VTT 1.2010 a magazine on SCienCe, TeCHnoLogY and BuSineSS NUCLEAR POWER'S NEW DAWN? FRom LoW To zeRo P. 29 WaTCH THe TigeR LeaP P. 48 THe RoLLS-RoYCe oF azimuTH THRuSTeRS P. 66 VTT turns science into profitable business. This section of VTT Impulse shows how multidisciplinary research leads to innovations (pp. 1834) SCienCe& FoReSigHTEDITORIAL Kari Larjava Executive Vice President, R&D VTT No easy energy solution in sight There is an enormous global need for emissionfree or low-emission energy technologies in order to fight climate change. Almost every day, we hear about how a single technology can sweep away our problems, and there is occasionally heated debate about which is the "best" technology. The role of VTT in this debate is to offer objective, impartial expert information about different energy technologies and opportunities for emission reduction. Unfortunately, there are currently no easy solutions in sight: instead, all possibilities must be taken into consideration. For Finland, this means building more nuclear power plants and assigning major resources to renewable energy especially bioenergy and wind power. Carbon sink and storage (CCS) will be another globally important technology in the future that will also be tested in Finland. In addition, the energy efficiency of housing and transports must be improved considerably, while taking into consideration community building as a whole. Our biomass resources forests must also be considered as carbon disappears. Climate models and emission scenarios are useful tools that make it possible to calculate energy production alternatives that are economically feasible well into the future. VTT has offered a broad description of such alternatives in the Energy Visions 2050 book. With these calculations, it has been possible to estimate the point in time when electric vehicles and next-generation nuclear energy technologies will conquer the market. In spite of the speed of technological developments, it will take decades before this occurs, mainly because of the reluctance to invest and the high costs of making the change. The service life of a large nuclear power plant can be as high as 60 years. Lifecycle investigations have become an important way to evaluate the environmental impacts of different products. Today people would rather talk about evaluating sustainability, in which case economic and social issues are also considered. With these methods, VTT has been able to indicate, for example, that barley ethanol is an unsustainable solution. True to our strategy, we focus on the utilisation of non-edible biomass. Developing future energy technology calls for vast technological competence, strong system expertise and comprehensive commercial understanding. VTT produces reliable information and new technology for its customers together with companies and research partners. It is down to the political decision-makers to take care of the energy policy.
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