News: KoM related to Chalmers University of TechnologyFri, 19 Oct 2018 13:16:44 +0200,-but-no-one-dares-take-the-first-step.aspx,-but-no-one-dares-take-the-first-step.aspxCarbon dioxide capture: technology exists, but no one dares take the first step<p><b>​It is possible to stop at 1.5 degrees warming of the planet, the IPCC claims in a new report, but few believe it will happen. In order to succeed, carbon dioxide capture has to scale up. Chalmers has the technology, but who dares take the first step to commercialize?</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">In the UN climate panel, the IPCC report describes how we not only need to reduce the rate of emissions but, in the long run, also reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. This means that we need to capture carbon dioxide. Chalmers conducts research in the field and has reached far. One of the researchers in the field is Henrik Leion, Associate Professor at Chalmers Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.</span><div><br /></div> <div>&quot;We must start catching all carbon dioxide, regardless of fuel. Right now we are working with biofuels. The fossil fuels already work well to capture. The technology for this is available. What prevents us is primarily economy and legislations.<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/Koldioxidinfångning/Henrik%20Leionweb.png" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Photo of Henrik Leion" style="margin:5px" /><br /><br /></div> <div>The technique Henrik Leion researches and develops is based on oxygen-bearing solids that replace combustion of oxygen as a gas. His research is part of several projects around a technology called CLC, which stands for chemical looping combustion. In most cases, the heat is generated in power plants through combustion in air. This forms carbon dioxide mixed with another type of gas, depending on technology, and gases are difficult to separate from each other. In order to get as clean a stream of carbon dioxide as possible, CLC uses a solid material where oxygen is included as an oxide, for example ordinary rust. Instead, water and carbon dioxide are created, which are easier to distinguish from each other. When the oxygen on the oxygen carrier is consumed, it is exposed to air and the material is then reoxidized and reusable.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Research at Chalmers within CLC is conducted jointly by several research groups across institutional boundaries. Henrik Leion looks at how oxygen carrier and fuel can be optimized.</div> <div>As the situation is now, it is not enough to capture only carbon dioxide from fossil sources. Also carbon dioxide from bio combustion must be collected in order to achieve negative net emissions.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;We will need to capture carbon dioxide to a very large extent. Emissions must begin to sink within just a few years, and if we do not do that now, it means that around 2050, we will have to catch more carbon dioxide than we release to compensate for what we did not do 30 years earlier, he says. <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/Koldioxidinfångning/Järnoxidweb.png" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Iron oxide being poured into a bowl" style="margin:5px" /><br /><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">CLC is primarily a technology that can work at stationary facilities. Capture involves heavy loads. Not only does the oxygen carrier consist of some kind of metal. The carbon dioxide collected weighs about three times more than the fuel, which in itself would mean increased emissions for a vehicle due to the weight.</span><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Economy and legislation impede</strong></div> <div>Thus, CLC could be of great use if it was used at commercial level. But yet nobody dares to take the financial risk to invest in the technology. So far, it has been tested in the Chalmers test facility of 12 megawatts with successful results. But a major effort is required for technology to come through, believes Henrik Leion.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Someone must dare to test the technology in a 50 megawatt facility. This will probably mean losing money initially, but the technology needs this to be further developed, he believes.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>In addition, it must be cheaper to use the technology. The price must be able to compete with carbon credits. Today, a carbon credit, ie the right to release a ton of carbon dioxide, costs about 20 euros. CLC is slightly more expensive, but could, with a bigger initiative, become cheaper. If it is cheaper to collect carbon dioxide than to release it into the atmosphere, chances are that the industry will invest in the technology. In addition, CLC requires that large parts of the combustion system is rebuilt. Another problem is the storage.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;There is no logistics and legislation to deposit carbon dioxide. It takes about 10,000 years for the gas to be converted into limestone. Carbon dioxide is not very dangerous, it is not comparable to nuclear waste, but we talk about huge amounts here, says Henrik Leion.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>A legislative problem is the question of liability. Who will be responsible for the storage for 10,000 years? It has also proved difficult to find places where governments and populations accept storage. Another way to store the greenhouse gas is to pump it into drained oil sources at sea. It is expensive and lacks logistics, but it may be necessary.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Must be put into use</strong></div> <div>Any type of capture technique must be taken into use. Without capture techniques, climate targets will not be reached. What is needed, Henrik says, is that a major energy company dares to test the technology at the commercial level. That company must be ready to lose money. Somewhere, money will probably be lost, but it may be something we have to accept to avoid a significantly higher temperature rise. Without capture, we do not have a chance to stop the temperature rise at 2 degrees, Henrik says who soon will be off for parental leave.