News: KoM related to Chalmers University of TechnologyFri, 14 Dec 2018 09:40:44 +0100 food worse for the climate<p><b>​Organically farmed food has a bigger climate impact than conventionally farmed food, due to the greater areas of land required. This is the finding of a new international study involving Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, published in the journal Nature.</b></p>​<span>The researchers developed a new method for assessing the climate impact from land-use, and used this, along with other methods, to compare organic and conventional food production. The results show that organic food can result in much greater emissions. </span> <div><br /></div> <div>“Our study shows that organic peas, farmed in Sweden, have around a 50 percent bigger climate impact than conventionally farmed peas. For some foodstuffs, there is an even bigger difference – for example, with organic Swedish winter wheat the difference is closer to 70 percent,” says Stefan Wirsenius, an associate professor from Chalmers, and one of those responsible for the study. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/ekologisk-mat-Diagram---ENG-450.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" />The reason why organic food is so much worse for the climate is that the yields per hectare are much lower, primarily because fertilisers are not used. To produce the same amount of organic food, you therefore need a much bigger area of land. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The ground-breaking aspect of the new study is the conclusion that this difference in land usage results in organic food causing a much larger climate impact. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“The greater land-use in organic farming leads indirectly to higher carbon dioxide emissions, thanks to deforestation,” explains Stefan Wirsenius. “The world’s food production is governed by international trade, so how we farm in Sweden influences deforestation in the tropics. If we use more land for the same amount of food, we contribute indirectly to bigger deforestation elsewhere in the world.” </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Even organic meat and dairy products are – from a climate point of view – worse than their conventionally produced equivalents, claims Stefan Wirsenius.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Because organic meat and milk production uses organic feed-stocks, it also requires more land than conventional production. This means that the findings on organic wheat and peas in principle also apply to meat and milk products. We have not done any specific calculations on meat and milk, however, and have no concrete examples of this in the article,” he explains.</div> <div><br /></div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">A new metric: Carbon Opportunity Cost</h5> <div>The researchers used a new metric, which they call “Carbon Opportunity Cost”, to evaluate the effect of greater land-use contributing to higher carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation. This metric takes into account the amount of carbon that is stored in forests, and thus released as carbon dioxide as an effect of deforestation. The study is among the first in the world to make use of this metric. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“The fact that more land use leads to greater climate impact has not often been taken into account in earlier comparisons between organic and conventional food,” says Stefan Wirsenius. “This is a big oversight, because, as our study shows, this effect can be many times bigger than the greenhouse gas effects, which are normally included. It is also serious because today in Sweden, we have politicians whoseal goals is to increase production of organic food. If thoseat goals isare implemented, the climate influence from Swedish food production will probably increase a lot.”  </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>So why have earlier studies not taken into account land-use and its relationship to carbon dioxide emissions? </strong></div> <strong></strong><div><span>“There are surely many reasons. An important explanation, I think, is simply an earlier lack of good, easily applicable methods for measuring the effect. Our new method of measurement allows us to make broad environmental comparisons, with relative ease,” says Stefan Wirsenius. </span><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="">The results of the study are published in the article “Assessing the Efficiency of Land Use Changes for Mitigating Climate Change” in the journal Nature​</a>. The article is written by Timothy Searchinger, Stefan Wirsenius, Tim Beringer och Patrice Dumas. </div> <div><br /></div> <h6 class="chalmersElement-H6">For more​ information, contact: </h6><div>Stefan Wirsenius, Associate Professor at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment</div> <div><a href="">​</a></div> <div>+46 31 772 31 46</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Photo: Johan Bodell</div> <div>Illustrations: Yen Strandqvist</div> <div><h5 class="chalmersElement-H5"><span>​More on: The consumer perspective</span></h5></div> <div>Stefan Wirsenius notes that the findings do not mean that conscientious consumers should simply switch to buying non-organic food. </div> <div>“The type of food is often much more important. For example, eating organic beans or organic chicken is much better for the climate than to eat conventionally produced beef,” he says. “Organic food does have several advantages compared with food produced by conventional methods,” he continues. “For example, it is better for farm animal welfare. But when it comes to the climate impact, our study shows that organic food is a much worse alternative, in general.” </div> <div><br />For consumers who want to contribute to the positive aspects of organic food production, without increasing their climate impact, an effective way is to focus instead on the different impacts of different types of meat and vegetables in our diet. Replacing beef and lamb, as well as hard cheeses, with vegetable proteins such as beans, has the biggest effect. Pork, chicken, fish and eggs also have a substantially lower climate impact than beef and lamb. </div> More on: The confli​ct between different environmental goals<div><span>In organic farming, no fertilisers are used. The goal is to use resources like energy, land and water in a long-term, sustainable way. Crops are primarily nurtured through nutrients present in the soil. The main aims are greater biological diversity and a balance between animal and plant sustainability. Only naturally derived pesticides are used. </span><br /></div> <div>The arguments for organic food focus on consumers’ health, animal welfare, and different aspects of environmental policy. There is good justification for these arguments, but at the same time, there is a lack of scientific evidence to show that organic food is in general healthier and more environmentally friendly than conventionally farmed food, according to the National Food Administration of Sweden and others. The variation between farms is big, with the interpretation differing depending on what environmental goals one prioritises. At the same time, current analysis methods are unable to fully capture all aspects. </div> <div><strong>Read more: </strong></div> <div><a href=""></a></div> <div><a href=""></a></div> <div> </div> <div>The authors of the study now claim that organically farmed food is worse for the climate, due to bigger land use. For this argument they use statistics from the Swedish Board of Agriculture on the total production in Sweden, and the yields per hectare for organic versus conventional farming for the years 2013-2015. </div> <div><strong>Read more: </strong></div> <div><a href="">,%20fakta/Vegetabilieproduktion/JO14/JO14SM1801/JO14SM1801_ikortadrag.htm</a></div> <div><br /></div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">More on biofuels: “More biofuels will also increase carbon dioxide emissions”</h5> <div><br /></div> <div>Today's major investments in biofuels are also harmful to the climate because they require large areas of land suitable for crop cultivation, and thus – according to the same logic –  increase deforestation globally, the researchers in the same study argue.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>For all common biofuels (ethanol from wheat, sugar cane and corn, as well as biodiesel from palm oil, rapeseed and soya), the carbon opportunity cost is greater than the emissions from fossil fuel and diesel, the study shows. Biofuels from waste and by-products do not have this effect, but their potential is small, the researchers say.</div> <div>All biofuels made from arable crops have such high emissions that they cannot be called climate-smart, according to the researchers, who present the results on biofuels in a op-ed article in the Swedish Newspaper Dagens Nyheter.</div> <div>​<br /></div>Wed, 12 Dec 2018 19:00:00 +0100 fashion can be worn for 50 years<p><b>​A shirt that can gain a new lease of life and be used for 50 years. Clothes made of paper that can be worn for a few days. Fashion designers and researchers from Chalmers have joined forces in an innovative project to test the limits of sustainable garments of the future. The results were recently showcased at an exhibition in London.</b></p><div>​How can we reduce the environmental impact of clothes and create more sustainable fashion? This question is the focus of a recently concluded research project “Circular Design Speeds”, which is a collaboration between researchers, fashion designers and the clothing brand Filippa K. The research findings and the garment prototypes have now been on show at an exhibition in London.</div> <div> </div> <div>“People who work with fashion have sometimes asked me what they can do to make clothes more environmentally friendly. Dialogue and working together with the research world is a good start,” says Greg Peters, Associate Professor in the Division of Environmental Systems Analysis at Chalmers.<br /><br /></div> <div>Together with researchers from RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden) he has conducted a life-cycle analysis for two garment prototypes, which were developed at University of the Arts London, and has assessed the environmental impact of the garments throughout their life cycle.<br /><br /></div> <div>Both of the items of clothing are extreme in terms of potential lifespan. One – a polyester shirt – is an example of slow fashion that is designed to be used in various phases for 50 years. </div> <div> </div> <div>“The idea is that the shirt can be altered during its lifetime to keep it interesting for its owner, and so that it can be taken over by additional owners. We have calculated that the garment will have had seven users in eight different life cycles before finally being consigned to disposal through incineration,” Peters says.