FREED Project & WDC Supporting Energy Innovation.

The FREED Project aim to support start-up and SME’s to utilise and develop innovative energy technologies is coming to fruition. The Western Development Commission recently signed contracts with Proair Heat Recovery Ventilation Systems, a Galway based company, to advance the product TRL level of their Proair Indoor Climate Control System (PAICCS).



The PAICCS is the next generation Combined Heating and Heat Recovery System and this innovative concept can revolutionise how houses are heated and ventilated and be disruptive to traditional systems such as radiators and under-floor. The secret behind PAICCS is a cleverly configured air to air mini heat pump which leverages much higher than normal performance from an air to air plate exchanger. This combined arrangement has the capacity, in certain conditions to produce a coefficient of performance of >10. This is more than double its closest competing system.


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Future of the energy systems was on focus at the Energy Forum

The future of the nergy systems was on focus at the Energy forum held at the Martti Ahtisaari Institute, Oulu, Finland on 29th of May. Three engaging presentations were given, which dealt with the changing energy market and its challenges.

In the first presentation “Market Design Challenges for Low Carbon Electricity Supply Industries” by Frank Wolak, Holbrook Working Professor of Commodity Price Studies at Stanford University, talked about the difficulties with introducing increasing amounts of renewable energy to the market, while using California as an example. Especially the difficulties of day-ahead pricing with somewhat unpredictable nature of solar and wind power compared to that of thermal energy. Professor Wolak also presented some ideas for solutions that could make low carbon electricity more favorable in the market.

Maria Kopsakangas-Savolainen, Research Professor, University of Oulu and the Finnish Environment Institute Energy Hierarchies to Energy Communities, talked about flexible demand and supply in Nordic energy markets. Kopsakangas-Savolainen presented some of the strengths of the unique Nordic energy market and also results of a customer survey focused on the customers’ willingness to adapt to a more flexible energy market in the future.

Lastly, Jan Sagerstam, Development Director at Empower IM Ltd, held a presentation with a title “From Energy Hierarchies to Energy Communities”. Sagerstam further focused on how the Nordic electric market will change in the future and how the different operators will settle to their places in the new more flexible market. He also talked about how the flexible supply and demand systems also require more communication between consumers and providers, the Nordic electric grid is in this way also ready for the change as most of the consumers are already fitted with smart electric meters.

The programme, including presentations, is available here: The event was organised in cooperation with the BCDC Energy research project, which is coordinated by Uniersity of Oulu. More information about BCDC Energy is available from here:

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Opportunity for Irish Entrepreneurs in Circular Economy

Green Alley Award 2017 open for applications.

As a strict EU waste package is being negotiated in Brussels, Green Alley is looking for solutions which can implement the potential provisions. For the fourth time, green start-ups and young entrepreneurs can apply for the Green Alley Award, Europe’s founder’s prize for the circular economy. We’re looking not only for business models relating to resource conservation, the circular economy, and recycling, but also for innovations in handling chemicals. This year, the award will focus on Ireland in addition to Germany, the UK, and Finland. Start-ups can submit applications at until 25 July, 2017.



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Harnessing the sun’s energy is a no-brainer

More than just a car manufacturer, Tesla’s interest in renewable energy sees the company’s solar panel roof project finally show its face. Read the full article at Silicon Republic HERE

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FREED call for energy innovations is open



FREED call for energy innovations has been opened. We are looking for SMEs, who have innovative solutions that address the following themes: Intelligent grid (IoT), Energy storage, Smart and efficient buildings and environment, Renewable energies solutions.

There are six individual calls, which are issued by participating project partners and implemented in their home regions. The winning bid of each call can be awarded up to 30 000 euros for an energy innovation, which is going to be demonstrated at a facility allocated for these purposes by the call issuing project partner. The call is open until 15th of March 2017. The terms of reference of the call are available here.


