This post is also available in: Danish

If one country fails, everyone fails. Therefore we need to think big from the start if green solutions are to make a real difference to the planet.

When the big Chinese factories burn coal, it is felt in Canada. When cows lift their tails in Argentina, Zimbabwe pays the price. And so on.

In the climate crisis, the whole world is connected. For if one country fails, all fail. That’s why they need to think globally if green solutions are to make a real difference to the planet.

Henrik Stiesdal knows this – one of the key forces behind the modern wind power industry, he is a climate change leader and founder of the climate technology company Stiesdal, which since 2017 has been working exclusively on developing scalable and executable solutions for the green transition. Today, the company employs 110 people and has four subsidiaries.

Jacob Nørgaard Andersen CEO of Stiesdal

“Our primary bottom line is to mitigate climate change. If it can’t be mass-produced and scaled, we won’t do it,” says Jacob Nørgaard Andersen, CEO of Stiesdal.

To have a ‘global mindset’ is often heard. But how do you practice it in real life?

“We reduce the complexity of projects to avoid production bottlenecks. It’s no use if a technology can only be produced in one or two places in the world. It’s about leveraging existing supply chains, infrastructure and know-how,” explains Jacob Nørgaard Andersen.

Stiesdal is behind several different technologies, including a floating foundation for offshore wind turbines, electrolysis plants for hydrogen production, pyrolysis for organic gasification and an energy storage system using thermal energy. What they all have in common is that they are designed from the outset for deployment worldwide.

“We never design a solution in advance. Instead, we always turn it around and ask the manufacturer: how would it be smart to manufacture this type of solution so that it can be easily produced?” Explains the CEO.

Stiesdal focuses on green technologies that can be mass produced

Therefore, the Danish technology company also works primarily with licensing agreements for their solutions. In the deployment phase, Stiesdal prefers to work with local, existing companies.

“It is impossible to develop a solution that can work everywhere and in Denmark, we tend to underestimate the complexity of other countries. We have incredibly well-functioning logistics, but many places in the world do not, and we must also take this into account in our solutions,” says Jacob Nørgaard Andersen.

For the people at Stiesdal, it’s not about creating the perfect solution that changes everything. It’s more about getting beyond the steppes.

“I think we have more solutions to the climate crisis than people think. It’s a problem that we wait to do something because we think something better is coming. We’d better accept that we won’t get the ideal scenario – and get going,” says Jacob Nørgaard Andersen.

Using the sun to clean water

Although access to safe drinking water has become a basic human right according to the UN, around two billion people in the world have access only to unsafe water sources. Combined with poor sanitation and hygiene, this is one of the world’s biggest health challenges.

4LifeSolutions set out to change that. The start-up is behind the SaWa (Safe Water) solution, a water bag that needs nothing more than to be placed in the sun’s rays for about four hours to purify impure water.

Working with UNICEF, the Red Cross and WHO, the start-up has been on a mission to bring the solution to as many people as possible in the worst affected areas. And one of the keys has been to ally with the locals.

“It has been difficult to scale and spread the solution. Because you quickly find out that you can’t run it from Denmark. So without the local forces in our Kenya office, it wouldn’t have been possible,” says Alexander Løcke, co-founder and CTO of 4LifeSolutions.

The bag can kill 99.99% of viruses and bacteria with just the sun’s UV rays and can be reused up to 500 times, which is equivalent to about 2,000 litres of clean drinking water. And with a unit price of $3, 4LifeSolutions has managed to distribute a total of 150,000 bags through aid agencies in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, India and Pakistan. All on commercial terms.

Alexander Løcke medstifter and CTO of 4LifeSolutions

“For it to grow fast, it has to be for profit. If you can prove a product’s worth on commercial terms, it simply scales faster,” explains Alexander Løcke.

So far, the Danish company has offices in Copenhagen, India and Kenya. But its ambitions go far beyond that.

“Our North Star in business is to reach a billion people. We’re going for maximum impact with what we’ve developed. Even if it’s without us behind the wheel – the most important thing is that it happens,” says Alexander Løcke.

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