Author: Brenda

Research and innovation services for sustainable cities

Date:  8 October 2021

Time: 0900-1100

Place: Smart City Sweden, Online – Microsoft-Teams 

The event will be held in Swedish.

Aim: To increase Sweden’s exports in smart sustainable cities by introducing tools and methods for integrating research and innovation services, as part of the Swedish export offer.

Target group: Actors and employees in Swedish export promotion (incl. Platforms, authorities, Smart City Sweden’s partners and other export promotions actors)

Organized by: RISE Research Institutes of Sweden and Swedish Research Institute in collaboration with Smart City Sweden.

R&D services can be anything from the research, development and innovation conducted at universities and colleges to the commissioned research that exists at our research institutes and research companies as well as non-profit organizations, but also the test and demo environments (test and demo beds) that exist in the country including so-called ‘system demonstrators’. Test and demo environments can be offered both as a showcase for innovative sustainable products or services and can also be offered as R&I environments to international stakeholders to develop their products and services.

The event will focus on the following questions:

  • What do we mean by R&D services? (with actors such as academia, research institutes, authorities, business and civil society)
  • What are the differences and interfaces between offering R & D services and other goods and services?
  • Is it an export or a foreign investment?
  • Are there R&Ds that should not be exposed internationally?
  • What is the benefit of combining the promotion of R & D services with other goods and services?
  • How can Swedish tests and demo environments be integrated into Swedish promotion?
  • How are R&D collaborations generally created between need owners and R & D organizations?
  • Which Swedish test and demo environments exist today with international potential? How can these strengthen Swedish exports of goods and services as well as R&D services?
  • What tools and methods are available to match stakeholder needs with relevant ones R&D services?


Webinar: Swedish-Indian collaboration on Energy- and Climate Smart Healthcare

An International Webinar: Transforming Indian Health facilities to be “Climate-smart/Energy Efficient”

Date: 19th October 2021
Time: 11.00 – 13.00 (CET) or 14:30 – 16:30 (IST).
Mode: Zoom webinar

Nordic Center for Sustainable Healthcare and MAMTA Health Institute for Mother and Child have collaborated with sWASH&grow partner, TEM – Lund University, to catalyse the sustainable development agenda focusing on Climate Action, Clean Energy, and Environment and Health.

Sweden is a global leader in building low-carbon economy, and Swedish hospitals use the most innovative energy-efficient healthcare solutions. On that account, this international webinar aims to accelerate the knowledge-led dialogues between the thematic experts and administrative leaders. It is a platform to exchange experiences around the latest and most compatible energy-efficient solutions in healthcare set-ups. The myriad of information-sharing and knowledge-building sessions will benefit the Public/Private health institutions for a more strategic response for transformation and energy-efficient solutions.

The agenda outline and speaker introductions for the webinar will be shared at a later date. 

Matchmaking with Urban Tech Sweden

Date: Wednesday, 6 October at 14.00 – 16.00 CET

Do you work with international business in clean tech and sustainable cities? We invite your company to participate in concrete, funded projects, both nationally and internationally, via the export association, Urban Tech Sweden (UTS) which was initiated by Teknikföretagen in 2019.

UTS’s mission is to reduce the gap between investors, projects and technology and accelerate the transition to climate neutral cities and act as a project accelerator for the Swedish industry. UTS has one of the world’s largest portfolios of companies with urban solutions, a network of investors and organizations that can contribute to climate neutral cities. Read more below.

Matchmaking event

On October 6, a digital Matchmaking event will be held where innovations are sought for the following projects:

Eco-tourism at Manta resort on Pemba, an island north of Zanzibar, Tanzania, in East Africa. Sustainable solutions are sought for off-grid energy, storage, water purification and transport. UTS sees the project as a pilot for a Swedish-owned eco-tourist resort. But it is equally important in a second step to provide about 300,000 inhabitants with clean water, energy and functional waste management.

