Bostek acquires Inpower, taking steps to become the new hybrid propulsion expert at sea

Bertel O. Steen Teknikk AS ( Bostek ) is expanding its expertise into the field of energy-saving systems and hybrid propulsion for ships by acquiring Inpower AS.

By: Peter H. Kahrs

Bostek is taking steps to become the new hybrid propulsion expert at sea. High-speed crafts and ferries are being met with stricter demands on environmental and emissions control. By acquiring Inpower, Bostek is expanding its field of expertise to low emissions for propulsion systems on sea-going vessels.

Bostek has been delivering diesel engines, propulsion systems and diesel-electric motors to the maritime sector for many years from its base in Bergen, based on MTU engine systems. Bostek also provides service for the high-speed craft and ferries sector – not to mention services for offshore and other industries.

Going green requires innovative technology, said Ove Johan Solem, Chief Executive Officer at Bostek. He thinks the acquisition of Inpower is a very important strategic move that will fortify Bostek’s and MTU’s market position in the Norwegian high-speed craft market and other vital markets.

Norway is at the forefront of environmental regulations for eco-friendly technology and low emission solutions within public procurements for ferries and high-speed crafts.

As MTU’s representative in Norway, our task is to stay at the forefront of technology to be competitive, which is also true for MTU, said CEO of Bertel O. Steen Industri Geir Remmem. Bertel O. Steen Industri owns Bostek. He also said Bostek needs to keep up with developments in all key markets to survive and we need to take all the strategic steps that are necessary to stay ahead.

Inpower’s know-how, expertise and patented products complement Bostek’s own range of products and skills. The acquisition is an important step in Bostek’s move toward hybrid solutions, Solem said.

A new phase with a leading industrial owner

Inpower is based in Molde, Norway, and was founded in 2001 by the entrepreneurs Normann Sandøy, Reidar Vårdal and Professor Robert Nilssen. The company has focused from the start on developing and patenting solutions for various types of green propulsion systems on sea-going vessels.

One of those solutions is a diesel-electric propulsion system based on a permanent-magnet motor. The system saves fuel and thereby helps protect the environment. This technology is used in hybrid solutions and in pure electric propulsion systems. The concept is already being used on vessels in several areas such as offshore support and the fish-farming industry.

Inpower views the acquisition as an industrial expansion for the solutions it has already developed. It will be an excellent platform for growth. Until now we have focused on technological development and technology verification. We now have an industrial owner on the team to take us further, said Geir Larsen, general manager at Inpower.

Strengthening cooperation

Larsen pointed out several beneficial aspects of having Bostek as a partner.

From now on, when we speak with potential customers we can proudly claim to be part of a company with a well-developed service organization and sales network. The partnership will allow us to concentrate 100% on industrialising our solutions for a wider market.

The German engine manufacturer MTU has had Bostek as its distributor for the Norwegian market for many years.

MTU holds a dominant position in certain market segments, and Bostek’s acquisition of Inpower was also part of a strategic move to strength MTU’s position during the transition to green solutions, Solem said.

New solutions

There are many environmental benefits and ways to save energy through the use of Inpower's propulsion solutions; lower emissions, lower fuel consumption and reduced maintenance costs to name a few.

Many public procurement contracts already contain requirements for zero, ultra-low or low emissions.  Traditional propulsion systems cannot satisfy those requirements.

Norway is a world leader where environmental policies are concerned, and it will be important for our company to offer solutions that satisfy official requirements, Solem said.

Larsen agrees with him on that, and feels ready to continue developing and industrialising green propulsion.

It is important to optimise solutions that bring us closer to our goal of lowering emissions from sea-going vessels. We are ready to face those challenges, Larsen said in conclusion.