GREBE Networking Event Enniskillen -Wednesday 8th & Thursday 9th November 2017

GREBE Networking seminar Enniskillen

The GREBE Project is organising a networking workshop and site visits in Enniskillen on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th November 2017.  We would like to invite stakeholders from Northern Ireland and Ireland in the renewable energy sector to participate in this event.

The aim is to highlight the benefits of renewable energy for SMEs and start-up businesses and give participants the opportunity to meet with biomass experts from the Natural Resources Institute in Finland (https://www.luke.fi/).

Veikko Möttönens area of expertise is wood mechanical properties, drying of wood and sawn timber, further processing of sawn wood, further processing of side streams, wood modification (thermal modification – Thermowood, preservative impregnation) and Saija Rasis area of expertise is in bioenergy production, biogas technology, gas analysis, treatment of biodegradable wastes, biorefineries.  Places are limited for one to one meetings with Veikko and Saija.

GREBE Project partners from Finland, Norway, Iceland and Scotland will be available to share their knowledge.   Participants from the Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme (both SMEs and mentors), and other renewable energy businesses will attend and are happy to share their experiences.

On Thursday 9th November, site visits will be held at the CREST Centre in South West College, Balcas and Ecohog (an Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme participant).

Places are limited, and if you would like to attend, please contact una.porteous@fermanaghomagh.com (Northern Ireland participants), or paulineleonard@wdc.ie (Ireland participants) before 6.00pm on Wednesday 25th October 2017.

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Scandinavian hydrogen cooperation

NSP 06-10-2017
Hydrogen Truck – Nikola

The Nordic countries have been joining forces in the Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership, SHHP, since 2006 with the purpose of deploying hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and constructing and clustering hydrogen refueling stations. Thanks to this, the region has distinguished itself as one of the earliest areas in the world where the latest hydrogen technology is demonstrated.

Why hydrogen?

One of the advantages of hydrogen is that it can store energy from all sources, including renewable energy sources. Hydrogen as an energy carrier is a very flexible alternative. Therefore hydrogen will play a key role in the necessary transition from fossil fuels to a sustainable energy system.

And at the moment it seems like the transportation sector can use renewable energy produced hydrogen to replace fossil fuel – as the market experience roll outs of both refueling networks and transportation vehicles.

Electrolysis – where electricity splits water to hydrogen and oxygen, is a useful method for producing hydrogen from renewable energy sources like wind, solar and hydro power. In this way hydrogen can play a role to balance the grid.

As with other fuels and energy carriers, hydrogen must be handled with special requirements. Since hydrogen has been used in the industries for over a century, we have very good knowledge of how to deal with it in order to minimize the risk of incidents.

Modern batteries have less energy loss than fuel cells and will play an important role in future transport. But the disadvantages with batteries are that they demand long charging times and are quite heavy. The combination of fuel cells and batteries in vehicles has proven very beneficial. Supplemented with fuel cells, electric cars will dramatically increase range and the refuelling takes only a few minutes, but in the transportation sector you also would need a lot of power to move heavy cargos – that means a lot of battries in each vehicles, not a problem for long distance trucks.

Network of refueling stations

The Scandinavian hydrogen cooperation consists of regional clusters involving major and small industries, research institutions, and local, regional and national authorities – Showing a multitude of pathways for hydrogen supply using local resources. The national networking bodies – Norsk Hydrogenforum in Norway, Hydrogen Sweden in Sweden and Hydrogen Link in Denmark – act as coordinators.

The Scandinavian hydrogen cooperation has as it’s goal to create one of the first regions in Europe where hydrogen is available and used in a network of refuelling stations.

All activities are based on effective collaboration across the borders and are backed with strong public and private support in terms of funding, attractive financial tax exemption schemes and investments. The main goal is to create one of the first regions in Europe where hydrogen is available and used in a network of refuelling stations. The first step is to connect the largest city in Scandinavia in a network of refueling stations:

  • Oslo
  • Stockholm
  • Copenhagen

The challenge would be to move this network of refueling stations further north. The plan is to move the hydrogen corridor further north – step by step.

