“Oscar award” for energy technology in the Turku region

A solution to climate change? Opportunity for new industry sector and carbon sink with Finnish technology

Development enterprise Green Industry Park’s idea, “Sustainable carbon sinks of Finland”, was awarded at the international EnergyWeek event, “Energy and Innovation Awards”, in Vaasa on Wednesday 22 March 2023. The competition jury awarded the idea in the energy technology category. IoT software company CloEE was awarded as the audience favourite.

Green Industry Park Oy, a development company operating in the Turku region, participated in the Energy and Innovation Award competition with their business model and value chain idea in which local common reed and agricultural side streams are used as a carbon sink and in both low-grade and highly processed products. The idea involved developing the value chain of a new industry sector, as well as technologies such as harvesting, processing and end-product production technologies. Global markets exist for all these technologies, and they offer the potential to generate new competitive business and jobs in Finland. End-products could include biogas, biochar and bio-based raw materials for the textile, auto and battery industries.

“Our award-winning solution is an excellent example of how new, locally developed technologies (for example Q Power’s microbe technology that utilizes flue gas and CH-Bioforce’s fractionation technology) and ecosystems widely and positively impact the surrounding society, businesses and biodiversity. For example, the common reed, which is aggressively spreading in our coastal areas and causing a host of problems, so why not innovatively use its potential as a biomass?” says Business Development Manager Timo Suutarla MSc (Eng), creator of the value chain idea and its business logic. He adds, “On the local level, establishing climate impact and measuring the results will be transparent throughout the entire value chain and the positive impact of this will be clearly evident in the revival of the Archipelago Sea.”

The innovative business model and the accompanying technologies will help not only cities and communities, but also businesses, to achieve their climate targets. They can therefore be scaled up for global markets. “Ecosystem solutions like these, where new raw material alternatives are introduced to the range of industrial raw materials, are sorely needed because the existing raw materials are already in full use. At the same time, we are supporting carbon sink processes and contribute to slowing down climate change,” says CEO of Green Industry Park, Linda Fröberg-Niemi, DSc.

“The described business model, which is concordant with the circular economy, reinforces biodiversity and produces sustainable end-products for the everyday lives to all of us. For example, using biochar as a carbon sink and to improve the soil prevents nutrient run-off into the sea. This type of model also functions as a reference of economically profitable measures and value chains created locally to support local carbon neutrality targets and regional businesses for other countries around the world to follow. We already have the technology and the expertise. Now, it’s merely a question of the desire to invest in the idea and taking initiative,” Suutarla stresses.

Green Industry Park Oy is a development company operating in the Turku region. It has already served more than 120 client companies in the bio and circular economy and renewable energy sectors during the period of its project (2021-2023). Of the ecosystem and establishment negotiations that have taken place, two have progressed to an initial land reservation and investment decision for the region.

More information:  

CEO Linda Fröberg-Niemi, linda@greenindustrypark.com, tel. +358 50 587 3441

Business Development Manager Timo Suutarla, timo.suutarla@greenindustrypark.com, tel. +358 40 186 5995


Energy & Innovation Awards competition / Green Industry Park Oy The EnergyWeek organizers’ bulletin about award winners:  https://www.vasek.fi/vaasa-region-development-company/communication-and-information-2/news/green-industry-park-won-the-oscar-of-energy-technology-energy-and-innovation-awards-2023

Employees’ view:

At GIP we meet and help entrepreneurs. We build ecosystems and bring different companies together to enhance their capabilities to invest in Finland and especially to Turku region.

Entrepreneur is a person who sees opportunities, where other people see problems. Entrepreneurs are driving for improving things through giving solutions to problems that we face every day in our lives.

For an organization it is important to flourish entrepreneurship because without it they live or die. Just think for example about Nokia phones and their innovation about touch screen they never took seriously. What is crucial in an organization is that one’s boss needs to be supportive and have time and skills to understand and listen the innovative entrepreneur like people. And that is exactly what we have in place here at GIP.

This award-winning innovation: “Carbon sinks of Finland” deals with multiple problems that we face today like; climate change, CO2 compensation, carbon sinks, biodiversity, status of our seas and lakes etc.

The solution presented in our award-winning proposal is an example of the benefits to the society, economy and nature that are possible when we act together, join our forces between private companies, universities, colleges and both private and public financing sources to implement our ideas and actions at local level. Only when our actions for improving climate and natural habitat around us are done at the local level, can they be transparent and verified for their trustworthiness. Using local untapped resources like common reed (Phragmites australis, Järviruoko) as a raw material to make biogas, biochar and with the usage of flue gases even biomethane production is possible. With this technology we can truly affect the climate change and at the same time improve the status of Archipelago.

