Smart Climate Leads the Way to A Greener Avion Industry

Smart Climate is the company that contributes to a green transformation of the aviation industry. Innovation being developed and manufactured in Umeå is an environmentally smart cooling and heating system for the flight cabins.

- There are big initiatives to transform the aviation industry and low emissions and reduced energy usage will be an even stronger competitive factor, says Emma W Flodén, new CEO.

The story of Smart Climate begins in the late 70’s when engineer Anders Tengman from Umeå was a frequent traveller between Sweden and the Middle East for work. It often struck him that the passengers and staff experienced extreme temperatures in the cabins, both in the cold Nordic countries and in the warm Middle East. An idea started to form about being able to control both heating and cooling in a climate and energy friendly way.

During his career as a VVS consultant, he gathered valuable knowledge and could not let go of the thought of a solution that uses the waterborne system of the airport. That is how the product Pure Generation AC was developed and in 2014 the first unit was installed at Ängelholm Airport. Since then, the system also has been installed at Luleå Airport and the aim is to export the system.

- We are present at the domestic market, but we want to expand and are mainly looking to middle and southern Europe, where we will be placing resources to be able enter the market. We are looking for collaboration partners such as airports that are requesting a greener and more energy efficient solution, says Emma.

Emma W Flodén Tomas Gustafsson
Emma W Flodén, CEO and Tomas Gustafsson, Head of Market Affairs at Smart Climate.

Tomas Gustafsson has handed over the CEO post to Emma and is stepping into a strategic role with focus on sales, and there are plans to grow.

- We are in the process of recruiting an additional sales expertise for our investment in Europe, we simply need to be more people to secure a continuous positive sales development. The time is right. Even before the pandemic, we could see that the airports have started the transition to a greener and more sustainable organisation. That is where our system steps in, says Emma.

Smart Climate was, after a screening process, chosen as one of four companies in a project about circular business models, carried out by North Sweden Cleantech together with Esam and the CEABNS network. During this project, the companies get support and guidance from business developers and business coaches, giving them the possibility to adjust their offer to a more sustainable one with the goal to find new organisations and markets.

Smart Climate participated in the international event Let’s Talk Circular Business, organised by North Sweden Cleantech, where they presented their journey towards a circular business model.

- We see that circular models are the way to go, and we want to be part of the transition from start. With our circular offer we create a higher value for the customer and thus a bigger value for us. Our participation here, gives us valuable input from the skilled business developers and coaches, both in shaping and finetuning of our circular business model and the best way to communicate this, says Emma.

Many airports have already waterborne heating systems which enables the ground staff to seamlessly and in user friendly manner connect Smart Climate’s Pure Gen AC to the aircraft. Traditionally, both diesel and electricity units are used as energy carriers for the climate units, including the aircraft's own auxiliary power unit (APU unit), but it is powered by jet fuel, which is both costly and the cause of large emissions. This is also strictly regulated in Europe

The waterborne solution of Smart Climate contributes to the energy of the terminal building being utilised in a better way, removing fossil fuels, and significantly decreasing the use of electricity.

- Our investigations show that the carbon dioxide emissions are decreased by 95 percent, compared to conventional systems. Our solution only uses 5 percent of the electricity used by traditional electricity units, which means freeing up electricity for other uses. Our unit can be controlled so that the temperature in the cabin always is correct and according to comparative measurements, the energy usage can be decreased by 40 percent which makes it very energy efficient, says Tomas.

The solution of the future from Smart Climate is competing with multinational companies.

- It is a bit like David and Goliath, but the reduction of energy usage is a huge competitive advantage for our solution. We can see that battery and electricity driven vehicles increase and a decrease in fossil fuel driven vehicles. On the ground, the aircrafts of the future needs to use electricity as a fuel, and not to get heating and cooling. It is a challenge to change behaviour, but we can see that it is happening, says Tomas.

- Today, we automatically think of electricity as the first option for the transition, but we can already see a problem with a capacity shortage and that the electricity not being green and from renewable resources. This makes the price of electricity going high. We are not against electricity, green electricity is a great solution, but the right energy needs to be at the right place, that is where our waterborne solution is an excellent means in the transition. We can release electrical capacity, which is better needed somewhere else in the organisation, says Emma.

Originally, she is the goldsmith who completely changed course of her career to work with something sustainable, choosing an education in energy engineering at Umeå University. She did her thesis at Smart Climate and a function which involves return air which contributes to decreasing the energy usage even more, a feature that is coming.

- When I chose my education, I was thinking that energy will be a current topic for a long time and sustainability is something I am passionate about. That is why it is great to be working at a company which has a great focus on energy efficiency and sustainability. Considering how the winds are blowing in the aviation industry, we have a strong offer and can contribute to a better and greener aviation, says Emma.

At Luleå Airport, Smart Climate's heating and cooling system has been used successfully.

The product Pure Generation AC has shown in comparative measurements that it is possible to reduce energy use by as much as 40 percent.

Read more about Smart Climate here.

Read more about Smart Climate here.


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