Hydrogen – a solution for the transportation sector

The EU-parliament passed the directive Clean Power for Transport in September 2014, which will secure the roll out of alternative fuels such as methane, hydrogen and electric charging infrastructure with common standards throughout the EU. Plans on a national level for fossil free energy systems are in place both in Sweden, Norway and Denmark – and all of the Scandinavian countries have ambitious goals for replacement of fossil fuels in the transportation sector.

The dependence of fossil fuels in the transport sector is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Scandinavia. To be able to lower carbon dioxide emission, the overall energy consumption needs to decrease and the use of renewable energy increase.

The Hydrogen value chain

The Scandinavian hydrogen cooperation will strive to build up knowledge of strategies for business models for development and operation of hydrogen infrastructure for vehicles, as well as for establishing production and distribution of hydrogen. In this situation it would be necessary to look closer into the hydrogen value chain: solutions within production, storage, distribution and use of hydrogen that meets the renewable society challenges.

The Scandinavian hydrogen cooperation wants to strengthen the use of hydrogen in the transportation sector – so that hydrogen could be a replacement for fossil fuels in the transportation sector in the future – also in the northern parts of Norway.

GREBE Case Studies Report on Awareness and Understanding of Funding Supports

3.3.1. report image V2

The GREBE Project has published a report based on case studies on the awareness and understanding of funding for renewable energy businesses.  The report can be downloaded from the GREBE Website here

The key objective of this report was to identify and promote opportunities for policy to provide an effective supportive framework for sustainable renewable energy business (both new and emerging). The focus of this report was on the support and benefits that each case study received, including how the supports and benefits helped each business in terms of creating employment, finance or diversifying their business.  This report examines the funding mechanisms, criteria, application practicalities and business outcomes and innovations in the case studies.

When carrying out the report, the most popular funding mechanisms available to the renewable energy businesses were research & development supports and also financial supports. In Ireland one company received a support towards creating employment through the JobsPlus scheme.  JobsPlus is an employer incentive which encourages and rewards employers who offer employment opportunities. On the other hand support mechanisms such as social support, were not as popular throughout the partner regions.

Through analysing the chosen case studies, Finland, Iceland and Scotland have a number of different funding mechanisms were available to companies for certain types of projects, whereas in Northern Ireland only one type of support was available for certain projects.

All of the funding supports discussed throughout this report can be found in the GREBE business support catalogue at: http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/GREBE-Business-Supports-Catalog.pdf

The full report can be viewed at: http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/GREBE-Report-on-Awareness-Understanding-of-Funding-Options-August-2017.pdf

Roadmap to Market – a report on market access of renewable energy technologies

Market Access Paths

The GREBE project studied the market access paths of RE and energy storage technologies by using a case-study approach. The case studies (n 12) included technology descriptions, technology demonstration and deployment issues and support systems. The case-based paths provided information on important drivers and barriers, thus providing background for the business mentoring support of the GREBE project. The summary report of key findings, roadmap to market, as available now in GREBE Project Publications.

Basing on the case study findings, coordinated technology planning is an essential part of the roadmap to market, i.e. strategy to proceed from the technology development and demonstration to its successful market deployment. Technology planning covers both planning of the new technology development, but can be also applied as a process of updating and adopting new existing technologies for the business enterprises.

The development paths of technologies included several steps building on the earlier ones, and time-span was up to 15-20 years. Without coordination and planning procedures, the market-access can be very difficult to reach, and innovations can be lost. As a part of the technology planning, technology transfers can be utilised. They can include technologies (or sub-technologies) of different readiness levels, and new to area solutions. The role of technology transferring agents, i.e. persons (often multi-nationals) with experience of different industries and operational environments remains essential.

Bridging the gap between demonstration and deployment remains also as a key challenge. The gap between the technology demonstration and deployment can be reduced by establishing and utilising soft supports, industry clustering and partnerships in demonstration, for instance. Public sector has often an essential role in providing the supporting infrastructures (such as business and technology parks) and funding instruments.

