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Immense willingness to change as an industrial region


By: Inger Ellen Eftevand Orvin

Versatile industries with large export companies in several municipalities and important voices moving towards the green shift. In this climate, there is room for more strong community developers and production companies.

From aquaculture on the one side to fixed industrial production on the other, the span in our widespread region between industrial actors is as extensive as the immense geographic contrasts. Here we fortify in droves with a strong desire to have more pillars for future development, and a broader and more solid foundation for settlement and community development.

Today, the region can boast about having the most affordable, cleanest and most renewable energy in Europe. We have the lowest electricity prices in Europe, and municipalities with access to a wide range of resources that are eager for businesses establishments. At the point of intersection between industry and energy, there is room for the establishment of new businesses, and the region has great ambitions to attract actors within various fields.

The Bodø region is one of Norway’s leading hydrogen regions. Multiple companies are currently near threshold production. Among others, the tender for hydrogen-powered ferries over Vestfjorden will accelerate this development.


Bodø – more than the hub of the region

Bodø, the regional capital, is strongly characterised by growth and it appears to be a modern centre with its 52,000 inhabitants. Many will describe the upgrades during the last few years as overwhelming. With the planned relocation of the airport towards the fjord, the potential for establishing urban industry grows. We are speaking of a new borough with a development area in close proximity to the town centre during the course of the next 50-100 years.

Kurt Kristoffersen at Rapp Bomek (Photo: Petro Arctic)

Bodø has a proud industrial history and today there are more production companies which, among others, deliver to the offshore industry. The new Rapp Bomek has, for example, an agreement regarding deliveries, service and maintenance of fire doors on oil platforms.

“The Norwegian Security Act, and the need for high-quality security doors, windows and gates for public buildings, such as museums, public administration, police and defence buildings are increasing in the Nordic countries,” says Kurt Kristoffersen, Managing Director of Rapp Bomek, in a press release.

Rapp Bomek has built on its experience from the oil and gas industry and created a niche whereby they deliver fire and security modules to large buildings, for example, the National Museum and Hammerfest Hospital.

Green aviation – Bodø the town of aviation in a new epoch

Aviation has for a long time been the driving force behind economic growth, employment and emergency preparedness in the north. It is now seen that challenges related to global warming and increased climate gas emissions create room for producing technologies and infrastructure aimed at changing consumer behaviour towards new ways of travelling.

Elnar Remi Holmen (Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen)

“We have comparable advantages with the aviation expert environments that are already established,” says Elnar Remi Holmen, Director of Bodø Airport Development.

The energy cluster in the north has received arena status where one of the focus areas is green aviation, and Holmen greatly believes that Bodø and Northern Norway will be attractive arenas for technology companies, development actors and aviation producers that need testing facilities and others.

“Through this cluster, we will facilitate new industry and commerce in the Bodø region, and the region in relation to existing industry and commerce, and public actors,” says Holmen.

The goal is to ensure that Bodø, Nordland and Northern Norway become established as international knowledge centres and knowledge arenas for developing, testing and implementing zero-emission aviation technology.

He strongly believes that a new airport with zero-emission technology as a supporting vision will establish the Bodø region as a favourable location for testing and developing low and zero-emission aircraft.


Energy-efficient silicon plant

The cornerstone company, Elkem Salten, located in Straumen in the Municipality of Sørfold, recently opened an energy recovery plant for electricity corresponding to 15,000 households. With this, the Bodø region can boast of having one of the most energy-efficient silicon plants in the world.

Elkem has previously invested in oven upgrades, thereby almost halving NOx emissions. This corresponds to the emissions from 500,000 diesel-fuelled vehicles.

Ove Sørdahl, Plant Manager at Elkem Salten in Sørfold, sees the need for cutting-edge expertise within several fields, among others, civil engineering.

“If we’re going to solve environmental problems in the future, we depend on external help. We need more companies to pull us into a greener direction,” says Ove Sørdahl.


Huge potential for a circular economy

Glomfjord Industrial Park is owned by Yara International, and it is the largest industrial area in Salten. Here we find, among others, the leading fish farming company in the world, Mowi, and the leading producer of mineral fertiliser in the world, Yara.

Modern infrastructure and good access to water give Glomfjord Industrial Park an advantage. Here sustainable production with a huge potential for circular economy thinking is well-facilitated.

A prime example of this is mountain water, which initially cools the ovens at Yara’s acid factory. When the water has reached a suitable temperature, it is sent to a penstock at fish farming company, Mowi, who then reuse the water in the production of salmon smolt. Water that first went through the turbines and created electric power is also reused at the production plant.

“We have the best natural conditions to succeed with circular production and have room for more actors.” says Finn Nordmo, Industry Project Manager for the Municipality of Meløy.

He tells of enquiries from interested parties asking about vacant space, plots of land and buildings.

“A great advantage is extremely competitive electricity prices. The companies in the industrial park rent Yara’s distribution network at cost price, and the costs are divided according to how much electricity each individual company uses. The more companies the cheaper the electricity,” says Nordmo.

He emphasises the synergy between the companies in the park, the established cooling water system, and infrastructure that is in place.


Customisation and market fluctuations

One of the industrial companies in Meløy that has a workshop but not in the industrial park, is Semek. This small family-run company is located in Neverdal has had a large number of deliveries offshore. In periods, this has ensured a good baseline and two shifts working.

Hilde and Christian Selstad own and run the family company which, among others, has delivered die-cast and machined installations to Johan Castberg in the Barents Sea. Owner and founder, Christen Selstad, has vast experience in problem-solving for the industry.

“Customised polyurethane solutions are our niches, and the final product and function of the product depends on what the client needs,” explains Selstad showing some installations.

Christian Selstad and Hilde Selstad (Photo: Inger E. Eftevand Orvin)

With their flexibility, the products are suitable for reducing electric shocks and noise, and are used to protect shock-resistant steel constructions.

Selstad develops the die-casting molds for the special products himself, and says that he should have had a standard production that could be rolled out in between the more specified products.

“The advantage is that you become good at reducing costs between projects,” says Christen Selstad.


Cables for the future

In the Municipality of Saltdal, Nexans’ factory is in Rognan where it produces its cable solutions. This is one of the municipality’s cornerstone companies. Cable produced for new innovative solutions are found above ground level and underground in tunnels and under water. Electrification has also contributed to prestigious contracts.

Among others, the company delivers cables for exporting electricity from the first solar power testing facility in the world in rough seas. For Nexans this is a medium-size project, however, the project manager at Nexans Rognan, Øystein Skaland, believes that delivering cables for this type of pilot project could be the start of many new opportunities within this sector.

“We’re looking forward to delivering a five-kilometre long cable that will be export electricity from Equinor’s planned testing facility outside Frøya,” says Skaland.

The 80 millimetre thick cable consists of three power phases and one fibre tube with 12 fibres. It will continuously export enough electricity to the extent that 20 electric cars could be connected to a rapid charger at the same time. The five-kilometre long cable cannot be joined and becomes coiled directly on board in the installation vessel in Rognan. Thereafter it is transported out of Skjerstadfjorden through Saltstraumen, and further installed directly from the boat.

Øystein Skaland at Nexans (Photo: Nexans)

“Logistically, all this facilitates the possibility to contribute to energy production, electrification, distribution of power and data, and general industrial development offshore. This is an incredibly exciting process,” says Øystein Skavland.

The industrial actors in the region express their positivity towards the possibility to obtain synergies from already established industries. For example, wastewater, excess heating, recyclable waste or already established infrastructure to name a few.

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