Nordic research programme will accelerate energy transition

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The idea behind the Nordic Maritime Transport and Energy Research Programme is that a Nordic colloboration will create outcomes and impact of greater value for the countries involved than could be achieved through national activities alone. October 28 is the last day to apply for the call, which comprises NOK 30 million.

“In the Nordic countries, there are great ambitions to reduce shipping emissions. In several places, the Nordic region is far ahead when it comes to introducing and finding new solutions, for example in research and development of new technologies for electricity, biogas, ammonia and hydrogen. And Nordic Energy Research's view is that when the Nordic countries co-operate, larger markets are created for these products and solutions”, says Svend Søyland, senior adviser at Nordic Energy Research, the Nordic Council of Ministers' platform for energy research.

He says that the idea for a joint research program arose during meetings that Nordic Energy Research arranged in Copenhagen and in Malmö at World Maritime University last year. Several experts from the platform's Nordic co-operation organizations participated, including Åsa Burman, director at Lighthouse, who presented a report that Lighthouse made on maritime research in the Nordic region. On this basis, it was understood that there are major points of contact between the countries, but that joint research funding is a prerequisite for cooperation.

“In meetings with the experts, NEF understood early on that we wanted to highlight research with mature solutions that are high on the Technology-Readiness scale and that it was therefore important to involve the industry to ensure the benefits. Therefore, we require that at least one industry partner must be included in each project application.”

So what types of projects does NEF want? Well, Applicants are encouraged to develop multidisciplinary approaches addressing; technical, economical, regulatory, and environmental aspects.

“We have divided it into three different concepts or fuel types: biofuels, battery and electric power as well as concepts utilizing Hydrogen, ammonia or other fuels based on green or blue hydrogen.”

The call covers NOK 30 million, which will be distributed over at least three projects. Sweden has (through the Swedish Transport Administration) invested NOK 5 million. Norway, Denmark and Finland contribute the same amount, Iceland with just under 2 million, while Nordic Energy Research accounts for the rest, NOK 8.5 million. October 28 is the last day to apply and approved projects should be able to start at the end of February 2021.

“On October 14, we had an informative webinar with over 100 participants. So we feel that there is a great interest.”

So how is the interest from the financiers? Is this the only call or will there be more?

“The Nordic Council of Ministers has a strong focus on the transport area and climate goals in general. So we hope that there will be more, but at present nothing is decided”, Svend Søyland says.