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Many people want to work in Nel's new production line at Herøya

Nel has received many good candidates to choose from as they now hire 25 new employees for the new production line starting up at Herøya in 2024.
portrait of man, white helmet and goggles, production hall Plant Manager Ragnar Johnsson is looking forward to welcoming 25 new employees to Nel's plant at Herøya.

Ragnar Johnsson and colleagues are excited about the 25 new employees and the start-up of the new production line planned for April next year.

Many good candidates is promising

"We have received many good candidates," says a cheerful factory manager. Almost 70 people have applied to Nel.

"Last fall, we struggled a bit, especially to find automation technicians, so we were a bit anxious. Now we have received over 10 automation technician candidates and almost 60 applicants for operations, many well-qualified. I am very optimistic that we can choose the best and bring in good people. It looks very promising," says Johnsson.

Doubling production

At the same time as recruitment, Nel's new production line is being built at full speed.


constructions in new production hall, portrait of man, white helmet
"Copy improved": Nel's new production line will be a "copy improved". "The basic concept is 85 percent the same as the first line, so we are making some improvements now as well," says Ragnar Johnsson, here in front of the foundation of the new production line being built adjacent to Nel's first production line that opened in April 2022.



"We are going to more than double production," Ragnar Johnsson tells us. "During construction, we have between 130 and 140 people here, affiliated with the project organization and operations. We will be around 70 people running both lines," he adds.

The plan is to run and qualify the production line during the first quarter in 2024 and start production for customers in April.

Even better training

"The advantage now is that we can train on equipment that is actually similar to what will be installed here," says Johnsson.


man and woman in dialog in production hall, both yellow jackets and white helmets
Training on equipment in the first production line: NEL colleagues in dialogue. Photo: Nel.



"When we started the first line, we only had a digital 3D model to use to get familiar with it. Now we believe that we will be able to achieve an even better training. And maybe also a better start. We had some challenges, but still managed to get an incredibly good start and have been operating continuously. That's cool," says Ragnar Johnsson, who was involved in the construction and startup of the first production line. Nel celebrated its opening with guests at Herøya in 2022.

Just four months later, Nel announced that they would build another production line at Herøya.

"I hope that we have established a name and that people know what Nel stands for," says Johnsson.


group of visitors in a factory hall, orientation given by man in yellow jacket and white helmet
Paving the way for a green hydrogen value chain in Norway: Nel and Statkraft signed a contract for the delivery of 40 MW electrolysis equipment in January. Photo/source: Nel


Nel culture?

What is the NEL culture, exactly?

"The expertise is given, but we want problem-solving to happen where the competence is, that the person using the machines and equipment in their daily work can solve problems and get help when needed, that there is a high level of openness, and perhaps most importantly, that we actually stop work if we see that it compromises safety," said the factory manager.

Humorous atmosphere

"We want to have a humorous atmosphere in our daily work. I joke that we can't achieve anything if we don't have a lot of fun," says the factory manager.

"We don't take ourselves too seriously. There is a short distance and little bureaucracy," says Johnsson.


young woman doing inspection work at proction line
Nel wants more women in the organization: Cecilie Magnusson works at Nel. Photo: Nel.


Broad spectrum

Nel is committed to having a broad spectrum of employees, in terms of age, gender, and nationality. "Now about 27 percent of operators are girls. We have many nationalities, people from Vietnam, Iran, Sweden, India, and some 'nordlendinger'," jokes Johnsson, who himself has Swedish origins, from Skåne. "We mirror Norwegian society, and use the Norwegian language at work. We are trying to build a diverse Nel family."

Building a culture in the World's oldest Start Up

The company at Herøya has only been in operation for about a year and a half. "There are still good opportunities to influence, build culture, and find the solutions we need. I don't remember who said it, but we are the world's oldest Start Up. We started in 1927, but it is only now that we have taken the industrialised step," says Johnsson.


man working next to orange robot arm in production hall
Third-generation hydrogen operator: Torgeir Skogen Nordli, third-generation hydrogen operator, feels at home in Nel. He follows in the footsteps of his grandfather and father, who both worked at Nel from the 1960s and for several decades. Photo/source: Nel.




Text/photo: Siri Krohn-Fagervoll 

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