A long industrial heritage
Meraker Hydrogen was founded based on the history of the industrial area and the infrastructure in place.
The plant is ideal for its large available electricity from local hydropower dams built back in time for producing power to the Meraker Smelteverk. At the peak of production, the former plant had 70MW installed capacity, imported power from other areas, and local power production. The local pond and the old Meraker Kraftstasjon provide cooling water and water for hydrogen production. The old sidetrack is still visible in the area and is planned to be refurnished for cost-effective transport of hydrogen to end customers.
Early in 2020, local patriots, NTE, Greenstat, and the municipality started working on a project to validate a hydrogen plant’s business potential at Kopperå. Through financing from Innovation Norway, the business potential was validated, and on the 5th of June, the company was founded with 17 founders, whereas Greenstat and NTE were anchor investors.
Kopperå has a history back to 1898 as an industrial area. Elkem Meraker, formerly know as Meraker Smelteverk was a microsilica plant. The first plant was established in 1898, and manufactured carbide, and later rebuilt to manufacture microsilica. In 1981 it was sold from Union Carbide to Elkem. The finished products were transported along Meråkerbanen to Muruvik and further shipped abroad. The same export route is highly relevant today for shipping hydrogen in containers. In 2006 the plant was closed, and the plant was decommissioned.
Large potential across vast markets in Trøndelag
Meraker Hydrogen will provide green hydrogen to all regional end-users. The region’s first movers are expected to be trucks and regional buses. As the market matures, larger end-users such as industry and export by shipping are expected to increase their demand for hydrogen.
Owners and Funding
Owners and Funding
The main market for Meraker Hydrogen is the regional market in both Norway and Sweden in market segments such as transport, industry, railway, construction and maritime. Meraker Hydrogen is active in helping businesses accelerate their zero-emission initiatives and taking an active role in the region in facilitating the green shift. Meraker Hydrogen is owned by large industrial owners such as NTE, Greenstat, Gen2 Energy, Aker Clean Hydrogen, and local investors. All owners are active players in hydrogen projects and bring valuable expertise to Meraker Hydrogen.
Meråker, an industrial settlement for 2000 years
From about 350 years BC. until the year 2006, there has been a continuous industrial production and smelting in Meråker. The first products were iron from the bog ore, and the last was microsilica from the smelter in Kopperå. This was made possible by the village’s rich natural resources; ore in the bog, copper and sulfur in the mountains, and abundant access to water.
The oldest iron extraction plant dates back to about 350 BC. and is found by Lake Feren. Over 60 facilities have been registered, but many more are undoubtedly undiscovered. The facilities are spread throughout the village over a certain height. The amount of iron extracted indicates that it was produced for export. It was an industrial and organized production – probably with an administrator. The younger facilities are located lower in the terrain and are almost like farm facilities. These are dated from the 15th century to well into the 17th century.
The oldest mines for the extraction of copper were started in 1747 and 1748. One of the country’s richest mines – Lillefjell mine – was opened in 1760, and the first smelting hut was at Gilså and was put into operation in 1770. A new smelting hut was built under Nustadfossen in 1828. Selbo Kobberværk, and later Meraker Gruber, ran an almost continuous production of copper and sulfur for 250 years. The last mine was Lillefjell closed in 1920.
But the village’s copper history is actually older. In 2003, a smelting site for copper was discovered in the river Kopperåa. This is (currently) the country’s oldest smelter for copper. The facility’s findings confirm that it was in operation in the 12th and 14th centuries, probably until the Black Death. Unfortunately, the mine has not been found.
While mining was still going on, a completely new industrial adventure began in Kopperå. In the period 1898 to 1900, Kopperå went under the name “Klondyke”. Workers from far and near came to Kopperå to build a carbide factory down by the river Tevla. The good supply of water, and thus power, was the reason for choosing the location. With minor interruptions, the carbide production continued here until 1915. After that, only ferrochrome production down in “Stupet” was called the place.
A new factory was built higher up on the “Kopperå plateau”, and carbide production continued here until the 1960s. However, the main production was silicon metal and ferrosilicon, and for the last 15 years, only microsilica. The smelter stopped production on June 1, 2006. The buildings have been demolished, but a large industrial site has been left behind.
Down by Nustadfossen, on the site after the smelting hut, a plant for the production of ferrochrome was built in 1913. Operations here were terminated in 1972.
Meråker is a mountain village with many lakes, large and small rivers, and small streams. This has been a necessary factor for the smelting industry. From the simple iron furnace by the stream in year 0 to the power-intensive silicon production in the 2000s. The smelting cabins at Gilså and Nustadfoss have demanded the same.
Meråker is a large power supplier, and today has the power plants Meråker, Tevla and Funna, as well as two smaller ones in Gudå. Older power plants such as Kopperå I and II, Turifoss, Gudå and Nustadfoss have been demolished. Kopperå I, however, still stands as a museum building.
For more information about the history go to Meraker Historlielag homepage.