Last year, Estonia’s energy group Eesti Energia invested 11 million euros in research and development activities in order to develop solutions to reduce the environmental footprint of its production and to provide customers with smarter and more beneficial services.
Eesti Energia has set itself a goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. One step to this end is to transform the current liquid fuel industry in Ida-Virumaa into an emission-free and circular economy-based chemical industry.
To achieve these goals, the company is exploring with researchers how to capture and efficiently use the CO2 created in production, use waste plastics that have been incinerated or landfilled so far for the production of liquid fuels and upgrade the quality of their existing products to meet the high standards of the chemical industry.
According to Margus Vals, Member of the Management Board of Eesti Energia, cooperation with world-class specialists enables the implementation of the company’s strategic goals on its journey to carbon neutrality. Innovation clearly benefits in commercial terms as well. More than 90 per cent of the money invested in research and development last year remained in Estonia.
“Each Eesti Energia’s research and development project is unique in the world in one way or another, creating knowledge and skills that can reduce the environmental footprint of ourselves and our customers through smart and innovative solutions,” Mr Vals said. “For example, we have developed a unique solution for recycling plastic waste and stabilising the power network with renewable energy assets, among other things. It is important to note that virtually all our collaborative projects involve local research institutions, which means that we not only create this wisdom for ourselves but support the development of our universities and researchers as well.”
Eesti Energia works closely with local universities. First of all with Tallinn University of Technology, but also with the University of Tartu and the Estonian University of Life Sciences. In addition, the company cooperates in research and development with major international companies.
New applications are also being sought for their existing production capacities. For example, the company Auvere Power Plant and wind farms are connected through a virtual power plant platform into a fast-reacting energy reserve that can support energy security and security of supply. In this way, Auvere Power Plant provides the Finnish electricity market with an automatic frequency reserve service. Efforts are being made to make energy consumption and production more flexible by connecting assets at customers’ disposal to the virtual power plant and thus to the flexible markets. The work to increase the reliability of existing wind farms and to build the network of the future is significant.