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ENVIRONMENT

The green Swedes who vow slash the world’s emissions

Jonathan Ward profiles Swedish company Climate Well, which saw its CEO nominated as European of the Year for technology that could drastically reduce CO2 emissions worldwide.

Business Profile

What is Climate Well?

It’s a company that promises to slash carbon emissions caused by homes and offices, by using solar power to heat and cool buildings. Controlling the climate at home, Climate Well says, need not be at the expense of the earth’s climate.

History

The company was founded by Ray Olsson and Göran Bolin, with backgrounds as entrepreneurs and expertise in solar energy. The company has developed from this core, promoting and developing it’s unique heat storage system abroad. It currently has research operations in both Sweden and Spain, where it has built a model house to showcase its technology.

Climate Well has already had considerable success. CEO Per Olofsson was recently nominated as European of the Year by European Voice Magazine, alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nicolas Sarkozy and Richard Branson. The magazine nominated him “for pioneering solar cooling technology, which could help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the heating and cooling of buildings.”

The sales pitch

The company aims to capitalise on the growing environmental awareness that climate change has brought. It claims that its solar system for heating and cooling can reduce a family’s CO2 emissions by 7,000 kg per year. It can also utilise district heating systems, as the technology allows the heat to be stored and delivered on command.

Climate Well uses the thermodynamic properties of water and salts to provide a solar powered heating and cooling system combined with a patented chemical heat pump and storage system. It is centred around a thermo-chemical accumulator (TCA) system that acts as a battery for heat, storing the heat created from solar or other power until it is needed. It can also absorb heat from warm places to keep them cool.

Future

The future, with growing pressure for people to reduce dependence on fossil fuel, is strong if the technology can access key markets. The solar system is intended for use in sunnier climates, where a majority of the world’s population live. Climate Well has already attracted substantial funding from a Spanish investor.

In the pipeline is an ambitious idea attracting the attention of the Swedish government and the paper and steel industries. The idea is to capture the enormous amount of waste heat from processes in these industries and store and export it to other areas that need it. The process is energy dense and efficient; if practice can match the theory, it could have profound implications for Europe and the rest of the world in meeting targets for Kyoto and whatever process follows.

Jonathan Ward

ALMEDALEN 2022

Green Party leader: ‘Right-wing parties want to push us out of parliament’

Per Bolund, joint leader of Sweden's Green party, spoke for thirteen and a half minutes at Almedalen before he mentioned the environment, climate, or fossil fuels, in a speech that began by dwelling on healthcare, women's rights, and welfare, before returning to the party's core issue.

Green Party leader: 'Right-wing parties want to push us out of parliament'

After an introduction by his joint leader Märta Stenevi, Bolund declared that his party was going into the election campaign on a promise “to further strengthen welfare, with more staff and better working conditions in healthcare, and school without profit-making, where the money goes to the pupils and not to dividends for shareholders”. 

Only then did he mention the party’s efforts when in government to “build the world’s first fossil-free welfare state”. 

“We know that if we want welfare to work in the future, we must have an answer to our time’s biggest crisis: the threat to the environment and the climate,” he said.

“We know that there is no welfare on a dead planet. We need to take our society into a new time, where we end our dependency on oil, meet the threat to the climate, and build a better welfare state within nature’s boundaries, what we call a new, green folkhem [people’s home].” 

He presented green policies as something that makes cities more liveable, with the new sommargågator — streets pedestrianised in the summer — showing how much more pleasant a life less dependent on cars might be.  

He then said his party wanted Sweden to invest 100 billion kronor a year on speeding up the green transition, to make Sweden fossil fuel-free by 2030. 

“We talk about the climate threat because it’s humanity’s biggest challenge, our biggest crisis,” he said. “And because we don’t have much time.” 

In the second half of his speech, however, Bolund used more traditional green party rhetoric, accusing the other political parties in Sweden of always putting off necessary green measures, because they do not seem urgent now, like a middle-aged person forgetting to exercise. 

“We know that we need to cut emissions radically if we are even going to have a chance of meeting our climate goal, but for all the other parties there’s always a reason to delay,” he said. 

“We are now seeing the curtain go up on the backlash in climate politics in Sweden. All the parties have now chosen to slash the biofuels blending mandate which means that we reduce emissions from petrol and diesel step for step, so you automatically fill your tank in a greener way. Just the government’s decision to pause the  reduction mandate will increase emissions by a million tonnes next year.” 

The right-wing parties, he warned, were also in this election running a relentless campaign against the green party. 

“The rightwing parties seem to have given up trying to win the election on their own policies,” he said. “Trying to systematically push out of parliament seems to be their way of trying to take power. And they don’t seem above any means. Slander campaigns, lies, and false information have become every day in Swedish right-wing politics.” 

He ended the speech with an upbeat note. 

“A better, more sustainable world is possible. There is a future to long for. If you give us a chance then that future is much closer than you think!”

Read the speech here in Swedish and here in (Google Translated) English. 

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