</div> <div> </div> <div>The transformation of the shirt will initially take place via sublimation dye overprinting, technology that does exist, but is not yet used on a large scale as a recycling technique. Peters explains it as a form of electronic printing on paper that can be transferred onto an item of clothing using heat. The owner can thereby revamp the shirt and change its appearance several times before it reaches the next stage in its life cycle.</div> <div> </div> <div>“When you can no longer create new prints on the shirt, we use the fabric to make lining, in a jacket for example. This is done by mixing the fabric with another material using a laser machine. We thereby extend the intended life cycle of the garment by a further 15 years beyond the lifespan of the shirt,” he says.  </div> <div> </div> <div>After this, the project’s fashion designers suggest that the jacket be redesigned to make jewellery and fashion accessories, which lengthens the lifespan by 20 more years. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><div><img src="/sv/institutioner/tme/PublishingImages/Nyheter/Andra%20storlekar/GregPeters1_750x320.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br /><br /></div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4" style="text-align:center"><span>&quot;If we can make our clothes last longer, we can minimise the major environmental impact produced when the clothes are created<span>&quot;</span></span></h4> <div style="text-align:center"> <h6 class="chalmersElement-H6">Greg Peters, Chalmers</h6></div></div> <div> </div> <div>Using all these means to extend the garment lifespan is the main reason we see great environmental gains, because most of the adverse environmental impact caused by clothes is created during their manufacture when fibres and fabrics are made. That’s why it is very beneficial to be able to use our clothes for longer, so that we reduce our need to buy new ones.</div> <div> </div> <div>“This is an important message: we buy too many clothes! If we can make our clothes last longer, we can minimise the major environmental impact produced when the clothes are created,” he says.</div> <div> </div> <div>Another way of creating more sustainable clothes is to develop materials that have a very short life cycle teamed with lower environmental impact during their production. Fast fashion clothing can be recycled or turned into compost, but the substantial environmental benefit is reaped right at the point of purchase, because the buyer thereby avoids conventional garments with all the adverse environmental impact that they involve.</div> <div> </div> <div>In the project, a number of garments made of paper pulp were produced that have an intended lifespan of a few days. Greg Peters states that sustainable production has major advantages, and that the garments are light in weight, but they must be used a sufficient number of times.  </div> <div> </div> <div>“It’s not enough to use a paper garment twice. According to our calculations, you need to use it at least five times for the environmental gains to surpass conventional clothes used normally. However, there may be places where paper garments that are disposed of after use are a smart idea, such as hospitals,” he says.</div> <div> </div> <div>Peters describes the report as an attempt to facilitate fashion designers’ and environmental scientists’ understanding of how environmental performance in clothes can be improved. He primarily has two recommendations for achieving a more sustainable and circular fashion industry:<br /><br /></div> <div><ul><li>Try to reduce the weight of materials in a garment without reducing its quality, for example by using stronger fibres.</li></ul></div> <div><ul><li>Investigate how to increase and create new value in a garment at the point in time when the user would normally throw it away.</li></ul></div> <div> </div> <div>As part of the project, clothing brand Filippa K has chosen to create two pieces based on the research: one commercial, recyclable jacket made of recycled materials, and a concept dress made of paper. Peters hopes that the fashion industry will find ways of creating more sustainable fashion – and ideally with the help of research.</div> <div> </div> <div>“This is the first time that one of my reports has been linked to a fashion exhibition. It’s really exciting that designers are starting to think along these lines,” he says.</div> <div> </div> <div><strong>Text: Ulrika Ernström</strong></div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">About Circular Design Speeds</h4> <div>Circular Design Speeds is a collaborative project involving:</div> <div> </div> <ul><li>Mistra Future Fashion, an interdisciplinary research programme run by RISE</li></ul> <div> </div> <ul><li>Greg Peters, Associate Professor in the Division of Environmental Systems Analysis at Chalmers, who together with researchers from RISE has conducted a life-cycle analysis for the garment prototypes.</li></ul> <div> </div> <ul><li>Centre for Circular Design at University of the Arts London, which produced these garment prototypes.</li></ul> <div> </div> <ul><li>Clothing brand Filippa K, which has created two pieces based on the research: one commercial, recyclable jacket made of recycled materials, and a concept dress made of paper.</li></ul> <div> </div> <div>Read the research report <a href="">“LCA on fast and slow garment prototypes”</a>, by Greg Peters, (principal author), Gustav Sandin, Sandra Roos and <span style="font-family:&quot;open sans&quot;, sans-serif;font-size:14px;font-style:normal;font-weight:300;letter-spacing:normal;text-align:start;text-indent:0px;text-transform:none;white-space:normal;word-spacing:0px;text-decoration:none;display:inline !important;float:none">Björn Spak</span>.</div> <div> </div> <div>At the end of November 2018, the research findings and garment prototypes were showcased at an exhibition at University of the Arts London.</div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">Tips on sustainable clothing</h4> <div>Greg Peters’ three tips to consumers who want to take a more sustainable approach.</div> <div> </div> <div><ul><li>Buy fewer items of clothing. </li></ul></div> <div><ul><li>When you buy clothes, invest in strong items that will last for more than just a few washes.</li></ul></div> <div><ul><li>Think about how you wash your clothes. Especially in the drying phase – hang your clothes up to dry and avoid tumble dryers, which destroy the garments’ fibres.</li></ul></div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">The creators of the clothes </h4> <div>All the garments, shown in the image at the top of the page, were created at University of the Arts London</div> <div> </div> <div>From left:</div> <div>1.    Fast Concept – Paper leather jacket, by Prof. Kay Politowicz and Dr Kate Goldsworthy </div> <div>2.    Fast Concept – Laser Line Mono, by Prof. Kay Politowicz and Dr Kate Goldsworthy </div> <div>3.    Fast Concept – Pulp-It Indigo, by Prof. Kay Politowicz and Dr Kate Goldsworthy </div> <div>4.    Slow Concept – First Step Plain Shirt, by Prof. Rebecca Earley </div> <div>5.    Slow Concept – Jacket by Laetitia Forst</div> <div>6.    Slow Concept – Overprinted Shirt and accessories, by Prof. Rebecca Earley</div>Tue, 11 Dec 2018 16:00:00 +0100 Hughes named ACM Fellow<p><b>Second ACM Fellow at ​Computer Science and Engineering as John Hughes joins the exclusive group. He is recognized for his contributions to software testing and functional programming, which include the development of the programming language Haskell and the test tool QuickCheck.</b></p><div>ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world's largest educational and scientific society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field's challenges. They are behind, among others, the prestigious <a href="">Turing Award</a>. Each year, after a rigorous nomination process, a number of members are named Fellows. On the recently published list for 2018 was professor John Hughes at Computer Science and Engineering. He is recognized for his contributions to software testing and functional programming, which include the development of the programming language Haskell and the test tool QuickCheck. <br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>John Hughes participated in the development of Haskell during the years 1988-1998. He joined Chalmers in 1992, and since 2006 runs the company <a href="">Quviq</a> in parallel with research and teaching, to develop and commercialize QuickCheck. The original version of <a href="">QuickCheck</a> for Haskell was developed in 1999, and it remains a popular tool in the community. </div> <div>&quot;We have two new customers in the blockchain domain, and recently provided QuickCheck training for 25 of 50 Haskell developers at <em>Input Output Hong Kong</em>, the company behind the world's eleventh largest crypto currency.&quot; </div> <div><br /></div> <div>During the autumn he has been involved in developing material for contract teaching of high school mathematics teachers, that the department has provided for the municipalities of Kungsbacka and Halmstad.</div> <div>&quot;We have combined parts from Jan Skansholm's book Programmera på riktigt, with materials developed at Brown University in the United States to teach functional programming to high school students.&quot; <br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>(If you want to know more about functional programming, John Hughes gives a good overview <a href="">in this movie</a>.) <br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>ACM recognizes its new Fellows and award winners at the Awards Banquet, to be held in San Francisco on June 15, 2019. Information about all ACM Fellows (including Per Stenström at Computer Science and Engineering, appointed in 2008) <a href="">is available at ACM's website</a>. </div> <br />Tue, 11 Dec 2018 00:00:00 +0100 for detection of cancer from blood samples<p><b>​His blood analysis could detect several different cancer types at an early stage, when the sickness may be effectively treated. For this work, Francesco Gatto is now rewarded as an “Innovator Under 35” by MIT Technology Review.</b></p>​Cancer is mainly diagnosed and monitored using medical imaging techniques such as x-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans. The tests are expensive and could cause harm to patients in the long run. Therefore, these techniques are not to be used to often, which in turn leads to the risk of missing out on an opportunity for early diagnosis.