Partnerships are essential for risk sharing in long and often capital intensive processes, as well as finding suitable sites for demonstrator projects.  There were several types of partnership models applied in RE technology cases. They were often place-based and utilising local trust and previous experiences.

End-user support is essential part of the early deployment. Technologies typically have still improvement needs and often end-users need training and support for the deployment. This raises the importance of the development of the end-user supports along the technology development, and full availability of the service and maintenance as the technology reaches the market.

6.2 roadmap
The process of technology planning, including business objectives (strategy) driving the technology needs. Technology evaluations inform the business objectives and technology planning activities to achieve the established vision. Technology plan serves as a roadmap for meeting the established long-term objectives.

What is going on in the Arctic?

The Arctic is still a cold place, but it is warming faster than any other region on Earth. Over the past 50 years, the Arctic’s temperature has risen by more than twice the global average. In 2016, the annual mean temperature in Svalbard was 6 degrees higher than normal – so we are already witnessing actual consequences of global warming to Arctic life. These rapid changes have consequences well beyond the Arctic.

NSP 08-09-2017

What Arctic change does to the world

Once Arctic warming gets going, it has two important dynamics with unpredictable effects.

  • As the Arctic warms and sea-ice and snow-cover retracts, this weakens surface reflectivity. The bare ground and open water absorb more heat from the sun and amplify warming further. This feedback is an important reason why the Arctic warms at twice the rate of the global average.
  • The Arctic permafrost is a storehouse for trapped greenhouse-gases such as methane and CO2. When the permafrost is thawing, these greenhouse-gases could be released to the atmosphere, amplifying global warming further. These secondary effects are adding unpredictability. Unpredictability in terms of consequences – but also unpredictability in terms of the pace of climate change. As we know, unpredictability means enhanced risks.

Arctic warming is accelerating

A new scientific assessment of climate change in the Arctic, by the Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), concludes that the Arctic is now shifting — rapidly and in unexpected ways — into a new state.

If we allow current trends to continue, they will have profound and accelerated impacts on ecosystems, human health and safety, industries and economies around the world. Certainly, this will also influence our security environment. Recent research indicates that this could increase risk levels not only in the Arctic, but in regions very far from the Arctic areas. This is due to the climate system – It is highly interconnected on the global scale. The Arctic region acts as a global cooling system by drawing warm ocean water from the south and cooling it down. This movement of warmer ocean waters to the north has a major influence on climate outside the Arctic; it accounts for northern Europe’s relatively mild climate, and it keeps the Tropics cooler than they would otherwise be.

The rapid melting of Arctic ice and snow is likely to weaken this global cooling system, amplifying global warming, and intensifying its consequences throughout the world.

Artic warming will amplify security risks

So while global warming is a multiplier of existing security risks and threats, the Arctic is an amplifier of global warming. Indirectly, a warmer Arctic will indeed also amplify security risks worldwide. We are seeing, and will see ever more extreme weather events. We are seeing more stress on critical ecosystems, including oceans, freshwater, and biodiversity. These changes, in turn, will have direct and indirect social, economic, political, and security effects.

Extreme weather can trigger crop failures, wildfires, energy blackouts, infrastructure breakdown, supply-chain breakdowns, migration, and infectious disease outbreaks. We can expect climate change to exacerbate current conditions: making hot, dry places hotter and drier, for example. Over the longer term, global climate change will change how and where people live, where they can produce food, as well as the diseases they face.

Science is increasingly concerned that more sudden, dramatic shifts could be possible. Such shifts in the climate or climate-linked ecosystems could have dramatic economic and ecological consequences.

Accelerated climate change

Accelerated climate change, therefore, is not only a significant risk factor in its own right – it is a factor that can interplay with and magnify other risk factors: economic, technological and demographic.

  • Economic risk – The globalised economy, the risks to free trade and the global economy are real.

The physical risks that arise from the increased frequency and severity of climate- and weather-related events that damage property and disrupt trade. The liability risks – the risks posed to companies business models by climate change. The transition risks which could result from the adjustment towards a lower-carbon economy. Changes in policy, technology and physical risks could prompt a reassessment of the value of a large range of assets. Just as we can have climate shocks and technological disruptions, we may also have “policy shocks” in response to dramatic climate events.

