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Five from Finland


The future of this techhub is clean.Julia Bushueva

Finland is renowned for being a leading tech hub and one of the greenest countries in the world. It’s no surprise, then, that it is also a leader in cleantech innovation.

Clean technology, or cleantech, has taken the mantle of Finland’s biggest industry in recent years, offering a range of products and services that boost performance whilst minimising the damage done to the environment.

Finland has been named the second-most significant contributor to clean-energy innovations relative to GDP, and the local cleantech companies’ unique contribution to a more sustainable future has been recognised globally.

This Finnish quintet is working hard to find clean solutions for businesses and consumers.

Energy and resource efficiency is one of the pillars of cleantech. Given the prevalence of cooler months here up north, it’s unsurprising that an innovative approach to heating has emerged from Finland.

This award-winning local company offers an automated solution for residential, public and commercial buildings heated by water radiators that helps to limit the amount of wasted energy and can be controlled in the palm of your hand.

“With Fourdeg, people can tune their own indoor climate as they wish, within certain safety limits,” said CEO and co-founder Markku Makkonen. “They control it via the phone or pad app, adjust every room and can make a schedule.”

Removing clogged up dirt – known as fouling – in industrial processes and heat exchangers has always been a cost- and time-intensive process. But instead of using mechanical tools or hazardous chemicals, Altum has harnessed something less invasive and more efficient for the job.

“With our system, all you need is our externally attached power ultrasound device,” explained CEO Matias Tainela. “It emits high-power ultrasonic waves into the machinery, which break up fouling without any production stoppages.”

The unique solution has quickly sparked interest across many industries. The company started US operations in Las Vegas in 2018 and is planning to facilitate its global growth with the recent one-million-euro loan received from the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation.

Cleantech represents a significant market opportunity when it comes to energy, water, waste and mobility challenges. Solved offers a systemic approach to deal with these complex challenges by connecting customers and their stakeholders with a global network of over 4 000 leading multidisciplinary sustainability experts.

“In order to tackle the issues in an optimal way, you need to access the best people and talent around the world and bring them quickly together,” noted CEO and co-founder Santtu Hulkkonen. “We have built a big expert network and have a collaborative platform which enables our clients to get the best possible team across company borders.”

Solved’s experts have contributed to hundreds of sustainability projects worldwide, including the Allas Sea Pool in the heart of Helsinki and the United Smart Cities programme.

This Espoo-based cleantech expert has developed a way to harness solar energy for water purification, thus helping to solve the global drinking water crisis. The solution is based on an innovative solar-powered reverse osmosis system that can produce pure water without any chemicals or emissions from seawater, lakes, rivers and saline water.

“Reverse osmosis typically requires much energy. Solar Water Solutions comes in to provide a technological solution to solve this energy challenge,” told CEO Antti Pohjola. “Our solution makes it possible to supply safe water to people living in remote areas without electricity coverage.”

Africa, with its dry climate, plenty of sunshine and plenty of off-grid areas, is one of the company’s main focuses. Solar Water Solutions’ water treatment units are being used on the continent to produce clean water for individual households and entire village communities, for example, in the Kenyan countryside.

A consortium of 14 Finnish maritime companies and five renowned research organisations has pledged 13 million euros to further digitalise the Finnish maritime ecosystem towards a smart and green future.

The purpose of INTENS is to equip the maritime value chain with digital solutions and build a competitive edge for the maritime cluster in energy-efficient and low-emission shipping. The project was initiated in 2018 and is set to run for a three-year period.

“The collaboration and funding from INTENS project allow us to create market-leading voyage planning services, with the potential to reduce 30 per cent of yearly shipping CO2 emissions,” stated NAPA Shipping Solutions’ Pekka Pakkanen.

Originally published in May 2018. Updated in June 2020

By: James O’Sullivan