Smart City Sweden North

Explore northern Sweden!

Discover smart & sustainable solutions in the northern region.

Photo: Sara Ingman/

About the region

Northern Sweden is, with exceptional surroundings and strong entrepreneurship, driving the change towards sustainable growth. There is a distinct awareness in northern Sweden of sustainable development, which is displayed through our strengths bio-economy, clean energy and smart sustainable cities. 

Sweden has over 87 billion trees and 70 % of northern Sweden are covered in forest. Bio-economy is one of our many strengths: the knowledge of the process, from planting the seed to refining the whole tree including the residual streams. One example of best practice from our region is RISE Processum in Örnsköldsvik, a biorefinery research and development organisation in close collaboration with the industry. Their work includes developing new products, processes and energy solutions from raw material and residual streams from the process industry.

Clean energy

 Clean energy is focusing on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Wind power technologies, waste to energy and fuels of the future are developed here. Black pellets and biofuel, among other products, are developed and produced in the region. Companies within the clean energy field are EnviBAT, high-performance cutting-edge technology in the exhaust gas cleaning, heat recovery and water treatment industries; Eco-Oil, which develops green petrol for combustion engines; and Envigas, producing bio-coal for increased yields in agriculture and decontamination of land.

Smart & sustainable cities

Smart sustainable cities, built from clean energy, green technology and sustainable solutions, are another strength of Smart City Sweden North. A smart city is a city where technology, markets and consu­mers work together to create sustainable technologies and solutions through climate-smart business models. The northern region has four universities and strong collaborations between business and academia. Some companies within the field are Green Zone, showing it is finan­cially viable to transform from linear to circular thinking, and Hybricon, an ultrafast way of charging electrical buses. Sustainable Ålidhem is a unique project for sustainable urban development which includes social, technical, environmental and financial aspects located in Umeå.

 Smart City Sweden North offers technical and business visits in northern Sweden for groups of investors, compa­nies, entrepreneurs, researchers, government officials and organisations. We will tailor all visits to suit the requirements of the visitor. Welcome!

Best practice in the region

Electric busses adapted to cold climate

It is a big challenge with electric vehicles in northern Europe is to adapt them to the cold climate, both in regard to function and comfort for passengers and drivers. In Umeå in Northern Sweden there is a company that has managed to develop a technology that makes it possible to run the buses even during a very cold winter day as well as a hot sunny day with advanced air heating/cold system.

The world’s tallest wooden building

Sara Cultural Centre – the world’s tallest timber building is located in Skellefteå. The building will be housing venues for arts, performance and literature as well as a hotel. Located just below the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden, Skellefteå has a long tradition of timber building; this was the primary inspiration behind the international competition winning design for the city’s new cultural centre.

Smart Living lab in the University district of Umeå

Umeå is a fast growing city in Northern Sweden with progressive and environmentally-friendly citizens. Located 600 km north of Stockholm, the 11th largest city in Sweden has a subarctic climate, with short and fairly warm summers, but lengthy and freezing winters. Umeå will continue to grow with ecological, economic and social sustainability. The purpose is to reduce the city’s CO₂ emissions through less energy use and sustainable transports. By developing smart business models and working methods, we will ensure that we will continue to be innovative when we are developing the sustainable city.

Sharing economy contribution to a smart and sustainable city

The city of Umeå are working actively and critically with the sharing economy. The city has developed testbeds for the sharing economy in the city. Through testbeds, sharing services and digital solutions have been developed.

Gender equality and inclusion central in urban planning

What do a bus station, a park and a tunnel say about equality and gender issues? With the objective to underline the importance of gender equality and to show actions and results of a long-term work in the city, Umeå in Northern Sweden.

How to reduce the carbon footprint in the transport sector

The use of district heating/cooling for parked aircraft to reduce the carbon emissions at airports.

