Financial crisis and the role of innovation


Sondre Jacobsen (CEO InnSep AS, far left) in the NTNU laboratories discussing the challenges of bridging the gap between basic research and commercial applications of clean technology with Johan Hustad (Pro-Rector for Innovation at NTNU, far right) and Tore Sandvik (County Mayor, second from right). Picture courtesy of NTNU

Sondre Jacobsen (CEO InnSep AS, far left) in the NTNU laboratories discussing the challenges of bridging the gap between basic research and commercial applications of clean technology with Johan Hustad (Pro-Rector for Innovation at NTNU, far right) and Tore Sandvik (County Mayor, second from right). Picture courtesy of NTNU


The economic downturn has brutally communicated that current solutions to both financial and environmental challenges are not sufficient. We must be able to perform more and achieve better results, with fewer costs, less energy and less environmental impact. This has been the primary driving force for innovation since the wheel was invented.

Add dedicated innovation funding and support into the process and the stage is set for the possibility of an unprecedented increase in innovation in Europe. More and more people face adaptation to changes by taking charge of their own situation, their own competence and by driving innovative ideas. In Norway, the downturn in the oil prices has released a large amount of highly skilled personnel from the oil industry. Many have become innovators and entrepreneurs, using their skills to take charge of and develop solutions.

Pioneering new technology drives the progress towards a cleaner environment and a sustainable future. Universities around the world represent many of the major achievements and advances in clean technology by performing the basic research that is the all important foundation of applied research. But the transition from university basic research and concepts to profitable business is difficult and littered with failures.

Failures are in many cases attributed to a few main factors:

  • Underestimating the required R&D time;
  • Not understanding the market demands; and
  • Insufficient funding to handle point one and two above

How can this be solved? How does the Norwegian University of Technology and Science in Trondheim work with industrial companies and businesses to avoid these factors?

Early termination of unfeasible innovation projects frees resources to focus on other commercially viable R&D projects.

At the Norwegian University of Science and Technology ( commercialisation of basic and applied research is planned with experienced project managers situated at the university technology transfer office, NTNU Technology Transfer AS ( The main task is to identify the necessary steps in the research and development process and associate every step with a clear milestone and IP rights. The milestones represent a decision point on whether the project should continue for commercialization, with commercial partners, or be terminated. Sometimes the project staff will discover that the R&D requirements will exceed the available funding, rendering the process unfeasible.

When a disruptive technology is introduced, skilled personnel may refuse to take the risk and decide to stick to ‘business as usual’. Risk averse industries will have professionals that are used to a certain regime of technology where incremental innovation is preferred. It is not uncommon to be met with the demand of several years’ operational time before a purchase is possible. In a sense, achieving operation time is a part of the R&D process. If the R&D project plan and milestones do not reflect this, the result may be a developed product, but without a market or sufficient funding.

Disruptive innovation requires knowledge, experience and funding in close collaboration to succeed. The special model employed at the Department of Energy and Process Engineering at NTNU allows private companies to access labs at significantly lower rates when the goal is to perform innovative research projects with commercial potential, environmental impact and publication opportunities.

Success is not only in the result itself, but in what the process generates

Private companies are the critical drivers of innovation; they are the front lines of the commercialisation necessary for the innovation to survive. With government funding as fuel, industrial actors in Europe have access to unlimited research results. Success is difficult, but the risk is greatly reduced when academia and industry manage to co-operate.

At NTNU, the partnerships with industry results in win-win scenarios for all parties. The private company completes the partnership with a stake in the generated IP and the valuable knowledge necessary to succeed with the technology. The university retains the lab and equipment and can continue to perform experiments and research in related areas. Society benefits from new technology and solutions made available to end-users. Finally, successful commercialisation usually entails increased earnings for the company and, thereby, increased tax income for the governments.

The model of commercialisation at NTNU stimulates industries to take a more active role in innovation. It has enabled InnSep AS to take part in research developments that otherwise would have ended up in a publication on a library shelf, and research operations to be moved from the scientific community and into the core operations of the company, generating value in shared information and experiences. At the time of writing, InnSep and NTNU, with other industrial partners, have collaborated to tackle one of the biggest challenges facing the maritime industry: How to clean exhaust emissions efficiently from ships. It is a long road, but with government funding and university creativity, knowledge and scientific methods, the solutions are gradually coming into focus. Together with industry knowledge and the experience of industrial partners, this gives the best possible success factors for the forthcoming innovations.

For more information on NTNU:

For more information on NTNU Technology Transfer Office:

This editorial was written for Pan European Networks publication, higlighting the role of innovation in developing clean technology: 

Filtering the Fumes – InnSep AS talks about filtering emissions from ships

This editorial will be published in the forthcoming Pan European Networks publication «Government 17», in February/March 2016 but is presented for reading advance on the homepage.  

