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Arctic Business Journal Briefings offer readers summary and analysis of current issues and trends, key firms and coming events, as well as links to further reading and resources.

For shippers, Norwegian ammonia may provide a cleaner way forward

October 5, 2022

Cutting the carbon from ship emissions will not be cheap, but it does not have to be difficult

Cutting the carbon from ship emissions will not be cheap, but it does not have to be difficult

A cleaner way of sailing is coming into the picture (📸: MAN Energy Solutions)

Key findings
â–  Shipping accounts for as much carbon pollution as Japan
■ Converting to carbon-free sources of propulsion will cost €1 trillion by 2050
â–  Hydrogen produced using wind and solar energy can be stored as ammonia
â–  Commercial production of ammonia for fuel has yet to begin
â–  The infrastructure for storing and transporting ammonia is already in place

One of the ironies of global warming is that, as the planet heats up and sea ice in the Arctic melts, ships will be able to take a shorter, more northerly route on once-frozen waterways connecting Asia and Europe that result in less of the carbon pollution that caused the problem in the first place. Now it appears the Arctic could help to eliminate carbon pollution from the shipping industry almost entirely, this time by producing the hydrogen that is expected to power many of the next generation of ships.

Were this to happen, the impact would be significant: the collective emissions of the 100,000 large ocean-going ships amount to 3% of world emissions, meaning that, if shipping were a country, it would fall between Japan and Germany as the sixth biggest emitter of greenhouse gasses. And, at its current rate of growth, the IMO, a UN body that works out global guidelines for shipping, reckons the industry’s emissions will double by 2050 compared with 2008 levels.

Any number of ideas have been put forward that would keep that number down. Some involve technologies that will allow ships to again be driven, at least in part, by wind. Others foresee shipping as remaining entirely mechanised, yet by forms of fuel that do not release carbon when consumed.

Completely converting from carbon by 2050 will cost more than $1 trillion (€1 trillion) by 2050, according figures compiled by, amongst others, UMAS, a consultancy, and Lloyd’s Register, a classification society. But where this will be an expense for the industry, others see the figure as a business opportunity.

What the future of maritime fuels could look like (🖌️: Aker Horizons)

One example is Norway, which, since 2020, has had a strategy that promotes development of hydrogen production for specified industries, including shipping and other forms of heavy transport. Although the technology is not yet available that would allow ships to use hydrogen as a fuel, three projects in the northern part of the country say they will be ready to deliver hydrogen, in the form of ammonia, once the technology is available. One of them, Green Ammonia BerlevĂĄg (depicted above in an artist’s conception), located at the port in the town of the same name close to border with Russia, is due to come on-line in 2026 and plans to provide fuel to the increasing number of cargo ships sailing in Arctic waters.

Fuelling Arctic shipping, however, may only ever be a sidelight. In Norway alone, investments in the maritime industry amount to 4.5 billion kroner (€430 million), and alternative fuels are rapidly being introduced: the country’s first battery-powered ferry entered service in 2016; today, 80 of the 200 or in service are electric. Batteries, though, are too big, provide too little power and are too expensive to make them useful for long-distance shipping and heavy loads. Ammonia, on the other hand, can provide the power ships need at a reasonable cost. And, technologically, there should be few surprises: the process that is used for making today’s carbon-free, or green, hydrogen was developed a century ago, and, as a widely used industrial gas, the infrastructure for storing and transporting ammonia is already in place.

Hydrogen stored as ammonia, as its chemical formula, NH3, indicates, does not contain carbon, and it can be produced one of two ways. The method involving natural gas releases carbon dioxide. If it is captured, the resulting hydrogen, known as blue hydrogen, is considered to be low-carbon. (If it is not captured, it is known as black, grey or brown hydrogen, and does not lead to a reduction in carbon pollution.) Preferable in this context is the the green sort, which is produced by running water through an electrolyser. As long as this process involves a renewable source of energy, the hydrogen it produces is considered carbon-free. In some cases, this will be hydroelectric, in others, as is the case with Green Ammonia BerlevĂĄg, it will be wind. Ironically.

