Innovation Sprint – Bergen 02.02.22

Innovation sprint in Bergen 02.02.22

Solutions found in efficient collaboration

Under the auspices of NOSCA Clean Oceans, a number of companies have joined forces to find the best environmental solutions for the planned waste-rock disposal site in Sørfjorden.

The site form part of the new road and railway infrastructure between Bergen and Voss, and is initially needed for the construction of the E16 stretch and the railway line from Arna to Stanghelle. This will be Norway’s largest tunnel project, and work is due to commence in 2024.

In connection with this, a number of cluster members gathered for a so-called Innovation Sprint. Among the topics discussed were the opportunities for a comprehensive solution to protect the external environment when large volumes of displaced spoil are deposited in the fjord by the current railway track.


Multitude of opportunities

NOSCA has long been in dialogue with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and Bane NOR to obtain as much information about the plans as possible, and to assess the level at which the cluster’s members may contribute.

– It is about minimising pollution when the disposal site becomes a reality. Measures may include pipes through which the spoil is dumped, barriers around the quay facilities, or solutions for how to monitor and clean up pollution that has entered the fjord, says Eirik Langeland, General Manager of NOSCA Clean Oceans.

Some 20 participants took part in the all-day “sprint”. Working in focus groups, they explored various scenarios for how cluster members can make joint representations to the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, Bane NOR, and the contractors assigned to build the road or railway.

– Our cluster offers unique expertise in this field. We will ensure that developers do not have to worry about plastic and other waste dumped as part of the spoil – in particular the remains of caps and fuses used during blasting, says Langeland.


New technology development

He emphasises the increasing awareness of consequences related to blasting and disposal, and the ever-more stringent requirements. In this context, the cluster offers a great advantage thanks to NOSCA’s test centre “Store Lungen” in Bergen.

The centre opened in 2020, and serves as a test pool for development of pioneering technology for clean-up of marine pollution. NOSCA’s members thus have the opportunity to try out different technological solutions and to measure efficiency under realistic conditions.

– Among the waste collected are vast amounts of plastic fuses dumped in Store Lungegårdsvann as part of the Bergen Light Rail development. Our achievements at the test facility show that we have a lot to offer, and demonstrate that the authorities place great value on the cluster’s diverse expertise, says Langeland.


Superpowers through collaboration

The brainstorming session took place in Bergen in early February. It was hosted by PwC, a NOSCA member, and offered cluster members from north to south in Norway finally a chance to meet face to face. 

– Innovation Sprint is an excellent method through which to approach complex issues that cannot be resolved by one company alone. When such a broad spectrum of specialist expertise come together to discuss and challenge each other, we develop superpowers, says Lars Kleppe, Director at PwC, who along with colleague Christina Gytre made sure the eight-hour session ran smoothly.

Working in groups, the participants drafted possible solutions, concepts, business models, and value propositions for how everything may fit together. The next step is to create 3D models to visualise the concept and how the various elements interact.


Trust and transparency

Kleppe sees confidence as crucial for this type of gathering to succeed. Those involved have to trust each other in order to share ideas, detailed information, and experiences.

– There may have been some hesitancy among the participants at first, but this soon dissipated. I think some were surprised by the enormous innovation power created by everyone sharing openly and building on each other’s ideas. And that is exactly how a cluster should work. There are no competitors here, only collaboration partners preparing to conquer a new market with great potential.


Pipes and booms

Trond Lindheim, Product Manager at SpillTech, was one of the participants. He is hopeful that his company may be able to contribute with solutions for the pipes directing the flow of spoil and rocks down to the deposit site, as well as with the clean-up of plastic and other waste.

– We would also like to participate in terms of booms and barriers if this becomes relevant, says Lindheim, who found the Innovation Sprint interesting and useful.

– It is an exciting way of collaborating, but there are a few unanswered questions, such as the handling of ownership, responsibility, and financial models.


Pollution prevention

Also Jan Henning Rysjedal, Technical Textiles Specialist at Fiizk, was present at the gathering. His company is heavily involved in the fish-farming industry, such as the production of tarpaulins and other barriers.

– We can create solutions that ensure the waste-rock lands where it is supposed to, and does not pollute the sea, says Rysjedal, and adds that the meeting was a welcome initiative by NOSCA Clean Oceans.

– It is important to bring together various players to build a joint strategy, instead of each doing their own thing. The next step is to follow up this work with more detailed plans.


Autonomous vessels

His view is supported by Eirik Hovstein, COO at Maritime Robotics.

– In my opinion, the Innovation Sprint was well organised by NOSCA and PwC. This is precisely the purpose of clusters, namely to enable representatives from different technologies and with various expertise to meet and benefit from each other’s knowledge.

Maritime Robotics offers numerous products and services in the area of autonomous vessels ideal for data collection and monitoring.

– We offer top expertise in sensor technology that measures water quality, biomass in water, and the positioning of the waste-rock when dumped in the sea, says  Hovstein, who also is able to offer advanced 24-hour video surveillance and equipment to collect waste from the surface.


Vast opportunities

– SpillTech, FiZK, and Maritime Robotics are three excellent examples of the diversity among NOSCA’s members, says Eirik Langeland.

– The cluster has the full breadth of specialist capability. We have now started work to transition from words to action and to create quality solutions that will work in practice. This applies not only to Sørfjorden, but to the country as a whole. There are numerous projects in the pipeline where large quantities of surplus spoil must be disposed of.


(Facts & figures)

  • NOSCA and its members have been invited to a market dialogue with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and Bane NOR on the Arna-Stanghelle development, which is Norway’s largest planned tunnel project.
  • Going forward, there is a need to render visible a joint overall concept that can be showcased to relevant collaboration partners/operators forming part of the large tenders.
  • This will be concept that can also be presented in connection with other major construction projects.