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;To be honest, it is frankly not morally easy for me to take a break from the research in this situation. My way of handling my climate depression is to work”, he says. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text and photo: Mats Tiborn</div> <div><br /></div>Fri, 19 Oct 2018 00:00:00 +0200 fibre can store energy in the body of a vehicle<p><b>A study led by Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, has shown that carbon fibres can work as battery electrodes, storing energy directly. This opens up new opportunities for structural batteries, where the carbon fibre becomes part of the energy system. The use of this type of multifunctional material can contribute to a significant weight-reduction in the aircraft and vehicles of the future – a key challenge for electrification.</b></p><p>Passenger aircraft need to be much lighter than they are today in order to be powered by electricity. A reduction in weight is also very important for vehicles in order to extend the driving distance per battery charge.</p> <p>Leif Asp, Professor of Material and Computational Mechanics at Chalmers University of Technology, conducts research into the ability of carbon fibres to perform more tasks than simply to act as a reinforcing material. They can store energy, for example.</p> <p>“A car body would then be not simply a load-bearing element, but also act as a battery,” he says. “It will also be possible to use the carbon fibre for other purposes such as harvesting kinetic energy, for sensors or for conductors of both energy and data. If all these functions were part of a car or aircraft body, this could reduce the weight by up to 50 percent.” </p> <p>Asp headed up a multidisciplinary group of researchers who recently published a study on how the microstructure of carbon fibres affects their electrochemical properties – that is, their ability to operate as electrodes in a lithium-ion battery. So far this has been an unexplored research field.</p> <p><img alt="Leif Asp carbon fibre" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/IMS/MoB/Leif%20Asp%20kolfiber%20webb.jpg" style="margin:10px 5px" /><br /><em>Leif Asp with a bobbin of carbon fibre yarn. The electrodes in a structural lithium ion battery consist of carbon fibre yarn arranged in a grid in a polymer (see illustration). Every length of yarn consists of 24,000 individual carbon fibres.</em> <br /><br /></p> <p>The researchers studied the microstructure of different types of commercially available carbon fibres. They discovered that carbon fibres with small and poorly oriented crystals have good electrochemical properties but a lower stiffness in relative terms. If you compare this with carbon fibres that have large, highly oriented crystals, they have greater stiffness, but the electrochemical properties are too low for use in structural batteries.</p> <p><br /><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/IMS/MoB/Kolfiberrulle_webb.jpg" width="298" height="447" alt="" style="margin:5px 10px" />We now know how multifunctional carbon fibres should be manufactured to attain a high energy storage capacity, while also ensuring sufficient stiffness,” Asp says. “A slight reduction in stiffness is not a problem for many applications such as cars. The market is currently dominated by expensive carbon fibre composites whose stiffness is tailored to aircraft use. There is therefore some potential here for carbon fibre manufacturers to extend their utilisation.”</p> <p>In the study the types of carbon fibre with good electrochemical properties had a slightly higher stiffness than steel, whereas the types whose electrochemical properties were poor are just over twice as rigid as steel.</p> <p>The researchers are collaborating with both the automotive and aviation industries. Leif Asp explains that for the aviation industry, it may be necessary to increase the thickness of carbon fibre composites, to compensate for the reduced stiffness of structural batteries. This would, in turn, also increase their energy storage capacity.</p> <p><br /> </p> <p><br />“The key is to optimise vehicles at system level – based on the weight, strength, stiffness and electrochemical properties. That is something of a new way of thinking for the automotive sector, which is more used to optimising individual components. Structural batteries may perhaps not become as efficient as traditional batteries, but since they have a structural load-bearing capability, very large gains can be made at system level.”</p> <p></p> <div> </div> <div>He continues, “In addition, the lower energy density of structural batteries would make them safer than standard batteries, especially as they would also not contain any volatile substances.”</div> <div><br /> </div> <div> </div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Read the article </h3> <p></p> <p></p> <div><a href="">Graphitic microstructure and performance of carbon fibre Li-ion structural battery electrodes</a> in the journal Multifunctional Materials.</div> <div> </div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">For more information, contact:</h3> <div>Leif Asp, Professor of Material and Computational Mechanics, Chalmers, +46 31 772 15, <a href=""><br /></a></div> <div><br /> </div> <div><em>Text: Johanna Wilde &amp; Marcus Folino</em></div> <div><em>Photo: Johan Bodell</em><br /></div> <p></p>Thu, 18 Oct 2018 07:00:00 +0200 a safer driverless future<p><b>​The future of transport lies in autonomous vehicles and connected infrastructure, but how do we ensure the safety for all road users? At AstaZero, the full-scale test environment for future road safety just outside Borås in western Sweden, a multi-disciplinary innovation team has joined forces to find the answers to this.