HighEFF: Making Norwegian industry the world’s greenest

HighEFF has defined ambitious goals for development and demonstration of technologies that may improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions from industry.

Energy efficiency measures are to be considered as necessary and enabling for a transition to a low emission society, as presented by the IEA projections to meet the 2-degree target put forward in the Paris agreement. A kWh not used does not have to be produced.

Measures to reduce the energy consumption and emissions from the industry are often less costly than alternative measures. Energy efficiency measures will thus be very important for an optimal transition from a social economic and environmental perspective, and in order to maintain and increase value creation in society.

A kWh not used does not have to be produced.


HighEFF: Making Norwegian industry the world’s greenest

Improved industrial energy efficiency can be achieved by improving the core industrial processes, as well as by capturing and harnessing waste heat and other surplus energy streams, either within the individual industry, or in nearby buildings or industries. In cases where the heat cannot be utilised directly, this may be done by upgrading the heat to a higher temperature level by use of heat pumps or by converting the heat to power. These are tasks that are addressed in FME HighEFF - Centre for an Energy Efficient and Competitive Industry for the Future.

Large amounts of surplus energy are wasted in industry, mainly in the form of heat. Inefficient processes result in losses in the form of heat or other surplus energy streams. The amount of annually produced waste heat is as high as the total heating demand in Europe! The heat may however not be available at a high enough temperature level for utilisation, and often there are no potential users near the plant. In this context, conversion, energy storage and development of industry clusters are important elements to obtain optimal utilisation of the energy.

Apart from a goal of improving energy efficiency by 20-30%, HighEFF aims to reduce climate gas emissions from industry by 10%. This includes reducing both indirect emissions due to energy consumption as well as direct emissions from industrial processes, refrigeration, heating and drying processes. Heat pumping processes utilise to a large extent synthetic refrigerants that are strong climate gases. The research groups involved in HighEFF have for a long period been developing similar processes based on natural refrigerants, that are not harmful to the environment, and this work will be continued within the Centre.

Improving industrial energy efficiency is a joint effort. HighEFF is a collaboration project between many national and international universities, research institutes and industry partners. In total, there are more than 40 partners from three continents. The industry partners represent all the largest industry sectors in Norway: Metal producing industries, oil, gas and energy companies, chemical industry and the food industry. HighEFF is led by SINTEF Energy Research and NTNU in Trondheim.

During the first years of operation, 24 out of 25 PhDs and PostDoc fellows have been engaged and the centre has progressed well in establishing real case studies for the industry partners. These are cases where knowledge, technology and solutions developed within FME HighEFF can be applied in real industrial applications to increase efficiency and reduce emissions. Some of these cases have already been taken further as spin-off projects in the industry, with co-funding from ENOVA, for instance.

A case study on the potential for implementation of energy efficiency measures for a new TINE dairy has already been realised. Measurements from the plants show a reduction in energy consumption of 38% and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 42% compared to existing dairies, by implementation of high temperature heat pumps and by a good system integration. The estimated potential from the HighEFF case study was respectively 40% and 47%, consequently a very good goal achievement, considering that not all proposed measures were implemented – because of economic reasons.


HighEFF Vision: Joint effort for creating a competitive, energy efficient and environmentally friendly industry for the future. Goals: Enable reductions of 20-30% in specific energy use and 10% in energy use; Allow value creation for Norwegian industry by developing 15-20 new innovative solutions for energy and cost-efficiency; Develop methods and tools for analysis, design and optimization of energy-efficient systems.

HighEFF will focus on technologies and processes with potential for large reduction in specific energy use. The Centre pinpointed areas which are mostly of cross-industry-sectorial character to ensure competence transfer between industrial branches joining the Centre.

HighEFF Presentation
Duration: 2016 - 2024     Budget: 400 MNOK

  • Build an internationally leading Centre for strategic research within industrial energy efficiency.
  • Generate 6 KPN, 8 IPN, 6 DEMOS and 4 EU spin-off projects
  • Enable competence building by educating 22 PhD/Postdoc candidates, 50 MSc candidates, and training/recruiting 30 experts in industrial energy efficiency.
  • Disseminate and communicate project results; 150 journal articles and conference papers.
Work Breakdown Structure: RA1 - Methodologies; RA2 - Components; RA3 - Cycles; RA4 - Applications; RA5 - Society; RA6 - Case studies