Last fall, we clarified our process and energy sector strategy to ensure that we will be able to do even more to support our customers on their journey towards a sustainable future. The importance of the circular economy and the transition from fossil energy have been discussed for a long time. The ongoing energy crisis has further emphasized the importance of these issues, and at the same time challenged our customers to implement projects in this area.
When clarifying our strategy, we defined the following four focus areas for our process and energy sector operations:
- Low-carbon energy and hydrogen economy solutions
- Industrial bioeconomy and circular economy
- Resource efficiency
- Digitalization solutions for the industrial environment
“We have been implementing low-carbon and resource-efficient industrial solutions for decades, but now this theme has been made into our business unit’s mission,” says Markku S. Lehtinen, Senior Vice President of Process & Energy at Elomatic.
We don’t want to forget our customers’ varied needs, of course, but we want to strongly develop our expertise in our already strong focus areas. This way, we will be able to offer comprehensive and multidisciplinary expertise to meet our customers’ needs,” Lehtinen continues.
Electrification is one tool in the development towards a green transition
The aim to quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a huge global challenge. There is no silver bullet, so we must use many different technologies in both the energy sector and industrial operations. One of these tools is electrification.
“We currently have several ongoing projects related to electrification. Some of them focus directly on electrification through electric boilers, for example, but our customers are particularly interested in different heat pump solutions,” says Sales Manager Kari Räsänen .
In the future, hydrogen is expected to have a central role in the energy system and in storage. It is also expected to function as raw material in several synthetic production processes.
“The key is considering how we can use and refine green electricity in the best possible way. It has been nice to see how many varied hydrogen refinement projects we have gotten to participate in recently,” adds Business Development Director Teemu Turunen.
Bioeconomy and circular economy innovations need scaling
In recent years, the linear operating model that forms the basis of our economic system has been challenged by different bioeconomy and circular economy solutions. There is an effort to make more comprehensive use of raw materials, and new applications for waste and side streams are discovered constantly. At the same time, everyone is also striving to more comprehensively use natural materials in new ways. A good example of this development is the different innovations related to fiber.
“Here in Finland, we have years of expertise and industrial traditions in refining and using fiber. In addition, several new operators have entered the field, and they have started thinking about the world differently by making the circular economy and sustainability a central theme,” says Turunen.
However, innovation alone is not enough. Ideas must be made into technologies, with strong business and economic foundations around them.
“It has been great to get a close look at how our experts have scaled ideas towards commercial operation together with our customers,” says Turunen.
Efficiency is a wise investment
Although energy and material efficiency have been talked about for decades, their significance to industrial operations will certainly not diminish. Discussions about the price of energy or the availability of raw materials and other materials will not subside in the coming years. In the future, it is important to consider when certain production operations are carried out and how we can ensure production system flexibility and resilience.
“Going forward, efficiency will be viewed more comprehensively, so it’s important to talk about resource efficiency. To us, resource efficiency encompasses energy, material, and production efficiency,” Räsänen explains.
It is important to think about efficiency issues already at the stage when a new facility or process is being planned. This ensures that the project accounts for sufficient measurement instrumentation for efficient management and process connections, for example. Efficiency can also be further optimized for existing plants through new operation models and optimization investments.
“Our experts are constantly measuring and analyzing our customers’ processes, allowing the experts to provide optimization proposals and projects,” Räsänen adds.
Concrete solutions with a symbiosis of expertise
When clarifying our strategy, we changed our organization in a way that allows us to offer our expertise to meet customer needs more extensively. Our new operating model also enables us to carry out even bigger projects than before.
“The impact of work is increasingly important, and our experts want to do meaningful work. We can have a concrete impact on the carbon footprint through our customers,” says Markku S. Lehtinen.
In our reform, we have also considered the fact that digitalization is an important part of all industrial operations, and there is an ever-increasing need for concrete solutions that optimize operations. Digitalization cuts through all the focus areas we mentioned above.
We believe that by combining our core expertise in energy production, industry and automation with our strong analytics skills, we are able to offer our customers concrete solutions.
“With this combination, we are definitely more than just an analytics company,” Markku emphasizes.