  • Technology induced risks – Combatting climate change will require faster technological change.

Technology is accelerating the pace of change around us, and in the process it is triggering new complex challenges, disruptions and tensions.

  • Demographic risks – Risks associated with demographic shifts.

Urbanization is a welcome trend in terms of more climate friendly living with regard to housing, transport systems and other public infrastructure. At the same time, with more extreme weather events, rising sea levels and pressure on critical infrastructure, urban centres are increasingly vulnerable.

Climate action is of high strategic importance

Climate change is a security challenge, and hence climate policy is of high strategic importance. The work in the GREBE project workpackage 4 is a small contribution to the strategic work on climate policy and security challenges – with a practical focus on business strategy models.

Climate policy matters!

GREBE publishes its fifth project e-zine

Grebe_Ezine_Aug2017

The GREBE Project has published its fifth e-zine to showcase the activities and ongoing goals of the project.  

We held our 6th partner meeting in Narvik, Norway in June, and the Western Development Commission, Action Renewables, the Environmental Research Institute and the Natural Resources Institute attended the Arctic Project Clustering Event in Skelleftea, Sweden, organised by the NPA, Interreg Nord, Botnia-Atlantia and Kolartic Programmes.

Our partners in Finland and Norway held Industry Advisory Group meetings and to coincide with this, a policy workshop was organised by Narvik Science Park.  Our work is continuing on other project activities. Narvik Science Park has published a Report on Innovations from Local Technology and Business Solutions.  Our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland is complete and we have started to roll it out in Finland and Scotland.  Full details are outlined in our e-zine which can be downloaded from the GREBE Project website here

New support program for hydrogen in Norway

NSP 13-07-2017
A hydrogen fuel station in Reykjavik (Iceland)

The national public financial support agency Enova, has launched a new support program for a national rollout of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.  Enova will now support faster growth in the use of hydrogen vehicles, and assess the growth pace and support scheme annually in accordance with vehicle development in the coming years.

Program Goals: Emission free transport sector

When the cost of hydrogen vehicles become competitive, hydrogen can be an important contributor in making the transport sector emissions free. Therefore, Enova now wants projects that help reduce costs and build experience. Enova earlier this year made it possible for the professional market to get support for the purchase of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and the support for filling stations is well suited to this.

Targeted infrastructure development program

Enova wants to contribute to a customized and targeted infrastructure development:

Hydrogen stations that have a customer base will be given priority in the competition for the funding available. It improves the profitability of the project, and enables the Enova hydrogen program to get usage experience as early as possible. Particularly stations whose attributed to larger car fleets in commercial and public transport can provide useful operating experience quickly.

Facilitation of a faster growth

Projects which are economically successful could show both private and business professionals that hydrogen is a real alternative. In this way, the support offer facilitates a faster growth in the hydrogen market when access to hydrogen cars is increasing. If you can demonstrate that selling hydrogen is profitable, the commerical investment would take place.

Support opportunities

The program for a national rollout of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is part of the range of support opportunities Enova has for using hydrogen in the transport sector, and Enova believe that the range of support programs will help realize a number of good hydro projects in the coming years.  Support opportunities include:

  • Innovative hydrogen technology
  • Hydrogen vehicles
  • Building of hydrogen fuel station  

New offer to public players

A new offer is that public and private players seeking support for hydrogen vehicles can also get support to build filling stations at the same time. In addition, Enova can support municipalities and county municipalities that wish to build hydrogen stations to electrify public transport services.

Business motivation

The Norwegian hydrogen business community welcomes this new national support scheme, and the country’s Hydrogen business sector is fully motivated to maximise the impact of hydrogen-based transport in Norway. But the hydrogen business sector believe even stronger actions and a clearer commitment on national level is needed for a stronger growth:

Build more and faster

Hydrogen is a competitive energy storage medium for large scale integration of renewable electricity that can be used in the Norwegian transport sector. The European Commission made this conclusion already in 2012 – let’s go for Hydrogen together with private and public players and with targeted support programs.

Hydrogen 13-07-2017