NORCE is awarded a hydrogen center that will contribute to faster decarbonization

The NORCE-led center, HyValue, will develop knowledge, methodology, and innovative solutions for hydrogen energy carriers. The Research Council of Norway allocates NOK 15 million annually for 8 years to the center, which will be a Centre for Environment-friendly Energy Research (FME).

Sist oppdatert: Mar 18, 2022
Published Mar 11, 2022

All sectors must contribute to achieving the goals of emission reduction in 2030 and climate neutrality in 2050. Hydrogen-based solutions for the energy sector can play a key role, but several grand challenges remain.

- Congratulations to the research communities in NORCE and all our partners on the award. A holistic approach is needed to address the remaining challenges in the hydrogen energy sector. We are now looking forward to starting this work, together with research partners and industry, says Kristin Wallevik, CEO of NORCE.

Norce Kristin Wallevik Foto Thor Brødreskift 42
Kristin Wallevik, CEO of NORCE.

In HyValue, NORCE and partners will address the challenges, among other things, through the development of new production methods, increased knowledge of risk assessment, and new methodologies for analyzing societal acceptance.

- We need an emission-free energy carrier. Hydrogen-based energy carriers, such as hydrogen and ammonia, will be central when the Norwegian industry shall reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, says Fionn Iversen, centre manager of HyValue and researcher at NORCE.

NORCE cooperates widely

The initiators and national research partners are Energiomstilling Vest (EOV), which consists of the University of Bergen (UiB), Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), Centre for Applied Research, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), and NORCE, together with the University of Stavanger (UiS), Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI), and the Institute of Transport Economics (TØI). International research partners: Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ), Imperial College London (ICL), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Monash University (Monash U), Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). In addition, there are partners from the industry, as well as regulative bodies.

The regional composition is broad, with partners from, among others, Agder, Rogaland, and Vestland. HyValue is happy to bring in more industry partners, as well.

A broad approach

HyValue has a broad approach that includes technical solutions, financial incentives, regulations, social and environmental impact, and risk.

- Cooperation with the industry is essential. Through research and development of new methods, we will help lay the foundation for a hydrogen energy sector. This might, for example, be more efficient methods for the hydrogen and ammonia production, says Iversen.

The center will, among other things, develop marine technology related to hydrogen, such as how to transport hydrogen and how to operate hydrogen ferries safely.

From ambitions to results

- The government has big ambitions for Norway to take the lead in technology development for hydrogen and hydrogen-based energy carriers. We believe this can lay the foundation for building a new industry, cutting emissions, and creating new jobs in Norway, says Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Terje Aasland, in a video greeting to NORCE.

- To turn our ambitions into results, I have great faith in the work you will do in the new research center. We need all good forces to play together, the research communities, the authorities, and industry included. Congratulations! says Aasland.

HyValue will:

- explore methods for production of hydrogen and ammonia that significantly reduce energy loss and costs.

- utilize and develop solutions for transport, storage, and filling/bunkering of hydrogen-based fuel.

- analyze maritime value chains and study regulations and financial incentives to avoid barriers and promote business models for hydrogen and ammonia.

- develop a new framework for assessing the body of knowledge used in risk assessments for hydrogen and ammonia systems.

- put technology development and business models in a context that is acceptable by the society and document the total greenhouse gas emissions for hydrogen and ammonia value chains.

- study how the hydrogen sector can mature as a socio-technical system, and develop a methodology for systematically increasing societal acceptance.

Several major challenges

The hydrogen energy sector today faces several grand challenges. HyValue addresses five challenges through a combination of basic research and applied development.

1. How can we produce hydrogen and ammonia with minimal energy loss and at a lower cost? Today’s production leaves a significant carbon footprint from CO2 emissions directly, or indirectly, from energy loss. Inefficient production processes also affect production costs negatively.

2. How can we create a safe and robust transport and distribution system for hydrogen-based fuels? Compared to fossil fuels, pressurized and liquid hydrogen and ammonia have very different properties and requirements for transport and storage. Avoiding accidents is crucial for the implementation of hydrogen technologies.

3. How can we develop end-user applications for hydrogen-based energy carriers? Today's market for hydrogen and ammonia mainly serves industrial users. Larger uses depend on new sectors, such as transport and heating, using hydrogen-based fuels. Such a conversion is difficult and very expensive and may require certain high demand segments as catalysts to establish the scale and value chains.

4. How can we stimulate investment and build a system with acceptable risk for all stakeholders? Expanding the use of hydrogen and ammonia in society requires system knowledge and the right tools to measure performance in terms of safety, emergency preparedness, and regulations. The development of a hydrogen energy sector requires cooperation between all actors in the value chain, including policymakers, public regulation, and companies.

5. How can we build society's confidence in a hydrogen economy? The hydrogen energy sector is an immature socio-technical system. Handling this incorrectly might pose a risk to users and a threat to the system. Developing strategies to build trust and resilience is crucial.

FME in Hydrogen

The purpose of the call is to establish a Centre for Environment-friendly Energy Research (FME) specializing in clean hydrogen and hydrogen-based energy carriers, including ammonia. The FME will reinforce and coordinate research and innovation efforts in this field.

Researchers at the center will work to generate solutions for safe, sustainable, and cost-effective production, transport, storage, distribution, and use of clean hydrogen and hydrogen-based energy carriers. Clean hydrogen is produced from renewable energy or fossil energy combined with carbon capture and storage.

Totaly 300 MNOK

The expected total budget for the new hydrogen center HyValue will be close to 300 MNOK, when combining contributions from both NFR and partners:

  • Funding from the Norwegian Research Council and industry: in excess of NOK 200 million
  • In-kind contributions from research partners: between 50 and 100MNOK