News release 6.5.2019

Black carbon is one of the major contributors to Arctic warming. The Climate Leadership Coalition and its partners wanted to raise the awareness on this and launched a campaign “White Show, Clean Air” to find scalable solutions to reduce black carbon. The winners of the innovation competition were announced today at the 11th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Rovaniemi.

The Arctic is warming at twice the global average rate, and it is estimated that 20-25% of Arctic warming is caused by black carbon. Black carbon particles warm the atmosphere and when they land on the surface of snow and ice, they absorb sunlight, which accelerates the melting of snow and ice. Approximately one third of Arctic warming is caused by black carbon emitted by the Arctic Council’s member states. The main sources of black carbon are residential burning of wood, other biomass and coal – creating more than half of black carbon emissions – and transport, industry, power plants, and flaring, i.e. the burning of excess oil and gas at oil production sites.

The Climate Leadership Coalition, the Bioenergy Association of Finland, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and the Central Association of Chimney Sweeps organised a campaign and innovation competition to find scalable black carbon reduction solutions during 2018-2019. The competition searched for solutions that will decrease and eliminate black carbon emissions in domestic burning and industrial processes and are can be applied also internationally.

Three companies, Neste, Nunnauuni and Wärtsilä were awarded innovation prizes at the Welcome reception of the 11th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting, Rovaniemi May 6, 2019. Outside the competition, the Finnish Chimney Sweepers association and its members were awarded a special token of recognition.

The winner in the domestic burning category is Nunnauuni for developing a burning method – Golden Fire – producing an extremely high temperature, in which wood gasifies evenly and burns efficiently with minimal emissions.

The winners in the industry categories are Wärtsilä and Neste. Wärtsilä has developed emission reduction solutions for gas flaring in oil drilling and production. Flare gas ignition removes the need for pilot flare, while Flare gas recovery allows the utilisation of associated gases that would otherwise be flared for the production of energy. Wärtsilä has also developed environmentally sound technologies to upgrade gaseous hydrocarbon with low methane number to high quality natural gas.

Neste has developed variety of renewable fuels and one of the latest developments is Neste MY Renewable Jet Fuel™, a sustainable aviation fuel, produced from 100% renewable and sustainable raw materials and reducing both CO2 and black carbon emissions in aviation. Neste has also been recognized internationally as a developer of sustainable products and placed 3rd on the Corporate Knights 2019 Global 100 list of the most sustainable companies in the world.

Outside the competition, the members of the Central Association of Chimney Sweeps were awarded a special token of recognition for the work to teach all Finns with a fireplace, stove or boiler to use these in such a way that the emissions of black carbon are minimised and the energy efficiency maximised. A local chimney sweep, Jari Takanen, of Salo was a key person and gave inspiration for the initiative. In addition, while visiting homes, chimney sweepers shared information on citizens’ climate action – things we can all do in our everyday lives. The information package was produced by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.

“Warm congratulations for the winners and thank you Climate Leadership Coalition and other organisers for this initiative. I hope that it will have many followers in Finland and internationally” said Permanent secretary Hannele Pokka from the Finnish Ministry of the Environment, in the award ceremony.

The members of the expert panel deciding the awards were Mikael Hildén (chair, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE), Jouni Keronen (Climate Leadership Coalition CLC), Kaarle Kupiainen (Ministry of the Environment), Hannu Murtokare (Central Association of Chimney Sweeps), Helena Sarén (Business Finland), Mika Sulkinoja (Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra) and Hannes Tuohiniitty  (Bioenergy Association of Finland).

More information

Mikael Hildén, Finnish Environment Institute, mikael.hilden(at) +358 40 740 1675              

Jouni Keronen, Climate Leadership Coalition, jouni.keronen(at), tel: +358 50 453 4881