Further reading
Decarbonising shipping in the Arctic with green ammonia from BerlevĂĄg
Innovation News Network
Visiting BerevĂĄg: The Winds of Change
Arctic Economic Council
Hydrogen: A new industry for the low-carbon energy transition in Arctic Norway
Green ammonia could fuel a third of the global shipping fleet
State of Green
Decarbonising shipping – could ammonia be the fuel of the future?
Lloyd’s Register
Ammonia: A Sustainable Fuel Option For Shipping
Harnessing ammonia as a ship fuel

The Norwegian Government’s hydrogen strategy towards a low emission society
Aker Horizons Establishes Green Industrial Hub in Northern Norway
Project Barents Blue
Glomfjord Hydrogen
Green Ammonia as a marine fuel

Arctic Business Journal Briefings offer readers summary and analysis of current issues and trends, key firms and coming events. Articles include links to further reading and external resources to give readers a place to begin their due diligence. 

As a way to encourage discussion about topics, briefings will also seek to include opinionated commentary submitted by outside contributors.

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Natural resources

In a world running out of sand, Greenland is pay dirt

September 6, 2022

But as with all the other resources Greenland could be supplying the world, cost is an object

But as with all the other resources Greenland could be supplying the world, cost is an object

Worth its weight in subsidies (📸: Nikolaj Krogh Larsen / KU)

Key findings
â–  Sand is commonplace, but not all sand is suitable for building
â–  Meltwater from Greenland’s icecap deposits lots of the type of sand builders need along its coasts
â–  Greenland’s potential sand exports could amount to half of its current GDP and four times its annual subsidy from Copenhagen
â–  Despite the uncertainties about sand harvesting, it appears less divisive than other forms of natural-resource extraction

Sand, gravel and stone are the world’s largest group of natural resources. Due to global urbanisation and generally increasing economic prosperity, the demand for these raw materials of urban development and infrastructure is increasing rapidly. That is good news for the countries that have the right sorts of them. Between 2017 and 2021, global exports of sand, for example, rose 10.5%, and are now valued at €1.7 billion.

Greenland has considerable amounts of the sort of gravel and sand (pointy and sharp, which helps grains to bond together, making it better for things like cement and mortar) that builders want. Some of this is in the form of rock that can be processed mechanically, but what entrepreneurial sorts have their eye on is the huge amounts of sand and gravel that has been crushed by natural forces and gets washed down to the coast with meltwater from the ice sheet.

Were all of the sand deposited along Greenland’s coasts to be collected and sold abroad, it could bring in some €2 billion a year, or more than half of the value of its current economic activity, and four times the annual subsidy it gets from Copenhagen. And that without taking into account the increasing volume of sand that is being washed out as global warming drives faster melting of the ice sheet. Nor does it take into account a projected doubling of the cost of sand over the next 25 years as supplies dry up.

Greenland already harvests limited amounts of sand for its local building projects. And, in 2020, the Self-Rule Authority commissioned a study into whether it would be possible to scale up harvesting and to export sand to Europe and North America. The study found that this was indeed feasible and technologically within Greenland’s reach, but it had a caveat for anyone interested trying to make money off doing so: sand is a low-cost product with a slim profit margin. Although harvesting sand from the coastline would be a relatively simple operation, getting it to market would be costly, making it a viable industry only if the sand could command a high enough price.

As things stand right now, Greenland’s sand is no gold mine, and it is hard to say whether it ever could be, even with growing demand and concerns that supply can keep up. The study suggests that, yes, because of the make-up of its sand, there is plenty of potential, but that, it in order for an operation to be profitable, the sand must be located in easy-to-reach places. It must be also piled up high enough, which rules out newish formations caused by recent global warming, though the fact that these formations will continue to grow will ensure a long-term supply if harvesting ever does get off the ground.

Other studies have also warned that there may be environmental and social costs of sand mining, and that this needs to be looked into more closely before operations are allowed to begin. As far as the latter goes, there appears to be broader popular support for expanded extraction and export: a survey, published in August, found three-quarters of those interviewed were in favour, making it much less divisive type of mining activity than other proposed projects.

“Global warming traditionally brings with it a myriad of challenges for the Arctic people, but here, for once, we see an opportunity to use the changes to one’s advantage,” Aart Kroon, an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen and a co-author of a paper based on the survey, said. Never was there such optimism about an an economy built on sand.

