On a fast track mission: Entrepreneur trio from left Peder Thysted, Carl Ivar Holmen and Roman Stoiber on a fast track mission, on their way up the stairs to Herøya Industrial Park, to conquer an urban energy market.
Professional entrepreneurs come together at Herøya to make buildings self-sufficient by generating on-site renewable energy from solar and wind.
First, the entrepreneurs from Grenland broke through with ferry batteries and fish farming on land. Now they go from regular jobs back to the entrepreneurial life in Norhybrid at Herøya to break through with hybrid energy production from wind and solar produced on roofs.
Recently Norhybrid announced on Linkedin that they have signed a Letter of Intent with Herøya Industripark AS to build a pilot plant on the roof of Building 25.
Entrepreneur trio in front of the company's first vertical axis wind turbine installed at Herøya Research Park last autumn.
More facilities ready next year
The three founders are on a fast track mission. Within a short time, they will commercialise what they call hybrid energy parks (HEP), which can be installed on site, as on industrial roofs or in their own energy parks.
HEP connects wind, solar and battery technology. The facility can be placed on roofs and close to buildings. The point is to bring energy production close to where it is to be used. HEP adapts to variations in energy consumption and needs, winter and summer. Norhybrid's own wind turbine system, in clusters together with solar and batteries, provides energy-efficient power supply where it is consumed.
The ambition is to deliver the first four or five facilities as early as next year.
Adding smart functions
"A complete hybrid energy park is a very complex system, and we add many smart functions to handle it," says technical manager Roman Stoiber.
"The wind turbines each have their own controls that ensure that they are operated optimally," he explains. "In addition, we have a central control unit that coordinates energy production from the turbines with other energy sources, such as solar cells and battery storage, to optimize energy delivery to customers. We develop smart functions that give the customer opportunities to configure the desired energy production related to electricity prices and wind conditions in the next few days. We use a lot of the system understanding and knowledge we have from previous entrepreneurial projects."
Norhybrid's aerodynamic and mechanical turbine design is in place. Development work is now underway on how the various components of such a system are put together, how they work together, are how they are controlled and monitored.
"We are all in"
The entrepreneur trio have great faith in the concept Norhybrid.
"We go "all in", also as co-owners, because we think the HEP concept is good. We are now continuing Norhybrid founder Ole Vidar Homleid's basic ideas, but also adding new expertise in battery and system understanding. We believe this will improve the conditions for operationalizing the HEP concept."
It was Ole Vidar Homleid who established Norhybrid together with Pawel Rozanski, and took the company into the incubator environment Proventia at Herøya last year. The company took a dramatic turn when Homleid died, suddenly and unexpectedly last autumn. Norhybrid had already brought in investor AVG Group sarl, and was preparing to build the pilot plant at Herøya. Carl Ivar Holmen, then advisor in Proventia for Homleid, was given a mandate to look at the company's further opportunities.
Faith in possibilities
All three entrepreneurs chose to leave secure jobs in Corvus and Proventia in favor of a new entrepreneurial life at Norbybrid. They have faith in the possibilities of creating upsides, but are also prepared for downsides.
Why did they choose to return to entrepreneurial life?
"Returning to entrepreneurial life is in itself a motivation. Safe work is good, but it's more exciting to be able to be involved from the very beginning and shape the technological direction in a new company. I like the challenge. You do not have that to the same extent in a large company," he says.
"I have worked 10 years in the car industry, and 10 years with battery technology, so then it was really time for something new. I'm a physicist and wanted to explore something more beyond battery. Power production from wind and solar and how to control it all is very exciting, because it includes many different disciplines in physics."
Roman tells of a comment he remembers well: "If you have built a company from zero to cashflow positive, there are no emotions left."
More and more green
"The steps of my career has gone greener and greener. The feeling that you are working to make industry and power production greener, is of course a motivation. My children liked the idea that their father worked with batteries, and helped to ensure that shipping became greener. And now they think it's cool that I work in the green industry with the production of renewable energy," he says.
"In an entrepreneurial company, I can use my entire spectrum, instead of being in a specialist role in a large company. It does not suit me. Here things fall quickly into place, no hesitating or fumbling."
"This is the second time we are doing this, we know the pitfalls and we know which directions not to take. Not least, we know what needs to be in place to get the foundation we need to realise the products and services we are talking about here. We enter with open eyes. We have been there before, know what kind of resistance can come, and have learned to deal with it," he points out.
"What about financing?"
"Well, we are co-owners. We work to create an upside. From our point of view, it is completely uninteresting if we don't have an owner upside. This is also closely related to motivation. You can not buy entrepreneurs. They can only be motivated by some sensible upside to what they create," he answers.
Carl Ivar Holmen
"I had a great job at Proventia. Now I take a risk on a par with Roman and Peder. When I sold the fish farming project in Rjukan, I thought, "I have a couple of projects left in me." But I needed a break, and I was lucky to work for a while as a consultant at Proventia."
"Before I met Ole Vidar Homleid, I told my wife that the next project I wanted to run would be with energy production. That was my plan, and a bit coincidental, so it turned out. I am grateful for the opportunity I now have to contribute to the realisation of Norhybrid," he says.
Siri Krohn-Fagervoll <siriSPAMFILTER@krohnfagervoll.no>