Five from Finland
Solutions with water
Finns innovate with H2O just like a duck takes to water.Julia Bushueva
Whether it’s bottling, purifying, filtering, monitoring or capturing energy, Finnish companies have a taste for water-related innovations.
Finland – the land of a thousand lakes. Well, actually, it’s something more like 188 000 lakes, if you are really counting. Add to this some 1 250 kilometres of coastline and perhaps it’s no surprise that Finns have come up with numerous solutions for a range of watery challenges.
Finland has been recognised for having the world’s best drinking water. This local company has bottled it and is taking it to the world. In 2019 it made headlines for being named the official water of the star-studded Super Saturday event on the night before the Super Bowl.
“Even though we already have experience from F1 VIP parties, the NFL final’s Super Saturday is our all-time dream event,” said Petteri Ahonen, CEO of Ice Age Water, the company behind the brand. “It’s also great to see that the more important the celebration, the more global attention is paid to the water offered there.”
This Finnish company teamed up with World Vision to launch a new solar-powered solution in Kenya that provides the local community with 8 000 litres of drinking water per day from a borehole. The solution is based on an innovative solar-powered reverse osmosis system that can produce pure water without any chemicals or emissions from fresh and saline water alike.
“Reverse osmosis typically requires much energy. Solar Water Solutions comes in to provide a technological solution to solve this energy challenge,” stated CEO Antti Pohjola. “Our solution makes it possible to supply safe water to people living in remote areas without electricity coverage.”
The ever-active researchers at VTT want to save the nutrients and carbon in municipal sewage and some industrial waste waters.
VTT in 2017 designed a resource container concept based on physico-chemical methods that are used or under development in the industrial sector.
“The focus of substance extraction will be specifically on the products, such as nutrients, biocarbon and clean water, instead of at their disposal,” we wrote at the time. “The operating model does not include biological treatment, so it can be flexibly implemented.”
The water-focused expertise doesn’t end there, with VTT also developing a method to detect and capture microplastics before they enter waterways and start accumulating in the bodies of fish and other water animals.
When Finnish heating, cooling, plumbing and infrastructure solutions provider Uponor teamed up with American company Belkin International to establish Phyn, the result was intelligent. The Phyn Plus water monitoring system alerts homeowners of changes in water usage via a mobile app.
“Phyn’s intelligent water solution, Phyn Plus, is a great addition to Uponor’s product offering and fully in line with our strategic goals in terms of digitalisation and sustainability,” commentedJyri Luomakoski, president and CEO of Uponor. “Phyn Plus protects house owners from leaks, conserves water and enhances our way of using water.”
Apart from the abundance of lakes, Finland also has a coastline 1 250 kilometres in length. This company has thus turned its attention to waves in order to generate electricity. Largely unexplored until recently, the wave energy field is valued at over 74 billion euros. Wello’s Penguin Wave Energy Converter is at the forefront of the push to harness the power of the sea.
“Wello’s team and financiers have spent a vast amount of effort during the previous 10 years to develop this extraordinary technology,” commented Wello’s CEO, Heikki Paakkinen, after the company inked an agreement to introduce its wave energy converters to the Chinese market. “Now we are in a position to harvest the results: there are new enquiries and contracts coming in, and we really are on the verge of conquering the world with Penguins.”