Engineering Award for the developers of the world’s most progressive gas burner solution
A ten-person team at the Lahti-based energy company Oilon has developed a gas burning technology that sets a world record on joining the cleanest solution with energy efficiency. No similar solutions have been implemented anywhere in the world. The next-generation device is already used for heating some 100,000 homes in Beijing.
The Finnish Engineering Award of 2016 has been granted to the ten-person team at the Lahti-based energy company Oilon: Teemu Heino (Bachelor of Engineering), Joonas Kattelus (M.Sc. (Tech.)), Matti Koski (M.Sc. (Tech.)), Marko Kylä-Sipilä (M.Sc. (Tech.)), Mari Laakso (M.Sc. (Tech.)), Reijo Lylykangas (Bachelor of Engineering), Eero Pekkola (Bachelor of Engineering), Jouko Peltohaka (Bachelor of Engineering), Joonas Remes (M.Sc. (Tech.)) and Tero Tulokas (M.Sc. (Tech.)).
The value of the award granted on 2 June in Helsinki by Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland TEK and Tekniska Föreningen i Finland TFiF is EUR 30,000.
– Oilon invests significantly in research and development and, after 15 years, what used to be a supplier of oil burners is now a successful cleantech business. These are the results of open attitudes and top-quality talent, which is what Finland desperately needs more of, says Pekka Pellinen, Head of Unit at Academic Engineers and Architects TEK.
The awarded technology is facing very promising foreign markets. Oilon has already made a deal for a total of 12 next-generation heating systems to be built for Beijing, providing heating for one hundred thousand Chinese homes in the future. The deal is worth approximately EUR 10 million. Clean energy solutions are also raising increasing amounts of interest in the United States, especially California.
More energy for less pollution
With the aid of its partners and the Tekes Green Growth programme, the team became the first in the world to develop a gas burning technology that could meet the strict requirements used in Beijing. Simultaneously, they managed to improve the burner’s energy efficiency. No additional chemicals are needed.
The awarded flue gas purification method is based on a metal catalyst. The controls of the burner make use of automation.
– The method is similar to the catalyst used to purify exhaust gases from cars. The catalyst reduces nitrogen oxides and oxidises the remaining non-combustible fractions, such as hydrocarbons. This means we can even get rid of carbon monoxide, explains Tero Tulokas, Product Development Director at Oilon.
Competing products have managed to achieve the same emission levels, but only at the cost of the device’s energy efficiency. Some of the technologies have utilised expensive chemicals that pose a risk to the environment, such as ammonia and urea.
Expecting a growing market
The new technology was created to meet the demands of the client. A district heating company in Beijing wanted to build heating plants utilising natural gas, but it wanted to keep the nitrogen oxide emission level at less than 30 milligrams per cubic metre of smoke. In the EU, plants of the same scale are allowed emissions of over threefold as much. Nitrogen oxides are very harmful to the environment and people and they are also greenhouse gasses.
– The other large urban centres in China can be expected to follow the strict emission standards of Beijing, says Oilon CEO Eero Pekkola.
In the United States, emission standards in California are just as tight as in Beijing. Oilon has recently acquired new factory premises in the US.
- Academic Engineers and Architects TEK and Tekniska Föreningen i Finland TFiF present the Finnish Engineering Award to one person or team annually. When selecting the winner, particular attention is paid to the significance of the work in promoting technological competence in Finland. In 2016, the value of the award is EUR 30,000.