<br /><br /><strong>Metabolites reveal sickness</strong><br /><br />Using a blood or urine sample, it is now possible to test for early detection of cancer – or cancer relapse – much more frequently, opening up options for optimal treatment. Tests like these are today in place for a few types of cancer. Francesco Gatto, guest researcher and alumnus at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering at Chalmers, is developing the analysis of blood metabolites – small molecules that reflect a fundamental process of growth in tumour cells – to recognize a larger variety of cancer forms. For this he is now named as an “Innovator Under 35” along with 34 fellow European innovators.<br /><br />&quot;It is a big honor. At first, I did not fully grasp the magnitude of this. But then, when the news went public, the reaction was quite overwhelming&quot;, he says.<br />&quot;The award acknowledges the work of innovators in driving high risk/high impact projects for our society, and is assigned by a distinguished jury assembled by MIT Technology Review.&quot;<br /><br /><strong>Mission: To save lifes</strong><br /><br />In 2017, Francesco Gatto together with Professor Jens Nielsen founded the company Elypta, a spin-off company to Chalmers that is also in close collaboration with the university. Elypta’s mission is to prevent mortality from cancer by developing their liquid biopsy platform for detection as well as monitoring the disease, since the findings also show responses to treatments. The approach is based on the measurement of 19 biomarkers, identified during Francesco Gatto’s doctoral studies at Chalmers, and use of machine learning algorithms to generate a biomarker score, tailored to identify cancer-type specific signatures.<br /><br />&quot;We have now completed over five clinical studies to show exceptional accuracy, not only in our main indication – renal cell carcinoma – but also in multiple other forms of cancer&quot;, Francesco Gatto says, and adds the Elypta is planning to release the diagnostic test for research use in 2019, and activate two multicenter trials in 2020.<br />&quot;There is a lot of evidence to suggest that early detection reduces mortality, which, at the end of the day, is the only thing that matters&quot;, he concludes.<br /><br />Paloma Cabello, member of the jury of “Innovators Under 35” in 2018, comments that Francesco Gatto stands out for his “technical brilliance, creativity, and focus on the transference and implementation capacity”. <br /><br /><br />Text: Mia Malmstedt<br />Photo: Martina ButoracThu, 06 Dec 2018 16:00:00 +0100 in dinosaur collaboration<p><b>​New discoveries regarding the dolphin-like fish lizard Stenopterygius, which lived 180 million years ago have been published in the scientific journal Nature. Chalmers’ research infrastructure Chemical imaging plays an important part in the discoveries.</b></p>​The <a href="">Stenopterygius</a> <span>was around two meters long and lived in the <a href="">Early Jurassic</a> period in an ocean that was situated where southern Germany now is, over a hundred million years before the times of the better known dinosaurs Tyrannusaurus and Triceratops. Now researchers, in a multidisciplinary international collaboration led by a group at the Lund University in Sweden, have investigated a very well preserved fossil which has led to astonishing new knowledge about the dolphin-like creature which they now <a href="">publish in Nature</a>. The fossil’s integumental parts such as blubber, skin and liver have been studied at both cellular and molecular levels. This has led to a clearer image of what the animal looked like and was structured.  One discovery the researchers made was that although 180 million years have passed, there is still some flexibility in parts of the tissue. To be able to perform this in depth analysis the groupe involved Chalmers infrastructure of Chemical imaging.</span><div><br /><span></span> <div>– We have been looking at melanophores, i.e pigment-containing cells, and skin from the fossil. We have been able to confirm that the cells, after millions of years, still contain important organic elements from lipids and proteins, says <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Per-Malmberg.aspx">Per Malmberg</a>, director at Chalmers and University of Gothenburgs open infrastructure <a href="/en/researchinfrastructure/chemicalimaging/Pages/default.aspx">Chemical imaging</a>.<img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/Dinosaur/Per%20Malmberg-.jpg" width="2741" height="3549" alt="" style="height:220px;width:170px;margin:5px" /><br /><br /></div> <div>The discovery contributes with renewed knowledge regarding convergent evolution, i.e similar characteristics in different species that have developed due to similar living conditions rather than due to heritage. The fish lizard has several similarities with today’s dolphins and porpoises, but also the leatherback sea turtle, even though they are not related. </div> <div>The research has been carried out together by universities all over the world, but has been led by researchers at the Lund University. They choose to engage Chalmers because <span style="background-color:initial">their open infrastructure</span><span style="background-color:initial"> offer access to NanoSIMS-analysis and analytical competence</span><span style="background-color:initial">.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div></div> <div>– Me and my colleague Aurélien Thomen from University of Gothenburg, who also is involved in this work, are proud to be able to contribute with an important piece of the puzzle to understand how Stenopterygius functioned. Our infrastructure offers a unique possibility to get high resolution chemical surface analysis and our contribution to the study shows that our infrastructure is world class, says Per Malmberg.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>NanoSIMS, as part of Chemical imaging, is a technology that makes it possible to create chemical maps of surfaces. Ranging from hard materials such as fossil to soft matter such as cells, all can be analysed by the <img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/Dinosaur/nanosims.jpg" width="457" height="294" alt="" style="height:223px;width:345px;margin:5px" /><br />NanoSIMS. It is a quite sensitive technology that may analyse substances at a ppm-level and create images of distribution with a resolution down to 50 nanometres. Chemical imaging is an infrastructure co-owned together with the University of Gothenburg and facilitates the only NanoSIMS instrument in the Nordic countries.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="">Read more about the discovery at Lunds University’s web.​</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text: Mats Tiborn</div> <div>​<br /></div></div>Wed, 05 Dec 2018 00:00:00 +0100 joint restores wrist-like movements<p><b>​A new artificial joint restores important wrist-like movements to forearm amputees, something which could dramatically improve their quality of life. A group of researchers led by Max Ortiz Catalan, Associate Professor at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have published their research in the journal IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems &amp; Rehabilitation Engineering.​</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">For patients missing a hand, one of the biggest challenges to regaining a high level of function is the inability to rotate one’s wrist, or to ‘pronate’ and ‘supinate’. When you lay your hand flat on a table, palm down, it is fully pronated. Turn your wrist 180 degrees, so the hand is palm up, and it is fully supinated. </span><div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span><div>Most of us probably take it for granted, but this is an essential movement that we use every day. Consider using a door handle, a screwdriver, a knob on a cooker, or simply turning over a piece of paper. For those missing their hand, these are much more awkward and uncomfortable tasks, and current prosthetic technologies offer only limited relief to this problem. </div> <div><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Max Ortiz Catalan" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Ny%20teori%20om%20fantomsmärtor%20visar%20vägen%20mot%20effektivare%20behandling/max_ortiz_catalan_250px.jpg" style="margin:5px;vertical-align:middle" /><br /> <span style="background-color:initial">“A person with forearm amputation can use a motorised wrist rotator controlled by electric signals from the remaining muscles. However, those same signals are also used to control the prosthetic hand,” explains Max Ortiz Catalan, Associate Professor at the Department for Electrical Engineering at Chalmers. “This results in a very cumbersome and unnatural control scheme, in which patients can only activate either the prosthetic wrist or the hand at one time and have to switch back and forth. Furthermore, patients get no sensory feedback, so they have no sensation of the hand’s position or movement.” </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div>The new artificial joint works instead with an osseointegrated implant system developed by the Sweden-based company, Integrum AB – one of the partners in this project. An implant is placed into each of the two bones of the forearm – the ulnar and radius – and then a wrist-like artificial joint acts as an interface between these two implants and the prosthetic hand. Together, this allows for much more naturalistic movements, with intuitive natural control and sensory feedback. </div> <div> </div> <div><img alt="A collection of images showing the new technology" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Konstgjord%20led%20ger%20underarmsamputerade%20rörelseförmåga%20tillbaka%20i%20handleden/Kollage_konstgjord_led_750px.jpg" style="margin:5px;vertical-align:middle" /><br /><span style="background-color:initial">Patients who have lost their hand and wrist often still preserve enough musculature to allow them to rotate the radius over the ulnar – the crucial movement in wrist rotation. A conventional socket prosthesis, which is attached to the body by compressing the stump, locks the bones in place, preventing any potential wrist rotation, and thus wastes this useful movement. </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">“Depending on the level of amputation, you could still have most of the biological actuators and sensors left for wrist rotation. These allow you to feel, for example, when you are turning a key to start a car. You don’t look behind the wheel to see how far to turn – you just feel it. Our new innovation means you don’t have to sacrifice this useful movement because of a poor technological solution, such as a socket prosthesis. You can continue to do it in a natural way,” says Max Ortiz Catalan.