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New year, new tricks – more focus in Norway on CCS and Green Growth in 2017

Building of a full-scale demonstration facility for Carbon Capture and storage (CCS) is expected to move forward in Norway during 2017. The Norwegian Government has allocated about 360 million NOK (40 million EURO) for the concept study of a CCS facility, which should lead into a investment decision in 2019. CCS is one of the Government’s prioritized areas for enhanced climate action, which is expected to help in reaching the climate goals set for Norway. However, the aim is also to increase knowledge of this process across the world and support the national green growth strategy in general.



The benefit of the project

In order for a full-scale project to gain socio-economic returns it has to contribute to the reduction of barriers and costs for CCS development. In parallel with the feasibility studies the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has carried out a concept of evaluation, which seeks to answer whether full-scale CCS is socio-economically profitable or not. The following aspects form the basis for evaluating the benefits from a CCS project:

  • Achieve knowledge that can be transferred across countries and sectors.
  • Provide storage solutions with sufficient capacity for economies of scale.
  • Demonstrate that CCS is a safe and effective climate measure.
  • Contribute to improvements of the market situation for CCS.

The conclusion from the feasibility study was that all these aspects would contribute to reducing barriers and costs for future CCs projects and that it would be particularly valid for alternatives which establish and qualify storage sites and other infrastructure with capacity to store excess amounts of CO2.


Cooperation between state and the Industry

The findings of the feasibility study stressed the importance of cooperation between the state and industry in realisation of CCS capture facilities. This was needed  for development of CCS value chains, establishment of a business model for capture, transport and storage, update cost estimates and further development of technology. From the state’s side  it is important that they could share their cost and risk in the development phase with the industry players that participate in the project.


Next phase – The concept phase

The next phase will be used to optimise concepts, clarify technical requirements and develop a technical and commercial basis for an investment decision. This work is essential in providing a sufficient basis for an investment decision for both the State and the industry players, which is planned for the spring of 2019. The industry actors will have to make their own investment decisions, therefore they should get time to carry out concepts, models and procedures. A full-scale CCS project could then be realised in 2022.



In order to ensure that the CCS is a safe and effective climate measure, the authorities will enter contracts for the financing of concept studies with up to three capture projects. This should ensure the validity of the received results, lower risk of lack of CO2 for the chain, and reduce CO2 cost per unit with increasing CO2 volumes in the chain. Projects which fulfill the set criteria in the coming announcement can apply for the funding.

The development of a storage site will be based on an on-shore facility. An on-shore facility will be well suited to provide economies of scale in the sense that it has capacity to receive volumes from other CO2 capture projects.


Incentive structure

Building up a demonstration facility for a new technology, such as for CCS, is not possible without incentives. The Government will therefore establish framework conditions and incentives for building of this demonstration facility in Norway in cooperation with the industry players agreeing. This will ensure that the facility will be built in the first place, but will also be operate a cost effective CCS chain.



Building of a full scale CCS demonstration facility is only one feature of the Norwegian Government’s aspirations to support green growth. An expert committee on green competitiveness put forward a report for the Norwegian Prime Minister and Minister of Climate and Environment, which forms an important starting point for drafting of a  Norwegian green growth strategy.


In the years ahead, both the Norwegian and international economy must shift towards a low-carbon society. The Norwegian Government ambition is to create new, profitable jobs in businesses that assist Norway and other countries in this green restructuring.


National strategy

In the report, the committee proposes a national strategy for how to reduce greenhouse gas emission, while Norway at the same time maintains value creation and high rates of employment. The committee has as a premise that Norway should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and become a low-carbon society by 2050. Restructuring towards a low-emission society requires a broad commitment and the ability to seize new opportunities – and a green growth strategy gives a lot of opportunities.



To succeed in meeting these goals the Norwegian businesses must contribute to these aims as well, which was clearly demonstrated in the report already. Large parts of the business sector were involved in the process and the Minister praised the committee for having interacted so well with these players. In line with the mandate the committee received from the government, it has requested opinions and input from key industries, enterprises, organisations and academia from various parts of the country. Eleven sectors have submitted their own roadmaps towards green competitiveness – also the renewable energy sector.



The committee report and the numerous roadmaps give us analysis and proposals that will contribute to the work of government on the white paper regarding long-term perspectives on the Norwegian economy and the white paper on industry. They also contribute to the following-up of cooperation with the EU on climate targets for 2030.


