On Tuesday, 5 June 2018, the Minister of Industry, Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, awarded UNITECH Offshore AS, and partners, the status as a National Center for Technology Development – Sustainable Maritime Norwegian Catapult Center.
“This is a fantastic recognition for us as a technology company, and for our competence and commitment to working with innovative solutions for marine operations,” says a proud Bernt Hellesøe, founding member and chairman of UNITECH Offshore AS.
Sustainable Maritime Norwegian Catapult Centre will be a national center within various types of energy systems such as batteries, fuel cells, hybrid systems, and the electrification of maritime industries. UNITECH Technology Center located on Eldøyane and Rubbestadneset will collaborate with test centers in a cluster, including SWITCH in Stord and vessels owned by Solstad Offshore and Knutsen OAS. Project management and administration of the Catapult Center cooperation will be led by NCE Maritim Cleantech.
“The UNITECH Technology Center, which is under construction at Rubbestadneset, Bømlo, has been assigned National Center status one year before the center opening. This gives us a unique opportunity to customize the infrastructure for problem-solving, prototyping, and product development. The Technology Center will be a ‘’catapult’’ for small and large companies’ innovative solutions and is located in Norway’s central hub for the fields of offshore, subsea, fishing and aquaculture,” says Gunnar Birkeland, UNITECH.
UNITECH has been a leading force within the development of smart and robust solutions for the oil and gas industry for several decades, has introduced new materials, and in recent years the electrification of marine operations. The Catapult structure allows UNITECH’s infrastructure and competence to be available to a significantly larger user network. At the same time, UNITECH Offshore launches a major focus on its core areas and the use of Norwegian pure aluminum in marine energy systems.
The catapult structure allows for the realization of test and pilot infrastructure in the field of energy production offshore, subsea energy systems, electrification of aquaculture, prototype workshop, etc.
“We are looking forward to opening up our Technology Center for broader cooperation and sharing our expertise with a larger network. Cooperation in Western Norway is something we have been seeking for a long time, and as we believe will put Norway on the world map and create new business,” says Gunnar Birkeland.
Furthermore, Gunnar believes UNITECH has a unique, leading, and comprehensive expertise in several technology areas in the region between Bergen and Stavanger, which the company is now going to commercialize.
In conjunction with the construction of the Technology Center at Rubbestadneset, UNITECH has launched a model of new vocational education next to the center. This will give students a unique access to state-of-the-art infrastructure and the ability to learn problem-solving and product development ‘first hand.’
Bernt Hellesøe is confident this is the start of something of great importance and says, “UNITECH Technology Center at Rubbestadneset will be a lighthouse for business and technology development in Western Norway!”
Representantar frå tre av partnarane som skal byggja opp ein Norsk katapult for smarte og grøne energisystem: Hege Økland frå NCE Maritime CleanTech, Asbjørn Halsebakke frå The Switch Norway, og Gunnar Birkeland og Bernt Henrik Hellesøe frå Unitech. Foto: Øyvind Hjelmen.