Airship factory to be built in Finland
25 November, 2019
For immediate release
Airship factory to be built in Finland – the only one in Northern Europe
The only airship factory in the whole of northern Europe will be built in the north indeed – in Finland. A Finnish start-up company called Kelluu Ltd. (Finnish word for ‘floats’) has developed a whole new airship concept: a miniature autopilot airship that can perform many kind of airborne data transfer duties. The vessels will be factory-manufactured, and the company has started the building works for their airship factory facility and airship development laboratory after receiving 1,1 M€ funding. Kelluu will also recruit more workforce in the future.
–The funding really helps us bring our idea to the awareness of the global audience. Our airships can fly for weeks, whereas for instance drones can stay in the air only for some dozens of minutes. The vessels can be used for different kinds of surveillance and monitoring duties around the world, says Jouni Lintu, CEO and head airship designer.
The million euro funding was provided by different public and private investors as well as the entrepreneurs Jouni Lintu and Jiri Jormakka themselves.
–When I heard about the idea, I immediately thought of Hindenburg – which may not sound like the most fertile ground for starting a company. But when I learned more about the business idea, I realised that there is a clear gap in the markets that airships can fill – in cases where the use of helicopters is too expensive and the operating time of drones is too short, says Kim Väisänen, one of the investors.
The actual service that Kelluu Ltd. will be selling is airborne monitoring that will be performed with sensors that are loaded on the airships. First, the airship concept will be applied in the energy industry where the airships monitor power lines in remote areas, thus making it possible to do well-targeted maintenance and prevent power outages. Due to the extremely long operational hours, the airships can collect information in much larger quantities and with much less cost compared to the current methods of using helicopters or drones. Also the environmental impact is huge when the emissions are cut dramatically.
‒The impact that this innovation has on the world is the key, because we only invest in companies that can change the world for the better. In Kelluu’s case the environmental impact is huge, when helicopter flights can be replaced with low-emission hydrogen-powered vessels. What is even more interesting is that in addition to the environmental impact, we can improve people’s wellbeing in environmental crises by building airbridges in crisis areas, says Sami Etula from Suomen Vaikuttavuussijoitus, one of the investors.
Kelluu’s first recruitment round was a success. The company announced open positions for Finland’s only airship engineer, prototype technician and flight systems developer, and received a significant amount of applications that met the strict criteria. There were applicants from 10 different countries, and the selected team consists of airship experts from New Zealand, Hungary, Finland and Germany. All product development and manufacturing takes place in Kelluu headquarters and airship factory in Joensuu, eastern Finland.
–This is such a special field that we really want to find the top talents from any corner of the world and convince them to come to Joensuu, in the east of Finland. This place is the best you can imagine for airship development, with top-notch mobile networks for information transfer and plenty of undisturbed flight space for test flights, says Jiri Jormakka, COO and partner of Kelluu Ltd.
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