Petteri Salonen: A Determined Leader Making A Difference In Energy Industry

Petteri Salonen

In order to succeed as an entrepreneur, one must be persistent and have the conviction to carry out their plans. Entrepreneurship in the energy sector is difficult because it is evolving with new technologies, and it’s important to keep an open mind and stay updated on issues related to the industry. The energy industry has been around for close to 25 years and is very different from other industries as it undergoes frequent overnight changes.

Finrenes is one of the few companies that have managed to keep up with the continuously changing marketplace. The company was established to develop and commercialize technologies for turning biowaste into energy. The company develops and commercializes solutions for converting waste biomass into Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) .

While the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine altered the course of history by affecting security, the availability of oil, and food, it has been a blessing in disguise for Finrenes because it has been working to get rid of fossil fuels including Russian natural gas, and has a solution ready. The company is led by Petteri Salonen (CEO). With his keen interest in technology and BioFuelFab, he is guiding the company in the correct direction and hopes to find European partners to build 10 BioFuelFabs to supply biomethane.

Journey to Making a Difference

Petteri began his career working for Nokia and Samsung in the mobile industry. He joined Nokia in the early 1990s when the company was still in its infancy and everything was still open. Petteri gained a lot of knowledge from global business and technological advancement and introduced numerous improvements to the smartphone and mobile imaging markets. To standardize the camera interface, Petteri oversaw a MIPI team that worked with the entire industry. He co-created the CSI-2, the first mobile camera standard that was really embraced by the industry and is still used in the majority of mobile devices with cameras. Companies could create new cameras and imaging solutions because of the standardized interface, which has made mobile imaging the most popular form of imaging in everyday life.

In 2010, following Nokia and Samsung, Petteri took a sabbatical and concluded that the fine mobile device industry was mature and that he needed fresh challenges in areas that mattered. Soon after, Petteri understood that energy was the next big thing and that energy security would be a problem because climate change was already viewed as a worldwide concern. Petteri decided to do the basic research on where there are underutilized large-scale energy sources and make a difference with Finrenes.

One day while visiting the countryside, Petteri stopped at a grain field, just before harvest. He understood that people only consume the top 4 inches of grain and leave the 2 feet of straw to rot in the ground. He first considered using straw as a source of energy and searched for additional under- or untapped biomass sources before coming up with the idea of using lignocellulose to produce biomethane because there is a tremendous supply of feedstock available and very little other use for the material.

Establishment of Finrenes

Finrenes was established in 2013 following a few years of covert activity. The company conducted fundamental research on the use of lignocellulose after it was founded, and it produced the theoretical model that would be reviewed by the university in Tampere. Following the model’s approval, Finrenes submitted an international patent application and began using real testing tools. The goal of the company is to replace fossil fuels and it operates under the motto “Nothing goes to waste.”

The method implemented by Finrenes in a concept known as “BioFuelFab,” produces biomethane and brown pellets. The company created an industrial design to produce biomethane from lignocellulose for the REPowerEU program of the EU Commission. In addition to being appropriate for a 50 GWh installation of liquified biomethane (10 tonnes of liquified biomethane/day), its fundamental design responds to the REPowerEU middle-size biomethane installation of 4 Million Cubic Meters (MCM).

Prominent Services/ Solutions

A system and technique for processing biomass have been patented by Finrenes. Biogas and brown pellets made from lignocellulosic waste biomass are the products of Finrenes Solution.

Benefits of Finrenes technology include:

  • Using different types of waste biomass, including wood chips, hog wood, bark, and coconut hulls
  • The process does not need external energy, resulting in low operating costs
  • Pretreatment with steam instead of enzymes
  • Increase biogas process speed, triple capacity for the biogas process
  • Low OPEX, short investment payback time
  • Brown pellets can be used as fuel and fertilizer, lowering overall business risk

Beliefs in Leadership and Responsibilities

Petteri believes that running a company is really difficult. But if one perseveres, one will find the answer and move forward. Petteri personally doesn’t recall any of the difficulties because he thinks it’s best to move on. At Finrenes, he is in charge of everything as the CEO of a start-up, from technical development to business strategy. The core staff at Finrenes is small, but all are accomplished individuals that are passionate about realizing the company’s mission.

Anticipated Products/ Services and Customer Feedback

Based on customer input and market needs, Finrenes is developing a new offering and will provide new solutions. Petteri is eager to explore the world in all its facets. The company is in a new situation; it collaborates with its clients and partners to ensure the highest level of client and staff satisfaction.

When asked about a piece of advice for aspiring youth, Petteri responds, “Be patient and remember to live with the process. Being an entrepreneur is taxing, you don’t get to take time off often. Remember to take time for your family and other loved ones and enjoy your time, they give you the strength to make your dream come true.”

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