Deep Energy Retrofit in New York and Beyond. Hines, one of the world’s largest property developers, has together with Norges Bank Investment Management and Trinity Church Wall Street delivered a climate-smart property in the middle of New York at 555 Greenwich. The development of the property exceeds NYC’s climate goals for commercial buildings by 2030 by more than 45 percent and is in line with NYC’s carbon neutral goals for 2050. Hines is seeking partnerships with both product and service companies to scale up the restructuring of it´s portfolio and solutions for the real estate sector and network-related solutions. 

For more information on these projects, see the PDFs in the links above. If your company is interested in participating with possible innovative solutions at the Matchmaking event on October 6, please contact Josefin Danielsson

You can also participate in the event without presenting a technology.


14.00             Welcome to Urban Tech Sweden (UTS) – Matchmaking – Jörgen Lööf, ElectriCITY

14.10             UTS – Accelerate the transformation into climate smart cities – Ann-Sofi Gaverstedt, UTS

14.17             sWASH&grow – Scaling off-grid WASH solutions – Sten Stenbeck, RISE

14.24             UTS assignments for sWASH&grow – Business-model and financing

Jan Furuvald, Kapitalguiden

14.31             Eco-tourism at Manta – A pilot project for a Swedish-owned resort

Victoria Vazhinskaya, Novoheat

Matchmaking – Innovations for Eco-tourism at Manta

14.38             Drupps – Water production from the atmosphere

14.45             Stella Futura – Affordable Green Energy

14.52             Naturpooler – Pools with biological treatment

14.59             Swatab – Cleaning and washing without detergent

15.06             Wostman – Low-flushing toilets that saves up to 95% water

15.15             Deep Energy Retrofit in New York – Looking for Grid and Building related solutions

Michael Izzo, Head of Carbon Strategy, Hines

Matchmaking – Innovations for Deep Energy Retrofit in New York

15.22             Soltech – Integrated aesthetic solar cell-solutions for roofs and façades 

15.29             Ecoclime – Circular thermal energy systems and smart property automation

15.36             SaltX – Clean and sustainable energy storage in nanocoated salts

15.43             3eflow – A new way of using water

15.50             SweGreen – Integrating urban farming with buildings energy and ventilation systems

16.00             A new tool for a Business-model and financing – Niklas Schmidt, RISE

16.07             Lessons from the day – Ann-Sofi Gaverstedt, UTS

16.15             Thanks for attending!

WIN WIN Pitch & Match

Buildings of the future – water and energy solutions you should know about

Date:       16 September

Time:       9:00 – 11:30 (CEST)

Register by 12 September

Buildings play a major role in our lives and in society. We spend most of our time in them and we value them highly, as seen by yet new records in real estate prices. However we want our new buildings to be sustainable and become a place for circular living. We need to think centuries ahead. That is why we would like to present the latest sustainable technologies within the field of water and energy in buildings.

Questions to be discussed:

How can our future buildings become more energy efficient? 

How can we make solar energy an integrated part of ALL new buildings?

How can we save and reuse water in our buildings?

How can we reuse heat in waste water?  

How can we manage and use storm water in our buildings and around them?

If you have any questions or want to know more about membership in WIN please contact



  • Therese Jephson, REWAISEVA SYD/SWR
  • Martin Eldsmark, Kraftringen
  • Martin Johem, Ecoclime
  • Carl-Henrik Tibblin, Sunroof 
  • Representative from Swedish Fire and Rescue Service
  • Anna Rundgren / Xavier Leo, Brinja
  • Nils Rydén, PEAB
  • Bo Mattsson, Impulser
  • Finnur Sverrisson, Orbital Systems
  • Peter Kisch, FIRS & Future by Lund


  • Take the chance to meet with the presenting innovation companies and WIN in separate digital meeting rooms during the WIN Matchmaking session.

Business model for “Inclusive System Deliveries”

How is it possible to deliver innovative and sustainable system solutions where the end-user market players are included beneficiaries in the supply chain and the business? How do you share the business benefits with the local market?

sWASH&grow‘s project partner, S-Man Solutions AB which is part of the working group, Urban Tech Sweden is developing methods and models for scaling up, match-making and export. They have developed a Business Model for “Inclusive System Deliveries” that has been tested and will be tested further within the project. Watch the presentation of the draft business model below.