Scalability of this innovative solution comes from the fact that after we have created the technology to harvest and refine these potential biobased raw materials (like common reed, straw, side products from agriculture and other biobased processes) and shown the business model, which is based on revenues from multiple sources like: energy as biogas, biochar as a carbon sink + CO2 credits and soil remedy to resist the nutrients to end up in the sea, biomethane as biofuel and in some cases improving the biodiversity in our natural habitat. All this can be applied as a worldwide example how to get closer to our goals in becoming CO2 free cities and societies in the future.

What an opportunity we have by developing and applying the thinking, technology, and business model worldwide as an export business from Finland. Now it is time to act, be brave and invest in the know-how we have created ourselves to tap into this new business opportunity of carbon sinks that in Finland alone are estimated to be worth of around 8 B€ by 2030.

Thank you goes to organizers at Vaasa EnergyWeek for the Award, innovative and inspiring companies like QPower and CH-Bioforce, Aalto University Mechatronics Department and especially to my best-ever boss Linda Fröberg-Niemi, who has supported me all the way. I might be the father of the idea, but she is the mother!

Sincerely yours Timo

Let’s act and be in touch!

Timo Suutarla

Business Development Manager, Green Industry Park Oy

+358 40 1865995



Linda Fröberg-Niemi

Managing Director

+358 50 5873441



Common reed would be a suitable material for the green transition

The current technology of biorefineries would enable the utilization of the common reed for product manufacture. The efficient harvesting of the reed would also help control the nutrient content of water bodies and promote the green transition. 

The common reed holds great potential as a raw material for many processes aiming for highly refined end-products for international markets. Despite the expanding growth area and volumes, industrial-scale utilization has not advanced due to reasons such as underdeveloped harvesting technologies.

”The lignocellulose-based common reed should be taken into account on a global scale as a part of the green transition,” maintains Timo Suutarla, business development manager at Green Industry Park.

Suutarla was a mentor in a student working group that examined the functionality of the current harvesting methods of the common reed in industrial-scale harvesting. The study was part of LUT University’s Master’s course Current Issues in Enabling Technologies for Circular Economy. The study collected data on the suitability of different methods and interviewed operators in the field.

Global population growth and a rising standard of living will lead to a shortage of virgin raw materials. New circular economy technologies will enable the raw material use of new, currently underutilized material flows, such as the common reed. For example, textiles, plastics, adhesives, cosmetics and fuels could be manufactured from the common reed with current biorefinery technologies.

“How can we recover this nutrient-absorbing annual straw from our waterways and deliver it to the mill at a competitive price? That is the key question to developing this new industry in which Finland has what it takes to be a world leader,” says Suutarla.

How to sell the common reed

The LUT study indicates there are only a few mechanical harvesting technologies for the common reed. All of the technologies examined are at an early stage of development. On the other hand, the common reed has various uses. Traditionally, it has served as material for thatched roofs as such, untreated, which has not required highly refined harvesting mechanisms. Therefore, the harvesting technologies have typically been small-scale, relying on adaptations to existing equipment. This inevitably leads to high harvesting costs.

”The growth, weather and soil conditions make harvesting varied and challenging,” says the working group’s Jyri Kuitunen.

“Another important aspect is the presently missing logistics and storage of harvested common reed,” says another member of the group, Aysu Cansu, who interviewed representatives of a local harvesting company in Kouvola, Finland.

“Currently, they do not know how to transport and sell their harvested common reed, which is a huge problem. The feasibility of the process could be greatly improved by solving this problem,” she continues.

Cost-efficient harvesting technologies can make reed a raw material for bioethanol

The common reed would be an interesting addition to the raw material range in bioethanol production. Harvesting the reed efficiently would also help control the nutrient content of water bodies and promote the green transition.

Another mentor of the student research group, Janne Harjunpää of the company Myllykosken bioetanoli Oy, emphasizes that harvesting the common reed from water areas would help to eliminate nutrient runoffs, and the use of the reed as a raw material for second generation biofuels would reduce the need to import fossil fuels and thus also reduce CO2 emissions. However, high harvesting costs are the main obstacle to exploiting the common reed on an industrial scale.

The large-scale utilization of the common reed for different purposes would also create significant regional and international business opportunities.

“The study highlights the opportunities in our region to turn the challenges of this era into opportunities. The innovative exploitation of the common reed can give us a clear advantage in creating new business. We definitely need to seize the opportunity,” says the group’s third mentor, Mika Penttilä from Kouvola Innovation Oy.

The study sheds light on the existing harvesting technologies and creates a solid basis for further development. It will be utilized in, for instance, the development of harvesting methods and planning the financing of further studies and projects.

The members of LUT University’s student working group were Nazila Bolourieh, Aysu Cansu, Anne Fraser-Vatto, Jyri Kuitunen and Daniel Teittinen. The group was supervised by Jutta Nuortila-Jokinen, industry professor at LUT University.

More information: