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SINTEF Energy Research - Annual report 2019

We shape the future's sustainable energy solutions

Who we are and what we do

SINTEF Energy Research is an applied research institute dedicated to creating innovative energy solutions. We offer cutting-edge research-based knowledge and infrastructure both in Norway and globally with the aim of providing our clients with added-value solutions and services. SINTEF Energy Research is part of the SINTEF Group, which is one of Europe's largest independent contract research centres.

SINTEF, globally and locally

With the aim of supporting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, SINTEF Energy Research carries out world-leading research in fields such as offshore wind, solar energy, bioenergy, batteries, smart grids, electrical power components, hydropower market modelling, energy efficiency, zero-emissions transport, hydrogen, CCS, and low-emission oil and gas production. We work closely with industry to boost Norwegian competitiveness in global markets.

World-leading solutions

We offer world-leading laboratories and test facilities, supported by state-of-the-art digital software and systems. We occupy a strong position in the EU's Framework Programme and are involved in six of the Research Council of Norway’s Centres for Environmentally-Friendly Energy Research (FMEs). We also act as coordinator for LowEmission, a recently established centre promoting research into low-emission oil and gas production on the Norwegian shelf.

Our effort to mitigate climate change

The Covid-19 pandemic and its health-related and economic impacts present us with an entirely new global challenge. It has also illustrated how intense levels of international research and development will aid in halting its spread. The challenge of climate change must also be addressed globally, and collaborative international research will be decisive in this area. The work carried out by SINTEF Energy Research and our partners during 2019 clearly demonstrates that we have made a major contribution in the collective effort to address this challenge.

SINTEF Energy Research and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals

SINTEF’s vision of "Technology for a better society” and the objectives of SINTEF Energy Research are focused on shaping the sustainable energy solutions of the future. Sustainability is at the heart of all our research activities.

Read more about SINTEF Energy's contribution to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals by clicking on one of the icons below.

SINTEF Energy Research and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals

Affordable and clean energy

It is crucial that our research into various energy solutions contributes towards achieving a low carbon footprint and high levels of supply security, but it is also important that the solutions are both efficient and economically viable. The vast majority of our research projects contribute towards achieving this goal.
SINTEF Energy Research and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals

Climate action

It is important to limit the global average rise in temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels if the planet is to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Our work with innovative and sustainable solutions to replace less eco-friendly systems, and with emissions-reducing solutions, is making a direct contribution to the achievement of this goal.
SINTEF Energy Research and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals

Industry, innovation and infrastructure

A well-functioning energy supply infrastructure, both onshore and offshore, is key to the maintenance of a robust society. Many of the projects carried out by SINTEF Energy Research contribute towards the development of a resilient energy infrastructure and a more innovative industrial sector. Many of our projects that promote industrial energy efficiency make an active contribution towards more sustainable industrialisation processes.
SINTEF Energy Research and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable cities and communities

SINTEF Energy Research is working to promote smart cities and low-emission transport solutions that will contribute to more sustainable cities with more resilient infrastructures.
SINTEF Energy Research and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals

Life on land

SINTEF Energy Research is working to develop energy solutions that safeguard the natural world. We have accumulated extensive experience in this field in connection with our hydropower projects.
How we contribute towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals

1. Hydropower

Our hydropower production scheduling models contribute to the achievement of many of the UN sustainable development goals. Our models ensure that hydropower systems are operated with high profitability and optimal use of resources, while at the same time safeguarding local ecosystems in and around regulated river systems.  Our models promote the added value of renewable energy generated from hydropower. They also enhance flexibility, making it possible to exploit other renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.
How we contribute towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals

2. SF6

SF6 (sulphur hexafluoride) is a powerful greenhouse gas that exacerbates global warming. Considering a 100-year perspective, SF6 has a warming potential that is between 22,000 and 23,500 times greater than CO2. SF6 is used in equipment such as electrical switchgear. In collaboration with the energy sector, SINTEF Energy Research is working to regulate the use of SF6. We are also working to identify alternatives to SF6.
How we contribute towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals

3. Refrigerant applications of CO2

According to the Drawdown project, the single most important action that can be taken to mitigate climate change is to replace refrigerants in air conditioning systems, heat pumps and refrigeration units. A phasing down of the use of HFCs has the potential to save as much as half a degree of global warming. Since the 1980s, SINTEF and NTNU have jointly been conducting research into the use of CO2 as a natural refrigerant. We have a world-leading research teams in this field that have developed technologies for application in e.g. Norway, Europe, Japan and India.
How we contribute towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals

4. CCS

The term CCS covers a set of technologies involving the capture, transport and safe storage of CO2 in underground reservoirs. In order to limit the average rise in global temperatures to 1.5°C, it will not be enough to reduce emissions. In the future, we will have to remove them from the atmosphere too. CCS is the only technology that offers sectors such as steel, fertiliser and cement manufacturing an opportunity to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions. CCS also offers the potential to remove CO2 emissions from natural gas sources, with pure hydrogen as the end product. In collaboration with NTNU, SINTEF has established world-leading research teams in the field of CCS.
2019 Highlights


In 2018, SINTEF and NTNU launched the development of a joint profile template, which was completed in the spring of that year and put on show at the thermal power engineering laboratories. The photo below shows an "innovation safari”, designed for politicians and clients who often visit the laboratory.

2019 Highlights


On Friday 18 February, the Research Council of Norway presented the Norwegian Ministry for Petroleum and Energy with a report showing that investment in energy-related research during the last ten years has proved to be highly profitable. The presentation took place at the SINTEF Energy Lab in connection with a ministerial visit. The report showed that NOK 4 billion has been invested in renewable energy projects over the last ten years. Qualitative gains were also achieved in the form of security of supply, knowledge development and, not least, climate change mitigation. The various FME centres provided data to support the conclusions contained in the report.

2019 Highlights


A new joint Swedish-Norwegian research project coordinated by SINTEF will look into the possibilities and costs of transporting CO2 captured in Sweden for storage in reservoirs on the Norwegian shelf. This is the first project to ever investigate this possibility. The aim is to investigate the possibilities of establishing a full-scale facility for the capture and transport of CO2 from the Preem refinery and wet gas plant at Lysekil. The project would reduce CO2 emissions by up to 500,000 tons per year, and the demonstration plant is a step towards establishing a full-scale facility by 2025.

Høydepunkter fra 2019


Coordinated by SINTEF, the Energytics project arranged a hackathon event for students on 25 April. 28 students from NTNU and the University of Tromsø took part. They worked together in seven groups using data obtained from smart meters, meteorological data, measurements taken from household devices, and electricity prices. Their task was to create something innovative from this data, either in the form of a new business idea or programming code that would be of value to electricity customers. Two winners were announced by a jury made up of representatives from the companies Hafslund, Sensero and Eidsiva. Video in Norwegian.

2019 Highlights


John Olav Tande, an offshore wind technology researcher, was selected as a Norwegian Mission Innovation Champion. The Champions received their honours at the fourth Ministerial Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, on Monday 27 May. The prize was inaugurated by Bill Gates and former US President Barack Obama, among others, during the COP 21 Climate Change Summit in Paris in 2015. The prize is awarded to people that develop future products and services in response to climate change challenges. During a long and productive scientific career, Senior Research Scientist Tande has made significant contributions to developments in the field of obtaining clean energy from offshore wind, especially in connection with the concept of floating wind farms.

2019 Highlights


After several years of commissioning and subsystem testing, the new NorBioLab gasification reactor is now operational at the SINTEF Energy Lab at Blaklia in Trondheim. The reactor enables the conversion of biomass into sustainable fuel. NorBioLab is led by the Norwegian Paper Industry Research Institute (Rise PFI), in collaboration with NTNU, SINTEF Energy Research and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). Video in Norwegian.

2019 Highlights


The new LowEmission research centre was opened on 14 June. The Norwegian Minister for Petroleum and Energy cut the tape with research scientists and project partners looking on. In the lead up to 2050 the centre will develop new knowledge and technologies that will be applied to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the Norwegian oil and gas sector to zero. The targets also include a reduction of 40 percent by 2030. The total budget for the centre is close to NOK 350 million over a period of eight years. Video in Norwegian.

