Just a few short weeks ago I was in Finland on a tour of some of the country's most innovative technology companies. I have to admit I felt, oh, a bit 20th century as I listened to engineers and entrepreneurs talking about the Finns' pioneering work in everything from nano-engineered solar coatings to "printed batteries," paper-plastic hybrid materials to wireless device chargers. 

Finland is busy developing an expertise in super-wonky technologies of the 21st century, and because the government has an aggressive program that specifically funds R & D for new startups, there is a plethora of new companies to watch in 2010.

I wasn't sure which to highlight so I turned to cleantech guru Shawn Lesser of Sustainable World Capital. Shawn has done an amazing job in the past of predicting top cleantech companies AND cleantech countries, so I asked him to pick the top 10 most innovative Finnish companies to watch in 2010. Here's his list (of 11):

BaseN -- sub/smart metering: large scale infrastructure monitoring & management for energy, gas and water.

Canatu develops and sells new components based on carbon nanotubes epaper, OLED & electronics.

Braggone -- coating materials for solar glass and solar cells, operations in Finland and Asia.

Beneq sells and develops equipment and technology for functional coating applications, 50 percent for solar applications.

Proventia sells and develops emission control solutions for vehicle, power plants and ships.

Powerkiss – wireless charging solution for Nokias, Apples, mini-USBs and netbooks.

Liqum – scalable liquid quality monitoring technology.

The Switch – power electronics for energy efficiency, converters and generators.

Forchem – tall oil technology and manufacturing.

Picodeon – technology for ColdLab coating materials, scalable for several applications like electronics and solar.

Enfucell – Technology for printed batteries and small power sources.

With the wide array of materials and technologies now funded and in production, 2010 may be Finland's breakthrough year in clean technology.

2010 may be Finland's breakthrough year in cleantech
Technology pundit Shawn Lesser identifies 10 breakthrough companies in Finland's expanding cleantech sector.