Research and education on hydrogen grows in importance

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences plays a central role in the new hydrogen center in Western Norway. Through research and education, the academic community will contribute to a faster decarbonisation of society.

Recently the Research Council of Norway granted 120 million NOK to a new hydrogen center in Bergen. The research center will develop knowledge, methodology and solutions for hydrogen energy - technology that will play an important role in achieving the goals of emission reduction and climate neutrality. 

Western Norway has a lot to offer 

The Research Council granted funds for the establishment of two research centers - one in Bergen and one in Trondheim. HVL is one of several partners in the center in Bergen, which is led by NORCE. The deputy head of the center will be Rannveig Litlabø from HVL. 

– This is a feather in the cap for Western Norway and it shows that we have a lot to offer. The allocation is important for HVL and strengthens our focus on hydrogen. When the Research Council chose to grant two centers, it also means that we get to include the breadth of expertise in hydrogen in a much better way throughout Norway, says associate professor Velaug Myrseth Oltedal who plays an important role in hydrogen research at HVL.

Oltedal explains that HVL is involved in 4 of 6 research areas in the initiative. Professor Lars Coenen at Mohnsenteret at HVL will lead one of these, which centers on the interplay between society and technology, socio-technical systems and the question of what determines social acceptance of hydrogen technology. Professor Dhayalan Velauthapillai will focus on new methods for producing hydrogen from sunlight. Furthermore, the academic community at HVL will be involved in research on the use of hydrogen in industrial processes, shipping, offshore wind and offshore production of hydrogen.  

– New laboratories on campus will be a great resource for us in the process of testing new technologies. We are also planning a hydrogen laboratory at HVL for teaching, research, and collaboration with industry and businesses, says associate professor Jonathan Økland Torstensen.

Together with Oltedal, he has led the application initiative for the center from HVL’s side.  

HVL educates for the future 

HVL invests not only in research on hydrogen, but also education. 

- As far as I know, we were the first in Norway to establish studies in hydrogen technology at a higher educational level, says Oltedal. 

Later, the hydrogen profession has flourished. HVL now offers continuing education courses in hydrogen technology for businesses and public sector. These courses have been very popular. 

– We have had close to 200 students enrolled in courses the first year. There seems to be a strong demand in the market for competence development on hydrogen, comments Torstensen, who has taught several of the courses. 

Hydrogen is also a popular topic for bachelor's and master's theses among engineering students at HVL. In addition, a new master's degree in sustainable energy technology is on the way. 


The initiators and national research partners are Energiomstilling Vest (EOV), which consists of the University of Bergen (UiB), the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), Social and Business Research (SNF), Western Norway of University of Applied Sciences (HVL) and NORCE, together with the University of Stavanger (UiS), Fridtjof Nansen's Institute (FNI) and the Institute of Transport Economics (TØI). 

International research partners are Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ), Imperial College London (ICL), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Monash University (Monash U), Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)