2019 Highlights


TCCS-10, also known as the Trondheim CCS Conference, was held with the aim of addressing carbon management and CCS issues. Arranged jointly by NTNU, SINTEF and FME NCCS in June every second year, TCCS attracts more than 400 CCS researchers from around the world. There were ten keynote speeches, more than 100 presentations and approximately 150 posters. The conference was held over two days, followed by a Mission Innovation workshop with CCS as its key topic.

2019 Highlights


In 2019, for the thirteenth successive year, SINTEF Energy Research welcomed students to work as researchers during the summer. The institute received 248 applications for 26 summer internships. The students get to work on real research projects under the guidance of a mentor from SINTEF Energy Research. The internships provide an important opportunity for network building and skills development, and for publication and dissemination on the part of SINTEF Energy Research. An open technical seminar was held on completion of the internship period. Here's a video in Norwegian.

2019 Highlights


During the annual Arendal Political and Business Forum (Arendalsuka), SINTEF and NTNU held a presentation on sustainable wind power development in Norway. The talk drew a lot of attention, resulting in a 10-minute feature on the Dagsrevyen TV news programme on 13 August. Here are three pieces of advice that we gave politicians at Arendalsuka (in Norwegian).

2019 Highlights


Kristian Thinn Solheim is coordinating an exciting project in which he, in collaboration with Statnett and the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), aims to find out how it may be possible to prevent solar storms from interfering with electricity supplies. In autumn 2019, five different types of sensors were installed on a 420 kV transformer owned by Statnett. The sensors will serve to identify the links between the magnetic field created by solar storms and the influence it has on the electricity grid. . From left to right: Kristian Thinn Solheim (SINTEF), Trond Ohnstad (Statnett), Astri Gillund (NVE).
2019 Highlights


The ElPowerLab has acquired a new camera with the following features: one billion images per second, a 3-nanosecond exposure time, 12-bit resolution. SINTEF will use it to film ultra-fast phenomena such as arc flashes. The camera, which will be used for research into the reliability of electrical power components, has now been installed and is available to researchers working on relevant projects. The camera is funded by the Research Council of Norway’s INFRASTRUKTUR fund, which focuses on investments in research infrastructure.

2019 Highlights


SINTEF's Executive Vice-President for Sustainability Nils Røkke is a highly regarded commentator on the global stage in the field of energy research issues such as hydrogen and CCS.

2019 Highlights


The Hyper project was designed to investigate the potential of producing large volumes of hydrogen in Norway for export to markets in Europe and Japan. Results showed that there is massive potential in the low-emissions production of hydrogen in Norway, both from natural gas using CCS technology and from renewable energy sources. A conference was held in Brussels in December to mark the conclusion of the project, which was funded by the Research Council of Norway and private sector partners Equinor, Gassco, Shell, Linde Kryotechnik, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Corporation and Nel.

SINTEF Energy Research has clients and projects all over Norway

Read about some of our projects being carried out in Norway to the right.
SINTEF Energy Research has clients and projects all over Norway

Wood-burning stoves in Otta, Oslo, Fredrikstad and Nykøbing in Denmar

In collaboration with stove manufacturers, SINTEF Energy Research has since the 1980s conducted research and development into contemporary wood stove technologies in order to boost heat output and reduce emissions. We are currently working mainly with four wood stove manufacturers: Norsk Kleber, Dovre, Jøtul and Morsøk Jernstøberi in Denmark. All four are partners in the WoodCFD research project.The aim of the WoodCFD project is to utilise advanced CFD (computational fluid dynamic s), using numerical analyses and data structures, to develop a minimal emissions combustion chamber.
SINTEF Energy Research has clients and projects all over Norway

TINE dairy in Bergen

When the TINE dairy planned to cut its energy requirements and greenhouse gas emissions at its new plant in Bergen, it sought the help of the HighEFF (FME) centre, which conducts research into industrial energy efficiency. In collaboration with TINE, the HighEFF centre identified heat pump technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and energy requirements by 40%, equivalent to the annual values of these parameters for 250 households. The heat pump used in the dairy is manufactured by the company Hybrid Energi AS, which is also a partner in the HighEFF centre.
SINTEF Energy Research has clients and projects all over Norway

