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Beyond the horizon

With deep expertise and knowledge within many areas that include petroleum, renewable energy, gastronomy, and a range of others, the Stavanger region also understands the necessity of the top quality higher education as well as an active research and development...

The Minister of Research and Higher Education, Tora Aasland, has long been involved in the research and higher education environment in Stavanger. According to Minister Aasland, there are major benefits of Norwegian activities related to the ongoing identification and establishment of international R&D cooperation.

As Minister Aasland states, “The strongest tool for international cooperation today is the Norwegian Centres of Excellence. These centres have become engines for international publications, for cooperation, attracting foreign researchers, and important in educating new researchers. The results from these centres have far exceeded expectations that were set to them when it was started. The successful NCE’s emphasizes once again how important a solid academic foundation and commitment to quality is to succeed in international cooperation.”

An International Feel

The University of Stavanger has over 8,000 students, is a diverse international community, with 40 nations represented and a large range of programmes offered in English, as well as the opportunity to study Norwegian. Students can choose from a range of degree programmes including biological chemistry, computer science, literacy, environmental engineering, offshore technology, petroleum studies and migration. Since its establishment in 2005, the university has fostered a growing international reputation, with more than 150 staff members holding doctoral degrees.

The International Research Institute of Stavanger (IRIS) is an internationally recognized independent research institute with high focus on applied research within the areas of petroleum, social science and business development, biotechnology, as well as gas and energy. The organization seeks to challenge what is known and explore what is unknown, with target research areas of focus that include automated drilling, multiphase reservoir flow, and integrated marine environmental monitoring. Also of key interest are sustainable energy CO2 capture and energy efficiency, as well as the ongoing development of Stavanger Centre for Innovation Research.

This Centre was established by the University of Stavanger and IRIS with the goal of being developed into a visible and internationally recognized research institution and to attain status as a National Center of Excellence. The Centre for Innovation Research seeks to generate discussion in the public domain open communication and a close relationship with governmental and private organizations, business and other R&D institutions.

IRIS activities within Drilling and Well Technology include fundamental research regarding the drilling process, focusing on the areas of well flow and wellbore mechanics including risk management. 
© Elisabeth Tønnersen

Petroleum in Focus

Working with industry is extremely important to the petroleum-related research activities within IRIS, says Aina M. Berg, the Director of IRIS – Petroleum. The staff consists of highly motivated and skilled scientists and engineers. This has resulted in many significant results applied by the industry. IRIS – Petroleum has several long term research programmes sponsored by the Research Council of Norway and the petroleum industry, especially within Drilling and Well Technology and Multiphase Reservoir Flow.

IRIS activities within Drilling and Well Technology include fundamental research regarding the drilling process, focusing on the areas of well flow and wellbore mechanics including risk management. IRIS’s ambition is to be one of the most recognized international research institutes within automated drilling, including the achievement of remote control of the drilling process. Vital instruments towards this achievement is the Virtual Rig, a virtual R&D laboratory for drilling operations and the full scale testing facilities at Ullrigg Drilling and Well Centre.

Multiphase Reservoir Flow is another area where IRIS has high ambitions. The activities include R&D projects, laboratory experiments and field case studies with an emphasis on fundamental understanding of multiphase flow on pore- , reservoir-, and geology scale. IRIS has a long experience within methods for enhanced oil recovery, special core analysis, up scaling, reservoir model updating, and production optimization.

IRIS-Petroleum works not only with Norwegian companies and organizations, but on the international level as well, with special focus on activities in the USA (Texas), Russia, as well as in Europe regarding geological-related activities. With a view to the future, renewable energy and CO2 storage in close coordination with the recently established Centre for Sustainable Energy is important areas for IRIS-Petroleum.

A View to the Future – The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CENSE)

One major focus point for IRIS is the area sustainable energy technology. This includes gas-based and renewable energy. Major emphasis will continue to be dedicated to bio fuels, especially biogas production and use, efficient integrated energy systems, CO2 capture, wind energy applications in both on- and offshore installations and geothermal energy.