Further reading
Greenland’s Indigenous population favours extracting and exporting sand from melting ice sheet
McGill University
Greenland’s Melting Glaciers Spew a Complicated Treasure: Sand
Even desert city Dubai imports its sand. This is why
Greenland: Build an economy on sand
Promises and perils of sand exploitation in Greenland
Nature Sustainability

The PROGLAKE Project
Can coastal changes in Greenland create prosperity locally (video recorded 3 June 2019)

Arctic Business Journal Briefings offer readers summary and analysis of current issues and trends, key firms and coming events. Articles include links to further reading and external resources to give readers a place to begin their due diligence. 

As a way to encourage discussion about topics, briefings will also seek to include opinionated commentary submitted by outside contributors.

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Strategic minerals

Chinese companies in Arctic mining are gaming the master plan — but Western needs often drive Chinese involvement

September 1, 2022

Looking for Chinese state ownership in Arctic extractive projects misses the point, and politically framed rhetoric from Chinese companies may be misleading. Some Western companies downplay their Chinese relations, but Western companies are often reliant on Chinese partners.

Looking for Chinese state ownership in Arctic extractive projects misses the point, and politically framed rhetoric from Chinese companies may be misleading. Some Western companies downplay their Chinese relations, but Western companies are often reliant on Chinese partners.

(📸: Hudson Resources)

Patrik Andersson, Per Kalvig & Ulrik Pram Gad

Key findings
â–  Rather than directing specific investments, the CCP prefers to design policies that encourage companies to contribute to state objectives.
â–  The main incentives are generated by domestic development ambitions, but companies enlist geopolitical objectives as arguments for marginal projects.
â–  Both geopolitical arguments and standard Chinese political rhetoric easily backfire when translated to Western audiences.
■ Western project developers’ need to demonstrate a way into supply chains monopolised
by China often acts as an important driver for Chinese involvement

In Western media, Chinese companies are sometimes discussed as being parts of a well-oiled state machine. They are not, but neither are they left to fight on their own without any support or guidance. Rather, they follow their own business priorities while eagerly seizing opportunities provided through supportive state policy. Interaction and integration with the state varies between different types of companies. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a complex set of levers which make it possible to secure specific strategic investments. The likelihood of state intervention varies depending on the commodity involved as well as geopolitical factors. However, the preferred mode of governance is to issue general policies that encourage companies to contribute to state objectives.

The main incentives are generated by the domestic development ambitions as laid out in five-year plans, trickling down from the general level to the sector-specific level. For instance, China has an industrial policy for developing so-called “strategic emerging industries” — a set of nine high-tech industries deemed crucial for driving economic growth and investment in the future. Advanced rare earth materials and products have been identified as crucial for developing several of these industries. At the same time, the Chinese government has categorised rare earths as not just “strategic minerals” but also as “advantageous minerals” due to the de facto Chinese monopoly. Mining and processing are therefore regulated by a quota system to which only four large state-owned enterprises have access.

This regulation has incentivised some Chinese companies to bypass the quota system by securing rare-earth resources overseas through partnerships with Western miners. From a central-planning perspective, this has facilitated the outsourcing of the upper parts of the supply chain. This is a way of conserving domestic reserves and moving some of the pollution of rare-earth mining overseas while ensuring that Chinese industry gets the rare-earth resources it needs. Western miners continue to rely on Chinese facilities and expertise for downstream processing of rare earths and manufactured goods embedded with rare-earth elements, such as permanent magnets. However, the very labelling of the commodity as “strategic” presents a chance for Chinese companies seeking rare earths abroad to argue that their projects contribute to state goals.

Playing the language game when competing for support
The “go global” policy, launched in the late 1990s, served to encourage companies to invest overseas. However, tighter control over capital outflows means that companies and government agencies now compete over increasingly scarce state funding. Presenting a solid business case has become increasingly important following a series of wasteful investments during the mining “super cycle” years from 2006 to 2013, but companies also try to show how they deliver on different policy agendas. Political language informs companies of state priorities and provides them with opportunities for framing.

Chinese mining companies have in the past oriented themselves first and foremost on the basis of China’s industrial-development priorities and the demand for different minerals and raw materials. However, framing can be tailored strategically to target other sector policies. In the past decade, the Arctic has become part of major Chinese foreign policy initiatives. The Arctic is now part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the form of a “Polar Silk Road”. Becoming a “polar great power” is one component of the broader goal of becoming a “maritime great power”. The Chinese state also classifies the polar regions as one of its “strategic new frontiers” (together with the deep sea, outer space and cyberspace). These are spaces where great powers compete over resources and geopolitical influence, where sovereignty is often contested or ambiguous, and where China seeks to (re)shape global rules and standards. All these initiatives have been accompanied by an increase in state funding.