ArbaFlame – from Norway to Europe

In 2016 SINTEF Energy Research presented many projects at a bioenergy workshop in Brussels. These included the ArbaHeat project, later granted NOK 192 million in funding from the EU research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. Our main partner in this project is the Oslo-based company Arbaflame. The project has the dual aim to develop and test a new concept for the conversion of fossil fuel power plants to climate-friendly, wood-based fuels, and to evaluate operational strategies that enable a feasible and inexpensive future energy supply. In the longer term, Arbaflame has ambitions to be one of the world’s largest pellet manufacturers.
SINTEF Energy Research has clients and projects all over Norway

Testing batteries in the electricity grid

What is the optimal way of integrating batteries into the electricity grid? The aim of the three-year research project IntegER, funded by the Research Council of Norway, is to identify how to reap the benefit of experience obtained during demo projects carried out on plants operated by project owner Skagerak Nett and the other major grid companies participating in the project. These partners are: Agder Energi, Lyse, NTE, BKK Nett, Eidsiva Nett, Hafslund Nett, Helgelandskraft, Energi Norge, Smartgridsenteret (the Smart Grid Centre) and the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE). The project tests a variety of battery concepts across Norway. One of these is a 1 MWh battery installed at the Odd football stadium, owned by Skagerak Energi. In another example, organisations such as the Flakk-Rørvik ferry company and Orkla City are having batteries installed.
SINTEF Energy Research has clients and projects all over Norway

Tomorrow’s medium-voltage load switches for ABB

NTNU and SINTEF Energy Research have worked closely together in the field of electrical power technology for many decades. A direct result of this partnership is the manufacture of eco-friendly switches by ABB for the global market. Ken Isaksen, who heads ABB’s medium-voltage department in Skien, talks about his company’s collaboration with SINTEF Energy Research in connection with this project: “At ABB we get a great deal of benefit from our collaboration with research institutes such as SINTEF Energy Research. Technology suppliers, academia and the research institutes represent a highly robust alliance that, with funding from the Research Council of Norway (RCN), enables us to accelerate technology development and boost the competitiveness of Norwegian industry."
SINTEF Energy Research has clients and projects all over Norway

GoNorth - Exploring the Arctic Ocean

GoNorth is a three-year programme dedicated to the exploration of the Arctic Ocean. The programme assembles 13 educational and research centres from all over Norway and is led by Gunnar Sand from SINTEF. It was motivated by the decision taken in 2009 by the UN's Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to award Norway additional shelf waters north of Svalbard in an area about which we know little. In the start-up phase, the government is providing funding for the organisation of a multidisciplinary research collaboration. In the future, the ambition is to organise scientific cruises together with global partners. Current project partners include the universities of Tromsø, Bergen and Oslo, as well as NTNU, the University Centre in Svalbard, Akvaplan-Niva, the Norwegian Geological Survey, the Nansen Centre, NORCE, NORSAR, NUPI, and the Norwegian Polar Institute.

SINTEF Energy Research is very active in global research – especially in Europe.

In order to contribute towards meeting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the needs of the industrial markets, it is important that our research activities attain the highest global standards and that they contribute towards building alliances with overseas partners. The close collaborative relationship that SINTEF Energy Research enjoys with its industrial clients provides us with a sound basis for the exploitation of global market opportunities, especially those offered by EU research programmes. This is why SINTEF Energy Research has had an office in Brussels since 2015.
International prosjects


The goal of the EU project TotalControl is to develop control tools for the next generation of large offshore wind plants. SINTEF Energy is a key partner in the project with main responsibility for a number of deliveries, including cost model for optimization of operation and maintenance, development of wind farm tools and study of electro-mechanical interaction. The project is coordinated by Technical University of Denmark. Other partners include SINTEF Energy, DNV GL, Equinor, ORE Catapult, Siemens Gamesa, Uni Leuven and Vattenfall. The project started in 2018 and will be completed in 2021.

SINTEF Energy Research hosts three Norwegian Centres for Environmentally-Friendly Energy Research (FMEs)


SINTEF Energy Research hosts three Norwegian Centres for Environmentally-Friendly Energy Research (FMEs)


The main objective of NCCS is to apply industry- and research-driven innovation to bring about the rapid implementation of carbon capture, transport and storage (CCS) technologies. NCCS shall also ensure that Norway remains a global leader in the field of CCS and shall contribute towards achieving the large-scale storage of CO2 in North Sea reservoirs.

