Test facilities – Energy Systems Engineering

Distributed energy conversion technologies, using fuel flexible solutions, energy storage and smart technologies are essential parts of the energy transition towards carbon free solutions.

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T100 CHP-unit with innovative fuel-flexible combustor
T100 CHP-unit with innovative fuel-flexible combustor. Photo: Kjersti Riiber

The test facilities at UiS are providing our researchers with experimental data and hands on experience from various test rigs for model development, validation and use. Energy system integration, hydrogen and geothermal energy are the three main research topics, supported by state-of-the-art test facilities at small and at pilot scale.

All experimental data generated by various test rigs are central for energy system integration. The knowledge development on optimized microgrids setup and operation will enable higher energy efficiency and resource utilization.

Hydrogen production, storage, and end use, with minimum environmental impact is a central research topic globally. The energy research group is investigating the whole value chain to enable energy efficient, cost effective and environmentally friendly solutions.

The full-scale geothermal energy generation and heat storage installation at university campus provides a living laboratory for researchers and students to better understand the cause and effects of various technologies and operational strategies for shallow geothermal installations. Innovative solutions, equipped with state of the art measurement techniques will provide the researchers with the data needed for further development of this renewable energy resource.

Varmepumpe i laboratorium
Heat pump

Fuel flexible micro gas turbine for combined heat and power: Two CHP units at UiS, one based on a 100 kWe and one 3 kWe micro gas turbine, are fully instrumented to provide all necessary data for modeling and model validation activities. The 100 kWe unit, a Turbec micro gas turbine, is equipped with an innovative combustion chamber that enables use of various gas fuels with heating values ranging between 5 and 50 MJ/m3. The test rig produces 100 kW electricity and about 160 kW heat. The advanced instrumentation and flexible fuel feed system enables testing of various fuels and fuel mixtures. One of the goals with this test rig was to demonstrate engine operation with 100 % hydrogen, as well as various hydrogen blends for heat and power generation, which was successfully demonstrated in May 2022. Both technical and economic aspects of fuel flexible distributed heat and power generation are being studied, using physical and data driven modeling for monitoring, control, fault diagnostics and optimized operation.

Heat pump using supercritical CO2 (sCO2) as working fluid: The well instrumented heat pump test rig at UiS is designed to enable high operational flexibility. Operational data from the test rig have been used for modeling and model validation, enabling better understanding of advantages of super-critical CO2 as working fluid. Use of smart technologies for optimized operation will be implemented and evaluated.

Steam reformer

Compact steam reformer for blue hydrogen production: Steam reforming of natural gas for hydrogen production has been utilized for decades by different industries. Energy and cost-effective solutions for hydrogen production without CO2 emission to the atmosphere, so called blue hydrogen, will enable environmentally friendly use of natural gas as an energy resource for decades to come. The steam reforming unit will provide the research group with operational data, necessary for development of smart solutions for optimized operation and maintenance, to minimize the environmental impacts and maximize the economic revenue. The unit will provide hydrogen both for micro gas turbine operation and to local industries as part of the new local initiative “Risavika hydrogen hub”.


Green hydrogen production: The fully instrumented integrated setup, containing an electrolyzer, a hydrogen storage unit, a fuel cell and a battery package provides the research group with necessary data for modeling and model validation. Using the AI-based digital twin, developed with real operational data will enable evaluation of the total “round efficiency” of the integrated system, enabling real-time optimized operation. The methods and tools developed will pave the way for installation of distributed energy solutions, enabling optimized utilization of local energy resources.

Shallow geothermal wells as heat source and heat sink: Geothermal energy as readily available everywhere is an untapped renewable energy resource. Besides cost-effective drilling and well construction, which is central for economic competitiveness, borehole heat exchanger (BHE) design and optimized operation of the geothermal installations are crucial for large-scale deployment of geothermal energy. The full-scale geothermal installation at university campus is providing our researchers with a living-lab, where various BHE designs and well depth, completed with state-of-the-art instrumentation are providing our researchers with data necessary for deeper understanding of the system dynamic and long-term effects of operational strategies. Heat pump supported geothermal installation at the campus will reduce the CO2 emissions, while providing the researchers and students with data for better understanding of the system dynamic and performance. Seasonal energy storage, using renewable energy sources and waste heat will also be tested and evaluated from a tecno-economic point of view.

Battery laboratory: This test facility will provide data for modeling and analysis av energy storage using various materials and battery designs.