Renewable Energy Funding

One interesting result of the committees work on a green growth strategy  is that it could result in a increased funding of renewable energy. One of the suggestions of the report was to initiate a long-term investment funding in the form of a venture capital fund, which would invite private capital to invest together with public funding on renewable energy projects.

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Innovate Energy 2016 Conference, Enniskillen, 8th of December

The FREED Project  held their ‘Innovate Energy 2016 Conference’ recently on 8th December in the Passive Pavilion in CREST, South West College, Enniskillen. The project aims to support SME’s by offering funding and support to those with innovative ideas for the energy sector, and is funded under Interreg’s Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) Programme.

The project itself is running for 3 years, with partners from all over the region; University of Oulu (Finland), South West College (Northern Ireland), European Institute for Innovation (EIfI – European-wide), Limerick Institute of Technology (Ireland), Western Development Committee (Ireland), Green Angel Syndicate (Scotland) and Narvik Science Park (Norway).

The event was a great success, offering attendees and indeed those watching live online, an insight into the ‘Opportunities in Energy Innovation’. The morning got off to an inspiring start with the various partners speaking to the audience, each offering their own perspectives on the project, and what they thought the project could do for SME’s, as well as the NPA Regions involved. As Ian Brannigan (Western Development Committee) so rightly highlighted, it was very fitting that the event was held in Enniskillen – it is one of the outermost regions in the project, and is truly on the periphery of Europe. He also stated that coincidentally, it is on the western coast of Ireland where innovation is most prominent, so even the location managed to set a great tone for the day.

Niko Hänninen (University of Oulu) gave an introduction to the project and what it can offer SME’s, as for many this was their first encounter of the project. Ian Brannigan then talked of what the needs are for each region, and why energy innovations are so important to help us bridge the existing gap in order to satisfy these needs. Nick Lyth (Green Angel Syndicate) offered an interesting perspective as a funder. He provided advice on how SME’s can access funding, and what it is that funder’s are seeking from an applicant requiring funding. John Harrison of South West College then introduced the ‘main event’ whereby various SME’s with ideas made a pitch to the audience. The presentations were very successful, with six companies presenting in total; Sunamp, Energiedata, PCS, B9 Energy, Arbarr and Energy Tube. This was chaired by Chris Ashe of European Institute for Innovation, and gave the opportunity for the speakers to interact with the audience and answer any questions about their ideas.

There was a Q&A session to wrap up the afternoon which also proved useful to the audience. Some attendees may only have been at the concept stage with their innovations and would require funding to carry out their ideas any further. This gave them the opportunity to find out how to go about accessing funding and gather information on what other support could be available to them.


Some of the speakers of the Innovate Energy 2016 conference gathered for a group photo before the event kicked off. The conference was held at the  CREST – Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable technologies, South West College, Enniskillen. The CREST Passive Pavilion, one of the most sustainable buildings in the UK and Ireland, provided appropriate surroundings for an event addressing innovations in energy.

Front Row (L-R): David Surplus (B9 Energy), Chris Ashe (EIFI), Ciaran McManus (South West College), Joan Condell (University of Ulster), Niko Hänninen (University of Oulu), Heiko Hummel (Energy Tube/Energiedata 4.0)

Back Row (L-R): John Harrison (South West College), Nick Lyth (Green Angel Syndicate), Phil Whitby (Arbarr), Kevin Fitzgibbon (PCS)







PowerPoint Presentations delivered over course of day:










FREED Part One – Full Morning Session

Introduction to FREED Project – Niko Hanninen, University of Oulu

Launch of FREED Funding Competition – John Harrison – SWC

FREED Industry Presentation 1 – Sunamp

FREED Industry Presentation 2 – Energydata Gmbh

FREED Industry Presentation 3 – Predictive Control Systems

FREED Industry Presentation 4 – B9

FREED Industry Presentation 5 – Arbarr

FREED Industry Presentation 6 – Joan Condell – Ulster University

FREED Industry Presentation 7 – Energy Tube

FREED Partner Panel

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Newsletter 1&2

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© 2017 FREED Project