Energy in a Circular Economy is one of six profile areas within Chalmers Energy Area of Advance. This profile addresses the challenge of replacing non-renewable resources with biomass and of making today’s use of fossil fuels less harmful to health and environment.
Visions on a circular economy have been formulated in response to concerns about resource scarcity and impacts associated with unsustainable use of resources. Replacing non-renewable resources, especially fossil fuels, by biomass is a corner stone in the circular economy.
Even though the use of biomass grows, fossil fuels will probably be part of the energy mix for decades to come. Therefore, we also need to find solutions that reduce fossil carbon emissions in the near term and bridge to longer term development.
The vision of the Energy in a Circular Economy profile is to contribute to energy system transitions aligned with the vision of a circular economy and to making today's use of fossil fuels and biomass more efficient and less harmful to human health and environment.
Active research fields
Energy in a Circular Economy has five active research fields:
This active fields focuses on the development of production systems that utilise biomass, and consequently land, water and other resources, in efficient and sustainable ways
- Industrial combustion and gasification processes
In this active field, the work is focused on optimisation of combustion and gasification processes – including flash pyrolysis – from the perspective of efficiency, and investment and maintenance cost, as well as emission control.
- Biochemical processes
The research within this active field is focused on developing new and existing biochemical processes that sustainably can produce products derived from biomass.
- Carbon capture processes
This active field is focused on development of new, efficient technologies that capture and treat carbon dioxide emissions from industrial combustion processes.
- Chemical processes and process integration
The technologies and chemical processes developed within this active field will allow the energy-intensive industries to significantly increase the energy efficiency of their core processes as well as converting residual streams to high-value products.
Due to the complexity of industrial technologies and systems, as well as the ongoing development, the knowledge about “robust” developments, economically, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental consequences, is still relatively poor. To understand this better, a close cooperation between researchers of new technologies, system aspects and environmental consequences is necessary. We therefore plan four internal workshops for identifying and initiating more cooperation, as well as other community building activities.
The planned internal workshops are:
The Energy in a Circular Economy profile has also launched ten research work packages running between 2016 and 2019. The topics of the work packages are:
- Biomass production and conversion in sustainably managed landscapes
- Combustion and gas cleaning
- High temperature corrosion and ash research
- Experiments and modelling of two-phase flow in energy conversion
- Gasification of biomass
- Yeast cell factories for advanced biofuels and microbial robustness
- Robust enzymatic and microbial conversion and valorisation of biorefinery side streams
- Carbon capture and storage (CCS)
- Development of resource-efficient chemical processes
- Process integration for strategic development of industrial energy systems
Read more about the Energy in a Circular Economy profile area and its activities in the Short version profile plan for Energy in a Circular Economy 2015–2019.
The Areas of Advance's joint initiative A microbial production platform for a bio-based economy has strong connections to the Energy in a Circular Economy profile.