Investments by Shenghe Resources
The Chinese company Shenghe Resources has invested in the Kuannersuit / Kvanefjeld rare-earth project in Greenland.

In Chinese-language external communication, Shenghe labels itself a “practitioner” of the BRI. Shenghe’s largest shareholder, a sub-unit of China Geological Survey, has framed its overseas engagement as both a contribution to the BRI and as serving the company’s development needs.

In annual reports, Shenghe has stressed that rare earths and the rare-earth sector are classified as “strategic” by the Chinese state. The company has also framed its activities as supporting Chinese industrial objectives, such as the “strategic emerging industries” development plan.

Likewise, Shenghe embraced “Made in China 2025” in its annual reports — until the CCP instructed companies not to mention the strategy because of its negative reception in the West.

Investments in each part of the world come with their own set of political and economic risks. However, state support is arguably especially important for Arctic projects because of the unique logistical, environmental, and technical challenges these projects present. The emergence of the BRI has opened possibilities for companies seeking support for investment in marginal projects in regions deemed strategically important. In parallel, some mining companies seek to hook up with priorities signalled by the inclusion of the Arctic in this and other foreign-policy initiatives.

Chinese investors may enrol foreign policy priorities as arguments for engagement. But forgetting about the differences between Western and Chinese priorities in the minerals sector can lead to an oversimplified understanding of their motives. Some of those who raised concerns over Shandong Gold’s bid to acquire a gold mine in the Canadian Arctic read the project as an attempt by the Chinese state to gain a foothold in the Arctic for its Polar Silk Road. However, the Chinese state categorises gold as a “strategic” resource, in contrast to Western ideas of this commodity. This suggests that incentives generated by state interest in the resource itself may have played an important role for the company as well.

Framing backfires, but supply chains remain
The self-promotion by Chinese companies as carrying out state objectives seems, however, to be backfiring on several levels. It may cause the Chinese approach in the Arctic and elsewhere to appear more coordinated than it actually is. For example, during the 2019 Arctic Council ministerial meeting, Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state at the time, portrayed all Chinese activities — whether state or non-state, civilian or military — as forming part of a co-ordinated approach in the region. This alarming reception is causing Western states to initiate security screenings of foreign direct investments in critical infrastructure which are often necessary but might also hamper the prospects of projects when funding and technology is unavailable elsewhere.

Moreover, Chinese companies’ desire to reap the benefits of overseas investments has dovetailed with Western firms’ need to pitch to investors how they have access to Chinese-controlled supply chains. However, the increasingly strained relations between China and the West make advertising Chinese partners problematic. And threats in Chinese state media of China weaponising its control over supply chains of rare earths and other strategic minerals — something which it has been accused of doing in the past — have further strained the value of Chinese involvement. As a result, some companies seem to downplay Chinese involvement in their projects, while others promote themselves as part of or potential contributors to “China-free” supply chains, even if such supply chains are not realistic in the short term.

On the one hand, leaders in Beijing are aware of how the country’s foreign-policy strategies and industrial policies are portrayed in the West and have taken steps to reshape the narrative. They have, for instance, asked companies to stop referring to Made in China 2025. They also insist that the Belt and Road project be referred to as an “initiative” rather than a “strategy”, because the word “strategy” implies a co-ordinated and ordered plan of action and is thus more likely to raise concern in Western countries. On the other hand, under the tightened rule of Xi Jinping, China’s president, the companies might feel an increased need to justify their activities in relation to official priorities and ambitions, not only to enhance their chances of state support, but also to avoid state clampdowns. And to the degree that such rhetoric and self-labelling amounts to more than paying lip service, Chinese companies will — not always, and not everywhere, but increasingly — contribute to state priorities, even if not explicitly directed to do so.

