Update from the Nordics: Celebrating collaboration with Finland

Exploring clean fuels, quantum computing, the future of maritime and celebrating collaboration with Finland

The past couple of days have been extremely exciting and productive, including a visit to Neste World Headquarters in Espoo, Finland. Originally an oil and gas company, Neste is now the leading supplier of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel to the U.S. as well as a supplier of renewable diesel and recycled and renewable plastics.

Presentation on clean diesel at Neste HQ in Finland

Neste is the leading supplier of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel to the U.S.

The delegation then walked one building over from Neste to learn about IQM, the leading European startup building superconducting quantum computers. A highlight of the day was descending into an old nuclear bunker to see the computer at work. Many innovative companies are located in and around the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland campus – an example of physical clustering in proximity to a strong academic partner.

We rounded out the afternoon with Finnish Marine Industries learning about their cluster, sharing information about Washington state innovation clusters, and hearing presentations from several of their member companies, which include providers of “smart ports” technology.

photo of Joshua Berger presenting on joint innovation projects by Washington Maritime Blue

Washington Maritime Blue Founder, President and CEO Joshua Berger talks about join innovation projects underway with Washington’s maritime technology innovation cluster

“I was impressed by the tight coordination between the Finnish Maritime Associate and its membership,” said Seth Abelson, Program Director of the Washington Autonomous Vehicles Cluster (WAV-C). “The association not only provides guidance, but it also orchestrates strategy with research institutions and government to open space for companies of all sizes, and as a result all cluster members benefit from what is happening in the market place.”

A key next step will be connecting and identifying potential joint projects between Finnish Marine Industries and our innovation clusters, particularly Washington Maritime Blue, WAV-C, and EDGE Cluster (5g).

Photo of Gov Jay Inslee and officials at an MOU event in Finland

Gov. Jay Inslee (right) led a celebration of Washington state’s agreement with Finland commitment to collaborate on connectivity and smart ports technology

To close the day, we joined Gov. Inslee, Finland Minister of Transportation Timo Harraka, U.S. Ambassador Douglas Hickey, Wärtsilä CEO Håkan Agnevall, Washington State Department of Commerce Assistant Director Chris Green, and many Finnish partners at Wärtsilä World Headquarters to celebrate the memorandum of understanding between Finland and Washington state. The MOU, signed last November, established a commitment to collaborate on connectivity and smart ports-related technology.  We are energized thinking about how Washington state innovation clusters will facilitate partnership with Finnish innovation clusters, companies, academic partners, and other organizations as a result of connections made during this trade mission.

More to come tomorrow!

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