</span></div> <div><div> </div> <div>Biomedical Engineers Irene Boni and Jason Millenaar were at Chalmers as visiting international students. They worked with Dr. Ortiz Catalan at his Biomechatronics and Neurorehabilitation Lab at Chalmers, and with Integrum AB on this project. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“In tests designed to measure manual dexterity, we have shown that a patient fitted with our artificial joint scored far higher compared to when using conventional socket technology,” explains Jason Millenaar.</div> <div><br /> <span style="background-color:initial">“Our new device offers a much more natural range of movement, minimising the need for compensatory movements of the shoulder or torso, which could dramatically improve the day to day lives of many forearm amputees,” says Irene Boni. </span></div> <div> </div> <div>Dr. Marco Controzzi at the Biorobotics Institute, Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Italy also participated in the research.</div> <div> </div> <div>Read the paper <a href="" target="_blank">‘Restoring Natural Forearm Rotation in Transradial Osseointegrated Amputees​</a>’ published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems &amp; Rehabilitation Engineering.</div> <div> </div> <div><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="A closeup of the implants and the artificial joint." src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Konstgjord%20led%20ger%20underarmsamputerade%20rörelseförmåga%20tillbaka%20i%20handleden/Konstgjord_led_hand_750px.jpg" style="margin:5px" /><br /><br /><br /></div> <div><strong><br /></strong> </div> <div><strong style="background-color:initial">More on the research</strong><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Dr. Max Ortiz Catalan is an Associate Professor at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and head of the Biomechatronics and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory (<a href="">@ChalmersBNL​</a>)</span><strong><br /></strong></div> <div>Irene Boni was a visiting student from the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Italy, and Jason Millenaar from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.</div> <div> </div> <div>The researchers found that restoring the full range of movement to all degrees of freedom in which the forearm bones can move was not necessary – the key parameter for returning a naturalistic wrist motion is the ‘axial’, or circular, motion of the ulnar and radius bones.</div> <div> </div> <div>“The wrist is a rather complicated joint. Although it is possible to restore full freedom of movement in the ulnar and radial bones, this could result in discomfort for the patient at times. We found that axial rotation is the most important factor to allow for naturalistic wrist movement without this uncomfortable feeling,” explains Max Ortiz Catalan. </div> <div> </div> <div>The development was finalised within the Horizon 2020 framework programme for Research and Innovation under the DeTOP project. </div></div> <div> </div> <div><div><strong>For more information, contact:</strong><br /><span style="background-color:initial">Max Ortiz Catalan, Department of Electrical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, <br />+46 70 846 10 65, <a href=""></a></span><br /></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>Text: Joshua Worth</div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Images: C</span><span style="background-color:initial">halmers Biomechanics and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory/Chalmers University of Technolog and Oscar Mattsson</span><br /></div></div> ​Wed, 28 Nov 2018 07:00:00 +0100 internal combustion engine – a part of the future<p><b>​Many are currently pointing out electric cars as the only solution for us to be able to drive a car in the future. The cars are marketed as cars without emissions but it&#39;s not that simple. Lucien Koopmans is a professor at the Division of Combustion and Propulsion Systems and believes that the internal combustion engine is one part of the solution.</b></p>On November 29, AVL will organize the conference <a href="">Product Development in Motion 2018 </a> at Chalmers. A conference for the engineers of tomorrow where they can get insights into today's rapidly evolving engineering industry and the trends that they need to know to support the development of future mobility. <div><br /></div> <div>Lucien Koopmans, Professor and Head of Division for Combustion and Propulsion Systems at the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences, is one of the speakers and launches a series of workshops with his presentation <em>The end of the combustion engine – or a new life?</em> Spoiler Alert! He is convinced that the internal combustion engine will be a part of the future solutions. The field of application is too wide and the potential of making it climate neutral is too big for the internal combustion engine to go away. The best thing would be to combine the benefits of the two technology solutions to achieve a climate-friendly and sustainable solution for the future, he believes. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;I think that a system-based internal combustion engine can enable a sustainable transport system, but only through electrification, renewable fuels and online controls of the system,&quot; says Lucien Koopmans. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>One important aspect is that since the combustion engine will be an integral part of a connected electrified propulsion system, it should be developed with that in mind, but increased efficiency, renewable fuels, unconventional control strategies and near-zero emissions require research. </div> <div><br /></div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">But what is the most climate-friendly today, a car with an electric motor or a car with an internal combustion engine? </h5> <div>The answer to the question is, of course, that it depends. A small electric car with a small battery recharged with renewable energy such as solar energy is very climate-friendly but as soon as you want to drive long distances that require a bigger battery and start charging the battery with electricity produced through combustion of fossil fuels, significant amounts of CO2 are produced over a lifecycle; from the manufacturing of the battery to the propulsion of the vehicle. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;Compared with the latter, for example, a new diesel car fueled with 50% renewable fuel can be a lot more climate-friendly. The car, engine, driving style, driving conditions and electricity mix are part of a complex system and therefore the answers are never easy, says Lucien Koopmans. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>However, something that Lucien Koopmans easily states is that more research is needed on both electric cars and combustion engines. A hybrid that uses a large proportion of renewable fuel is the most attractive, cost-effective and climate-friendly transport solution for most vehicle users in a foreseeable future, both for passenger cars and freight transport on the road. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;Regardless of future scenario, several generations of internal combustion engines will be manufactured and they have a great potential to reach a zero emission scenario with unexplored technologies,&quot; says Lucien Koopmans.</div> <div><br /></div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">More information</h5> <div><a href=""> Product Development in Motion 2018</a><br /><a href="/en/departments/m2/research/combustion">Research at the Division of Combustion and Propulsion Systems</a></div>Fri, 23 Nov 2018 08:00:00 +0100 a possible source for future products<p><b>​How can we use the seaweed growing along our coastlines? Researchers at BIO have now found a new tool for making nutrients and sugars available, to be used for pharmaceutical production, as well as foods or in chemical production.</b></p>​Seaweeds grow abundantly, and are relatively little affected by harmful environmental impact, along Swedish coasts. At the same time, there is a huge demand for sustainable foods, alternative food sources and new sources for a biological production of fuels and chemicals.<br /><br />As part of a larger project, funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, researchers at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering took a closer look at the green seaweed <em>Ulva lactuca</em>, also known as sea lettuce.<div><br /></div> <div><strong>Suitable for foods and pharmaceuticals</strong><br /><br />“<em>Ulva </em>biomass consists of a full range of various biomolecules. The quality of <em>Ulva </em>and its subsequent applications greatly depend on the waters in which it is grown. As the western Swedish coastline is to a large extent free of toxic metals and pollutants, the <em>Ulva </em>biomass that we obtain from these sea waters is suitable for food and medical applications,” says Venkat Rao Konasani, a postdoc at the division of Industrial Biotechnology, and continues:<br /><br />“<em>Ulva </em>biomass from the algal blooms that are found in eutrophicated waters, rich in phosphorous, pollutants and toxic metals, is not suitable for food. However, this algal bloom biomass would be a good choice for bio-energy applications.”<br /><br />In <em>Ulva</em>, there’s a carbohydrate and polysaccharide called ulvan, which is rather different to anything found on land. Ulvan has features that make it relatively easy to dissolve, compared to most other polysaccharides.<br /><br />“We also find more unusual and interesting sugars. They could be used as building blocks in a chemical synthesis to make heparin, a drug used to treat blood clots, thereby providing an alternative to heparin produced from animal sources. They could also, for example, be used as a starter molecule for flavors, or for the production of sustainable materials,” says Associate Professor Eva Albers.</div> <div><br /><strong>Enzymes to open up the cell wall</strong><br /><br />To use the nutrients and sugars found in seaweed, they must first be recovered. Seaweed consist of cells, with cell walls containing – among other things – the ulvan. The researchers aim to find ways of opening up the cell wall structure, as mildly as possible. Using enzymes has proved both efficient and environmentally friendly. Recently, the research group at BIO identified a completely new and promising subgroup of the enzyme group ulvan lyase, which cleaves the ulvan.