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Research and development supporting business

The purpose of Fortum's research and development is to improve competitiveness and to create a foundation for new, profitable business. We assess each new development project against the criteria of business potential, carbon dioxide emissions reduction and resource efficiency.

Research and development (R&D) activities help Fortum to develop a sustainable, carbon dioxide-free future. Its focus areas are continuous improvement of current operations, enabling of growth opportunities and development of an emissions-free energy system in the long-term.

The main areas of R&D activities are:

  • The advanced technologies included in Fortum's existing energy system. In this area, nuclear power is our most important research area. In addition, we are also developing integrated combined heat and power systems, i.e. CHP+ plants.
  • New technologies and solutions supporting development of the energy system towards the future solar economy. Targets of development in this area include solar and ocean energy as well as sustainable urban solutions.

Fortum's total R&D expenditure in 2012 was EUR 41 million (2011: 38), which corresponds to 0.7% of sales (2011: 0.6%).

 

Safety at the core of nuclear power research

In 2012, Fortum's nuclear R&D activities focused on the research for the safe final disposal of spent nuclear fuel. Safety and availability of nuclear power plants were developed by concentrating on, among other things, to the aging management of nuclear power plants and the concrete structures.

In addition to improving safety, Fortum's nuclear power research focuses on maintaining and developing the expertise in existing and potential new nuclear power technologies. For example, ion exchange materials developed through Fortum's long-term research were delivered to the damaged Daiichi power plant in Fukushima, Japan, to decontaminate the radioactive water.

New combined heat and electricity solutions

In 2012, Fortum made a decision to build a bio-oil plant based on fast pyrolysis technology in Joensuu, Finland. The bio-oil plant, globally the first of its kind on an industrial scale, will be integrated with the existing combined heat and power plant.

Additionally, the production and use of biocoal as well as bioethanol production processes were researched, and the use of power plant flue gases in algae cultivation was tested. Fortum also participated in CLEEN Ltd.'s carbon capture and storage (CCS) programme, which focused on CHP plant solutions and future innovations in the sector.

Wave and solar energy and sustainable urban living

Wave energy-related research and development continued in 2012. We continued collaboration on the development of wave energy technology with AW-Energy Oy. Additionally, we started construction of a wave power park in Sotenäs, Sweden, together with Seabased AB. After completion, the wave power park will be the world's biggest full-scale demonstration project. In France, we continued wave power research and development work with DCNS. In 2012, Fortum started business development related to solar energy.

In 2012, we also continued the research on sustainable urban solutions and the development of services for customers. For example, development of the smart grid for the Royal Seaport project in Stockholm advanced to the implementation phase. We participated in a new research programme on efficient energy use (EFEU) with CLEEN Ltd. Fortum's key areas in the EFEU programme are energy-efficient heating and cooling solutions, climate-benign power and heat production chains, and energy-efficient service business models integrated with new technology. We also continued the development of electric transport solutions by launching collaboration with Nissan on the fast charging of electric vehicles.