Presentation of the “Inclusive System Deliveries” Business Model developed by S-Man Solutions AB.

This work is in line with sWASH&grow’s objective to develop tools that improve the opportunities for innovators and aid organizations to bring more circular, inclusive and sustainable innovations to those in need.

The Urban Tech Sweden working group, which is part of the ElectriCITY network plans to organize workshops and match-making events every half year within the project where project results will be shared with stakeholders. They will also develop an online match-making module and do a feasibility study on how to increase the deliveries of off-grid WASH innovations to different markets. The above slideshow is a draft result so far. 

The progress will be continually updated on this website.

Course on innovation design for humanitarian needs and international development cooperation

A university course module focusing on innovation for humanitarian needs and international development cooperation designed by sWASH&grow, is currently open for applications. The course will be offered by Malmö University in collaboration with Parlametric AB.

The aim is to develop tools that improve the opportunities for innovators and aid organizations to bring more circular, inclusive and sustainable innovations to those in need.​ A key priority is to build the capacity to develop tangible solutions, market-relevant products and enable innovators to bring their ideas to fruition.

The course is structured into two modules. Read more and apply below.

  1. Global Product Development I (30 August 2021 – 7 November 2021)

Idea to Concept

Global Product Development I is for students and professionals (in engineering or related disciplines) who want to gain a broad understanding of how to develop products that can be successfully applied in challenging environments. It also addresses how technology can be part of reaching the UN’s global goals for sustainable development. The context of the course is humanitarian operations and international development, where complexity is a core challenge to achieve results.

The course combines case studies with lectures. Lectures will provide broad insights into the technical as well as social and economic challenges in product development. These insights are continuously applied in case studies. Participants will also be part of a team with the task to develop an idea into a concept of a technical solution that can be applied to solve a real-life challenge in a low- or mid-income country.

2. Global Product Development II (8 November 2021 – 16 January 2022)

Concept to Prototype

Global Product Development II is for students and professionals (in engineering or related disciplines) who want to further develop their product development and project management skills. The course allows you to apply your knowledge and skills to problems in challenging environments, with an emphasis on humanitarian and international aid. 

This course is designed to address technology companies’ and development organizations’ increasing need for engineers with skills to handle complexity and work in challenging environments. It builds on strong connections to the industry, which will improve the participants’ opportunities to get a relevant job in aid and with international innovation companies.

During the course participants will work in teams to address an actual development challenge in a low- or mid-income country. The purpose is to develop a prototype that can be effectively implemented. They will receive continuous feedback from development experts and managers from companies and organizations with similar challenges. Partners in this course include RISE Research Institutes of Sweden and Urban Technology Sweden.

East Africa as a case study

The course uses two development case studies: Acholiland in Northern Uganda and Rama, Tigray in Ethiopia.

The case study in Tigray, Ethiopia, focuses on water solutions for farming. 

The course aims to develop and promote a combination of innovative climate smart agricultural technologies and practices, that respond to the challenges and opportunities faced in the Ethiopian semi-arid regions related to food security, integrity of (agro)ecosystems and water management. This is based on an Integrated Watershed Management approach at sub regional scale level, while developing pathways that build-up social capital and the institutional frameworks required. 

As securing water for food is a big challenge for social and economic development in the country, students in this course are tasked with designing off-grid solutions to address methods of enhancing water use efficiency to considerably expand agricultural productivity in the Tigray region, which currently has limited water resources. 

The case study in Acholiland, Northern Uganda, focuses on sanitation for school children.

The long-term goal is to fulfill girls’ and boys’ right to water and provide adequate sanitation and hygiene conditions in rural Uganda. The course also aims to build trust among partners, strengthen ”out of the box” thinking and strengthen the WASH innovation ecosystem in Uganda. Phase II of the course focuses on addressing structural WASH problems to achieve sustainable results. In addition, regional cross-learning knowledge transfer and networking is enhanced in East Africa in order to scale up innovations and enable south – south learning.