<br /><br />“Two subgroups are earlier described, and we have found a third. We have also been able to describe yet another enzyme of one of the other subgroups, which comes from the same bacteria. Our findings give us new ways of processing biomass for industrial purposes,” Eva Albers says.<br /><br />The new enzyme subgroup is also shown to have an unexpected advantage; it is naturally present in two groups of bacteria, found in our gastric/intestinal tract.</div> <div><br /><strong>Possible to digest</strong><br /><br />“Researchers ask the question: Could we eat seaweed? Is it possible for us to take advantage of seaweed’s nutritional value? Our findings indicate that we can probably digest and absorb nutrients from seaweed, with help of our own intestinal bacteria breaking the cell walls. In other words, seaweed could possibly serve as a new, future source of nutrition,” Eva Albers says, and Venkat Rao Konasani concludes:<br /><br />“This finding brings forward the potential of <em>Ulva </em>and opens for new commercial high-value applications of the algae biomass which is abundant in Swedish coastal waters, and otherwise unused.”<br /><br /><br />Text: Mia Malmstedt<br />Photo: Martina Butorac</div>Thu, 22 Nov 2018 17:00:00 +0100 toxic mercury from contaminated water<p><b>Water which has been contaminated with mercury and other toxic heavy metals is a major cause of environmental damage and health problems worldwide. Now, researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, present a totally new way to clean contaminated water, through an electrochemical process. The results are published in the scientific journal Nature Communications. ​​​</b></p><div><span style="background-color:initial">“Our results have really exceeded the expectations we had when we started with the technique,” says the research leader Björn Wickman, from Chalmers’ Department of Physics. “Our new method makes it possible to reduce the mercury content in a liquid by more than 99%. This can bring the water well within the margins for safe human consumption.” </span><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div>According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), mercury is one the most harmful substances for human health. It can influence the nervous system, the development of the brain, and more. It is particularly harmful for children and can also be transmitted from a mother to a child during pregnancy. Furthermore, mercury spreads very easily through nature, and can enter the food chain. Freshwater fish, for example, often contain high levels of mercury. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>In the last two years, Björn Wickman and Cristian Tunsu, researcher at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers, have studied an electrochemical process for cleaning mercury from water. Their method works via extracting the heavy metal ions from water by encouraging them to form an alloy with another metal. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Today, removing low, yet harmful, levels of mercury from large amounts of water is a major challenge. Industries need better methods to reduce the risk of mercury being released in nature,” says Björn Wickman. </div> <div><br /></div> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/Blandade%20dimensioner%20inne%20i%20artikel/Vattenrening_labbsetup1_webb.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;background-color:initial" /><div>Their new method involves a metal plate – an electrode – that binds specific heavy metals to it. The electrode is made of the noble metal platinum, and through an electrochemical process it draws the toxic mercury out of the water to form an alloy of the two. In this way, the water is cleaned of the mercury contamination. The alloy formed by the two metals is very stable, so there is no risk of the mercury re-entering the water. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“An alloy of this type has been made before, but with a totally different purpose in mind. This is the first time the technique with electrochemical alloying has been used for decontamination purposes,” says Cristian Tunsu.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>One strength of the new cleaning technique is that the electrode has a very high capacity. Each platinum atom can bond with four mercury atoms. Furthermore, the mercury atoms do not only bond on the surface, but also penetrate deeper into the material, creating thick layers. This means the electrode can be used for a long time. After use, it can be emptied in a controlled way. Thereby, the electrode can be recycled, and the mercury disposed of in a safe way. A further positive for this process is that it is very energy efficient.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Another great thing with our technique is that it is very selective. Even though there may be many different types of substance in the water, it just removes the mercury. Therefore, the electrode doesn’t waste capacity by unnecessarily taking away harmless substances from the water,” says Björn Wickman. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Patenting for the new method is being sought, and in order to commercialise the discovery, the company Atium has been setup. The new innovation has already been bestowed with a number of prizes and awards, both in Sweden and internationally. The research and the colleagues in the company have also had a strong response from industry. ​ </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We have already had positive interactions with a number of interested parties, who are keen to test the method. Right now, we are working on a prototype which can be tested outside the lab under real-world conditions.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text: Mia Halleröd Palmgren, <a href="">​</a> </div> <div>and Joshua Worth, <a href=""> ​</a><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Read the article, <a href="">“Effective removal of mercury from aqueous streams via electrochemical alloy formation on platinum”​</a> in Nature Communications.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><div><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read the press release and download high-resolution images. ​​</a><span style="background-color:initial">​</span></div></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/Blandade%20dimensioner%20inne%20i%20artikel/Vattenrening_Bjorn_Wickman_Cristian_Tunsu_portratt_750x340_NY.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" />​<span style="background-color:initial">Björn Wickman and Cristian Tunsu</span><span style="background-color:initial"> ​are pr</span><span style="background-color:initial">esenting a new and effective way of cleaning mercury from water. With the help of new technology, contaminated water can become clean enough to be well within the safe limits for drinkability. The results are now published in the scientific journal Nature Communications. ​</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Image: Mia Halleröd Palmgren</span></div> <div><br /></div> <div><h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Potential uses for the new method</h3> <div><ul><li>T<span style="background-color:initial">he technique could be used to reduce the amount of waste and increase the purity of waste and process water in the chemical and mining industries, and in metal production. </span></li></ul></div> <div><ul><li>It can contribute to better environmental cleaning of places with contaminated land and water sources.<br /></li></ul></div> <div><ul><li>​It <span style="background-color:initial">can even be used to clean drinking water in badly affected environments because, thanks to its low energy use, it can be powered totally by solar cells. Therefore, it can be developed into a mobile and reusable water cleaning technology. </span></li></ul></div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">More on heavy metals in our environment</h3> <div>Heavy metals in water sources create enormous environmental problems and influence the health of millions of people around the world. Heavy metals are toxic for all living organisms in the food chain. According to the WHO, mercury is one of the most dangerous substances for human health, influencing our nervous system, brain development and more. The substance is especially dangerous for children and unborn babies. </div> <div>Today there are strict regulations concerning the management of toxic heavy metals to hinder their spread in nature. But there are many places worldwide which are already contaminated, and they can be transported in rain or in the air. This results in certain environments where heavy metals can become abundant, for example fish in freshwater sources. In industries where heavy metals are used, there is a need for better methods of recycling, cleaning and decontamination of the affected water. <span style="background-color:initial">​</span></div></div> <div><h3 class="chalmersElement-H3" style="font-family:&quot;open sans&quot;, sans-serif">For more information</h3> <div><span style="font-weight:700"><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Björn-Wickman.aspx">Björn Wickman​</a></span>, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, +46 31 772 51 79, <a href="">​</a></div> <div><span style="font-weight:700"><a href="/en/staff/Pages/tunsu.aspx">Cristian Tunsu</a></span>,  Post Doc, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering​, <span style="background-color:initial">Chalmers University of Technology, +46 </span><span style="background-color:initial">31 772 29 45, <a href=""></a></span></div></div> <div><div><div><span style="background-color:initial"></span></div></div></div>Wed, 21 Nov 2018 07:00:00 +0100 to melt gold at room temperature<p><b>​When the tension rises, unexpected things can happen – not least when it comes to gold atoms. Researchers from, among others, Chalmers University of Technology, have now managed, for the first time, to make the surface of a gold object melt at room temperature.​</b></p><div><div><div>​<span style="background-color:initial">Ludvig de Knoop, from Chalmers’ Department of Physics, placed a small piece of gold in an electron microscope. Observing it at the highest level of magnification and increasing the electric field step-by-step to extremely high levels, he was interested to see how it influenced the gold atoms.</span></div> <div>It was when he studied the atoms in the recordings from the microscope, that he saw something exciting. The surface layers of gold had actually melted – at room temperature.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;I was really stunned by the discovery. This is an extraordinary phenomenon, and it gives us new, foundational knowledge of gold,” says Ludvig de Knoop.