The importance of filtering the emissions from ship exhausts for a greener, renewable future in shipping

Picture ©2016 Genc Media AS,

Picture courtesy of Genc Media AS,


The source of pollution is the use of resources, mixing and combustion and releasing the byproducts back into Nature. In essence, we are taking fundamental chemicals and materials that Nature has refined for us through solar energy and combining them in new ways. This combination results in what we perceive as pollution. Chemicals and compounds distributed where they should not be. An ideal sustainable situation would be if we were able to separate the consumed materials back into their original form and re-use them; or return them to their original place in Nature, if technology no longer requires them. Since the Industrial Revolution, nonrenewable resources have been consumed at the highest rate possible, without regard to environmental impacts. With the new IMO regulations, a step has been taken in the right direction. Ships can no longer distribute NOx and SOx particles freely in residential areas. They must separate those harmful contaminants from the exhaust, and distribute the particles into the sea where it is better absorbed without damaging the environment.


Currently, 60% of global ports are covered by these regulations, and it is intended that they will apply to 100% of global ports in the new future. This puts pressure on the 60,000 ships that are using heavy fuel oil with up to 3% Sulphur (SOx) content. The main issue is the separation challenge. To separate SOx, NOx and other particles the exhaust must be showered with salt water, which reacts with and captures particles. These contaminated water droplets must then be captured and separated from the clean exhaust before the contents are discharged. The contaminated sea water must be collected and distributed in the open sea, far from harbours. The process can consume between 20-30 tonnes of water per hour. The sheer volume and weight required for the efficient separation of exhaust fumes comes with a steep price tag. So steep that for many, if not most shipowners, this simply will not be profitable.


Several consortiums and companies are developing solutions that are installed and tested in full scale. Unfortunately these solutions rely on conventional separation systems where gravity is the main force for collection of the contaminated water. This is the critical limiting factor for separation in ship exhausts and the critical problem that InnSep AS, in collaboration with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, has decided to solve. The solution is simple: the use of centrifugal force to capture the separated byproducts. Unlike gravity, centrifugal force is not constant, we can increase it indefinitely. Higher collection force equals less volume required for the separator. In the laboratories, successful trials have been performed which resulted in the required efficiency for separation being achieved with an 80% reduction of separator footprint and volume. This technology was developed for the oil and gas industry for more efficient oil production and protection of compressors, pipes and sensitive equipment. The same principle was also developed for the restaurant industry for collecting cooking fats, oils and liquids in the air before they are ventilated. In the US alone an estimated 6,200 fires happen every year in restaurants due to ignition of deposited oils in the ventilation systems.


Now we are planning to develop this separation system for the global shipping industry. Funded by the the Research Council of Norway (, a preliminary investigation has been performed outlining the challenges and possible solutions. The conclusion is twofold: This new principle can be used for all separation issues for ship exhaust gases. Secondly, the principle can be developed for retrofit on existing ships’ separator systems that are not performing optimally. In 2016 the first groundwork will be set for actual product development of this principle. Shipowners and providers of ship exhaust gas cleaning systems are invited to collaborate with InnSep and NTNU department of Energy and Process Engineering to take the final step towards efficient and sustainable ship exhaust separation.


Sondre K. Jacobsen
InnSep AS
+47 9804 3205

Lynx Kitchen – Lynx Separator for foodservice industry

Lynx kitchen system collection chamber

InnSep AS has started R&D process for tailoring the The Lynx Separation system to solve the problems of cooking grease and residue building up in ventilation ducts and systems in the food service industry. The industry is facing stricter air quality regulations due to the type of contaminated air produced by cooking food. Without an air cleaning component, cooking grease, smoke and  residue build up in the ducts, blower, roof and outside walls of the building. It also clogs conventional filters used to remove cooking odors and particles. This residue is highly flammable and frequently causes fires. Conventional filtration technology is struggling to keep up, requiring larger and more advanced installations, driving up costs for the restaurants and end users.


Preliminary testing has concluded with good results. Using the Lynx Separation system for kitchen exhaust, fatty particles and liquids are efficiently removed and collected in a separate chamber for quick and frequent removal. The compact Lynx system enables conventional filtration systems to work with cleaner air and less liquids before exhausting outside the building.

