Environment-friendly energy research renewed

Photo: Mick Tully Inside the IFE Solar Cell Lab, one of many labs funded under the FME program.

Photo: Mick Tully
Inside the IFE Solar Cell Lab, one of many labs funded under the FME program.

M. Michael Brady
Asker, Norway

On May 26, Norwegian Energy Minister Tord Lien announced the inauguration of eight Forskningssentre for miljøvennlig energi (FME) (Centers* for Environment-friendly Energy Research).

The centers of the FME scheme are short-duration incentives that address specific challenges. So they are not physical facilities. Just as a website is an assemblage of software actions that is hosted on a physical computer, an FME center is a pool of people and their capabilities that is hosted by a physical research entity such as a college, university, or independent laboratory. An FME center initially is funded for five years with a possible extension of an additional three years. The first centers were inaugurated in 2009. Three more were inaugurated in 2011.

This year there are four hosting entities: SINTEF Energy Research, Trondheim; NTNU, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim; NMBU, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås; and IFE, the Institute for Energy Technology, Kjeller.

SINTEF Energy Research has three FME centers: the Norwegian CCS Research Center, the Center for Intelligent Electricity Distribution, and the Center for an Energy Efficient and Competitive Industry for the Future.

NTNU has two FME centers: The Research Center on Zero Emission Neighbourhoods in Smart Cities and the Norwegian Research Center for Hydropower Technology.

NMBU has one FME center: the Norwegian Center for Sustainable Bio-based Fuels and Energy.

IFE has two FME centers: the Research Center for Sustainable Solar Cell Technology and Mobility Zero Emission Energy Systems.

The eight FME centers inaugurated in 2016 will receive annual governmental funding of NOK 160 million each for a total of NOK 1.28 billion ($156 million).

Further reading: The Centers for Environment-friendly Energy Research scheme (FME)—Description of the scheme, 2015, published by the Research Council of Norway, six-page PDF downloadable at www.forskningsradet.no/prognett-energisenter/Home_page/1222932140849, click on “Centers for Environment-Friendly Energy Research scheme (FME)” link.

* This article caused The Norwegian American to do some soul-searching about British v. American spellings in names in translation. A compelling argument was made that because British English is used in Norwegian governmental publications we should use “centre,” but in the end we went with “center” for the sake of consistency. Note, though, that Google searches for these research “centres” will pull up better results.

This article originally appeared in the June 17, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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