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">At the <a href="" target="_blank">AstaZero</a> test track, a mock-up of a city junction has been used to simulate a real-world traffic environment with both autonomous and manually-driven vehicles negotiating with each other and adjusting their speeds in a cross intersection.</span><div><br /></div> <div>The team – made up of innovators and researchers from Ericsson, Chalmers University of Technology, the University of Naples “Federico II” and AstaZero – have used 5G cellular network technology and distributed cloud to exchange safety-critical data between both autonomous and manually-driven vehicles and the road infrastructure.</div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/På%20väg%20mot%20en%20säkrare%20förarlös%20framtid/Paolo_Falcone_350px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:200px;height:289px" /><br />“Collisions are avoided by arranging the vehicles within a virtual platoon and enforcing inter-vehicle distances such that both side and rear-end collisions are avoided”, says Paolo Falcone, Associate Professor in the Mechatronics research group at Chalmers.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Our task has been to develop algorithms for controlling the vehicles”, continues Paolo Falcone, who during the project has supervised a doctoral student and a master´s student from the University of Naples “Federico II”. “These algorithms have then been implemented on the vehicles by help of ReVeRe, Ericsson and AstaZero.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Most modern vehicles already have the cellular network technology required to transmit information like position and speed data, but restrictions of traditional radio networks prevent this data from being used in safety-critical applications like avoiding collision.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>By bringing the network much closer to the point of use and leveraging the low-latency power of edge computing, vehicles can communicate this data with each other rapidly and reliably, positioning themselves to avoid collision on the approach to a common intersection. This is opening the possibilities of a much smoother driverless transport network, as well as it is an excellent proof point for using the network in new ways. Not just to communicate, but to help us make better decisions and improve safety.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><div><strong>More about the research</strong></div> <div>The project was conducted from March to June 2018. The researchers had <a href=";" target="_blank">experience from a similar project</a>, but did everything from scratch since different control algorithms, communication technology and vehicle platforms were used.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read more about ”Building a safer driverless future at AstaZero” on</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>For information, contact</strong></div> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/paolo-falcone.aspx">Paolo Falcone</a>, Associate Professor in the Mechatronics research group at the department of Electrical engineering at Chalmers </div> <div><br /></div></div>Thu, 11 Oct 2018 09:00:00 +0200 catalysts with the help of fine-tuning at the atomic level<p><b>​​By studying materials down to the atomic level, researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have found a way to make catalysts more efficient and environmentally friendly. The results have been published in Nature Communications. The methods can be used to improve many different types of catalysts.​</b></p><div>Catalysts are materials which cause or accelerate chemical reactions. For most of us, our first thought is probably of catalytic converters in cars, but catalysts are used in a number of areas of society – it has been estimated that catalysts are used in the manufacture of more than 90 percent of all chemicals and fuels. No matter how they are used, catalysts operate through complex atomic processes. In the new study from Chalmers, physics researchers combined two approaches to add a new piece to the catalyst puzzle. They used advanced, high-resolution electron microscopy and new types of computer simulations.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;It is fantastic that we have managed to stretch the limits and achieve such precision with electron microscopy. We can see exactly where and how the atoms are arranged in the structure. By having picometre precision – that is, a level of precision down to one hundredths of an atom’s diameter – we can eventually improve the material properties and thus the catalytic performance,&quot; says Torben Nilsson Pingel, researcher at the Department of Physics at Chalmers and one of the authors of the scientific article.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Through this work, he and his colleagues have managed to show that picometre-level changes in atomic spacing in metallic nanoparticles affect catalytic activity. The researchers looked at nanoparticles of platinum using sophisticated electron microscopes in the Chalmers Material Analysis Laboratory. With method development by ​Andrew Yankovich, the researchers have been able to improve the accuracy and can now even reach sub-picometre precision. Their results now have broad implications.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;Our methods are not limited to specific materials but instead based on general principles that can be applied to different catalytic systems. As we can design the materials better, we can get both more energy-efficient catalysts and a cleaner environment,&quot; says Eva Olsson, Professor at the Department of Physics at Chalmers.