Sustainability is the foundation of our business
Today, everyone is talking about sustainability. For natural reasons. The climate crisis is real. But to us, sustainability is not just part of our company. It is the foundation of our entire business concept.
When we started Samster several years ago, we asked ourselves: How can we create smart energy solutions focusing on replacing fossil fuels?
The result: Our revolutionary solar hybrid.
Why is it important to replace fossil fuels?
When we use fossil fuels as an energy source, CO2 is formed. CO2 is the gas that contributes the most to global warming and the acidification of our oceans.
And this is happening way too fast.
For ten thousand years, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere and the temperature have remained the same. But since the 19th century, CO2 levels have increased by 40 percent, and the earth has become one degree warmer. And only in the last 200 years, the acidity of the ocean has increased by as much as 25 percent.
If we do nothing about the situation, climate change will have catastrophic consequences. Animals and plants in the sea and on land are threatened with extinction when their habitat rapidly changes. Humans risk poorer health when insects and diseases spread. Freshwater shortage and long periods of drought and starvation can lead to enforced mass migration.
And fossil fuels are the biggest culprit. Fossil fuels are also finite - they are consumed faster than they are replenished. That means, one day, they will run out.
Renewable solar energy is the way forward
Fortunately, there are other, better, renewable energy sources. The sun, for example. When the sun's rays are converted into energy, zero CO2 is emitted - and no other environmentally hazardous emissions either, for that matter. In addition, solar energy can be used to produce both heat and electricity. The sun is also our largest renewable energy source and will not run out of energy - at least not for another few million years or so.
Technology in solar energy is advancing rapidly and is expected to play a significant role in the energy systems of the future. Other renewable energy sources are wind power, hydropower, and geo-energy.
Why solar hybrids are the energy solution of the future
Solar hybrids are the energy solution of the future. Both solar energy and geo-energy that solar hybrids use are renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources.
But the main advantage of solar hybrids is not that they produce environmentally friendly energy - but that they reduce the number of kilowatt-hours.
Because the best kilowatt-hour is not the one produced environmentally friendly. It is the one that is not consumed at all. A saved kilowatt-hour is always the best.
By choosing solar hybrids, you contribute to a greener planet and pave the way for a sustainable future.
When Samster's solar hybrids first saw the light of day
Kent Samuelsson is one of Samster's founders and a true environmental hero. But what is the story of when Samster's solar hybrids first saw the light of day? Tag along on Kent's journey towards a more sustainable society characterized by technology, curiosity, innovation, and the dream of a climate-smart energy solution that would soon become a reality.
The environmental nerd who wanted to save energy
Kent Samuelsson's great interest has always been energy-saving. Initially, he trained to become an electrical engineer to work with wind power. But it didn't entirely turn out that way. Instead, he got into building automation and energy saving for properties. 25 years later, he is still in the business.
- I have worked with energy-saving all my life and have been such an environmental nerd from the very beginning. In the late '90s, I started working with solar energy and combining solar cells with heat pumps. It was an exciting technique, but there were many challenges.
A common interest in creating something better, something new
In 2007, Kent met Vilhelm Steiner. They didn't know it then, but a common interest in creating something better, something new, would result in a unique energy solution, a long-lasting friendship, and a company built upon the idea of creating a more sustainable future.
– Ville and his dad made a heat pump system for our company. He told me about the challenge he had with cold heat pumps not being as efficient as they could be. At the same time, solar cells were on the rise. Working with solar energy, I told him about the challenge I had with hot solar cells not being as efficient as they could be. And then, we started discussing how we could beneficially combine the two systems.
The result was Samster's unique solar hybrid. By cooling the solar cells and heating the borehole, Kent and Ville could increase the efficiency of both solar cells and heat pump.
To make environmental difference on a large scale
Although Kent describes himself as an environmental nerd, he doesn't lead an extreme eco-friendly lifestyle. For him, it is more about figuring out what can be done on a larger scale to contribute to a better environment.
– Caring for the environment is nothing new. It has been known since the '70s and even earlier. The 1973 oil crisis showed just how vulnerable a society we have built with our oil dependence. CO2 emissions have increased over time, and global warming will have the worst effects in the long run. At present, the acidification of our oceans is the most acute.
– I am not extreme in any way. I don't live in a mud house or grow my own vegetables. When I was in high school, I spent a lot of time with field biologists. I learned that what you can do for the environment as one person only makes a small difference. However, what you can do for the environment on a larger scale - such as developing a solar hybrid that can benefit the whole world - makes a big difference.
– Even if I cut my CO2 emissions down to zero, I have only cut about 10 tons of CO2 per year, while a single solar hybrid system cuts about 300 tons of CO2 per year. If all properties in Sweden were to install solar hybrids, we would cut approximately 8 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Making an environmental difference on a larger scale simply provides greater benefits.
Renewable energy can never beat a saved kilowatt-hour
But Samster's solar hybrids not only help reduce the use of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions. The main advantage is they cut power.
– We do not have an energy shortage in Sweden. We export 14 terawatt-hours per year on a net basis. It is a lack of power we have - so it is the power we need to cut. Using renewable energy and solar energy is great, but it can never beat a saved kilowatt-hour.
– When we developed Samster's solar hybrids, we first looked at saving power and second at replacing the remaining energy in an environmentally friendly way. With Samster's solar hybrids, we supply heat to the boreholes so that the heat pump requires less power. The energy needed to power the system is taken from the sun, a fossil-free and renewable energy source. With Samster's solar hybrids, we cut lots of both energy and power, which gives tremendous environmental benefits. Our driving force is - and always has been - to do as much good for the environment as possible.