SIVA supports Pilot Arena Herøya with NOK 2.9 million
Siva is supporting Pilot Arena Herøya with funding of up to NOK 2.9 million to develop a model for running industrial pilot projects and demo facilities for entrepreneurs and companies. The development project is to be carried out in cooperation with Notodden and Kongsberg.
There is a rising demand for centres where you can test, simulate and visualise your own technology or process – before going on to commercialisation. Doing this independently is too costly for a single company, so funding from support structures is necessary for building up these centres.
In its project specification, Siva writes that Pilot Arena Herøya is a good candidate for helping it to develop a model for pilot project centres.
Over at Herøya, Rolf Olaf Larsen of Herøya Industripark AS is in full swing establishing the cooperation project with colleagues from Notodden and Kongsberg. Over 15 months, they plan to develop an operating model for pilot projects, describe the necessary physical infrastructure and human resources and identify joint development projects.
Currently Pilot Arena Herøya consists of 8-10 pilot projects owned by entrepreneurs and companies. The newly established cooperation project with Notodden and Kongsberg will identify projects they can work on together.
"We already have a couple of exciting joint projects at the starting gates, and we count on obtaining more during the project period," Larsen explains.
Pilot projects over many decades
Pilot projects are nothing new to Herøya Industrial Park. Hydro, Yara, Ineos and other companies have established and managed pilot and testing facilities here for many decades. "Being able to carry out testing and development in close cooperation with operating factories is an outstanding advantage," Larsen points out.
Over the last few years, he has worked on systematising the work of pilot projects. This entails having a reception system for companies with a testing project and being able to offer physical facilities and competent personnel who are able to offer assistance in all phases.
"The support from Siva is a recognition of this work, and will help us further develop our pilot project model," Larsen points out.
Currently only a few finished projects are waiting to establish themselves at Herøya Industrial Park. Larsen's message is that it is important to get involved in the unfinished projects and help them through to commercialisation.
"Our aim is to construct a national pilot arena for the testing and development of processes and technologies requiring high-level industrial expertise. A place where everything is "on tap" and you can obtain assistance in all pilot project phases will result in lower costs for the entrepreneur and have a substantial effect on project yield," he explains.
Earlier this year, Innovation Norway, the Research Council of Norway and Siva came up with a joint programme funding proposal called Norsk Katapult ("Norwegian Catapult"). The purpose of the programme is to stimulate the establishment and further development of centres/facilities where companies can carry out testing, simulation and visualisation. Norsk Katapult will help create added value within society and increase the future competitiveness of industry.
But before the scheme can be rolled out nationally, knowledge and experience of organising and running such centres will be needed. The cooperation project between Herøya Industripark, Notodden and Kongsberg will be making its contribution at that very point.