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The work was carried out within the framework of the Competence Centre for Catalysis at Chalmers. In order to study how small changes in atomic spacing really affect the catalytic process, Mikkel Jørgensen and Henrik Grönbeck, PhD student and Professor at the Department of Physics respectively, performed advanced computer simulations at the national computing centre, located at Chalmers. Using the information from the microscope, they were able to simulate exactly how the catalytic process is affected by small changes in atomic distances.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We developed a new method for making simulations for catalytic processes on nanoparticles. Since we have been able to use real values in our calculation model, we can see how the reaction can be optimised. Catalysis is an important technology area, so every improvement is a worthwhile advance – both economically and environmentally,” says Henrik Grönbeck.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text: <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"> Palmgren, </span><span style="background-color:initial"><a href="">​</a></span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">and Joshua Worth,</span><a href=""> </a></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Image: Johan Bodell, <a href="">​</a></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/750x340/CMAL_181008_Eva_Henrik_mfl_PM_05_750x340.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br />Fine-tuning at the atomic level can result in better catalysts and a cleaner environment. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology <span style="background-color:initial">have found a way to make catalysts more efficient and environmentally friendly.</span><span style="background-color:initial">  </span><span style="background-color:initial">Professor Henrik Grönbeck, </span><span style="background-color:initial">PhD Student Mikkel </span><span style="background-color:initial">Jørgensen, </span><span style="background-color:initial">Professor Eva Olsson, Doctor Torben Nilsson Pingel and </span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span><span style="background-color:initial">Doctor Andrew Yankovich </span><span style="background-color:initial">have managed to show that picometre-level changes in atomic spacing in metallic nanoparticles affect catalytic activity.</span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span></div> <div></div> <span></span><div><span style="background-color:initial"></span></div> <div></div> <div><br /></div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">About the scientific article</h5> <div>The article <a href="">&quot;Influence of atomic site-specific strain on catalytic activity of supported nanoparticles&quot; </a>has been published in Nature Communications, and is written by Torben Nilsson Pingel, Mikkel Jørgensen, Andrew B. Yankovich, Henrik Grönbeck and Eva Olsson at the Department of Physics and the Competence Centre for Catalysis, at Chalmers University of Technology.</div> <div><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />A more accessible scientific article has also been published by the researchers in the journal Nanowerk. </a></div> <div><br /></div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">More about the research infrastructure at Chalmers</h5> <div>The Chalmers Material Analysis Laboratory (CMAL) 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.</div> <a href=""><div><br /></div> <div><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read a previous news article: <span style="background-color:initial">How to design smart materials for a sustainable future </span>​</div> <div><br /></div></a><a href=""><div><span><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" /></span>Read more about Chalmers Material Analysis Laboratory.​</div></a><div><br />​<a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read more about the Competence Centre for Catalysis at Chalmers. </a></div> <div><br /></div> <div>The computer simulations were performed at the Chalmers Centre for Computational Science and Engineering (C3SE), which is a centre for scientific and technical calculations at Chalmers. C3SE is one of six centres in the national metacentre, the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC).</div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read more about Chalmers Centre for Computational Science and Engineering - C3SE​​</a><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">More about electron microscopy</h5> <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. There are different types of electron microscopes, such as transmission electron microscopes (TEM), scanning transmission electron microscopes (STEM), scanning electron microscopes (SEM) and combined Focused Ion Beam and SEM (FIB-SEM). </div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/750x340/CMAL_181008_Eva_Henrik_titan06_750x340.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br />The experiments in this study have been carried out using advanced and high-resolution electron microscopes - in this case, transmission electron microscopes (TEM) at <span style="background-color:initial">Chalmers Material Analysis Laboratory</span><span style="background-color:initial">  in Gothenburg, Sweden. Image: Johan Bodell</span></div> <div><div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4"><span>For more information, contact: </span></h4></div> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Eva-Olsson.aspx">Eva Olsson</a><span style="background-color:initial">, Professor, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, +46 31 772 32 47, </span><a href=""> </a><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Henrik-Gronbeck.aspx">Henrik Grönbeck</a>, Professor, Department of Physics, Competence Centre for Catalysis, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, +46 31 772 29 63,<a href="">​​​</a><span style="background-color:initial">​</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><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></span></div>Wed, 10 Oct 2018 01:00:00 +0200 thesis led to conductive thread<p><b>​The two master students, Sozan Darabi and Sandra Hultmark, doing their Master thesis in Professor Christian Müller’s research group at Chalmers, developed an electrically conductive thread that they then wove into a keyboard with help from a handicraft association in Gothenburg. Now they publish their results in the magazine Advanced Materials Technologies.