Students in this course are tasked to design a concept for innovative solutions that address WASH needs for school children or other vulnerable groups in the rural areas of Acholiland, Northern Uganda.

In the long-run, the innovation model will be private-sector-driven, allowing development of new market-based solutions. Universities will support the SMEs by for instance, creating new ideas, concepts, research and conducting tests with the children. 

Read more on the Guest Lectures >>

Workshop: Healthcare as a leverage for implementing sustainable infrastructure in developing countries

Date: 4th May 2021
Time: 1300 – 1630 CEST
Venue: Online (Zoom)


Providing healthcare is dependent on clean water, electricity, heating/cooling, wastewater handling, communication etc.  The infrastructure and services are also sorely needed by surrounding communities. Lacking access to clean water, electricity etc. are among barriers keeping people in poverty back as well for small businesses to grow. Effectively making services available  to the local community can both create substantial circularity and sustainability advantages  and opportunities for people, such as a hub for businesses to develop. 

If healthcare is to become a driver for community development and environment and climate change mitigation, there is a need to apply a system solution approach in health care infrastructure. Broad collaboration between stakeholders from the private sector, international organisations, civil society, and community and partnerships are as central.   

The workshop provides an arena for dialogue on how healthcare can become a frontrunner for implementing sustainable infrastructure in developing regions (low- and middle-income countries) around the world. The aim is to get the discussion started on how an integrated approach to health care investment can be implemented and to connect key stakeholders for future collaboration.

We will discuss implementation, procurement, financing and technology solutions for a system solution approach.

Report: Match-making activities for innovation, partnership, finance and extended export to humanitarian crises

sWASH&grow’s goal is to improve the conditions for innovators to be able to meet relief organizations’ demands. An important part of reaching this goal is to create opportunities to connect and network. Facilitating that is the major role of WIN Water in the project. The two networking activities organized by WIN Water were successful and attracted around 90 participants from several countries.

In the first event, “Digitalization and business in challenged regions”, participants discussed Needs, Business Case, Implementation and Opportunities in relation to WASH.

In the WIN Water event “Business in challenged regions: clean water and safe sanitation for all”, participants were divided into small groups to facilitate closer interactions. Participants explored decentralized systems and business models, and how they can be applied in areas where they are needed most.

Read a summary of the events below.

Accelerating access to energy and WASH services

Written by: Olle Olsson & Karina Barquet, SEI. This article was originally published as part of a series on

Previously, we discussed Off-grid innovation in the WASH sector >>

In this article, we highlight some of the tensions that arise from an ongoing shift in the relationship between the costs of single large systems, which are based on grids and one or a few large processing facilities, and several small systems, with a large number of onsite stand-alone solutions that perform largely the same functions as large grids do. However, it is important to note that tensions arise when trying to integrate these two types of systems, for example by adapting small-scale and mass-produced technologies into existing technological systems and regulatory frameworks that are largely based on paradigm of extensive grids and a few large processing facilities.

What if there are no such systems in place to begin with?

This is a situation that is all too familiar to many people in the world today. Close to a billion people lack access to electricity altogether and many more have unreliable connections and suffer from frequent outages. More than half the world’s population lack access to safely managed sanitation and around two billion people have no access to properly managed drinking water. One of the main reasons for this is that even in rich stable democracies it is difficult enough to build, operate and maintain large-scale grid-based infrastructure systems that provide electricity and water and sanitation services. It is even more so in countries with weak institutions, especially if these infrastructure systems are based on designs adapted to, for example, European conditions.

Infrastructure, like power transmission cables, is very capital-intensive. In places with fragile institutions and/or difficult geographical conditions there may be little hope that large grid-based solutions can contribute to improved access to proper energy and WASH services any time soon. From this perspective, then, the fast and accelerating pace of innovation in standardized and modular solutions, which can be rapidly deployed close to the consumer and in the form of small individual projects, is promising.

