Originally published 22.12.2021
Aurelia Turbines, headquartered in Lappeenranta, was founded eight years ago and manufactures small gas turbines for the needs of industry. The turbines have been designed to use hydrogen as well as biogas, synthetic gas and other renewable and non-standard fuels.
Concerns about the climate have brought hydrogen to the fore because it can be used to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Aurelia Turbines CEO Matti Malkamäki says that clean hydrogen, which hardly generates carbon dioxide into the atmosphere during its life cycle, can be produced in many different ways.
– It can be manufactured by decomposing water molecules into the elements in them, i.e. hydrogen and oxygen, using electricity, he explains.
– Greenhouse gas emissions are avoided when the electricity for this process is produced by renewable energy sources or nuclear power.
Another possibility is to break down the methane in natural gas or biogas into hydrogen and carbon so that the carbon is recovered as solid matter.
– Hydrogen plays an important role when it comes to an emission-free future, Malkamäki says.
Hydrogen can be used in many ways
Hydrogen can be a raw material, fuel as well as energy storage.
The fertiliser, oil refining and chemical industries, for example, already use a huge amount of hydrogen both as a raw material for their products and in their processes.
– Until now, this hydrogen has been produced from oil, natural gas and coal using technologies that cause high carbon dioxide emissions, Malkamäki explains.
– When these industries switch to zero-emission hydrogen, greenhouse gas emissions will be significantly reduced.
Hydrogen also provides an opportunity to move to new, more environmentally friendly technologies in completely new sectors – in other words, industry can be decarbonised. For example, once the steel industry switches to using zero-emission hydrogen instead of coal in production, its emissions will be significantly reduced. At present, the steel industry is responsible for 7% of global CO2 emissions.
When hydrogen is combusted – as in the case of Aurelia – or utilised in so-called fuel cells, the result is electricity and heat, with the only emissions being water vapour.
– Hydrogen can therefore be used as clean energy storage, Malkamäki says.
– For instance, if hydrogen is produced on a windy day by wind power and used for electricity generation on a windless day, energy can be transferred without emissions from times of surplus electricity generation to times when there is otherwise not enough electricity available. The widespread use of hydrogen would have been a great help during the cold, windless days of electricity scarcity this winter, for example.
Finland and Sweden must collaborate
Sweden is currently building large-scale hydrogen industry in the northern part of the country, where there is already abundant low-cost hydropower and a lot of steel industry. The Swedish Government estimates that the hydrogen economy will bring 50,000 new jobs and 100,000 new residents to northern Sweden.
New industry is now being built around hydrogen primarily where inexpensive and emission-free electricity is plentiful, because the transmission of energy as electricity or hydrogen always costs money.
– Finland should develop its own hydrogen industry in cooperation with Sweden, Malkamäki emphasises.
Malkamäki points out that the west coast of Finland is ideal for generating electricity from wind power and that Ostrobothnia is closer to the northern hydrogen coast of Sweden than southern Sweden is. In fact, Sweden needs Finnish wind power and hydrogen to reach its growth targets.
– Instead of just bulk hydrogen, we could also process hydrogen into products of higher added value, such as synthetic fuels. These synthetic fuels can replace, for example, the petrol now used by cars, Malkamäki says.
The industrial cities on the west coast of Finland have well-developed chemical and other suitable industry for the needs of the hydrogen economy. Hydrogen expertise, on the other hand, has emerged around the LUT University, for example. This provides an excellent basis for building the hydrogen economy in Finland.
New turbines with capital loan
The Finnish Climate Fund’s €5 million funding is aimed at funding working capital for turbines.
– This enables the manufacture of new turbines, Malkamäki says.
The two previous Finnish Climate Fund capital loans to South Karelia have also been directed towards green electrification. Last spring, funding was granted to Elstor Oy, which produces emission-free energy. The loan will go towards promoting the deployment of the Elstor heat storage solution. Earlier this year, the Finnish Climate Fund granted a capital loan of EUR 10 million to Solar Foods, a company that started out of research projects at the Technical Research Centre of Finland and the LUT University. Solar Foods strives to achieve significant emission reductions in food production.
Aurelia Turbines is part of the Greenreality Network, a business-oriented network of energy and environmental operators in South Karelia. The activities of the Greenreality Network are run by the City of Lappeenranta.
For more information on hydrogen use, please visit:
Aurelia Turbines commercialises the most efficient small gas turbines in the world and has developed a new 400 kWe gas turbine, the A400. Aurelia’s technology can be used for various applications by commercial and industrial end users who require both electrical power and heat, as well as steam and/or cooling, for their processes. Aurelia’s systems can run on renewable and non-standard fuels. Aurelia seeks to deliver the core components of its technology to its regional partners, who assemble and sell the complete, integrated turbine system as a local product. Aurelia, established in 2013, is headquartered in Lappeenranta, Finland, with office in the United Kingdom. Aurelia’s cutting-edge technology has been developed in collaboration with LUT University in Lappeenranta