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">The wire is completely free from metal. It consists of silk dyed with an electrically conductive plastic. The researchers have developed a &quot;dye&quot; for textiles that both dyes fabrics and threads beautifully blue, while at the same time making them electrically conductive. The electrically conductive component is a kind of polymer or plastic which, when dissolved in water, has a low pH which makes it firmly stick on silk. This makes the threads withstand both abrasion and washing after staining.</span><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">The textile takes a step closer to smart clothes with built-in features, without metals or other materials that affect the feeling of fabric. The thread could also be used for embroidered circuit boards in fabric.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">“With an electrically conductive silk wire comes new possibilities for designing textile electronics, which can be used for, for example,  pulse and movement sensors, fully integrated in clothing. One can also imagine sewing a keyboard that can easily be rolled up and put in the pocket”, says Dr. Anja Lund, who is part of the Christian Müller research group.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">In order to successfully weave the thread into a fabric, Chalmers went to the handicraft association Göteborgs Hemslöjdsförening, because of their good looms and great weaving experience.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">“The handicraft association has been crucial for this project, since we have had to combine new materials with traditional crafts. We also have machine-embroidered electrically conductive patterns out of the wire, with help from the company ACG Nyström in Borås. It is a very nice thing to be able to use local knowledge in our work, &quot;says Anja Lund.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">The researchers now want to move on and combine the conductivity in the thread with their previous research findings, where they developed textiles that generate electricity from heat. Together, this could lead to smart clothes that use the body heat to support the features with electricity.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Text and image: Mats Tiborn​</p> Mon, 08 Oct 2018 00:00:00 +0200 knowledge paves way to sustainable production<p><b>Atomic characterization of bacterial enzymes that cleave important bonds in plant biomass have been made for the very first time. This knowledge provides improved tools for a sustainable production of fuels and chemicals.</b></p>​Biomass from forests and agriculture can be used in fossil-free production of biofuels, environmentally friendly chemicals and different kind of materials. However, the raw material is hard to deconstruct into the simple sugars needed for production. The plant cell walls are built to be recalcitrant, a necessary property for survival in nature.<br /><br />One way to deconstruct wood or other types of plant biomass, is to use enzymes, which in nature work as molecular scissors. Researchers from the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology, together with the University of Copenhagen, have taken a closer look at the features of one specific group of enzymes with big potential.<br /><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/Profilbilder/johan%20170.jpg" alt="Johan Larsbrink" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:5px" /><br />–    A factor that strongly complicates the deconstruction of the carbohydrate chains in plant cell wall to simple sugars, is a polymer called lignin, says Johan Larsbrink, Assistant Professor at the Division of Industrial Biotechnology.<br /><br />The long carbohydrate chains stick together because of the lignin, which works as an adhesive.<br /><br />–   In some places of the cell wall, the lignin and carbohydrates not just stick together – they are directly connected by so-called covalent chemical bonds. If we cleave these bonds, the overall deconstruction would be simplified, since the entire plant cell wall network would be weakened, one could say.<br /><br />This is where enzymes come into play. By using nature’s own scissors, the production chain can be made more sustainable, effective and, most likely, cheaper.<br /><br />The enzymes that are able to cleave bonds between carbohydrates and lignin are called Glucuronoyl Esterases, or GEs. The vast majority of previous studies have focused on enzymes from fungi, but the knowledge about this type of enzyme is still very limited. Johan Larsbrink’s group have studied ten GEs from three different bacterial species, instead of fungi.<br /><br />–    We chose to focus on bacterial enzymes since they have a much larger diversity than the fungal counterparts, and basically no studies of these had been made. We characterized the enzymes biochemically on model substrates, and managed to solve their 3D structures on the atomic level. This means that we get an extremely detailed picture of how they work. They are designed for their purpose in nature, so there’s a lot to be learned by this, he says.<br />–    We can also gain new knowledge about the plant cell wall itself by studying the enzymes. It’s like learning about the features of a hand by looking at the design of a glove.<br /><br />Results from the study suggest that the GEs interact with lignin, which was somewhat surprising.<br /><br />–    Most of enzymes acting on carbohydrates are specific for those well-defined structures, while lignin has a more or less random structure that enzymes find hard to handle, Johan Larsbrink explains.