Rhetoric aside, Chinese technologies and supply networks are still globally dominant, and Western firms’ need to secure access to these supply chains remains a key driver behind Chinese involvement in projects. Mine ownership in itself has little significance for where the raw materials go to be processed. Industry demand and supply security hinge more on highly processed materials and advanced products than bulk raw materials. Security screenings focus on the geopolitical risks of allowing Chinese state or semi-state actors to take over mines in sensitive regions such as the Arctic. But from a supply security perspective, Chinese ownership of mines possibly under the CCP’s guiding hand is less important than control over downstream processing and manufacturing.

Patrik Andersson is a researcher with Diis
Per Kalvig is a senior analyst emeritus with Geus
Ulrik Pram Gad is a senior researcher with Diis

Further reading
Does China control Arctic mineral raw materials?
Northern mines could provide most of the EU’s strategic metals
Arctic Today
Chinese Mining in Greenland: Arctic Access or Access to Minerals?
Arctic Yearbook

2022 Final List of Critical Minerals
US Geological Survey
FACT SHEET: Securing a Made in America Supply Chain for Critical Minerals
The White House
Chinese involvement in the Arctic minerals sector (video recorded 23 May 2022)

Arctic Business Journal Briefings offer readers summary and analysis of current issues and trends, key firms and coming events. Articles include links to further reading and external resources to give readers a place to begin their due diligence. 

As a way to encourage discussion about topics, briefings will also seek to include opinionated commentary submitted by outside contributors.

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Continued strong development of startups in Norrbotten and Västerbotten

February 8, 2022

Jens Lundström, CEO of Arctic Business (📸: Viveka Ă–sterman) Startups fostered by Sweden’s Arctic Business generated 52 million kroner in tax revenues for Norrbotten and Västerbotten counties in 2020, an increase of 7 million kronor from the previous year. The companies is valued at more than 2 billion kronor and now…

Jens Lundström, CEO of Arctic Business. Photo: Viveka Österman.
Jens Lundström, CEO of Arctic Business (📸: Viveka Österman)

Startups fostered by Sweden’s Arctic Business generated 52 million kroner in tax revenues for Norrbotten and Västerbotten counties in 2020, an increase of 7 million kronor from the previous year. The companies is valued at more than 2 billion kronor and now employs more than 370 people full time, according to its 2021 annual report.

“We are proud of the figures, Covid-19 has characterized the last few years and we are a small team of just over ten people working with this to build, support and expand tech startups from northern Sweden,” says Jens Lundström, CEO of Arctic Business.

In 2021, Arctic Business Incubator AB had sales of 18 million kronor in financing from Vinnova, owners and various projects. During the year, the employees, who are located at the respective science park in Luleå, Piteå and Skellefteå, met over 130 business ideas from Norrbotten, Västerbotten, southern parts of the country and the rest of the world. Over 50 teams received help to develop their idea in Arctic Business Accelerator  to be able to decide whether or not to start a company.

During the year, 30 startup companies received more extensive support in the Arctic Business Incubator. Everyone got help with business, team building and financing. In total in 2021, Arctic Business attracted 48 million kronor in financing to its startups.

“These are companies that solve important global problems with technological innovation in areas such as energy, space and mining,” Mr Lundström says.

In 2022, Arctic Business believes in more ideas in the wake of the investments taking place in Norrbotten and Västerbotten. There has already been a sharp increase in interest from entrepreneurs and investors nationally and internationally who want to come to northern Sweden. In 2021, about a third of all contractors contacted Arctic Business from other parts of Sweden or the world.

“It can, for example, be about spin-off ideas from the industries that are now establishing themselves or expanding. Many skilled entrepreneurs will be needed to drive the green transition and we are here to support them,” Mr Lundström says.

Arctic Business Incubator AB in figures 2020
Since Arctic Business was founded in 2005, more than a thousand ideas and teams have received support and advice. To date, 170 limited companies have been created, and 130 of the companies are currently active (with income and employees) and valued at more than 2 billion kronor. Over the years, around 10 companies have been acquired or merged. The remaining 30 have little or no income or have been wound up.

Municipal tax revenues total:
SEK 52m
(of which LuleĂĄ SEK 16m and SkellefteĂĄ SEK 8.9m)
VAT: SEK 107m
Employed (full-time): 370+
Employer contributions: SEK 41+m
Revenues: > SEK 450m

*All figures are based on annual reports for 2020 that could be compiled in 2021 as they became public.

