HYDROGENi officially launched its activities today at its kick-off event in Oslo. HYDROGENi is a Norwegian Centre for Environment-friendly Energy Research (FME) focused on hydrogen and ammonia research and innovation.
HYDROGENi is one of the largest FMEs in operation, with a total budget of approximately NOK 530 million (around EUR 50 million), and over 50 industrial and academic partners. The centre is coordinated by SINTEF and will run for eight years.
“The interest in these centres is unparalleled. These centres are of national importance, and this is shown in our research partnerships with NTNU, IFE, UiO, USN and UiT,” said SINTEF CEO Alexandra Bech Gjørv. “I can assure all of you that SINTEF, with its four key institutes being partners, i.e. SINTEF Industry, Digital and Ocean together with the host SINTEF Energy, will put all our best resources to work in the HYDROGENi centre.”
Partnerships with globally leading universities and research centres will secure a high academic tenure for the Centre, while a strong commitment from industry will support the fulfilment of the Centre’s objectives. HYDROGENi also aims to establish the largest academic research programme in an FME by educating 35 PhD/postdoc students and over 100 MSc/BSc candidates.
Hydrogen as a versatile energy solution
Hydrogen has the potential to not only be a “clean” alternative to fossil fuels in heat and electricity production, but also replace fossil fuels in other industrial processes and transport applications. However, in order to realise hydrogen’s full potential, there are numerous knowledge and technical gaps that need to be filled. HYDROGENi will spearhead the research and innovations needed to close these gaps. In particular, HYDROGENi will work to build a sustainable hydrogen economy in Norway.
“We want to be a part of the support mechanism to make hydrogen happen,” said HYDROGENi Centre Director Nils Røkke from SINTEF. “As we all know, hydrogen is much needed in the energy transition towards net zero, as well as the targets for 2030. So we really want to accelerate the development and put the new ideas into plans and into the field – that’s key.”
The event also served as the kick-off for another hydrogen FME: HyValue, led by the Norwegian Research Centre (NORCE). HYDROGENi and HyValue have already established a relationship, with a focus on opportunities to work together in the future.
“It is no coincidence that we celebrate both these Centres here today,” said the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Aasland. “The Centres will complement and collaborate with each other; in many ways, they must be what connects the different threads for the important R&D work on hydrogen.”
A global effort needed to realise hydrogen
Hydrogen is not only an important topic in Norway; it is also a matter of global interest, which is reflected in HYDROGENi’s international consortium. In particular, representatives from European organisations congratulated the two Centres and welcomed the opportunity to collaborate.
“We need to progress, and it’s only by sharing data and sharing learnings that we can progress faster, and I think this is one of the very important ways we can collaborate,” said Bart Bierbuyck, Executive Director of the EU Clean Hydrogen Partnership. These sentiments were echoed by Adel El Gammal, secretary general at the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA):
“I would really call for us to work together, so that HYDROGENi and HyValue become blue prints for wider centres of excellence on hydrogen in order to achieve the goals of the energy transition.”