A move into Sweden will be a tough challenge for this month's winner of The Birmingham Post Business Award.

Geothermal International, a specialist in heating and cooling systems that use renewable energy stored in the earth, has earmarked a move into Scandinavia as the next chapter of an already impressive growth story.

The company, which is the market leader in its field in the UK, is taking on most of its European rivals in Sweden where it has just appointed a distributor. "Sweden is the home of the heat pump and it is where most of the European manufacturers are based," Geothermal managing director Brian Davidson said yesterday . But while the Swedish domestic market may be saturated, Geothermal has a commercial side to its business which it believes will give it an advantage.

The company won the Post award for September after a story about its rapid growth caught the eye of the independent judges.

Starting from zero six years ago, Geothermal has built up a £10 million a year turnover and has seen its payroll rise from just two to nearly 50. Numbers are expected to grow to about 80 in the next few months.

Geothermal recently expanded its headquarters in Earlsdon, Coventry, with the help of a £6.6 million funding package from Yorkshire Bank and private investors.

It installs pumps that provide heat in winter and cool air in summer by tapping the earth's energy and so eliminate carbon emissions.

Recent UK customers for its systems include the Chelsea Building Society HQ at Cheltenham, police headquarters buildings in Gloucester and Kent, some prisons and a number of schools, including sites in Solihull and Wednesbury.

The company currently exports to Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Romania, Bosnia and Russia.

The pumps, which are sourced from the US, can cut a building's fuel costs by between 60 and 70 per cent and drastically reduce carbon emissions.

Mr Davidson received the award on behalf of Geothermal at an event held at the Professional Golfers' Association HQ at the De Vere Belfry, Sutton Coldfield. It was presented by Norman Fletcher, director of regions and external relations at the PGA.

Chairman of judges, David Smith, managing director of scheme sponsor Churchill Vintners of Birmingham, said of Geothermal: "This is what I call a success story. The graph can only go on rising and the company can only get stronger and stronger."

Andy Ashton of Yorkshire Bank's Coventry business centre said: "We saw a lot of potential in this company six years ago and I am sure it can double in size again in the next few years."

The main sponsors of The Birmingham Post Business Awards are Intercity Mobile Communications and Churchill Vintners in association with Champagne Taittinger.

British Airways and Aston Business School provide further support, along with Biz-tv, part of Aston Media at Aston University, which produces a business video of each monthly winner worth £2,500.

And Warwickshire County Cricket Club is providing a private box for one of their day/night games next season.