<br />–    To see how the enzymes may interact simultaneously with both carbohydrates and lignin makes sense, but it is a unique finding.<br /><br />The research group also tested their enzymes on corn cob biomass, which is a common waste product in agriculture. They used an enzyme cocktail without GEs, and observed what happened after addition of their GE enzymes. The results were dramatic:<br /><br />–    With GEs in the mix, the amount of free sugars was greatly increased. With these results, we are able to conclude that GE enzymes really make a huge contribution in cleaving bonds that are of high importance in the plant cell wall.<br /><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read bd550792-e447-40f0-9185-872e9ac10fa9" id="div_bd550792-e447-40f0-9185-872e9ac10fa9"></div> <div id="vid_bd550792-e447-40f0-9185-872e9ac10fa9" unselectable="on" style="display:none"></div></div> <br /><br />Text: Mia Malmstedt<br />Photo: Johan Larsbrink (enzyme model), Silvia Hüttner<br />Thu, 04 Oct 2018 16:00:00 +0200 energy system saves heat from the summer sun for winter<p><b>​A research group from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, has made great, rapid strides towards the development of a specially designed molecule which can store solar energy for later use. These advances have been presented in four scientific articles this year, with the most recent being published in the highly ranked journal Energy &amp; Environmental Science.</b></p>​<span>A research group from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, has made great, rapid strides towards the development of a specially designed molecule which can store solar energy for later use. These advances have been presented in four scientific articles this year, with the most recent being published in the highly ranked journal Energy &amp; Environmental Science. <br /></span><br />Around a year ago, the research team presented a molecule that was capable of storing solar energy. The molecule, made from carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, has the unique property that when it is hit by sunlight, it is transformed into an energy-rich isomer – a molecule which consists of the same atoms, but bound together in a different way.<br /><br />This isomer can then be stored for use when that energy is later needed – for example, at night or in winter. It is in a liquid form and is adapted for use in a solar energy system, which the researchers have named MOST (Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage). In just the last year, the research team have made great advances in the development of MOST. <br /><br />“The energy in this isomer can now be stored for up to 18 years. And when we come to extract the energy and use it, we get a warmth increase which is greater than we dared hope for,” says the leader of the research team, Kasper Moth-Poulsen, in Nano Materials Chemistry at Chalmers.<img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/Utsläppsfritt%20energisystem/KasperMoth-Poulsen_180913_07_3000px.jpg" alt="Professor Kasper Moth-Poulsen holding a tube containing the catalyst, in front of the ultra-high vacuum setup that was used to m" width="4114" height="2742" style="height:181px;width:272px;margin:5px" /><br /><br />The research group have developed a catalyst for controlling the release of the stored energy. The catalyst acts as a filter, through which the liquid flows, creating a reaction which warms the liquid by 63 centigrades.  If the liquid has a temperature of 20°Celsius when it pumps through the filter, it comes out the other side at 83°Celsius. At the same time, it returns the molecule to its original form, so that it can be then reused in the warming system.<br /><br />During the same period, the researchers also learned to improve the design of the molecule to increase its storage abilities so that the isomer can store energy for up to 18 years. This was a crucial improvement, as the focus of the project is primarily chemical energy storage. <div><div><br />Furthermore, the system was previously reliant on the liquid being partly composed of the flammable chemical toluene. But now the researchers have found a way to remove the potentially dangerous toluene and instead use just the energy storing molecule. <br /><br />Taken together, the advances mean that the energy system MOST now works in a circular manner. First, the liquid captures energy from sunlight, in a solar thermal collector on the roof of a building. Then it is stored at room temperature, leading to minimal energy losses. When the energy is needed, it can be drawn through the catalyst so that the liquid heats up. It is envisioned that this warmth can then be utilised in, for example, domestic heating systems, after which the liquid can be sent back up to the roof to collect more energy – all completely free of emissions, and without damaging the molecule. <br /><br />“We have made many crucial advances recently, and today we have an emissions-free energy system which works all year around,” says Kasper Moth-Poulsen. <br /><br />The solar thermal collector is a concave reflector with a pipe in the centre. It tracks the sun’s path across the sky and works in the same way as a satellite dish, focusing the sun’s rays to a point where the liquid leads through the pipe. It is even possible to add on an additional pipe with normal water to combine the system with conventional water heating. <br /><br />The next steps for the researchers are to combine everything together into a coherent system. </div> <div>“There is a lot left to do. We have just got the system to work. Now we need to ensure everything is optimally designed,” says Kasper Moth-Poulsen.