Urgent need for talent and skills: Environmental problems require interdisciplinary solutions

Metsämaisema, havupuita.

A project funded by the Tiina and Antti Herlin Foundation creates more human resources for the green transition by producing a new kind of textbook, about ecologically sustainable energy solutions.

The project, funded by the Tiina and Antti Herlin Foundation, aims to create a new, interdisciplinary approach to the teaching of renewable energy engineering and, as a part of it, a new textbook.

The objective of the TAH Foundation’s Environmental Programme is to strengthen constructive dialogue on climate and the environment. It also aims to bring together different actors and support human resources in different parts of society. The idea is that the funded projects will bring more people in to the ecosystem of the Foundation’s focus areas, and they will implement the transition required to reduce emissions.

The new book will follow a structure that is suitable for running a course on renewable energy engineering. The aim is also to create and strengthen dialogue on finding sustainable energy solutions in the middle of the crisis on climate change and biodiversity loss. The theme is highly topical and, despite new science and more information emerges constantly, this type of textbook doesn’t exist yet. The book compiles the best available scientific information around this topic in a way that will be useful in energy engineering studies. The textbook will be published by the international scientific publishing house Springer Nature.

“We want the future generations of engineers to be real game changers and help them redesigning the world, avoid harmful lockdowns, avoid creating new problems while redesigning energy systems, in economically profitable and ecologically sustainable way. The energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is necessary but it can cause biodiversity tradeoffs. Therefore, it is important to solve the key challenges of our time, climate change and biodiversity loss, simultaneously”, say the book’s editors and authors, Professor Mika Järvinen and project leader Hanna Paulomäki from Aalto University.

“The green transition needs a growing number of skilled and efficient people who can carry out the long-term work required. This project responds to the challenge in a concrete and timely way. Initiating and maintaining discussion throughout the project is important, and in that respect, we also expect a lot from the project”, says Harri Lammi, Head of Environmental Projects at the TAH Foundation.

The book will lay down the principles of planetary boundaries as well as the safe operating zones for the planet and, connect the concepts to the techno-economical design of energy systems based on renewable resources. Special focus will be cast mainly on the following boundaries: climate change, biodiversity loss and land use. 

The book will concentrate on the main ways to produce renewable electricity and heat: solar energy, wind power and heat pumps combined with energy storage systems. The technical and economical basic design principles are discussed as well as their integration to the existing energy systems. The use of waste and bioenergy as energy source will be a part of the book.  Each section is also going to provide an overview of the different impacts of renewable energy production on ecosystems and biodiversity and, the implications for the transition to a green economy. In addition, virtual reality (VR) tools will be utilized when creating teaching materials and moreover, students will be engaged into the project throughout in different ways.

More information

Professor Mika Järvinen/Aalto University,  

Project coordinator, visiting researcher Hanna Paulomäki/Aalto University, 040 7292706,

Head of Environmental Projects Harri Lammi/Tiina ja Antti Herlin Foundation, 050 3831822,

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Mika Järvinen is professor of energy technology at Aalto university. In his work he focuses on renewable energy technologies, hydrogen applications, Power2X solutions and capturing and utilizing CO2.

Hanna Paulomäki is an ecologist (MSc) who has worked with biodiversity and sustainability questions for twenty years as an expert and in leadership positions in international organizations including HELCOM, Oceana and Greenpeace Norden.