The strength of Chalmers’ research is to conduct applied studies with high societal relevance that are well-founded in energy systems science. The research focuses on development towards long-term sustainability of the energy system and on climate-change related issues and the work include analysis of the interaction between the energy system and society as an important part. In this research, a common theme is to link in-depth technological competence to the overall long-term systems approach. Within the area there is an extensive collaboration between research groups within Chalmers as well as with external national and international groups and with industry.
Global sustainable systems and bridging technologies
Based on energy systems and resource modelling together with cost-benefit analyses, the options for mitigating climate change are studied, on the global, European and Nordic scale. Important tools are the development and use of models (e.g. the Global Energy Transition model and the Electricity Investment Model) and of detailed databases of the European energy infrastructures. Examples of central issues include:
- multi-faceted evaluation of energy technologies,
- linkages between economic development, consumption and energy use,
- the development of the electrical power system and its integration with CCS and with intermittent power,
- land use aspects on use of biomass for energy, with a special focus on production of biofuel for transportation and,
- efficient use of biomass in the energy system, e.g. through development of biorefineries.
Technology impact assessment and innovation process
This field includes primarily two different areas of activity. Firstly, the environmental impact of different technological solutions are analysed from a life cycle perspective and by environmental systems analyses. Secondly, the processes leading to technical and societal change are studied from the perspective of innovation systems theory. Typically, the analyses are applied on various case studies. Examples of areas in focus include:
- environmental assessments of e.g. batteries for hybrid and electrical vehicles, marine biofuels and fuel cells
- socio-technical-ecological evaluation of renewable energy sources,
- the development processes behind gasification of biomass,
- principle mechanisms leading to transformation of the energy system and changes in the industrial structure
Local and regional energy systems
The main focus of the analyses of local and regional energy systems is on two areas. Firstly, studies of the development and role of district heating systems and its interaction with local/regional use of biomass and the production of biogas. Secondly, analyses of the potential for industrial clusters to contribute to a sustainable development by increasing the energy efficiency (partly through total-site measures), by developing production processes, products and material use (increasing the share of biomass), and by interacting with the local energy system, such as district heating systems. An example of the latter area is industrial system analyses of various kinds of biorefineries.
Examples of excellence
Pathways to Sustainable European Energy Systems
The research program Pathways to Sustainable European Energy Systems (Pathways) is part of the international cooperation Alliance for Global sustainability (AGS) and managed by Chalmers. Pathways is a five year program, that was initiated in 2005 and has since resulted in more than 50 scientific publications. The project is an example of a unique cooperative effort between a large number of research groups, which has created unique insights. The overall aim has been to evaluate and propose alternative robust pathways towards a sustainable energy system with respect to environmental, technical, economic and social issues, and with a specific focus on the stationary energy system (supply and demand side) in the European setting. The Pathways approach has specifically been to base evaluations on detailed descriptions of the present energy system and to focus on how the present system can transform into a more sustainable future. The results of the project include conclusions on key bridging technologies and measures for moving towards sustainability, directly useful for European policy makers. Furthermore, detailed data bases and mappings of the European power system, energy infrastructure and energy-intensive industry that have been constructed will be of great value for future systems studies.
For each Excellence Profile there are an Profile Manager and a
Coordinator that coordinate and support the work within the profile as
well as coordinate activities with other groups in academia, industry
Excellence Profile Manager
Excellence Profile Coordinator