About Arctic Business

Arctic Business helps entrepreneurs develop extraordinary ideas with growing business nationally and internationally from northern Sweden. Since 2005, Arctic Business has worked with over 170 companies, which today are valued at over 2 billion kronor. We have staff in LuleĂĄ, PiteĂĄ and SkellefteĂĄ at each science park. The business is owned by LTU Holding,

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Matorka – Land Ho! The Future of Sustainable Seafood

October 9, 2021

When it comes to sustainable fisheries, the list of countries that have managed their stocks as well as Iceland is short. In the 1970s, Iceland figured out that to prevent the collapse of its cod fisheries—and the basis of its economy—its fishing future required strict management. To this day, Iceland continues to manage a wide…

When it comes to sustainable fisheries, the list of countries that have managed their stocks as well as Iceland is short. In the 1970s, Iceland figured out that to prevent the collapse of its cod fisheries—and the basis of its economy—its fishing future required strict management.

To this day, Iceland continues to manage a wide range of fish stocks found in its waters through stringent monitoring and science-based catch quotas. Organizations such as Iceland Responsible Fisheries Management (IRFM) ensure the future of Icelandic fishing through a certification chain that guarantees suppliers that the fish originates from IRFM certified fisheries. Additionally, fish processors and other stakeholders constantly look for approaches to use 100% of each fish for food, pharmaceuticals, nutrition, and other supplements. What was not predicted in the 1970s was the role of land-based aquaculture in Iceland’s push for even more sustainable fishing.

Land-based fish farming has been practiced for thousands of years around the world. Icelandic company Matorka has transformed the process into the 21st century using renewable energy, thoughtful designs, and high-tech monitoring systems. Matorka is a clever combination of the Icelandic words “mat,” which means food, and “orka,” which means energy—food energy. The name is suitable. The company is transforming Iceland’s geothermal energy and abundant clean water into the perfect habitat to grow fish.

Founded in 2010, Matorka’s mission is to produce Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and global Good Aquaculture Practice (GAP) certified premium Arctic char and steelhead. From egg to final harvest, the company monitors and controls all steps of a fish’s lifecycle. Since the fish grow in land-based tanks, the water temperature and oxygenation can be optimally kept. Unlike sea-based aquaculture, the waters are free of parasites and pathogens.

Best of all, the fish need no antibiotics, chemicals, or hormones, and their feed is all-natural and sustainable.

Matorka is understandably proud of maintaining a 1:1.2 Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) for their fish. This means, on average, it takes 1 unit of mass of feed (dry material) for an animal to gain 1.2 units of mass of live weight. To provide a reference, the average FCR for beef cattle is 6:1 and 2.8:1 for poultry.

While land-based aquaculture currently represents a mere fraction of wild-caught fish, the process and technologies are evolving rapidly with tremendous potential to scale up operations. Matorka now harvests about 1,500 metric tons of Arctic charr and steelhead per year and aims to quadruple its capacity. Large-scale land-based aquaculture in Iceland is particularly attractive because it has plentiful water and renewable power to offset the industry’s energy intensiveness. Matorka has implemented several design elements to increase efficiency that would work anywhere. The entire facility is built on a modular concept. Each module consists of a raceway at the top with three grow-out tanks. The tanks are stacked with 1.2 meters (4 ft) between each so that the water is gravity-fed between them. Because the system is land-based, the entire process of producing fish is more environmentally sensitive. Ocean-based aquaculture systems cannot guarantee that fish will not escape and crossbreed or pass on a disease to native species.

Furthermore, these companies do not consider the tremendous amounts of fish waste that collects in the fjords and bays. Even though the waste dissipates, it can pollute the ocean floors long-term. To produce the highest quality fish, Matorka must account for these factors and have created a cleaner environment than any ocean today through constant filtration and monitoring. Taking it one step further, Matorka offsets any added carbon emissions from their facility by planting trees in Iceland.

While many species are difficult to grow in land-based tanks—such as cod, Matorka’s facility represents the best bet for the most sustainable fish consumption. The company is constantly seeking ways to improve and produce new fish species in land-based contained systems, including salmon. Globally, protein demand is increasing. There will need to be a transformational shift in food production across all sectors to meet these needs. Moreover, consumers are demanding sustainability and full traceability of their food, particularly seafood. Matorka is uniquely positioned to answer these consumer needs and to provide the healthiest product possible. Land-based fish farming may lack the romance of long-line fishing, but there are undoubtedly many fish stocks that could use a reprieve from the world’s overfished oceans.

