Finnish technology group Wärtsilä has secured €1m ($1m) funding from Business Finland for an ambitious hydrogen research project.
The X-Ahead initiative will start this year and last for around two and a half years. It is intended to develop expertise of both the technical and business potential of Power-to-X: technologies that take renewable electricity, or carbon captured from the air or directly from emissions streams, and combine it with hydrogen to create clean-energy fuels.
Wärtsilä will form and lead a network of universities, research industries and small and medium-sized enterprises, on a national and global scale.
This, says the company, will result in the development “of an effective ecosystem around Power-to-X research, which will be enriched with best global practices to produce meaningful national and international benefits”.
Tommi Rintamäki, senior manager at Wärtsilä Energy’s Power-to-X business, said the company has been working on Power-to-X since 2018, “during which time we have gained a thorough general understanding of the technology”.
“We are now building on this via the X-Ahead project, which will significantly improve the efficiency and feasibility of all processes relating to the development of Power-to-X technology. It gives us a brilliant opportunity to speed up the move to a 100 per cent renewable energy future.”
Business Finland is a state-run public agency that funds research projects it believes are vital for the country. Its head of Smart Energy, Helena Sarén, said “a strong ecosystem of leading industrial companies… together with innovative and agile Finnish universities form an excellent base to find concrete novel solutions to mitigate climate change and turn the research into industrial business”.
The X-Ahead project will start this year and run for approximately two and a half years. Wärtsilä’s existing expertise in market analytics will support the research’s focus on the most promising ways to develop Power-to-X technology. Furthermore, X-Ahead will provide valuable insight into the possibilities related to synthetic fuel production and create many new jobs in the field.