Norrbottens test- and demonstration environment is speeding up the green transition

UNs panel on climate change IPCC states that we have 12 years left to reach the global emission targets in order to limit the global warming to 1.5oC. As new research shows that it usually takes about 20-30 years for innovations and new technology to be implemented on the mass markets, we should right now focus on the existing green innovations. In Norrbotten a number of industrial projects is currently focused on this – scaling up existing innovations to an industrial scale, with the potential of fundamentally changing their respective industries in the CO2 issue. A number of world leading brands within their respective industries, such as Facebook, BMW, NASA and airbus sees the region as a natural habitat of achieving just this. 

Bio-fuel on an industrial scale
One of the most prominent examples of regional initiatives where innovations in a short timespan have reached enormous proportions is SunPine’s bio-refinery. As the transport sector is today responsible for 15% of our global CO2 emissions, and as 95% of all transports still runs on fossil fuels, a change is vital. SunPine have in just 10 years gone from 0 to a 1.5 billion SEK revenue, and a production of 110 million liters of renewable fuel each year.

Magnus_Edin_Sunpine_06In 2018 entrepreneur Lars Stigsson and chemist Valeri Naydenov from Luleå University of Technology was awarded the Polhems-award for their work on establishing SunPine. The location in Norrbotten was motivated by the proximity to the raw material and the opportunities of the deep harbor in Piteå. The network that today is known as Piteå Science Park played a major role in creating the necessary foundation for what later became SunPine.

“The region has a strong tradition of cooperation around innovation and development. For SunPine, Smurfit Kappa has played a major role since the start, as it was crucial for our success that the forestry companies Sveaskog and Södra came in as part owners together with Preem. We now see the cooperation between LKAB and SSAB in the project Hybrit as an example of the regions cooperative power.” – Says Magnus Edin, CEO of SunPine.

Europe leading wind power farm
It is not only within bio-fuel and other new innovations that northern Sweden stands out when it comes to quickly scaling up existing solutions. Markbygden is perhaps one of the most ambitious industrial projects in recent Swedish history. Svevind and Enercon is currently proving to both Sweden but maybe also the world that large scale wind power is indeed a vital part of the world’s future energy supply.

“At Svevind we are convinced that wind power is an incredibly important component in the future’s energy mix. We can see that wind power just in a few years has gone from being highly marginal to a reliable energy source for all of Sweden” – says Mikael Kyrk, COO Svevind AB.

Upon completion, Markbygden will contribute with a full 6,6% of Sweden’s total electricity production. This has created positive reactions, and through this they hope to send an important signal to other countries around the world.

“We don’t see the climate question as something regional. We have chosen to establish the project in Markbygden as all the conditions for large scale industrial projects are in place in the region, but of course we also hope that other countries and companies across the world can be inspired to build large scale wind power farms in their regions as well” – are the final remarks of Mikael Kyrk