In 2012, the need to address challenges in energy distribution systems was the impetus for five graduate students to start ECONNECT Energy(formerly Connect LNG).
Fast-forward ten years and improving systems and anticipating technological needs to accelerate the energy transition is what continues to drive ECONNECT Energy.
It’s fair to say that innovation is at the heart of ECONNECT Energy, so much so that there is a dedicated “Chief Innovation Officer.”
Below is a discussion with CIO Stian Magnusson from March 2022.
How did your background and interests bring you to be CIO at ECOE?
I have always been interested in solving problems and finding solutions and I knew from a very early age that I would be an entrepreneur. I chose a technical education from NTNU, M.Sc. Marine Technology and I was convinced that when I learned more about the industry that I would contribute to advancing some piece of technology within my field. Halfway into my masters, an opportunity presented itself with ECONNECT Energy and I became part of the founding team of the company. The company was founded based on an industry problem without a solution and the first few years consisted of technology development and verification activities and nurtured my interest within innovation and engineering and I quite quickly took on the role as chief innovation officer at ECOE.
What responsibility does the CIO at ECOE have?
We are a small, but capable team and it is important to being versatile. My responsibilities as CIO have changed a bit over time, to encompass managing our engineering capacities, general technology development, client engagement from a technical perspective, but of course also managing our intellectual property. Currently my responsibility is split between technology development and also managing our Renewable department where I am one of the technical authorities within our newly established joint venture, Azane Fuel Solutions, providing turn-key bunkering terminals for green ammonia.
What does innovation mean to you?
Innovation is what gets me up in the morning. Being able to participate in shaping our future is highly motivating and makes it easy to maintain focus. Innovation is what drives new processes or technologies to solve problems to challenges. I focus on addressing the barriers to the energy transition, like looking at ammonia handling systems. I get a lot of energy from unlocking these riddles and being part of the green transition.
What projects are you currently engaged in?
I am involved in most our company’s projects, both commercial deliveries and research projects. If I am to mention a few, I would like to point out the IPN project we are running together with SINTEF. In this project we are solidifying our position as leading expert in process flow for jettyless transfer system and developing tools and procedures for optimal configurations to lower BOG [boil off gas] and maximize product throughput through our systems. The Ammonia Fuel Bunkering Network project is also exciting as we here have received financing to develop, build and pilot the world’s first dedicated ammonia bunkering terminal. For this project we have already developed and patented a very clever process system that enables high flow rates without increasing the cost while ensuring safety follows the highest standards. In addition, I am deeply involved in several IQuay nearshore and offshore newbuild projects for LNG, ammonia and CO2 which are keeping us busy.
How many patents are in the ECOE portfolio?
Last time I counted I ended up with 69 patents across 7inventions, but I believe this number to be a bit larger today. Our patents address technology gaps in the distribution and safe handling of various energy sources. We are always thinking about process safety, practical interfaces, flexibility.
In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing energy distribution?
We are witnessing a tremendous shift in thinking around transporting energy and energy independence, especially now in Europe. When it comes to distribution of energy, regardless of form, the challenge is infrastructure and the speed of upscaling. There are several solutions for decarbonising shipping and power sectors, however there are two main bottlenecks when it comes to the adoption of these solutions: technology readiness and lack of infrastructure. This is where innovation is most important, how can we develop, commercialise and scale these solutions?
What can people expect to see from ECOE that is new in 2022?
We are always thinking about ways to optimise and improve energy distribution systems. People can expect to see the IQuay floating transfer solution for more ammonia and CO2 applications. Also, the commercialisation of NH3 bunkering technology in the ammonia fuel bunkering network project, and new variations of our offshore floating transfer system. These are exciting times, stay posted!
Is there anything else that you would like to share?
Only that I am grateful to be a part of interesting companies such as ECONNECT Energy and AZANE Fuel Solutions, making it possible for myself, as an individual, to partake directly in the green transition and have a net positive contribution to this world.