Carbon-neutral Otaniemi will get a boost from the Climate-KIC project

30.09.2015
Marjukka Puolakka

Innovations and smart companies now occupy the key position in the prevention of climate change.

Climate KIC

Aalto University exemplifies sustainable development and carbon-neutral city environment at its own campus, which is being developed towards energy self-sufficiency and freedom from emissions. The recently signed partnering agreement with the EU-wide Climate-KIC project will provide an excellent opportunity for this.

Climate-KIC is the expertise and innovation association of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). It is also Europe's biggest cooperation project, related to climate change, between the public and private sectors. In the prevention of climate change, Climate-KIC combines teaching, entrepreneurship and innovation.

- Year 2015 will be crucial from the perspective of climate change. That year is now the litmus test for the EU's development objective towards carbon-neutral cities, and very smart start-up companies are needed for the task. Aalto University's Otaniemi campus project is an excellent platform where to demonstrate the ideas. In fact, the focus in Climate-KIC is precisely on testing good ideas and converting them into larger scale, Bertrand van Ee, Managing Director of Climate-KIC, points out.

Antti Ahlava, Vice President of Aalto University, tells that companies currently show great interest in moving to the same blocks and buildings with the university.

- With Climate-KIC, Aalto University will be able to cooperate on many different levels with the network's other partners. We will get know-how and access to large projects in the scale of whole Northern Europe. We will become eligible for funding not only for research but also for cooperation between universities and companies, Ahlava continues.

Search for Europe's best start-up in cleantech

Right now, Climate-KIC is searching for Europe's best start-up company in the area of cleantech. The competition final will take place in October in Birmingham. The places for the representatives of the Nordic countries there were contested on 28 September in Urban Mill premises.  Among the six companies participating, Nanomaji and RePack represented Finland.

During the contest, the representatives of the start-ups had five minutes at their disposal to convince the jury about the innovativeness, business model and spirit of sustainable development of their company's product idea.

Two companies were declared winners: Finnish RePack and Norwegian Desert Control. RePack service is a reusable packaging and return service, which is particularly suitable for online commerce. Desert Control system cost-efficiently converts desert into arable land and reduces plants' water consumption. The winners were awarded a cheque of € 20,000 each accompanied with blue-and-white flowers.