GreenNano – Innovative Stormwater Management

“GreenNano – innovative stormwater management” is a research and innovation project where 25 partners jointly develop, implement and evaluate innovative methods and solutions for sustainable stormwater management. GreenNano makes cities more attractive and helps create cleaner watercourses and a better natural environment.

Stormwater Management

DRIZZLE is a competence centre committed to excellent needs-driven research, and to develop pioneering stormwater solutions that minimize pollution loads on receiving waters; that minimize the risk for urban flooding; and that capture the opportunities that stormwater runoff can offer.

Övik Energi – Cogeneration & District Cooling

Hörneborgsverket, a biofuel based cogeneration plant, is the engine of Övik Energi’s energy production. Hörneborgsverket produce roughly three equal amounts of district heating, steam, and electricity. The steam is distributed to the neighbouring process industries – Domsjö Fabriker, AkzoNobel and SEKAB. Due to the industry’s need for steam, which is in demand throughout the entire year, the cogeneration plant is used to a greater extent, in comparison with power plants that only supply district heating, of which the demand fluctuates. A total of 99% of the fuels used at Höreborgsverket are renewable fuels.

Sustainable Travel in Municipality of Örnsköldsvik

In Örnsköldsvik we prioritize sustainable travels and the goal is highlight and use sustainable travel habits in Örnsköldsvik, for example to choose active transportation such as walking and cycling. It may also be to commute by carpooling, or go by public transport such as train or bus. Or best of all not to travel at all. Instead we use Webb- or telephone meetings when it is possible. The municipality’s new Bicycle Plan and parking strategy shows the long-term jobs performed in sustainable travel.

Cutting Edge Sustainable Building

The municipality of Örnsköldsvik has a long given priority to sustainable and energy efficient building. The expertise regarding energy efficiency and alternative energy sources are great and we have benefited from the expertise available internally in the municipality and held by planners, designers and installers when new building erected.

World class biorefinery

Domsjö Fabriker is part of the Aditya Birla Group, which is the world’s largest producer of viscose fibers. We develop future textile materials from northern spruce to catwalks worldwide.

By working together with our customers, we want to make a difference. We are already involved in creating a sustainable bioeconomy that utilizes forest as the unique recourse that it is.

The test bed facility for waste materials

Increased efforts in environmental technology is crucial for a more sustainable use of society’s resources. MTC in Umeå specializes in the implementation of emerging environmental technologies focusing on waste, contaminated water and contaminated soil. Our customers include problem owners, companies looking to demonstrate new technology and academia focusing on applied research.

Algae pilot – reducing CO2 emissions with the help of algae

This Algae pilot is the first of its kind in Sweden. The algae convert unwanted substances to utilities. The goal is that algae cultivation will reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide and purify waste water to minimize over-fertilization of our waters and at the same time produce an energy-rich algae mass that is raw material for biodiesel (algae with high fatty acid content), animal feed (protein-rich algae) etc.

Processum – Anything Made from Oil Can Be Made from Biomass

An international biorefinery hub. Processum has during a number of years purposefully built up a set of pilot equipment aimed at biorefinery projects. The equipment consists of pilots for thermochemical pre-treatment, biochemical processes, thermochemical syntheses as well as pilots for separations. A broad spectrum of biomasses, like forest raw materials of all kinds as well as industrial residual streams and waste materials, can in pilot scale be converted to e.g. materials, proteins, bioenergy and chemicals. There are also pilot equipment for algae, torrefaction and drying trials in Umeå.

Dåva Landfill and Waste Center with a 1000-year perspective

Dåva Landfill and Waste Center in Umeå AB (Dåva DAC) takes care of many types of waste. Some examples are ashes from waste incineration and combustion of biofuels, contaminated soils, various waste products from the industry, waste for landfill from households and businesses, asbestos and sulphide soil. We see this as exciting wastes, often with great potential of recycling. We work with flexible solutions, in order to recycle as much as possible.

