On Friday the 13th of February in 1903, Sam Eyde was invited to dine with Norwegian cabinet minister Gunnar Knudsen. Kristian Birkeland was also present, setting the scene for their first meeting. In the course of the dinner Eyde said: “What I want is the most powerful electrical discharge on earth…” to which Birkeland replied: “That I can get for you!”
Their discussions progressed the next day, and as soon as the 20th of February Birkeland submitted a patent application for ‘Ways of using electricity to produce nitrogen from the air and other gas compounds’. How it developed from there is both history and an adventure.
The Yara story is about three remarkable men, unity and growth: Eyde brought the vision, Birkeland the science, and Wallenberg the capital. Three men coming together in process, in purpose, in phases of change, in pursuit of success and in pure alignment - to transform conventional thinking.
The outcome was that they tapped into Norway’s large hydropower resources to produce the company’s first significant product: mineral fertilizer. This attracted attention from all over the world as it enabled farmers to boost their yields and was the beginning of the agricultural revolution.
Pioneering the industrial use of hydropower, this marked the transformation and modernization of both Norwegian industry and society. And today, half the global population relies on food grown by the use of fertilizers.