This article was originally published by Green by Iceland.

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Hot Ideas from a Cold Country

October 12, 2021

Icelandic companies are offering green energy solutions

When you think of Iceland, you may imagine remote settings, pristine nature, and erupting volcanoes. But did you know that Iceland is also a champion of renewable energy and sustainable solutions? Iceland has relied on renewable energy for nearly all its electricity and heating needs for more than half a century. The nation’s electricity is generated through hydropower and geothermal energy. Iceland’s geothermal power plants produce renewable electricity and make full use of geothermal hot water, steam, cold water, and even carbon dioxide (CO2). Iceland is also exporting its geothermal energy expertise and implementing sustainable energy projects in countries all over the world, including the United States.

Icelanders have a long history of maximizing resources, and their sustainable energy solutions are no exception. In addition to harnessing the power of renewable energy, Icelandic leadership and expertise includes innovations in recycling and the ability to capture, store and transform carbon emissions, protecting the environment from their harmful effects. As part of its commitment to sustainable energy solutions, Iceland is working toward the goal of carbon neutrality by 2040 and is set to become the first fossil fuel–free country in the world by 2050.

Here are several groundbreaking Icelandic companies championing green solutions for a more sustainable future.

  1. Converting to clean geothermal energy

Arctic Green Energy Corporation is a leading developer and operator of green energy projects, with a mission to export Icelandic success and leadership in geothermal and other renewables to markets in Europe and Asia. The impact of Icelandic solutions and expertise abroad is clearly seen in Arctic Green’s operations in China. Through a project with Arctic Green subsidiary Sinopec Green Energy, geothermal district heating in China has already led to tremendously positive environmental impacts as a replacement for coal. To date, Sinopec Green Energy has eliminated more than 11.4 million tons of CO2 emissions.

  1. Tapping geothermal and hydropower sources worldwide

ÍSOR Iceland GeoSurvey provides geothermal and hydropower research and development services to the Icelandic power industry as well as numerous foreign companies and governments all over the world. ISOR hosts the GRO Geothermal Training Programme, which promotes the utilization and sustainable management of reliable, economically viable and environmentally sound geothermal energy resources by training representatives from developing countries.

  1. Innovative ways to tap into wind power

Icewind designs uniquely shaped, robust vertical axis wind turbines that can withstand a variety of challenging environments, with low operation costs. The turbines are designed for telecom, surveillance, and commercial use anywhere you want clean electricity. They are notably weather-resistant, made for extreme conditions and remote areas.

  1. Finding a permanent storage solution for CO2

Carbfix provides a natural and permanent CO2 storage solution by turning CO2 into stone underground in less than two years. The Carbfix mineral storage technology provides an economic and efficient way of permanently removing previously emitted CO2 from the atmosphere, a key component of meeting the world’s climate goals outlined by the Paris Agreement.

  1. Recycling CO2into fuel and chemicals

Carbon Recycling International (CRI) captures CO2 emissions from any polluting source and turns them into methanol — which can then be used as fuel or as a base for other chemical compounds. The company works with industries around the world to develop valuable products from waste gases and renewable energy.

  1. Using geothermal energy to reduce plastic waste

Pure North recycles plastic using geothermal energy. Using hot water rather than chemicals to clean the plastic, they then turn that plastic directly into a product that can be used again locally in a circular fashion. The company envisions a future where all plastic in Iceland is recycled locally to eliminate plastic waste export.

  1. Enabling banking app users to track and reduce their carbon footprint

The latest innovation from the fintech company Meniga is Carbon Insight, a white label carbon calculator and engagement tool that enables people to track their carbon footprint based on their purchases, change their habits to minimize their environmental impact, and take action to offset the remaining footprint.

“As Iceland is one of the world leaders in geothermal energy and other innovative, sustainable solutions, our country is eager to share those solutions to help improve the environment everywhere,” said Einar Hansen Tomasson, head of Energy and Green Solutions at Business Iceland. “The export of Icelandic renewable energy expertise is making, and will continue to make, a positive impact on the climate worldwide.”

Learn more about Iceland’s commitment to sharing green energy expertise and sustainable innovation at

This article was provided by

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