The decision of the Regional Council of Pohjois-Savo to fund the project with 560.000 euros from the European Regional Development Fund marked the launch of the project on 12 March in Varkaus. Other sponsors include Savonia, University of Eastern Finland, City of Varkaus and the 16 companies engaged in the project.
The key sector in terms of North Savo economy is the machine and energy technology, which is currently undergoing a global transition from centralized fossil energy production to decentralized renewable energy. Therefore, development of environmentally friendly combustion technology, circular economy and production of battery materials, along with RDI services related to the innovation activities in energy technology, are at the core of the project.
The overall goal of the project is to create a research and development body on an industrial scale for the energy sector in the North Savo region. The Energy Cluster North Savo will offer a wide range of services such as measurement, testing, analysis and survey of existing energy transformation processes at different innovation stages in support of businesses in the energy sector. In addition, the project will generate environments for piloting of new product ideas. The operational model and services of the cluster will be developed in collaboration with the participating companies.
Marko Luokkanen, regional manager of Andritz, one of the key actors in the project, considers participation in the development of the ecosystem a significant investment in the future. – By strengthening our development activities, particularly in innovation and collaboration with other actors we ensure our future competence in both energy technology and processes of ecological pulp and power plants, Luokkanen explains. He rates the project as a significant step in boosting collaboration, ensuring continuous high ranking in technology and availability of skilled workforce supplied by the local education institutions. A real win-win opportunity for all participants, Luokkanen rejoices.