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News 09.04.2020

SmartFlex for power plant flexibility

The goal of the SmartFlex project is to realize the potential of new digital solutions and data-based approaches in design and operation of thermal power plants. The project led by VTT is funded by Business Finland.

The need for smart solutions is evident due to the increasing complexity of the energy system and its demands on boilers as electricity network supporting and stabilizing elements. In parallel with increasing flexibility demands, emission limits tighten and sustainable fuels are preferred. 

In the short term, energy production in existing power plants needs to be adapted to new conditions. In slightly longer term, next-generation power plants and new concepts that produce more than just energy and where energy storage plays an important role need to be developed. SmartFlex addresses both the short term and the long term demands.

To satisfy all the different, partly even contradictory, requirements, new monitoring and control tools and methods for process operation, including a new boiler concept, will be developed in the project based on substantially better process knowledge, new sensors and new intelligent combinations of modeling and measurement data.

The public SmartFlex research project is tightly linked to parallel industrial projects so that the general methodology is developed in the research project while the company projects concentrate more on specific applications.

VTT News: Smart control of power plants to support the growth of renewable energy

More information

Helena Sarén
helena.saren (at)

Jarkko Piirto
jarkko.piirto (at)

Smart Energy Finland Program