Driving electric lorries with Infratek
One of Norway’s most important environmental initiatives, ELinGO, is rolling forward, and Infratek, with its expertise, is playing an important part in this effort to achieve more environmentally friendly freight transport.
In order to survey available expertise, get feedback from partners and take the development of ELinGO to the next level, Oluf Langhelle, Professor of Political Science at the University of Stavanger, is currently travelling around the Nordic region together with Runar Søråsen of Miles Ahead AS, a consultancy firm that specialises in identifying and exploiting new business opportunities for companies using agile innovation. The first ELinGO workshop was held on 18 October 2016, at Infratek’s offices in Alnabru in Oslo.
“Infratek is an important partner in this project and our first stop on this tour,” says Søråsen. “After this, we will visit Lyse, Volvo in Sweden and the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) in the coming days. I am leading the subproject ‘realisation and industrialisation’ and Oluf is heading up a subproject on relevant societal parameters. An important part of our work is to document different business models,” he continues.
Freight transport is vital for business, but it is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. By 2050, freight transport by road is expected to increase in Norway by 65 per cent. However, the country is aiming to become carbon neutral during the same period, which is why it is so important to work for the electrification of freight transport. This is what the ELinGO project will be researching. If everything goes according to plan, maybe they will be able to rename the new E39 between Kristiansand and Trondheim the “EL39” when it is completed in 2035.
The ambition is to electrify the whole 1,100 km route, and there are several options on the table as potential solutions, such as inductive charging of vehicles on the road, overhead wires combined with pantographs mounted on the cabs of heavy goods vehicles and buses, or an electrified rail along the road (physical charging). All of these options would allow heavy goods vehicles to recharge as they drive.
“Regardless of which option is selected in the end, Infratek will be an important partner, just as they are today. But it could also mean contracts for deliveries,” says Søråsen.
In Q1 2017, a report will present the results of the subprojects that are being led by Professor Langhelle, who adds: “Apart from freight transport, nearly all industries are managing to lower their emissions. That makes this project extremely important for the sector.”
Jarle Pettersen, Division Manager at Infra Solutions, believes it makes a lot of sense for Infratek to get involved in the project. “No one in the Nordic region is building more charging stations than we are. We have expertise in this field, and ELinGO can both lead to new contracts and provide us with insight into this massive future market – not immediately, but over the long term and into the bright future ahead of us,” he asserts.
The ELinGO project will be implemented in partnership with companies that are looking to get on board with the electrification of road freight transport. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration is the project owner, while SINTEF Building and Infrastructure is responsible for the day-to-day coordination of the project. The project is funded with grants from the Research Council of Norway.
Infratek is one of 11 partners (companies) involved in the project, which also includes Siemens, Volvo and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
For more information about the project, please visit www.elingo.no.
Photo (from left): Hugo Cardoso (Infratek), Jarle Pettersen (Infratek), Runar Søråsen and Oluf Langhelle had much to discuss at the workshop.