Solar home systems, typically consisting of a solar panel, a cellphone charger and a couple of solar lanterns, are already bringing substantial improvements to the daily lives of millions of people. There is also a rapidly growing market for efficient refrigerators, fans and televisions specifically designed to be operated using stand-alone solar PV systems. As solutions that can function in situations without available grid infrastructure become cheaper, they are spurring new innovation in specific settings as an alternative to relying on painstakingly adapting solutions designed for a conventional grid-based setting.

This entails a substantial change in how energy and WASH services are provided, from having been based on a top-down infrastructure model to what increasingly resembles a model for consumer goods and household appliances. So, it seems the path is clear and laid out towards a future where sustainability problems stemming from lack of access to energy and WASH services are a thing of the past. But is it as straightforward as that?

New tech – new narrative? – the SEI Gridless Solutions Initiative

There seem to be very large opportunities that arise in the wake of the rapid pace of innovation in what we call “gridless solutions”. These are technologies that are based on standardized designs that can be modularly deployed at the level of individual households or small communities and provide stand-alone access to energy and WASH services in settings with little or no available grid infrastructure.

However, while such technologies certainly appear to be characterized by more rapid innovation than those based on the “large grid plus large centralized plant” model discussed in this series, technological innovation by itself does not solve sustainability problems. Rapid innovation needs to be leveraged and translated into equally rapid service provision and uptake.

Here, there is still much work to be done. Getting alignment between business model development, financing mechanisms, regulatory frameworks and institutional configurations and ensuring they keep up with technological developments will be quite challenging. These are some of the issues addressed by SEI’s Gridless Solutions Initiative, which aims to identify and help mitigate the key obstacles that stand in the way of gridless solutions realizing their potential.

We think that there is a lot of cross-sector learning to be done when it comes to things like financing, business-model development and adaptation of basic technological designs to different use cases. In addition, we explore the potential for synergies that can emerge when gridless technologies for energy and WASH are combined, perhaps most notably in the way that gridless solar PV solutions can be used for things like water desalination or purification in off-grid settings.

The initiative also takes a holistic view on the issue in terms of understanding, for example, how and why a particular technology can be successfully deployed using a particular business model in one setting but not in another. We believe that taking a broad approach that cuts across many different fields of expertise is necessary for us to make a meaningful contribution.

But it is also very challenging, so we try to link up and engage in partnerships and joint projects with actors who have deep expertise in different subfields. One early example of this is the sWASH & grow project, led by RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, where we are collaborating with innovators and humanitarian organizations to find ways to accelerate deployment and uptake of innovative, sustainable and inclusive WASH solutions in humanitarian aid settings.

It is important to emphasize that we do not believe that gridless solutions are by themselves a panacea. Electricity and WASH systems based on large centralized units and extensive grid networks currently play and will continue to play an essential part in providing vital basic services to billions of people around the world. There is a lot of ongoing innovation within monitoring and operations of water and wastewater utilities, such as digital twins, the use and provision of data for smarter services and increased consumer participation. In addition, innovation in governance will most likely lead to increased efficiency so that the lifetime of a utility can be extended. Also, some argue that the next big thing in utilities is the use and sharing of data that will enable the decentralization of services around a utility (e.g. different entrepreneurs being responsible for different parts of the wastewater treatment process) and this might decrease the operating costs of utility providers. These kinds of innovations could help shift the upward trend in grid costs, which would be highly desirable because it would further strengthen the portfolio of technologies that enable sustainability.

In other words, the Gridless Solutions Initiative is not based on an ideological preference for small-scale solutions. For example, while solar PV can be deployed at a small scale, what has been central to its success is the ability to draw on automated mass-manufacturing and globally integrated supply chains. Instead, the underlying thinking behind the initiative rests on a pragmatic recognition of how techno-economic megatrends are working in favour of solutions that are based on mass-manufacturing rather than on-site construction; standardization rather than bespoke design; and granular deployment rather than megaprojects.

We’re looking forward to getting to work.