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>What happened was that the gold atoms became excited. Under the influence of the electric field, they suddenly lost their ordered structure and released almost all their connections to each other.</div> <div>Upon further experimentation, the researchers discovered that it was also possible to switch between a solid and a molten structure.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The discovery of how gold atoms can lose their structure in this way is not just spectacular, but also groundbreaking scientifically. Together with the theoretician Mikael Juhani Kuisma, from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, Ludvig de Knoop and colleagues have opened up new avenues in materials science. The results are now published in the journal Physical Review Materials. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Thanks to theoretical calculations, the researchers are able to suggest why gold can melt at room temperature, which has to do with the formation of defects in the surface layers. <br /><br />Possibly, the surface melting can also be seen as a so-called low-dimensional phase transition. In that case, the discovery is connected to the research field of topology, where pioneers David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz received the Nobel Prize in Physics 2016. With Mikael Juhani Kuisma in the lead, the researchers are now looking into that possibility. In any case, the ability to melt surface layers of gold in this manner enables various novel practical applications in the future.<br /><span style="background-color:initial"></span></div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;Because we can control and change the properties of the surface atom layers, it opens doors for different kinds of applications. For example, the technology could be used in different types of sensors, catalysts and transistors. There could also be opportunities for new concepts for contactless components,&quot; says Eva Olsson, Professor at the Department of Physics at Chalmers.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>But for now, for those who want to melt gold without an electron microscope, a trip to the goldsmith is still in order.</div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Text: </span><span style="background-color:initial"> Joshua Worth,</span><a href="">  </a>and <span style="background-color:initial">M</span><span style="background-color:initial">ia </span><span style="background-color:initial">Hall</span><span style="background-color:initial">eröd</span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"> Palmgren, </span><span style="background-color:initial"><a href=""> </a></span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="color:rgb(33, 33, 33);font-family:&quot;open sans&quot;, sans-serif;font-size:24px;background-color:initial">About the scientific article</span><br /></div> <div><div><span style="background-color:initial">The article </span><a href="">“Electric-field-controlled reversible order-disorder switching of a metal tip surface </a><span style="background-color:initial">” has been published in the journal Physical Review Materials. It was written by Ludvig de Knoop, Mikael Juhani Kuisma, Joakim Löfgren, Kristof Lodewijks, Mattias Thuvander, Paul Erhart, Alexandre Dmitriev and Eva Olsson. The researchers behind the results are active at Chalmers, the University of Gothenburg,  the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, and Stanford University in the United States.</span></div> <span style="background-color:initial"></span></div> <div><br /></div></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/750x340/GuldSmalterIRumstemperatur_181116_01_750x340px.jpg" alt="" style="font-size:24px;margin:5px" /><span style="background-color:initial"> </span><span style="background-color:initial">Joakim Löfgren, Eva Olsson, Ludvig de Knoop,  Mattias Thuvander, Alexandre Dmitriev and Paul Erhart are some of the researchers behind the discovery. Not pictured are Mikael Juhani Kuisma and Kristof Lodewijks.</span><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Image: Johan Bodell</span></div> <div><h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">More about the research infrastructure at Chalmers<br /></h3> <div> </div> <div><a href="/en/researchinfrastructure/CMAL/Pages/default.aspx">The Chalmers Material Analysis Laboratory (CMAL) </a> has advanced instruments for material research. The laboratory formally belongs to the Department of Physics, but is open to all researchers from universities, institutes and industry. The experiments in this study have been carried out using advanced and high-resolution electron microscopes - in this case, transmission electron microscopes (TEM). Major investments have recently been made, to further push the laboratory to the forefront of material research. In total, the investments are about 66 million Swedish kronor, of which the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation has contributed half.<span style="background-color:initial"> </span></div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">More about electron microscopy</h4> <div> </div> <div>Electron microscopy is a collective name for different types of microscopy, using electrons instead of electromagnetic radiation to produce images of very small objects. Using this technique makes it possible to study individual atoms. <span style="background-color:initial"> </span></div> <div><div><h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">For more information, contact: </h3></div> <div><div><a href="/en/staff/Pages/f00lude.aspx"><span>Ludvig de Knoop</span>, </a>Postdoctoral researcher, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, +46 31 772 <span style="background-color:initial">51 80, </span><a href="" style="font-family:calibri, sans-serif;font-size:12pt"><span lang="EN-US"> </span></a></div></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"> <br /></span></div> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Eva-Olsson.aspx"><span>Eva Olsson</span><span style="background-color:initial">,</span></a><span style="background-color:initial"> Professor, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, +46 31 772 32 47, </span><a href="" target="_blank"> </a><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read the press release and download high-resolution images. </a></div> <div><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Watch a <span style="background-color:initial">short video clip with researcher Ludvig de Knoop explaining the discovery.</span>​</a></div> </div></div> ​Tue, 20 Nov 2018 07:00:00 +0100 imitation reveals how bones grow atom-by-atom<p><b>​Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered how our bones grow at an atomic level, showing how an unstructured mass orders itself into a perfectly arranged bone structure. The discovery offers new insights, which could yield improved new implants, as well as increasing our knowledge of bone diseases such as osteoporosis.</b></p><p>​The bones in our body grow through several stages, with atoms and molecules joining together, and those bigger groupings joining together in turn. One early stage in the growth process is when calcium phosphate molecules crystallise, which means that they transform from an amorphous mass into an ordered structure. Many stages of this transformation were previously a mystery, but now, through a project looking at an imitation of how our bones are built, the researchers have been able to follow this crystallisation process at an atomic level. Their results are now published in the scientific journal Nature Communications. <br /><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/Martin%20150.jpg" alt="" style="height:200px;width:150px;margin:5px" /><br />“A wonderful thing with this project is that it demonstrates how applied and fundamental research go hand in hand. Our project was originally focused on the creation of an artificial biomaterial, but the material turned out to be a great tool to study bone building processes. We first imitated nature, by creating an artificial copy. Then, we used that copy to go back and study nature,” says Martin Andersson, Professor in Materials Chemistry at Chalmers, and leader of the study. </p> <p><br />The researchers were developing a method of creating artificial bone through additive manufacturing, or 3D printing. The resulting structure is built up in the same way, with the same properties, as real bone. Once fully developed, it will enable the formation of naturalistic implants, which could replace the metal and plastic technologies currently in use. As the team began to imitate natural bone tissue functions, they saw that they had created the possibility to study the phenomenon in a setting highly resembling the environment in living tissue. </p> <p><br />The team’s artificial bone-like substance mimicked the way real bone grows. The smallest structural building blocks in the skeleton are groups of strings consisting of the protein collagen. To mineralize these strings, cells send out spherical particles known as vesicles, which contain calcium phosphate. These vesicles release the calcium phosphate into confined spaces between the collagen strings. There, the calcium phosphate begins to transform from an amorphous mass into an ordered crystalline structure, which creates the bone’s characteristic features of remarkable resistance to shocks and bending. </p> <p><br />The researchers followed this cycle with the help of electron microscopes and now show in their paper how it happens at the atomic level. Despite the fact that bone crystallisation naturally occurs in a biological environment, it is not a biological process. Instead, calcium phosphate’s intrinsic physical characteristics define how it crystallises and builds up, following the laws of thermodynamics. The molecules are drawn to the <img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/Antiope%20150.jpg" alt="" style="height:200px;width:150px;margin:5px 10px" />place where the energy level is lowest, which results in it building itself into a perfectly crystallised structure.</p> <p><br />“Within the transmission electron microscope, we could follow the stages of how the material transformed itself into an ordered structure. This enables it to achieve as low an energy level as possible, and therefore a more stable state,” says Dr Antiope Lotsari, a researcher in Martin Andersson’s group, who conducted the electron microscopy experiments.