Research and development
Sustainability is at the core of Fortum’s strategy, and Fortum's research and development activities promote environmentally benign energy solutions.
During January–June, Fortum decided to invest in the commercialisation of new technology by building a bio-oil plant connected to the Joensuu power plant in Finland. The CHP-integrated bio-oil plant, based on fast pyrolysis technology, is the first of its kind in the world on an industrial scale. The new technology has been developed in cooperation between Metso, UPM, VTT (as part of the TEKES Biorefine research programme) and Fortum. The bio-oil plant, which will be integrated with the CHP plant in Joensuu, will produce electricity and district heat, and, in the future, 50,000 tonnes of bio-oil per year. The bio-oil raw materials will include forest residues and other wood-based biomass.
A new research programme on efficient energy use (EFEU) was started by CLEEN Ltd. The value of the five-year programme is approximately EUR 12 million and it will be carried out by a wide group of equipment manufacturers, energy companies and research institutions. Energy efficiency presents the most important means in managing global climate change. Fortum's main activities in the EFEU programme include eco-efficient heating and cooling solutions, climate-benign electricity and heat production chains and new energy efficiency service business models integrated with new technologies.
In addition, Fortum introduced a Smart Grid product to buy back the excess production from customers who produce their own electricity with small wind, hydro and solar power plants in parts of Sweden. In Estonia, a home charging package was launched for owners of the 100% electric Nissan LEAF. The system has been developed in partnership with Fortum and Nissan’s Electric Mobility Operator (EMO). In Poland, a four year contract with Wroclaw Technical University was signed in order to increase the efficiency of absorption cooling units when operating in low temperatures and to increase CHP’s summer loads in district heating networks.
The Group reports its R&D expenditure on a yearly basis. In 2011, Fortum’s R&D expenditure was EUR 38 million (2010: 30 million) or 0.6% of sales (2010: 0.5%) and 1.1% of total expenses (2010: 0.8%).