<br /><br />The group is satisfied with the storage capabilities, but more energy could be extracted, Kasper believes. He hopes that the research group will shortly achieve a temperature increase of at least 110<span style="background-color:initial">°</span><span style="background-color:initial">Celsius and thinks the technology could be in commercial use within 10 years. </span></div> <span></span><div></div> <div><span><strong><br />More on: the advances behind the four scientific publications </strong></span></div> <div style="font-size:10px"><span><strong>The research group has published four scientific articles on their breakthroughs around the energy system during 2018.</strong></span></div> <div style="font-size:10px"><span><strong>1.</strong></span><span style="white-space:pre"><span><strong> </strong></span></span><span><strong>Removing the need for toluene to be mixed with the molecule. Liquid Norbornadiene Photoswitches for Solar Energy Storage in the journal Advanced Energy Materials.</strong></span></div> <div style="font-size:10px"><span><strong>2.</strong></span><span style="white-space:pre"><span><strong> </strong></span></span><span><strong>Increasing energy density and storage times. Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage in photoswitch oligomers increases energy densities and storage times in the journal Nature Communications.</strong></span></div> <div style="font-size:10px"><span><strong>3.</strong></span><span style="white-space:pre"><span><strong> </strong></span></span><span><strong>Achieving energy storage of up to 18 years. Norbornadiene-based photoswitches with exceptional combination of solar spectrum match and long-term energy storage in Chemistry: A European Journal.</strong></span></div> <div style="font-size:10px"><span><strong>4.</strong></span><span style="white-space:pre"><span><strong> </strong></span></span><span><strong>New record in how efficiently heating can be done. The liquid can increase 63C in temperature. Macroscopic Heat Release in a Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage System in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.</strong></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:10px"></span><br /></div></div>Wed, 03 Oct 2018 07:00:00 +0200 winter tyres cost more lives than they save<p><b>​Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have now shown that studded winter tyres cost more lives than they save. The new study takes a holistic view of the tyres’ impact on wider public health. At the same time, they show that their use contributes to the bloody conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and fatal accidents in their production phase.</b></p><div>​This is the time of year in Sweden when many people start to change their normal car tyres to winter ones. According to Trafikverket, the Swedish Transport Administration, around 60 percent of Swedish drivers choose studded winter tyres, and there has long been a debate about the emissions caused by the studs damaging the ground and throwing up particles into the atmosphere. </div> <div> </div> <div>Three Chalmers researchers have now investigated this question. Anna Furberg, Sverker Molander and Rickard Arvisson at the Division of Environmental Systems Analysis used a systemic perspective to analyse studded winter tyres’ public health impact for their whole life cycle. </div> <div> </div> <div>To weigh up the advantages and disadvantages, the researchers looked at how many lives are saved through their use, compared to the level of emissions they generate through wear of the roads and in their production. Additionally, they investigated accident statistics from the small-scale mining industry in the DRC, where cobalt – an important element for the studs – is most abundant. Cobalt is a highly sought-after conflict metal which contributes to the warfare in the region, something the researchers also accounted for. </div> <div> </div> <div>The researchers estimate that from a broader life cycle perspective, Swedish use of studded tyres saves between 60 and 770 life-years, compared with 570 to 2200 life-years which are lost. </div> <div> </div> <div>“Taking everything together, the picture is very clear – studded winter tyres actually cost more lives than they save,” says Sverker Molander, a professor at the Department of Technology Management and Economics at Chalmers.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><div><img src="/sv/institutioner/tme/PublishingImages/Nyheter/Huvudbild%20710x340/AnnaSverker3_750x320.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4" style="text-align:center"><span>&quot;Our study shows that there is more research needed concerning alternatives to studded winter tyres that don’t cause these health issues<span></span></span>&quot;</h4></div> <div> </div> <div><h6 class="chalmersElement-H6" style="text-align:center">Anna Furberg and Sverker Molander, Chalmers</h6><div> </div></div> <div> The biggest negative impact is generated during usage, from the emissions caused by road damage. Even taking only this into account, the negative health impacts already clearly outweigh the advantages. Once you measure the other factors in as well, the result only becomes clearer, the researchers explain.</div> <div> </div> <div>“The small-scale mining, where many accidents and fatalities occur, is the next biggest part of the tyres’ overall negative health impact. Deaths linked to the conflict in the DRC are the smallest part, but that being said, there are many aspects of that that have not been included in the study – the conflict of course influences the whole of society. I doubt many people realise that using these tyres is contributing to the situation in the DRC,” says Anna Furberg. </div> <div> </div> <div>The advantages of the studded winter tyres are mainly enjoyed in Scandinavia, whilst nearly a third of the negative health impacts are felt elsewhere.</div> <div> </div> <div>“This is a clear illustration of what globalised production can result in. People profiting at others’ expense. It is not those who benefit from the product who are having to pay for the negative effects,” says Sverker Molander.</div> <div> </div> <div>So how should consumers react to this research? Anna Furberg and Sverker Molander suggest that good winter tyres without studs can be an alternative, in combination with careful driving and consideration of alternative means of travel.