Energy represents one of the greatest challenges to society, indelibly linked to economic development and quality of life. Fossil fuels represent 80% of energy used at the present time, but this is changing –
making the need greater than ever for energy solutions promoting sustainable development. This is the background for an initiative pooling the collective expertise of IRIS and the University of Stavanger in the establishment of the Centre for Sustainable Energy.

The Research Centre’s ambitious goals include conducting world class research and becoming a major provider of knowledge and technology. In addition, the already strong Stavanger energy cluster stands to gain from long-term, sustainable energy solutions and the training of a new generation of experts. One challenge regarding the development of any new energy solution is the commercialization process, and one main goal of the Research Centre will be to facilitate the successful transition from research to the marketplace.

Very importantly, the CENSE aims to act as a link between research and society, providing practical and technical information and guidance to governmental stakeholders and the general public. Demonstrating how practical solutions will actually benefit society will be one ongoing process taking place between the Centre for Sustainable Energy and the public at large.

The University of Stavanger has over 8,000 students, is a diverse international community, with 40 nations represented and a large range of programmes offered in English. 
© University of Stavanger

A Question of Balance

IRIS and the University of Stavanger know that sustainable energy is not just about renewable energy, but about finding a balance of energy sources and consumption practices to meet the needs of society now and in the future. The lowering of carbon emissions stands central in this process, with the long-term goal being substantially lowering per capita carbon emissions as compared to current levels. A focus on this decarbonisation process will be central in the Research Centre’s activities now and in the future.

This will require major advances in the development and use of renewable energy, major improvements in energy efficiency through the entire chain from production to end-use, and finally, major breakthroughs in decarbonisation of carbon fuels themselves. As stated in the IEA World Energy Outlook 2008, “The world’s energy system is at a crossroads. Current global trends in energy supply and consumption are patently unsustainable – environmentally, economically and socially. But that can – and must – be altered; there’s still time to change the road we’re on.” The Centre for Sustainable Energy is committed to doing its part in changing the energy road map.

“Måltidets Hus” – The National Center of Industrial Gastronomy

Another important research focus area in the Stavanger Region is “Måltidets Hus” (The National Center of Industrial Gastronomy), a major project involving a number of organizations including NOFIMA Norconserv, the Culinary Institute of Norway, TINE FOU, EWOS Innovation and NCE Culinology. To be opened in 2009, Måltidets Hus will function as a venue for innovation – an arena not only for the region’s R&D environment but also for industry experts, the food industry in general and the media.

Måltidets Hus features a number of facilities, including an 8,000 square metre research building custom made to support development of the food industry, including test kitchens and pilot plant for the upsizing of new products; analytical Laboratories for chemical, microbial and sensorial analysis; facilities for analysis and documentation related to the packaging closure, heat and process parameters; auditorium, meeting rooms, canteen coffee bars, guest offices, cafeteria, and a state of the art culinary kitchen with a cooking “theatre”, VIP restaurant and offices.

The expertise is

Måltidets Hus features a number of facilities, including an 8,000 square meter research building custom made to support development of the food industry. 
© Måltidets Hus

impressive in the Maltidets Hus, with main areas of competence including consumer behaviour, product development, processing, packaging, durability, meal solutions and the art of culinology as a profession. On an industry level, services and information are available related to the industry network, the structure of the industry, use of events and festivals as part of the food industry, and project management, to name a few areas of activity.

In addition to the core partners in the “Måltidets Hus” project mentioned about, the best of the Stavanger Region within the food industry is represented with companies and organizations that include Ewos Innovation, Stiftelsen Norsk Matkultur, Norske Kokkemesteres Landsforening, Gladmat AS, Blue Planet/Biomarin Vekst, Bioforsk Vest, Enforme AS and O. Drøpping. More information regarding “Måltidets Hus” will be available on the website during 2009.