Wind that can save the world

There is more than enough wind out at sea to save the world from catastrophic climate change. Trondheim is a pioneer city in the hunt for floating offshore wind. All eyes are on us. Wind is stronger across deeper water. Eighty per cent of all wind sweeps across water that is too deep for wind turbines on the sea floor. These turbines must float in the sea. The task of head researcher John Olav G. Tande and his colleagues at Sintef Energy is to find technological solutions that make it profitable to build floating wind farms at sea. Expertise at Sintef and NTNU are working to capture wind that can replace coal, oil and gas. The possibilities are nearly endless, but Tande and his colleagues are in a race against time and rising temperatures.

Enough wind for all needs

  • Floating offshore wind can meet global energy needs x 12.
  • Floating offshore wind can deliver power to 12 million homes in Europe by 2030.
  • Floating offshore wind can be developed on a large scale to ensure an emission-free world by 2050.

Floating offshore wind has a significant advantage, in addition to potential. Wind farms on deep water areas have few detrimental effects on nature and the environment, compared with wind turbines on land or turbines anchored to the sea floor. Structures built on the sea floor must be located near the coast or in shallow waters with large fish populations.

Breakthrough in Trondheim Trondheim has been leading the way ever since the hunt for offshore wind began. In 2005, researchers showed that a floating turbine could actually work. When they demonstrated a technological breakthrough in an experiment at the city's marine engineering laboratory, it attracted international attention.

This model experiment led to the construction of the world's first full-size, floating turbine. Equinor put the turbine, Hywind, into operation in 2009. It represented state-of-the-art engineering and became a technological success. The concept has been taken a step further in the world's first floating offshore wind farm – Hywind in the UK – which began generating power in 2017.

The search for the perfect wind turbine Around 100 researchers at Sintef and NTNU are working on issues related to offshore wind. Animal production is currently too expensive compared with other energy sources. The price per kWh must be reduced. This could be achieved through several simple measures, such as:

  • Large turbines on small floating structures that do not affect stability in strong wind and high waves.
  • Better anchoring systems.
  • Better transformer substation solutions and connection to the network.
  • Regulators that send out more power, with less strain on the structure.
  • Wind prediction for optimal generation when the need is greatest, and the price is highest.

Inventions worth billions From 2009 to 2017, the research project NOWITECH (Norwegian Research Centre for Offshore Wind Technology) provided the foundation for 40 innovations with an estimated value of NOK 50 billion. Head researcher John Olav G. Tande at Sintef was named the 2019 Mission Innovation Champion for his work with offshore wind power. This award highlights the Trondheim research community as a world leader in this field. The award was established by Bill Gates and Barack Obama at the climate summit meeting in Paris.

Sintef and Equinor have patented their Hywind technology. The Hywind Tampen wind farm will now be generating power for the Snorre and Gullfaks platforms in the North Sea.

World leader in wind power Wind will continue to blow across the sea, while world leaders and technologists work to save us from catastrophic climate change.

Norwegian expertise and technology are essential for wind power success. Much of our expertise is related to the knowledge we have developed in the areas of oil and gas. Wind power can become an important export industry for Norway. It can create new jobs and help the world community to achieve ambitious climate goals. Trondheim – wind power expertise.

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Q-Free | Mobility technology from Trondheim

Fewer fatalities, thanks to Q-Free. Q-Free provides better traffic flow, cleaner air and safer traffic, with fewer fatalities and accidents. You can find transponders from Trøndelag in cars all over the world. Our transponders eliminate traffic congestion, improve city air and save lives. Fewer people die in traffic, thanks to technology from Trondheim. Our adventure started on the brand new E6 motorway in 1988. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration dreamed of automatic toll stations where traffic could pass without slowing down or stopping. The sharp minds at ‘little’ Q-Free –originally called Micro Design – solved the task without the Norwegian Public Roads Administration having to look for suppliers abroad. At the Ranheim toll station, just outside of Trondheim, we made the leap from manual toll booths and coin-operated machines to lightning-fast radio signals. We had our international breakthrough in Portugal in 1991, and today, Q-free is a listed technology company headquartered in Trondheim, with 400 employees at branch offices in 16 countries. We have offices in the USA, Australia, Canada, Chile, Russia, Slovenia, the United Kingdom and a number of other countries. Our technology is used for much more than collecting road tolls from cars travelling at high speeds. Today, our focus can be summed up with the keywords Flow, Clean, Safe – in other words, better traffic flow, cleaner air and safer traffic, with fewer fatalities and accidents. Q-Free is a world-leader in mobility technology.

Trondheim – The city of geniuses

Borgar Ljosland and his fellow students from NTNU were sitting in a bar when they hit on a great idea, and the conversation went something like this: “Should we do it this way or that way? Which is best? This way? Yes! Write it down on the napkin, quick!” The friends had discovered that it was possible to significantly improve mobile phones. A formula on a piece of paper produces perfect display graphics with minimal use of power. Their recipe for a new processor was to be the best in the world. Shockingly ambitious, but it worked. Borgar conquered the world. Did you know that over 13,000 people in Trondheim work in the technology sector? The city is home to 750 technology companies and offers unprecedented opportunities for people who are looking for an exciting job or have their own ideas for a smart start-up.

Carbon capture and storage | The hunt for the dangerous gas

The evil ‘climate genie’ is threatening the world as we know it. Mona Jacobsen Mølnvik has to catch him before it’s too late. Sintef’s Research Director is heading up work on carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Trondheim. The city is an international hub for efforts to develop a technology to “bottle” greenhouse gases. The EU has named Trondheim the CCS capital of Europe, which would appear logical since it was two researchers at none other than Sintef who came up with the idea of capturing CO2 and storing the gas deep under the seabed. More than 30 years later, in laboratories and research centres, a quiet but dramatic race against time is underway. Now it’s a question of making the method effective and cheap enough to roll out on a large scale, before climate change spirals dangerously out of control.