Lighting up tunnels


Exentric has developed a system that improves lighting during tunnel boring and rehabilitation.

Temporary lighting in tunnels has long been a time-consuming job. The solutions are heavy, and there are often cable and equipment failures because they are used in a rough environment involving high humidity.

Innovation Norway’s mentoring scheme has been an important contribution in business development, and is a service I recommend to others.
Dag Jonassen, Exentric.

Positive environmental and societal impact

The Porsgrunn-based company Exentric has been working to address these challenges. They have created an connection system focusing on light quality, durability and safety. The lighting equipment is lighter and therefore easier to install and remove.

“The company has a good understanding of the industry and develops its solution in close collaboration with the customer. It gives them greater accuracy when launching their product. The project provides positive environmental and societal impact because it increases safety for tunnel workers while also being reusable”, says Marte Lønnebakke, finance adviser at Innovation Norway.

With the help of grants for market clarification from Innovation Norway, the company sourced good input for the prototype development and achieved market acceptance in the form of a testing agreement with NCC Infrastructure - one of the Nordic region’s leading companies in tunnel boring.

Innovation Norway has provided important support during the development work, and Exentric particularly highlights the mentoring scheme.

“It is very useful to have a sparring partner who sees the project from a different angle than you do yourself. Innovation Norway’s mentoring scheme has been an important contribution in business development, and is a service I recommend to others”, says Dag Jonassen, Managing Director of Exentric.

Local pilot project

Based at Herøya Industrial Estate in Porsgrunn, the company found a local solution when the corona pandemic once again put an end to testing the prototype abroad — this time in the Faroe Islands.

Instead, the lighting system is now being tested out in a tunnel under the industrial estate. Jonassen commends Herøya Industrial Estate for its good help and facilitation, and says that being located close to the test area is very convenient. It is easy to take customers down to the tunnel so they can get a better look at the solution.

Innovation Norway has contributed with innovation grants and start-up loans during this phase.

“It has been absolutely crucial for us and the development would have taken too long without this funding”, says Jonassen.

Growth ambitions in Europe

The company has clear growth ambitions. They aim to become the preferred actor in traffic lights, primarily for those building and rehabilitating tunnels in Scandinavia.

The goal is to deliver 50,000 metres of the product in the first half of 2021, and then to fully focus on Europe. They already have supplier agreements with partners in Poland, Italy, Sweden and Finland. The international market is significant and the product can also be used in other industries such as the power industry and the construction industry.

Exentric also has an EX lighting franchise, which includes both fixed and portable lighting equipment specially made for explosive environments such as refineries and the offshore industry. They recently entered into an agreement with one of Europe’s largest refineries for the supply of such equipment.

  • Grants for market clarification
  • Startup loan
  • Grant for mentor