reformulated value chains are needed for the circular economy to become a reality. The approach should be user-driven and based on the conservation of natural resources. Product sustainability, resource efficiency, and replacing products with services play a significant role. Above all, Linnanen calls for a change to the pricing of waste: the cost of using natural resources and discarding them as waste is too low in the current system. "Pricing must change first. In addition, consumer demand should focus on products that promote resource efficiency. When paying customers want certain types of products, the supply will be created. Previously, demand has been dictated by supply. This type of development can be steered by public policies."
The basic idea of a circular economy is that resources circulate regionally or locally, even from consumer to consumer. At the moment, the Finnish economy relies strongly on import and export, but the export balance has been negative, meaning that the outgoing money exceeds the incoming. By closing economic cycles and patching leaks, we can alleviate financial difficulties. "When a remanufacturer is found close by, it has significant importance for the national economy and employment rate. It increases the national product and rate of employment and engagement," says Linnanen.
DEVELOPMENT REVOLVING AROUND USERS A circular economy is a necessary but not all-powerful solution. The sustainable use of resources is only one aspect of sustainability. Linnanen reminds that sustainable growth comes not by increasing material flows but by producing added value with the resources available. "The key to sustainable growth is stabilising the consumption of raw material per capita to a sufficiently low level. A circular economy helps to steer the use of resources per consumer in a more sustainable direction. It can thereby respond to the efficiency challenge and partly also to the resilience challenge." Resilience refers to the flexibility and adaptability of a system. Societal resilience is achieved when a community adapts to changing circumstances. "Complex and flexible systems are often built on trial and error or variation and selection," Linnanen points out. Globally, the circular economy still has a long way to go, as a majority of raw material used in the economic system continues to end up as waste. Linnanen sees that Finland is quite capable of transitioning to a circular economy as long as we accept the scale and complexity of the challenge. "We don’t have all of the expertise and technology needed yet, which means we must continue our development efforts. When we develop new models, we must learn to let go of the old ones. We must dare to forgo some acquired advantages to ensure suitable conditions for everyone."
LUT FACTS AND FIGURES
920 SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATIONS
59 596 DOCTORAL DEGREES 53 in technology and 6 in business
MASTER'S DEGREES 410 in technology and 186 in business
364 BACHELOR'S DEGREES 236 in technology and 128 in business
4900 68 550 950 893 UNDERGRADUATE AND POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS: APPROX.
CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION STUDENTS: APPROX.
OPEN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS: APPROX.
FUNDING IN 2015
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND CULTURE
TRAILBLAZER LAPPEENRANTA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY 2020
Show the way. Never follow.
KEY STRATEGIC QUESTIONS
Will we burn up everything? Is humanity condemned to suffer from the water it has polluted?
Will waste be the grave of our future? Will we let Europe degenerate to the world’s back yard?
THE ANSWER IS: NO. WE WILL SHOW THE WAY WITH A TRAILBLAZER SPIRIT.
60 % of students complete at least 55 ECTS credits a year 650 higher university degrees a year 450 Master’s degrees in technology 200 Master’s degrees in business
50 doctorates a year 400 publications with a national Publication Forum rating of 2-3 5 showcases of research excellence (funding from the European Research Council and the Academy of Finland, centres of excellence)
»» Energy markets and solar economy
»» Water purification and reuse
»» Energy conversion and storage technologies
»» Processing of recycled and renewable raw material
»» Sustainability science
»» Products and life cycle assessment
SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
»» Innovation and sustainable value creation
»» digitalisation and data science
»» SMEs and international entrepreneurship
»» focus area research in the Russian context and with the best Russian partners.
»» Business analytics and decision-making »» Digitalisation of businesses
85 million euro turnover 45 % external funding 5 million euros from the European Commission
»» First entrepreneurial university in Finland meeting the OECD criteria
15 % more citations annually (Scopus)
Best university workplace in Finland (Great Place to Work ®)
»» Graduate employment rate higher than in other universities
CURIOUS PEOPLE The LUT community shares a state of mind. We do things differently. We look at things from unexpected perspectives, we question, and we search for solutions. We fight for a better world â€“ for all that is good. We are inspired by the enthusiasm of others. We address issues that matter to the world and that others may consider impossible to solve. Our campus is our capital city, but our state of mind can be achieved anywhere. #landofthecurious
Lappeenranta University of Technology LUT
Published on Jan 4, 2017
The LUT community shares a state of mind. We do things differently. We look at things from unexpected perspectives, we question, and we sear...