In many ways, the world became smaller in 2020, as we were all attacked by a common enemy: the Covid-19 virus. The world united to fight this virus – and what’s even more special is that we united around the science, as we recognised that it held the key to our emergence from the pandemic. More than ever, I believe that people understand that we need knowledge and research if we are to solve the big global issues.
After the pandemic has passed, we will still have another massive challenge to face, namely climate change. The vaccine will hopefully stop the coronavirus – but which vaccine will stop climate change?
At SINTEF Energy Research, we are working to find environmentally- friendly energy solutions, which constitute the most effective vaccine for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
We do this together with our most important partner, NTNU, and in close collaboration with industry and other partners. Our vaccine will be crucial for Norway’s success in transitioning to more sustainable energy solutions.
In connection with one of the Norwegian government’s crisis packages, all research institutes received an extraordinary grant, which enabled us to increase our efforts to produce new concepts.
In 2020, SINTEF Energy Research developed and investigated new concepts within a variety of areas, including:
- More sustainable data centres
- New e-infrastructures that will help achieving carbon neutrality
- Sensors in cables that will increase the security of supply and reduce societal costs
- Monitoring high-voltage submarine power cables
- Drones for mapping watercourses
- Using 3D printing to manufacture more efficient heat exchangers
- Producing Digital Twins (DT) of offshore windfarms
- Advanced simulation of hydropower turbines
- Battery cooling and heating based on phase changing materials (PCM)
This is sustainable technology that we believe has a lot of potential for Norwegian business. Therefore, despite all the difficulties surrounding us, I am optimistic about the future. Undeterred by everything that happened, our employees and partners managed to maintain normal operations and contributed to SINTEF Energy Research receiving many new and important projects both in Norway and abroad.
We even managed to conduct our Summer Scientist Project as “usual”. That is to say, we had around 30 students work with us from their home offices, dining rooms, hammocks, sofas, and university reading rooms.
In many ways, this unusual year set a new course for the future of research and for us at SINTEF Energy Research. 2020 was the year for finding new possibilities in a difficult situation. The world will not be exactly as it was before the pandemic, and we will understand more about what this new normal looks like as we continue in 2021. 2020 showed us that we are a powerful organisation, and that together with NTNU and our other partners in the industry, we can adapt to any challenge that may arise. Together, I am confident that we are facing a positivefuture.