Everybody is talking about cleantech

Next summer, North Sweden Cleantech will host an international cleantech conference in Skellefteå. Cleantech is a hot topic whenever sustainable industry, growth and the future are discussed. But what is cleantech and why is everybody talking about it? And what role will northern Sweden play in its development?

Susanne Lindström is a project manager for North Sweden Cleantech, an innovation and export platform tasked with promoting the region in northern Sweden as a major player in the development of products, services and research associated with cleantech. Around 80 companies in the region are currently linked to the platform, which helps them generate increased interest in their cleantech-related activities.

World-leading research

The area is particularly rich in cleantech-focused companies. Processum, Martinsons, Skellefteå Kraft, Umeå Energi, Bioendev, Node Pole, Eco-Oil and Northvolt are among those at the forefront of sustainability work and research being undertaken in their respective industries.

“This region is leading the world when it comes to research into bio-based materials. Anything that can be made from oil can be made from wood,” says Lindström, who goes on to list everything from clothing to aviation fuel. 

Strong arguments

According to Lindström, there are many reasons to believe that the clean energy and the green solutions being generated in northern Sweden will make a major contribution to easing today’s climate-related problems. There are several arguments to support this case: the region has a highly-skilled population, is home to four universities, is ranked highly in innovation, and is a world leader in terms of metal recycling, to name just a few.

Even the region’s location is a huge asset, with a surplus of renewable energy from hydro, solar and wind power. Moreover, in a global context, this energy is also very cheap. And so eyes are now being turned toward northern Sweden. Facebook already has a gigantic data farm in Luleå, and the Node Pole company is working hard to promote the establishment of more facilities of this kind.

“There is much that we are good at, but northern Swedes are quite modest and need to be better at championing our own causes. Skellefteå, however, has lately been an exception to the rule. Skellefteå has stood up for itself, and this was clearly noticeable during its successful bid to lure Northvolt to the area. An important factor was that this was conducted in concert with other agents in the region, and the local residents were also on board. Cooperation is of central importance,” says Lindström.

A strong global agent

This brings us back to the international conference planned to take place in Skellefteå in June 2019. The focus will be on sustainable solutions of tomorrow regarding energy and smart cities.

“This will be an important element in positioning the region as a globally-strong agent in the development of sustainable solutions for the future. We are leaders in cleantech knowledge and innovation, and everybody needs to be made aware of this,” says Susanne Lindström.


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