Eagleburgmann awarded license for Lynx Separator for protection of Dry Gas Seal systems

EagleBurgmann sealing solutions picture

Picture courtesy of

EagleBurgmann has signed an exclusive licence agreement with InnSep AS to use the Lynx Separator system for protection of the dry gas seals for compressor systems. For 125 years, with locations in 77 countries, 45.000 customers and almost 6000 employees, they have been, and continues to be, close to the operational challenges of the industry. With quick and efficient response to industry requirements, EagleBurgmann is one of the global market leaders and have become the competent contact for industrial sealing technology and associated services.

The flexible design of the Lynx process enables the installation of systems for protecting any brand of dry gas seal systems, effectively opening for a 100% market access. With EagleBurgmanns global manufacturing capacity, they are able to serve all current and future customers of dry gas seal systems.


Developing the Lynx Separator for Cleaning Ship Emissions

Developing the Lynx Separator for Cleaning Ship Emissions

Oil Marketing & Trading International magazine profiled the Lynx Separation system for cleaning of Ships Exhaust in their news update. The article is more in-depth and covers the development stages of the technology and how the R&D is focused on achieving solutions to meet the challenges of the new emission standards. Currently, as many as 60 per cent of the world’s ports have voluntarily joined forces and agreed that they will refuse access to ships that fail to comply with the emission standards. By 2020, this restriction will apply to all ports. Given this outlook, many smaller and larger vessels are now on a desperate hunt to find new technology that will remove polluting particles from their exhaust emissions.

Facsimile of the webpage:
Facsimile of Oil Marketing webpage

Lynx successfully cleans diesel exhaust gas

Exhaust cleaning

Trial of cleaning diesel exhaust performed at the EagleBurgmann Norway AS laboratories in Norway.


Exhaust buildup that was deposited in an exhaust pipe from an unsuccessful scrubbing system was collected from an offshore site. The solids and particles were diluted back into water to produce a contaminated liquid. The liquid was sprayed directly into the Lynx separator, allowing a concentrated stream of liquid to access our filter directly. The Lynx separator used for the occasion, was the scaled-down Lynx 150 developed for protecting dry gas seals with very low liquid amounts.

The complete article demonstrating the Lynx Separator system separating diesel exhaust and liquids can be found here:

The video alone is found here:

The goal of the test was to visually observe the ability to remove contaminated liquids and particles from a gas stream. The test exceeded expectations, completely separating all particles and liquids, allowing only clean gas to pass through.


We did not expect such a good result from this version of the Lynx.  This version of the Lynx principle was designed to only handle the smallest possible amounts of liquids. Even when liquid is sprayed directly into our rotating mesh, nothing is getting through, showing the reserve capacity that is available to handle both gas and liquid flow variations.

CEO Sondre Jacobsen

The principle is now being developed to handle ships exhaust systems, where it will be scaled up to handle exhaust outlets up to 6 meters in diameter. The Joint Industry Project is open for collaboration, contact Jesus Ernesto Diaz Silva ( for more information.

TechInnovation 2015

2015-09-22 10.08.00

TechInnovation2015 showcases the emerging new technologies from the leading universities around the globe. InnSep is co-operating with the Norwegian University of Technology and Science (NTNU) and Innovation Norway ( with a stand to promote and generate interest on using cutting-edge research to address important challenges facing the world. Our stand with three groundbraking technologies from the university that will shape our future in a positive direction:

  • Connect LNG – Making cleaner energy more accesible (
  • Picterus – Smartphone-based monitoring of Jaundice in newborns (
  • ProductionCompass – Software tool for optimizing production through advanced data algorithms (

InnSep stand at TechInnovation Singapore 22-23 September 2015


TechInnovation 2015 is the largest conference and exhibition in Singapore that focuses on the matching of industry’s needs to enabling and ready-to-market technologies from global sources. InnSep is showcasing the Lynx separation process and the environmental benefits of implementing the innovative technology. We are inviting potential partners and customers to visit and learn about participating in our upcoming R&D projects for various industries.

The stand is in collaboration with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and is located at the Marina Bay Sands Expo And Convention Centre in Singapore.


InnSep collaboration with EagleBurgmann

Rely on excellence

InnSep collaborates with EagleBurgmann to develop the Lynx Separator for protection of Dry Gas Seal systems for compressors. Liquid entrainment causes seal systems to break down and cause compressor failure. Global losses are estimated at several billion dollars in equipment damages and production shutdowns. The Lynx technology reduces this risk significantly, enabling uninterrupted production and less unplanned maintenance costs.

The co-operation was profiled in the Oil and Gas publication MNOG 2-2015: Midt-Norsk Olje og Gass article – Page 25

The whole magazine can be accessed from here: Midt-Norsk Olje og Gass publication list

Christmas Greetings

Christmas Greetings from InnSep AS!

We wish everyone the best for the holidays and are looking forward to a productive New Year.