</p> <p><br />The Chalmers researchers are the first to show in high resolution what happens when bones crystallise. The results could influence the way many common bone related illnesses are treated. </p> <p><br />“Our results could be significant for the treatment of bone disease such as osteoporosis, which today is a common illness, especially among older women. Osteoporosis is when there is an imbalance between how fast bones break down and are being re-formed, which are natural processes in the body,” says Martin Andersson. </p> <p><br />Current medicines for osteoporosis, which work through influencing this imbalance, could be improved with this new knowledge. The hope is that with greater precision, we will be able to evaluate the pros and cons of current medicines, as well as experiment with different substances to examine how they hinder or stimulate bone growth.</p> <p><br />The article “<a href="">Transformation of amorphous calcium phosphate to bone-like apatite</a>” is published now in Nature Communications. <br /></p>Sun, 18 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0100 areas of the Brazilian rainforest at risk of losing protection<p><b>​​Up to 15 million hectares of the Brazilian Amazon is at risk of losing its legal protection, according to a new study from researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, and the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. This is equivalent to more than 4 times the entire forest area of the UK.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">“Brazil has favourable conditions for increasing production on land which is already used for agriculture, in particular lands where low-intensity animal grazing is practised. But if the legal protections for nature are weakened, it could lead to agricultural growth being based more on increasing the amount of agricultural land, rather than increasing the production on lands already in use. This would be at the expense of valuable natural ecosystems, with negative impacts on biodiversity. It would also lead to extensive greenhouse gas emissions, since much of the Amazon is covered by forests,” says Flavio Freitas at the Department for Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Technology at KTH, and leader of the study.</span><div><br /><div>In Brazil, there is a legislative requirement that private landowners designate a certain part of their land for the protection of native vegetation. Private landowners in states that lie in the Amazon region may use up to 20 percent of their land for agriculture, with the rest reserved for nature. But the law contains a paragraph which makes it possible for states to reduce this land use restriction, if more than 65 percent the state’s territory is protected public land.</div> <div><br /> </div> <div>“Earlier studies concluded that this paragraph probably would never be invoked. But we have now shown that the ongoing land tenure regularisation process of undesignated land in the Amazon could lead to the paragraph being invoked in several states in the Amazon region. If this happens, it would become legal to use a further 30 percent of the privately-owned land for agriculture,” says Göran Berndes, Professor at Chalmers, and one of the authors behind the study. </div> <div><br /> </div> <div>This means that between 6.5 and 15.4 million hectares could lose the protections they enjoy today. By way of comparison, the total forest area of the UK is about 3.17 million hectares. The areas that might become legally available for agriculture consist primarily of tropical rainforest, which hold high biodiversity values. Additionally, tropical deforestation causes large carbon dioxide emissions, which contributes to global warming.</div> <div><br /> </div> <div>“Brazil has pledged that by 2025, its greenhouse gas emissions will be at a level 37 percent lower than in 2025,” says Göran Berndes. “That will be a struggle if deforestation is not kept down.”</div> <div><br /> </div> <div>“If this protection disappears, it doesn’t automatically mean that these rainforests would be lost. But it is important to acknowledge the situation, and to consider possible mitigation actions before such development take place. We hope that our study can make an impact in Brazil as well as internationally,” says Flavio Freitas. </div> <div><br /> </div> <div>“One possibility is that the law could be revised, with the paragraph adjusted or removed entirely. In addition to legal measures, businesses could help to reduce the risk through non-deforestation commitments. Such measures could be motivated by simple economic reasons – there is a strong international awareness of the downsides of deforestation, and Brazilian agricultural exports will likely be negatively influenced through their association,” he continues.</div> <div><br /> </div> <div>The study, “<a href="">Potential increase of legal deforestation in Brazilian Amazon after Forest Act revision​</a>”, published in Nature Sustainability, is a collaboration between KTH and Chalmers in Sweden, and the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil. The collaboration has been ongoing for around 10 years, under the leadership of Göran Berndes from Chalmers, and Professor Gerd Sparovek of the University of Sao Paulo. In the newly published study, further Swedish participants included Ulla Mörtberg, at the same department as Flavio Freitas, and Chalmers researchers Martin Persson and Oskar Englund, who, together with Göran Berndes, are based at the Division for Physical Resource Theory at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment.</div> <div><br /> </div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5"><span>​More about: </span>T​he land tenure regularisation <span>process of undesignated land in the Amazon</span></h5> <div>Brazil has developed legal and practical solutions to the land tenure issues in the Amazon region. The most important programme is Terra Legal (legal or ‘good’ land). The aim of Terra Legal is to legalise the use of 55 million hectares of state-owned land by granting land titles to some 160,000 smallholder families.</div></div>Wed, 14 Nov 2018 08:00:00 +0100 emission shipping on the horizon<p><b>​Electromethanol made from carbon dioxide and hydrogen can propel ships completely without emissions. Selma Brynolf investigates alternative fuels for shipping – an industry that hurries to reach tough environmental goals.</b></p><div>​The UN International Maritime Organization, IMO, aims to reduce shipping emissions of greenhouse gases by 50 percent by 2050 and eliminate them completely over the century. Strict international rules for sulfur emissions in sensitive marine environments will be followed by stricter global rules from 2020. After a slow start, the shipping industry is waking up.</div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Transport/_bilder-utan-fast-format/SelmaBrynolf_230x180.jpg" alt="Audio description: Portrait of Selma Brynolf" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:5px" /><br /> “The goals are tough, but we really need to do even more,” says Selma Brynolf, doctor of maritime environmental sciences at Chalmers. In a newly launched EU project, she investigates the potential of electromethanol to achieve zero emissions from ships. </div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">Carbon dioxide + hydrogen gas = electromethanol</h4> <div>Electromethanol is made from carbon dioxide and hydrogen, using renewable energy. On board the ship, a so-called reformer transforms the methanol back into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The hydrogen is used in the internal combustion engine to propel the ship, while the carbon dioxide is stored in liquid form and pumped ashore when the ship is in port. The carbon dioxide can then be used to produce new electromethanol or be stored underground. This is the idea behind the project HyMethShip.</div> <div> </div> <div>The need to store carbon dioxide on board and to leave it in port means that this is not a solution that will work for all types of ships.</div> <div> </div> <div>“It will probably work best for ships that go on a certain route, and not for those who go the longest distances,” says Selma Brynolf. “For coastal and inland waterways, it may sometimes be possible to go ahead of the regulations. Perhaps electromethanol may first be used in these cases.”</div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">International regulations most important for change</h4> <div>Electromethanol is far from the only solution for shipping. What else is being done to achieve the tough environmental goals for the shipping industry?</div> <div> </div> <div>“Tests with fossil methanol, biofuels and electric propulsion are being made by different shipping companies,” says Selma Brynolf. “Liquid natural gas is an emerging option that that meets the sulfur and nitrogen oxide regulations. However, since the gas is a fossil energy source, the potential for reduced climate impact is limited.”</div> <div> </div> <div>The Swedish shipping industry has adopted its own vision zero. But to achieve a far-reaching change, international rules and regulations by IMO is necessary. These need to be implemented at national level and combined with additional incentives, according to Selma Brynolf.</div> <div> </div> <div>“Shipping is an international and highly competitive industry. It's hard for any individual companies or countries to take the lead by themselves.”</div> <div> </div> <div><em>Selma Brynolf talked about new fuels for shipping at the Chalmers initiative seminar &quot;Marine challenges - Blue solutions&quot; 6-7 November 2018.<br /></em></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text: Emilia Lundgren</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>FURTHER READING</strong><br /><em></em></div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />EU project HyMethShip</a> <br /><br /><strong>Selected related scientific publications</strong><br /><a href="">Energy efficiency and fuel changes to reduce environmental impacts</a>, Selma Brynolf, Francesco Baldi, Hannes Johnson, Shipping and the Environment: Improving Environmental Performance in Marine Transportation, p. 295-339 <br /><br /><a href="">Electrofuels for the transport sector: A review of production costs</a>, Selma Brynolf, Maria Taljegård, Maria Grahn et al, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. Vol. 81 (2), p. 1887-1905 <br /><br /><a href="">Environmental assessment of marine fuels: liquefied natural gas, liquefied biogas, methanol and bio-methanol</a>, Selma Brynolf, Erik Fridell, Karin Andersson, Journal of Cleaner Production. Vol. 74, p. 86-95 <br /></div>Wed, 14 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0100 online lab reaches users worldwide<p><b>​Chalmers researchers created RF WebLab in 2014, a web-based lab for measurements of radio signals. The tool is today frequently used in education and research worldwide and the usage is steadily increasing – now with over 380,000 measurements performed.