Unique water purification

Järven Ecotech designs and installs complete treatment plants for purifying and collecting surface/storm water, leachate, industrial water and sewerage water. For example, Järven Ecotech’s totally unique floating walls/baffles can replace conventional surface/storm water purification solutions on the market, such as dug/excavated surface water basins, sedimentation tanks and filtering solutions.

Solar power plant for heat and electricity

Sweden’s first solar power plant for heat and electricity at Härnösand has been connected to the local district heating network.

Windpower in Hörnefors

Wind power is an endless and renewable source of energy that has been used for thousands of years. It plays an important role in Umeå Energis investment in renewable energy and is in line with the company’s aim to be completely carbon neutral by 2018. In total, the municipality owned company Umeå Energi owns ten wind turbines, which provide significant climate benefits. These turbines are situated in the towns of Hörnefors, Holmsund and Robertsfors.

Umeå Wastewater Treatment Plant

Within Umeå municipality there are a total of 19 wastewater treatment plants. The largest, Umeå Wastewater Treatment Plant, takes care of wastewater from households and various businesses in Umeå and surrounding villages. Every year, it receives about 13 million cubic meters of waste water, containing about 3000 tons of organic material and about 80 tonnes of phosphorus. The process of cleaning water demands a lot of energy, but the plant also produce biogas which gives 23 000 kWh per day.

Sustainable Ålidhem

Sustainable Ålidhem in Umeå is a unique project for sustainable urban development which includes social, technical, environmental and economical aspects. The overall objective of the project is to reduce energy use in the area, create a more comfortable and safe environment and transform Ålidhem to a sustainable neighborhood.

Bioendev – The Biocoal Company

Developer and supplier of high-tech systems for cost efficient pre-treatment of biomass for use in heat and power generation, conversion to liquid fuels and production of green chemicals. Based on over ten years of research, BioEndev has developed an innovative torrefaction technology for production of black pellets. With over 10 patents we have a unique technology with high process control and availability. Black pellets resembles fossile coal in many ways but is renewable and carbon neutral. Black pellets are hydrophobic and has up to 50% higher energy density compared to white pellets. Apart from offering Commercial Scale torrefation units together with our EPC partner, Bioendev offers long-term offtake-contracts of Black Pellets in our Industrial Demonstration Plant in Holmsund, Sweden, which has a capacity of 16 000 tons/year. We also offer test batches of Black Pellets for industrial trials as well as tests of different raw materials.

Green Zone – A Road To Sustainability

The Green Zone in Umeå is still a role model as a service area closing the loop – even more than 15 years after its inauguration! Green Zone proves in an educational way that it is possible and economically viable to transform from linear to circular thinking. Many visitors come to here every year to learn more about energy efficiency and sustainable solutions.

Gimonäs Recyclingcenter

At Gimonäs Recycling Center the households can submit their bulky waste, garden waste and the hazardous waste at no additional charge. The municipal company, Vakin, owns and operates seven recycling centers in Umeå municipality and one in Vindeln municipality.

Dåva Cogeneration Plants

Dåva CHP is one of the world’s most energy efficient and environmentally friendly plants with waste as its main fuel. Here we produce district heating and electricity from sorted waste and residues from the forest industry.

Wooden bridge Älvsbacka

The Älvsbacka Bridge in Skellefteå is one of many pedestrian bridges constructed by Martinsons since the end of the 1980s.
The enviromental benefits frome construction in wood is just one of many. Wooden pedestrian bridges have many advantages over other bridge types:
High level of prefabrication
– Fast assembly times
– Minimal inconvenience to traffic with bridge spanning a road
– Low costs for transport and laying the foundation
– Documented quality and service life
– Competitive prices

Biogas plant Tuvan, Skellefteå

The municipalty of Skellefteå collect waste from homes and workplaces and produces there own biogasfuell for use in the municipality cars and in the public buses.

Combined heat and power plant Hedensbyn

CHP Plant

Hedensbyn was Skellefteå Kraft’s first bioenergy combine when it started operations in 1996 and has been a world leader in the development of modern bioenergy technology ever since.

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