Finland, June 7, 2018 – NCE Maritime CleanTech, a business cluster in which The Switch Norway is active, is establishing a new Norwegian catapult center to build up expertise and testing facilities for the partner organizations in the cluster. The center will be at the forefront in making the Norwegian marine industry greener, smarter and more innovative.
NCE Maritime CleanTech’s initiative Sustainable Maritime Norwegian Catapult Center was announced as one of the three winners among the 15 business clusters that applied to Siva, the Industrial Development Corporation of Norway, to fund a new catapult arrangement. The aim of this new catapult center is to build up the testing facilities of partner companies as a national testing and innovation center to develop greener and smarter energy.
The Switch Norway sets the project in motion
The initiative started as a wish from The Switch Norway, which is one of Europe’s largest privately-owned testing centers for marine power electronics.
“Access to the physical infrastructure for development and innovation is of major strategic importance for our competitiveness and future value creation in the marine industry. This catapult center will be an important learning area to help us create more innovation and strengthen Norway’s position as a marine nation,” says Asbjørn Halsebakke, The Switch Norway.
Through the Sustainable Maritime Norwegian Catapult Center, the industry players will be given access to facilities where they can test sustainable energy systems, such as battery, fuel cell and hybrid technologies, as well as receive help with prototyping and piloting. The center also provides opportunities to test new technology on operational vessels. For this purpose, Norled AS, Knutsen OAS AS and Solstad ASA have all provided vessels.
Accelerating the transition to renewable energy
Stricter emissions regulations for ships, and the ambitious Norwegian targets of reducing emissions by 40% from the non-quota sector by 2030, require a major energy and technology shift. This calls for an increasing need for testing centers to help accelerate the transition to renewable energy.
NCE Maritime CleanTech will be responsible for pooling the relevant competence and test facilities for the joint venture.
“Our ambition is to establish a center with the foremost competence and the most complete testing facilities for the development of renewable energy systems. The center will also provide an opportunity to test new technologies and solutions to simplify the road from concept to market introduction,” comments Hege Økland, NCE Maritime CleanTech.
“I would like to congratulate NCE Maritime CleanTech on its latest Sustainable Maritime Norwegian Catapult Center initiative. The Norwegian maritime industry is today a world leader in developing sustainable solutions. By increasing the rate of innovation, the center will play an important role in helping Norway maintain its global leadership position,” says Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, Minister of Trade and Industry.
An exciting and important mission ahead
Catapult schemes are financed by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries and are handled by Siva in cooperation with the Research Council and Innovation Norway. The other two winning catapult initiatives will be supported by Bergen Technology Transfer and ÅKP Blue Innovation Arena. The Norwegian government has awarded a total of NOK 125 million for catapult centers in 2018.
Representatives from three of the partners building up a Norwegian catapult center for smarter and greener energy systems: Hege Økland from NCE Maritime CleanTech, Asbjørn Halsebakke from The Switch Norway, and Gunnar Birkeland and Bernt Henrik Hellesøe from Unitech. Photo: Øyvind Hjelmen.