Zero Emission Marine ecosystem gathered for the Annual Seminar to share insights

The Zero Emission Marine (ZEM) ecosystem programme led by Wärtsilä launched in April, and since then ZEM has taken important steps towards its’ goals of reaching 60% GHG reduction in the maritime industry by 2030. These steps can be taken with collaboration and ecosystem thinking. By joining forces with different players from all parts of the marine sector and implementing new inventions, ZEM will lead the way not only on solving challenges of decarbonisation but also on building a strong ecosystem.

On 17 November, it was time for ZEM to host its first annual seminar in Wärtsilä’s Sustainable Technology Hub (STH) in Vaasa. The event gathered around 80 members of the ecosystem both live and online to listen learnings from the past year and share insights together. The event was opened by Juha Kytölä, Director, R&D and Engineering at Wärtsilä.

Juha Kytölä

“Innovation partnerships are extremely important for us. We need transparency, innovation, and collaboration to find new ways to make progress and breakthroughs that will serve the environment and the world around us. The leading company (Veturi) programme is a unique opportunity and serves this purpose very well”, Kytölä said.

Victoria Karlsson & Kenneth Widell

Kenneth Widell, Senior Project Manager and Victoria Karlsson, Project Management Specialist from Wärtsilä’s ZEM core team then took the stage to share how the ecosystem has developed in the first year.

ZEM has already four ongoing ecosystem projects. MASCOT, Silent Engine and CASEMATE received funding during Business Finland’s April application round. Recently it was made official that Green Engine CFD project coordinated by VTT has received funding as a first project from the September application round.

“In all of these projects companies and research institutions are co-creating together, finding solutions to specific challenges related to decarbonisation of maritime world”, says Widell.

Strong focus on ecosystem partners

Pekka Pohjanne

During the event, a big role was given to the ecosystem partners to present about their projects related to ZEM. The MASCOT project was the first project in ZEM ecosystem to receive funding and Pekka Pohjanne, Lead, Materials for new energy technologies at VTT explained the project in a nutshell. MASCOT tackles the material technology related challenges raised in emerging fossil-free processes.

“Collaboration is the key inside MASCOT. MASCOT project serves hydrogen and circular economy grand challenges. The areas we focus differs from each other, but there are still strong ties between these areas and partners,” Pohjanne explains.

Maciej Mikulski

Noise from marine traffic has an ill effect on the surrounding environment. Reduced engine noise improves travelling comfort too. The Silent Engine project was presented by Maciej Mikulski, Associate Professor from University of Vaasa.

The project seeks new silent and vibration-free solutions to help the Finnish powertrain industry meet the criteria set for noise, vibration, and sustainability. It could be said that Silent Engine aims to save your eardrums and the environment.

Juho Könnö

Then it was time to learn more about CASEMATE project coordinated by University of Oulu. CASEMATE develops Model Based Systems Engineering methodology to engine development for new zero-carbon fuels.

“Basically, CASEMATE is about bringing systems engineering and the challenges of new fuels together”, Juho Könnö, Professor at University of Oulu explains the project in a nutshell.

Combustion of new zero-emission fuels presents a set of new challenges for engine development, as prior knowledge is often limited. Both the environment and the economy profit from creating better products faster to address the global environmental issues.

All the ongoing ecosystem projects support the Zero Emission Marine vision, and it is exciting to see what comes out of these projects in the future.

Opportunities of the leading company instrument

Tero Ijäs

On 15 December 2021 Business Finland granted EUR 20 million in funding of the Zero Emission Marine project and Wärtsilä received the status of a leading company (Veturi). A leading company leads its industry and operates on the global market, is willing and able to solve big challenges, activates ecosystem on the global market to develop visible competitive edge and boosts exports.

Tero Ijäs, Ecosystem Lead from Business Finland was also present at the event to share what kind of impact the leading company programme has already had.

“We have launched 12 Veturi programmes so far. The programmes are quite diverse and focusing on different challenges,” Ijäs explains.

When successful, these projects will lead to big investments, increases in turn over, export and tax income, new jobs, and positive environmental impacts.

Good progress in the ecosystem

The ZEM programme consists of four key themes led by Wärtsilä experts: New technologies led by Kaj Portin, Green fuels led by Kenneth Widell, Optimised operations led by Lauri Kovanen and Henrik Sandsund, and Business models led by Juho Nurmi. At the event we heard some updates from the theme leaders on how the work has started.

The theme of New technologies already has the four earlier mentioned ongoing ecosystem projects and the theme focuses on engine technologies which is very much in the core of Wärtsilä. Other themes don’t have any funded ecosystem projects yet, but a lot of project ideas have been discussed and hopefully these will result in concrete funded ecosystem projects soon.

Group picture of everyone who attended the seminar

Learning from others

After a coffee break it was time to learn from the success of others and hear which are the ingredients of a fruitful collaboration. Jarkko Pellikka, Director, Industrial 5G, Mobile Networks from Nokia joined the event online to share some insights into the positive impacts of Nokia’s Veturi programmes.

“We see ecosystem collaboration as a very systematic way to drive the targets that are not only unique to the Veturi programme but also to Nokia and to the ecosystem partners. It’s important to share the same vision and direction. To truly succeed we need to have a good understanding of the highest level of business priorities. This all leads to the importance of the ecosystem strategy, how to plan the ecosystem and how to then execute and orchestrate it”, Pellikka says.

We also got to hear about a project called H-Flex-E (Hydrogen-Flexibility-Energy) presented by Hans-Alexander Öst, Director, Electricity Trade at Vaasan Sähkö. It is a co-operation project of Vaasan Sähkö, EPV Energia, the City of Vaasa and Wärtsilä Finland with a goal to jointly build a so-called Power-to-X-to-Power system in Vaasa. The system will use renewable energy to produce hydrogen to be stored and reprocessed.

Öst describes that the recipe of success is to have a common goal and common view of the future: decarbonisation. At the end of the day, it all comes down to trust and open dialogue – with that, these collaboration projects can really be successful.

Exciting future ahead

At the end of the event, we also heard three interesting pitches for possible ZEM ecosystem projects. ZEM is constantly looking for more ecosystem partners and projects that share our vision of zero-emission marine future.

The event really showed that it is great to gather with the ecosystem face-to-face and discuss. During the presentations we received a lot of great questions from the audience. Also, online participants got to ask questions and it was great to notice that many people participated remotely as well.

Kenneth Widell and Victoria Karlsson wrapped up the event and reminded that next Business Finland funding call is on 13 January 2023. Next year ZEM will focus more on partnering with companies, customers, suppliers, as 2022 was chosen to focus mostly on kicking-off research projects, which usually tend to last longer.

The Zero Emission Marine team would like to thank everyone for attending the Annual Seminar and special thanks to all our amazing speakers of the day! Let’s continue the collaboration and hope to see you very soon!

Did you miss the event? You can watch the recording of the event here.

Do you have a project idea? Contact us via website or by sending an email to zem.ecosystem(at)wartsila.com anytime regarding project ideation!