</b></p><div>​<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Information%20and%20Communication%20Technology/News%20events/RF-WebLab_map.gif" alt="Map showing distribution of WebLab users" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:5px" />RF WebLab give users worldwide the possibility to perform real high frequency measurements without having to purchase or manage complicated high frequency instruments such as signal generator, oscilloscope and amplifiers. Instead, the user submits their signal data on-line to Chalmers WebLab, where the actual measurements take place and the distorted signal result is sent back to the user. </div> <br /><div>The tool was setup for a student competition at the International Microwave Symposium conference – the world's largest microwave technology research conference, where students compete for developing algorithms to optimise signal quality and efficiency for a radio amplifier. </div> <br /><div>The online tool is linked to measurement equipment hosted by the Microwave Electronics Laboratory at Chalmers. Since its start in 2014, WebLab has been developed into a versatile measurement tool for studying wideband <span><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Information%20and%20Communication%20Technology/News%20events/RF-WebLab-Thomas-Christian_350px.jpg" alt="Thomas Eriksson, Christian Fager and WebLab" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:5px" /></span>modulated power amplifiers in realistic conditions, specifically the setup is useful for understanding and improving amplifiers in modern communication systems, and is used, among other things, to reduce the energy consumption of next generation 5G systems. Other uses are to measure and optimise signal quality for modern radar signals, or for medical applications where radio signals are used to map human tissue for disease analysis. </div> <br /><div>The first version of the online tool was proposed by Thomas Eriksson and Christian Fager at Chalmers, and later Per Landin and Sebastian Gustafsson developed the concept. In 2014, National Instruments donated new hardware to RF WebLab, and Koen Buisman set up and further developed the new system, including a generic server client infrastructure, together with Bill Tokmakis. Further expansion to other types of measurement sets is planned. </div> <br /><div>&quot;The uniqueness of WebLab is the simplicity – anyone with a computer can connect to high-tech measuring equipment and perform measurements on a world-class system. And it's completely free of charge&quot;, says Thomas Eriksson. </div> <br /><div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Information%20and%20Communication%20Technology/People/KoenBuisman_170px.jpg" alt="Koen Buisman" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:5px" />The current system has been in operation for three years, and over 380,000 measurements have been performed by users from around the world, both for education and research. At Chalmers, the system is actively used in both education and research. For the students, it becomes a unique opportunity to come closer to a real system, and the researchers appreciate the simplicity of measuring. </div> <br />&quot;We have had approximately 2000 unique users from academia and industry, from around the world. It's amazing and great that RF WebLab has reached so many users”, says Koen Buisman.<br /><br /><a href="">RF WebLab &gt;</a><br /><br /><strong>Contact</strong><br /><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/thomas-eriksson.aspx">Thomas Eriksson</a>, Professor, Department of Electro Engineering<br /><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Christian-Fager.aspx">Christian Fager</a>, Professor, Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience<br /><div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/buisman.aspx">Koen Buisman</a>, Assistant Professor, Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Information%20and%20Communication%20Technology/News%20events/RF-WebLab2_750px.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br /><br />The hardware of RF Weblab</div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>Text and photo: Malin Ulfvarson</em><br /></div>Fri, 02 Nov 2018 11:00:00 +0100 nutrients from seafood process water<p><b>Process waters from the seafood industry contain valuable nutrients, that could be used in food or aquaculture feed. But the process waters are treated as waste. Researchers now show the potential of recycling these nutrients back into the food chain.</b></p>​During preparation of herring, shrimps and mussels, large amounts of process water are continuously pumped out as waste by the seafood industry. The water is used when boiling shrimps or mussels, or when filleting, salting and marinating herring, for example. Approximately 7000-8000 liters of water is used to prepare a ton of marinated herring. A stunning 50,000 liters of water is needed per ton of peeled shrimps, or per three tons of raw shrimp.<br /><br />But these side stream waters contain proteins, peptides, fats and micronutrients, which could be recycled and used, for example by the food industry, as an ingredient in feed or for growing microalgae. In fact, the leftover boiled water from shrimp preparation is basically a ready-made stock.<br /><br /><strong>Nutrients could be recycled</strong><br />The Nordic project NoVAqua, coordinated by Professor Ingrid Undeland of the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology, has now shown the potential of extracting these important nutrients from the process waters.<br /><br />”It’s very important to help the industry understand that the side streams don’t need to be wasted. Instead, they should be treated as really exciting raw material,” she says.<br /><br />“The backbone of our project is a circular approach. In the past, we had a more holistic view on handling of food raw materials, but today so much is lost in side streams. Furthermore, we are in the middle of a protein shift, and there’s a huge demand in society for alternative protein sources.”<br /><br />The research project started in 2015 with the aim to recover nutrients from seafood process waters and create innovative uses for them. A similar approach is already successfully implemented in the dairy industry, where the residual liquid from cheese making – whey – is used in sports nutrition, as well as in different food and feed products.<br /><br /><strong>Much of the protein in lost</strong><br />When the research team measured the composition of process waters, they found them to contain up to 7 percent protein and 2,5 percent fat. In process waters from shrimp, astaxanthin, a red pigment and antioxidant often used as a dietary supplement, was also present.<br /><br />”Our calculations show that in a primary processing plant for herring, as much as 15 percent of the herring protein coming in to the industry leached out into the water and was treated as waste, thereby lost,” Ingrid Undeland explains.<br /><br />Using a two-step process, the research team managed to recover up to 98 percent of the protein and 99 percent of the omega 3-rich fats. The process resulted in a semi-solid biomass and a nutrient-rich liquid. After dehydration, biomass from shrimp boiling water was shown to contain 66 percent protein and 25 percent fat. Two tests were made, together with the University of Gothenburg and Skretting ARC, using this new biomass as an ingredient in feed for salmon, and the results were encouraging.<br /><br />The nutritious liquid was used for glazing frozen fish, thereby protecting it from going rancid. It turned out to be slightly more protective than water, which is currently used for such glazing. The fluid was also tested as a substance for microalgae-cultivation and was shown to enhance the growth of two types of algae. The algae biomasses can subsequently be used as sources of protein or pigment.<br /><br /><strong>A need for investments</strong><br />All in all, the research project pointed out several different ways to recycle the nutrients which are currently lost in the process waters. The next step is implementation in the seafood industry.<br /><br />“A major challenges is to get the industry to manage the water side streams as food, beyond the stage when they are separated from the seafood product. Today, that is the point where the side streams start being handled as waste. This means there’s a need for new routines for cooling and hygiene,” says Ingrid Undeland.<br /><br />In Sweden, the waste waters are purified to some extent before they go out of the factories. This means that many seafood producers already have the flotation technology needed in the second step of side stream recycling. But there are also investments to be made, says Bita Forghani Targhi, a post-doctoral researcher at the division of Food and Nutrition Science and colleague to Undeland.<br /><br />“The main challenge would be cost-related issues,” she says.<br /><br /><strong>The start of a new project</strong><br />The work now continues within the new project AquaStream, funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. Bita Forghani Targhi points out that an important next step will include consulting with local businesses, interviewing them on generated side streams and verifying the current nutrient loss through a primary characterisation of process waters. She has a positive outlook on the future:<br /><br />“I am quite positive on the fact that related industries, sooner or later, will be implementing these techniques. With ever increasing awareness on the value of recycling nutrients, this facilitates industrial processes to adopt feasible approaches towards a circular economy.”<br /><br /><br /><strong>FACTS ABOUT THE NOVAQUA PROJECT:</strong><br />The projects full name is Extracting Novel Values from Aqueous Seafood Side Streams, or NoVAqua for short. The project was started in 2015 and closed in 2018, and was funded by Nordic Innovation. Partners involved alongside Chalmers included Räkor &amp; Laxgrossisten AB, Fisk Idag AB, SWEMARC at the University of Gothenburg, DTU Foods, Bio-Aqua and Skretting ARC. Research on algae cultivation was done in collaboration with the researchers Eva Albers and Joshua Mayers at Industrial Biotechnology at Chalmers. Scandic Pelagic AB and Klädesholmen Seafood AB were also affiliated to the project, and play an important role in the new AquaStream project.<br /><br /><br />Text: Mia Malmstedt<br />Photo: Johan Bodell, and private<br />Wed, 31 Oct 2018 09:00:00 +0100