To meet high ambitions in the supplier industry in Agder, the University of Agder is expanding efforts within offshore wind.

“We are known as the co-creating university. A close cooperation with the regional business sector is very important to us,” says Sunniva Whittaker, Rector at the University of Agder (UiA).

Based on the Agder supplier industry’s excitement for offshore wind, the upcoming Norwegian licensing round, and governmental funding for a national competence center for offshore wind, the University of Agder is building an interdisciplinary offshore wind education to offer its students from the fall of 2024.

A master’s program in offshore wind will build on bachelor’s programs in mechatronics, ICT, electronics, renewable energy, industrial economy, and other subjects relevant for offshore wind.

“In parallel, we are building research programs and preparing a competence center for offshore wind, for which we received funding in the Norwegian National Budget for 2023,” says Hans Kjetil Lysgård, Vice Rector for Research and Interdisciplinary Projects at UiA.

Hans Kjetil Lysgård, Vice Rector for Research and Interdisciplinary Projects at the University of Agder, is preparing a new offering within offshore wind.

Both Lysgård and Whittaker gave presentations at the GCE NODE Top Leader Forum in Kristiansand Thursday evening. The event had a record-breaking turnout with close to 100 people in attendance.

Other presenters at the Top Leader Forum included the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST), that addressed Norwegian relations with Russia in the light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and Siri Engesæth, CEO of Factlines – a company owned by Arendals Fossekompani – that tracks sustainability through supply lines. Factlines recently acquired the Ecotrack tool from GCE NODE.

Siri Engesæth, CEO of Factlines, tracks sustainability through supply lines.
CEO of GCE NODE, Tom Fidjeland, was pleased to see a record-breaking turnout for the GCE NODE Top Leader Forum.

More than 70 people attended a kickoff for the Agder H2 Network, recently established to unite and support the hydrogen value chain in Agder.

In June, Greenstat and Everfuel received a governmental grant of NOK 148 million to build a hydrogen factory in Kristiansand. The factory is scheduled to start production in the last quarter of 2024, as one of five coastal plants that are supported by the government to grow the Norwegian hydrogen industry.

Torstein Ekern, CEO of Greenstat, which is a co-owner and co-operator of hydrogen production plants, brought some enthusiasm to the initial network meeting:

“Hydrogen is happening in Norway right now! Greenstat has been in the hydrogen business since 2015 and we are very excited. It is happening! Projects are being realized,” said Ekern.

In its first phase, the Greenstat/Everfuel plant in Kristiansand will produce 8 tons hydrogen per day, increasing to 24 tons in a second phase. Off-takers are primarily ships. Hydrogen is a clean and large energy carrier that is well suited for heavy transport and shipping.

“Hydrogen is happening in Norway right now!” said Torstein Ekern, CEO of Greenstat.

Production of hydrogen is likely to develop into a major industry both in Agder, in Norway and internationally as we transition to a more renewable and sustainable society. Several European countries are already well on their way. Norway, with its coastline, resources and expertise have some natural advantages and is considered to be a future key player in the international hydrogen market.

A report from Menon Economics states that hydrogen in Norway is a NOK 1.5 billion industry with 815 jobs and close to NOK 1 billion in exports. By 2030, Menon estimates that hydrogen will have grown to a NOK 83 billion industry with 5,800 jobs and NOK 61 billion in exports.

“This presents great opportunities,” says Tanja Erichsen, Senior Manager Business Development at Greenstat and Project Manager for Agder H2.

“Agder H2 is a new network for those who already work with hydrogen, and those who are exploring the possibilities that this new market offers. If you are interested in hydrogen and the green shift, you are invited to join the network. Membership is free and industry independent,” says Erichsen.

More than 70 people attended the first network meeting in Kristiansand.

The three-year Agder H2 Network project comprises five work packages:

  1. Mapping of hydrogen projects in Agder
  2. Promoting cooperation and creating synergies between projects and with other hydrogen networks in Norway.
  3. Taking part in European projects, especially in the transportation sector
  4. Running and developing a regional hydrogen network
  5. Positioning Agder in the hydrogen industry

Partners in the Agder H2 Network are GCE NODE, Greenstat, Nikkelverket, Agder Energi, the University of Agder, NORCE, Agder County and Business Region Kristiansand. The project is run by GCE NODE and supported by Sørlandets Kompetansefond.

“Clusters have proven to work well in our region and in particular in immature industries. Hydrogen and offshore wind as examples of this,” said Peder Klemsdal, CEO of Sørlandets Kompetansefond. His organization has is funding both the Agder H2 Network and the offshore wind project Fremtidens Havvind.

Read more and sign up to be part of the Agder H2 Network:

Peter Klemsdal at Sørlandets Kompetansefond is a funder of the network.
County Mayor Arne Thomassen is a supporter of hydrogen.

The Norwegian hydrogen industry is currently of limited size, but holds large potential, according to a report from Menon Economics.

Menon states that hydrogen in Norway is a NOK 1.5 billion industry with 815 jobs and close to NOK 1 billion in exports. By 2030, Menon estimates that hydrogen will have grown to a NOK 83 billion industry with 5,800 jobs and NOK 61 billion in exports.

“The Norwegian hydrogen industry consists of equipment and technology distribution, service providers, hydrogen and ammonium production as well as distribution. Equipment and technology distributors and service providers currently make up the majority of the industry today, closely followed by production, when measured in number of companies present in Norway,” says Menon in a report commissioned by the Arena H2 Cluster and partners, including GCE NODE.

The revenue generated is primarily driven by equipment or technology distributors that cater to a global market. The remaining part of the industry is characterized by a larger number of companies who are in the early stages of developing their business opportunities within hydrogen, where only a limited share of the employees is dedicated to this work.

Despite the hydrogen industry as a whole being of relatively limited size today, it consists of ambitious industry players where the majority are targeting market segments with substantial growth potential. This is made clear by the fact that a substantial share of today’s activities is related to development of new projects.

“Our mapping shows that there were 59 hydrogen and ammonium projects under development in Norway during the fall of 2022. These are projects set on building production facilities for hydrogen/ammonium, as well as building or expanding production units for equipment that are part of production processes or application,” says Menon in the report.

READ MORE: The full Menon Hydrogen report in Norwegian  ::  English summary