Soletair Power found new customers with the Fast Expert Teams network and a digital platform

Soletair Power found new customers with the Fast Expert Teams network and a digital platform

Soletair Power in Lappeenranta had a challenge: where to find the very first customer for the company’s pioneering green technology innovation.

The company had developed a device to produce synthetic renewable fuel from carbon dioxide in air supplied to building ventilation.

– In other words, we create fuel from thin air, which is very ecological”, says Petri Laakso, CEO of the company.

– We knew the product was great. The challenge was to find potential customers.

Soletair Power’s concept is to harvest carbon dioxide (CO2) from air. This results in better indoor air quality and an environment where people can work more efficiently. And the benefits don’t stop there.

– The harvested carbon dioxide can be combined with hydrogen to make hydrocarbon, which in turn can be made into synthetic fuel, Laakso explains.

– At the same time, the building functions as a carbon sink. Our device can be used to create negative CO2 emissions in the property. This is what makes a building a carbon sink.

Although the product was great, it had to be piloted. To find potential customers, Laakso turned to Markku Mäki-Hokkonen, Development Manager of the Greenreality Network in the city of Lappeenranta.

Together they came up with the idea to try the newly created Fast Expert Teams (FET) network’s service. FET is a fast-moving temporary team of experts taking advantage of digital platforms and networks. Each selected business-driven problem is solved with the support of the chosen facilitator.

Fast Expert Teams project

The FET problem-solving model has been under development in the Greenreality Network with the help of the Fast Expert Teams project, which launched in 2019. LUT University is developing an operating model for the Greenreality Network together with the City of Lappeenranta.

– The idea is to create a new model – or, in fact, a service – to solve the network’s problems together digitally, Mäki-Hokkonen explains.

– The service needed testers, and Soletair Power’s call came as if on cue!

Laakso and Mäki-Hokkonen entered the challenge into the digital platform. The beginning looked promising.

– Janne Hietaniemi and Eetu Helminen from Solved, who acted as the facilitators, had extensive networks and provided a lot of excellent contacts and discussions, Laakso says.

– We talked to various experts and service providers.

However, quite soon after the start it was discovered that it is difficult to find a paying customer for such a novel solution.

– We changed our focus a little and had interesting discussions with various parties – researchers, service providers and property owners, among others.

– The whole process was a combination of consulting experts, collaboration, brainstorming, and consideration of shared tools.

Overall, the project that made use of Solved’s digital platform and the energy and cleantech community lasted for two and a half months. During this time, about 10 pilot customers were identified and contacted.

– The effort involved about 20 experts, Laakso says.

– During the process, we managed to connect the right people and, overall, we were able to record over 100 separate ideas or insights related to the issue.

Mäki-Hokkonen also finds the results very encouraging and invites all existing and potential new members of the Greenreality Network to try problem-solving on the Solved platform. The service is intended specifically for members of the network.

– As always in Greenreality, this project aims to create more jobs related to sustainable development and digitalisation, thereby gaining more vitality in the area, Mäki-Hokkonen concludes.


The Fast Expert Teams as catalysts for the Greenreality Network initiative is implemented by the City of Lappeenranta and LUT University. Its main funder is the European Regional Development Fund.

For more information, please contact:

Petri Laakso, CEO, Soletair Power Oy
tel. +358 40 544 5646, petri.laakso@soletairpower.fi

Markku Mäki-Hokkonen, Development Manager, City of Lappeenranta, Greenreality Network
tel. +358 40 569 5515, markku.maki-hokkonen@lappeenranta.fi

Kirsimarja Blomqvist, Professor, LUT School of Business and Management
tel. +358 40 755 1693, kirsimarja.blomqvist@lut.fi