Hydrogen gaining momentum in Norway

The government-appointed Hydrogen Commission on Tuesday handed over its Hydrogen Report detailing how to best develop hydrogen as a future energy carrier in Norway to the country's Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Einar Steensnæs, and Minister of Transport and Communication, Torild Skogsholm.

The government-appointed Hydrogen Commission on Tuesday handed over its Hydrogen Report detailing how to best develop hydrogen as a future energy carrier in Norway to the country's Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Einar Steensnæs, and Minister of Transport and Communication, Torild Skogsholm.

"I believe hydrogen can be one of the future's most important energy carriers... especially as a fuel within the transport sector, but also within stationary energy supply," said Steensnæs, adding, "Norway has good opportunities to assert itself internationally in this area." The Hydrogen Commission has six experts within the new energy and technological research fields, including Elisabet Fjermestad Hagen in Hydro, who led a task force looking into how Norway can promote the development and use of hydrogen and zero-emissions technology in the transport sector.

Finding the ways
Commission head, Sverre Aam, executive vice president at Scandinavian research institute SINTEF, listed three reasons why Norway should focus on hydrogen as a future energy carrier - to develop opportunities within environmental friendly production of hydrogen from Norwegian natural gas; to reduce climate gas emissions, especially in the transportation sector; and to generate value in the Norwegian industrial sector through advanced hydrogen expertise.

The report recommends four concrete areas for Norway to focus its hydrogen efforts - environmentally friendly production of hydrogen from Norwegian natural gas; on becoming an early user of hydrogen-powered motor vehicles; developing hydrogen storage capabilities; and cultivating a hydrogen technology industry.

"If we're early out we can become significant international suppliers of hydrogen and hydrogen knowledge," Aam said. The Commission recommended an initial 10-year development program and funding between NOK 825-975 million (EUR100-120 million/USD125-145 million). The Norwegian government has earmarked some NOK 80 million for hydrogen research during the past two years.

"The hydrogen program should develop a comprehensive hydrogen strategy that includes such aspects as incentives to use cars fuelled by hydrogen, information and education, safety and certification of hydrogen technology," Aam said, adding the Commission has recommendations for how to develop such a strategy.

"The most important thing with hydrogen is its flexibility," says Fjermestad Hagen. "We can presently recommend replacing conventional fuels with hydrogen, but there are numerous new technological solutions not yet realized that hydrogen can likely be applied to in the future."