SINTEF Energy Research hosts three Norwegian Centres for Environmentally-Friendly Energy Research (FMEs)


HighEFF develops knowledge and technology that will promote more energy-efficient, competitive and environmentally-friendly industrial processes at equipment, factory and regional scales. Read more about the centre and its achievements in 2019.
SINTEF Energy Research hosts three Norwegian Centres for Environmentally-Friendly Energy Research (FMEs)


Research carried out at CINELDI into future smart energy systems facilitates the feeding of greater volumes of renewable energy into the electricity supply grid, the electrification of transport, and the more efficient use of energy both in private households and by industry.

2019 was another excellent year for scientific publications produced by the institute.

Read a selection of scientific articles published in 2019 to the right.
2019 was yet another excellent year for scientific publications sourced by the institute.

Norway as a Battery for the Future European Power System – Comparison of Two Different Methodological Approaches I: Proceedings of the 6th International Workshop on Hydro Scheduling in Competitive Electricity Markets

Springer Nature 2019 ISBN 978-3-030-03311-8. s. 76-83. Graabak, Ingeborg; Jaehnert, Stefan; Korpås, Magnus; Mo, Birger.

This article compares results from two stochastic electricity market models (EMPS and SOVN). The comparison addresses a future European scenario in which the energy mix exhibits a high proportion (61%) of renewable energy generation from intermittent sources such as wind and solar. The article addresses a number of installed capacity scenarios in Norwegian hydropower plants, and the differences between the models are described together with a presentation of the absolute numerical results for each model.

2019 was yet another excellent year for scientific publications sourced by the institute.

Equation of state and force fields for Feynman–Hibbs-corrected Mie fluids. I. Application to pure helium, neon, hydrogen, and deuterium

Ailo Aasen, Morten Hammer, Åsmund Ervik, Erich A. Müller, Øivind Wilhelmsen.

A fundamental study that addresses quantum effects in the description of the thermodynamic properties of a selection of different gases. The study is relevant and future-oriented with a view to the liquefaction of hydrogen.

2019 was yet another excellent year for scientific publications sourced by the institute.

Dynamic modelling of a refrigerated cabinet with integrated phase change material thermal storage. 25th IIR International Congress of Refrigeration Proceedings. International Institute of Refrigeration

2019 ISBN 978-2-36215-035-7.
Jokiel, Michael; Banasiak, Krzysztof; Kauko, Hanne; Sevault, Alexis.

Phase change materials (PCMs) can be used to store thermal energy in refrigeration units in supermarkets. PCMs offer major potential for energy savings and more evenly regulated refrigeration temperatures. The design and operational strategies of a PCM-enhanced refrigeration system were assessed using a Modelica model. This research work is continuing at SINTEF Energy Research using a PCM refrigeration system set up in a laboratory, constructed in the light of the modelling results.

2019 was yet another excellent year for scientific publications sourced by the institute.

Compatibility of liquid and solid insulation materials for high voltage subsea connectors

IEEE transactions on dielectrics and electrical insulation 2019 ;Volum 26.(4) s. 1139-1145.
Lesaint, Cedric Michel; Hølto, Jorunn; Sæternes, Hans Helmer; Ese, Marit-Helen Glomm.

This article addresses a compatibility study of insulation materials used in high-voltage subsea connectors. Many combinations of solid and liquid insulation materials were aged under realistic conditions of pressure, temperature and moisture content for a period of three years. During the ageing process, samples of the materials were tested at regular intervals in order to measure changes in their mechanical and thermal properties. In this study, the researchers observed only very minimal effects in response to hydrostatic pressure. However, moisture saturation of a particular insulation fluid (a synthetic ester), in combination with high temperatures, resulted in the considerable degradation of certain solid insulation materials that were in contact with the fluid. This is an important finding because materials selection is crucial to the functionality and lifetime of this type of high-voltage component.

Key figures

Profits are invested in new knowledge creation

SINTEF Energy Research's profits are invested in laboratories, scientific equipment, facilities and the development of new knowledge. The accounts show an investment of NOK 234 million over the last ten years.