Urgent innovation

The fastest way is to cooperate

In 2020, the Norwegian governement announced that it would strengthen its commitment under the Paris agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50-55 percent, by 2030.

- There is no way we can reach these goals unless we cut emissions on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), says William Christensen, Head of theResearch and Technology Section in the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (OED).

- And to develop the necessary technologies to cut the NCS’ emissions, big, long term research and innovation centres like LowEmission arecrucial, he adds.

How is LowEmission different from regular R&D projects?

- Everyone operating on the NCS shares a common goal: to significantly  reduce their emissions by 2030s and to be as close as possible to zero emissions by 2050. And the fastest way to do that is for the industry to  cooperate instead of everybody trying to figure out the best solutionson their own. That is why financing research centers like LowEmission through the Norwegian Research Council is so important, says Christensen.

Gathering the whole industry under one roof has considerable advantages and should speed-up innovation according to Christensen.

- First of all, the scientists in LowEmission are very closely connected to the whole industry, not just one or two companies. This ensures that thework LowEmission does has the highest possible industry relevance.  Secondly, LowEmission ensures an economy of scale, where each partnergets more out of every NOK invested in research than they would if everybody had to finance individual projects. Thirdly, I would like to pointout the longevity of LowEmission. The long timeframe of the Centre opens research and innovation opportunities that shorter, smaller projects just cannot.

LowEmission official opening
Kjell-Børge Freiberg, minister of Petroleum and Energy at the time, officially opens the LowEmission research centre in 2019 in front of a crowd of enthusiastic SINTEF and NTNU employees.

 

How do you expect research will contribute to realising the 2030 and 2050 goals?

- Research and innovation will be very important for both goals, but in different ways. We have to work on several fronts at the same time. In my experience, 10 years is rarely enough time to innovate, test, validate and implement new technologies, though it does happen. So, to reach the 2030 goals, implementing and improving existing technologies will be crucial, Christensen explains.

- But looking beyond 2030, we are heading towards zero emissions. And to get to zero emission we also have to come up with new, innovative solutions. I believe that the full potential and impact of LowEmission’s work will be seen in a 2040 perspective.