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A high-quality quartet in line for NorShipping’s Young Entrepreneur Award

Representatives from several spheres of shipping and ocean related activities are in line to collect the fourth Nor-Shipping Young Entrepreneur Award in June this year.

The Award celebrates the achievements of rising maritime stars aged 40 or less who have founded an organisation or enterprise that brings new ideas and solutions to the maritime sphere. This year no less than 12 entries were received covering a hugely diverse range of maritime activities. While all of the entries were worthy of success, the rules of the award required that they be trimmed down to a final four by an international jury of business and NGO leaders.

The final four, who will be further evaluated by the eight-person jury in order to select the winner, come from quit different disciplines with one from aquaculture, one from the environmental side, another involved in developing environmentally-friendly tourism and the final candidate involved in marine bunkering operations.

From the aquaculture sector – one which is increasingly important in Norway and globally as a sustainable source of food – Karoline Sjødal Olsen is the CEO and co-founder of Blue Lice a business start up which has developed a means of trapping sea lice before they can attach to farmed salmon and other fish. Lice have a detrimental effect on farmed fish so a reliable means of preventing infestations makes for more efficient food production. Blue Lice is already working with two of the major fish farming organisations in Norway and plans to commercialise its products this year with a view to international expansion in the future.

The problem of plastics in the marine environment is a hot topic and one that Inty Grønneberg CEO and Founder of Ichthion aims to tackle. Icthion has three patented technologies to remove plastics and other pollution from seas and rivers one of which involves a marine turbine that generates electricity while simultaneously removing plastics from the environment. The company is based in London but has offices around the globe. The goal of the company is to reduce by 70% in 10 years the total amount of plastics entering into the oceans. The total addressable market for technologies capable of plastic recovery from rivers and coastal areas is around £218 million in 2018, with a rate of growth of 15% per year. Revenue will be generated through machine sales, technology licensing and royalties from the plastic recycled. Initial sales are expected in 2020, with break-even in 2022, profit availability in 2023, exponential margin growth by 2025.

Third in line for the award are a team of five persons, Magnus Eikens, Morten A. Christophersen, David M. Knutsen, Miriam E. Wennberg, and Stian T. Magnusson who are all co-founders of Connect LNG. The company was formed to develop and market a proprietary solution, Universal Transfer System – UTS, which is a jettyless transfer system for LNG, liquid CO2 and hydrogen between ship and shore. This solution resolves the biggest bottleneck in the value chain enabling rapid roll-out of energy infrastructure. After 6 years of R&D, the first fully commercial unit was built and delivered to the gas giant Naturgy Energy Group and the first commercial LNG cargo was delivered to Herøya Industrial Park in the fall of 2017.

Connect LNG has in place a framework agreement with the Spanish energy giant Naturgy (former Gas Natural Fenosa), for several units per year for the next three years, hence securing solid cash-flow and profit. Today, the company comprises around 30 people with a mix of young energetic entrepreneurs and highly renowned industry experts. It is in dialogue with all the major industry players and has 100+ projects in the pipeline.

The fourth and last short listed candidate is another joint entry, with Agnes Árnadóttir and Espen Larsen-Hakkebo the CEO and CFO of Brim Explorer. The company the two founded develops and operates special tourist boats for use in Norwegian waters. It is currently building the first ship for silent, electric sightseeing in the Arctic. The craft is tailored to the needs of the tourist in the 21st century, as well as to address the environmental impact of tourism. Starting with an optimal hull design for an electric driveline and fit for sailing in arctic waters. The ship itself is an aluminium and glass structure designed in a way that gives every one of the 140 passengers first- row seats to take in nature and the experiences at sea.

The ship is equipped with an 800 kwh battery pack, optimal for slow charging overnight, with the flexibility to charge in most ports in Norway without large investment in charging infrastructure. Fully charged it can sail for a whole day of sightseeing, up to 10 hours with a cruising speed of 10 knots. Technically Brim is the most flexible electric passenger vessel ever built, commercially it opens the door for a fleet of the next generation tourism vessels, not only in Norway – but globally.

Once the jury has selected the winner, the award will be made at the Nor-Shipping Opening Ceremony to be held in Oslo Town Hall on the eve of the exhibitions opening on 4 June. The award will be presented by Norway’s Minister of Trade, Torbjørn Røed Isaksen in front of an audience that includes King Harald.