</div> <div> </div> <div>“Of course, how you drive is important, and snow-ploughing and sweeping needs to be done properly. Many cars today also have electronic anti-skid systems fitted, which make them safer to drive at higher speeds. But our study shows that there is more research needed concerning alternatives to studded winter tyres that don’t cause these health issues,” says Anna Furberg.   </div> <div> </div> <div>The article <a href="">“Live and let die? Life cycle human health impacts from the use of tire studs”</a> was published in August 2018 in the scientific journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. </div> <div><span>The research was carried out through the framework of the <a href="">Mistra Environmental Nanosafety programme</a>.</span></div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><strong>Text: Ulrika Ernström</strong><br /></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">More on: the study</h4> <div>The study made use of life-cycle analysis (LCA) and disability-adjusted life years (DALY) – a health metric developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) – to measure and quantify studded winter tyres’ public health impact throughout their whole life cycle. The researchers investigated:</div> <div> </div> <div><ul><li>Lives saved: accident statistics and studies on differences in accidents between cars with and without studded tyres.</li> <li>Emissions from use of studded tyres, as they damage the road and throw up particles from the asphalt. Looking at articles that had studied roads where such tyres were in use. </li> <li>Emissions during production, from extraction to manufacturing. Looking at previous studies of different types of emissions.</li> <li>Accidents and deaths during production, such as during cobalt mining. Looking at studies of accidents and fatalities in various industrial activities and in small-scale mining. </li> <li>Number of deaths related to the conflict in the DRC.</li></ul></div> <div> </div> <div>The biggest contribution to studded tyres’ negative health impact comes from emissions from road wear (67-77 per cent), followed by accidents and fatalities in cobalt mining (8-18 per cent). Between 23 and 33 per cent of the negative effects are felt outside of Scandinavia.</div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">More on: Studded and non-studded winter tyres</h4> <div>VTI, the Swedish Road and Transport Research Institute, has examined, in two major reports, the difference in grip between studded and non-studded tyres. They report that studded tyres have a <a href="">clearly better grip when driving on ice </a>compared to non-studded tires of both Nordic and European type. But when driving on snow, the difference is much smaller. When <a href="">the road is wet, the asphalt is salted and the temperature is around zero</a>, the brake and steering performance of the studded tyre and non-studded Nordic tyre is virtually equivalent.</div> <div> </div> <div>According to a <a href="">Norwegian study</a>, studded tyres reduce the number of passenger car accidents by 2 per cent on dry roads, and 5 per cent on roads covered with ice or snow, compared to non-studded winter tires.</div> <div> </div> <div>According to the <a href="">Swedish Transport Administration</a>, the foundation for a safe winter trip is good winter tyres, the right speed and a driving mode adapted to the ground. The Administration emphasizes that a car equipped with anti-skid system (ESC) and non-studded winter tires has a good safety throughout the country.</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">Contact: </h4> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/anna-furberg.aspx">Anna Furberg</a>, PhD student at the Division of Environmental Systems Analysis, Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, 031-772 63 28, <a href="mailto:"></a></div> <div> </div> <div><a href="/en/staff/Pages/rickard-arvidsson.aspx">Rickard Arvidsson</a>, Assistant Professor at the Division of Environmental Systems Analysis, Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology 031 - 72 21 61, 0768 - 078733 <a href=""></a></div> <div> </div> <div><a href="/en/staff/Pages/sverker-molander.aspx">Sverker Molander</a>, Professor at the Division of Environmental Systems Analysis, Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology 031-772 21 69, 0703 - 088522 <a href=""></a></div> <div> </div> Mon, 01 Oct 2018 00:20:00 +0200 study reveals real size of crude oil’s carbon footprint<p><b>​Emissions from crude oil extraction are a significant part of the total emissions of fossil fuels. A new comprehensive study recently published in Science also shows that emissions are far higher than the industry&#39;s own estimates.&quot;Knowledge of greenhouse gases emissions associated with the extraction of crude oil makes us more aware of the full lifecycle climate impacts of using oil and it will also be helpful when it comes to evaluating which measures would be most cost effective to reduce emissions,&quot; says Sonia Yeh, Professor of energy and transport systems at Chalmers.​</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">The extraction, transport and refining of crude oil account for between 15 and 40 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions from transport fuels such as gasoline and diesel. Different crude oils can have very different physical properties that require more energy to extract and refine than others. But the major difference in the climate impacts of different oil extract is actually how much methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, being released or burned in large quantities at extraction, activities known as flaring, venting, and fugitive emissions. </span><div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Profilbilder/Sonia_Yeh_170.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />– Although fossil free sources for energy are on the rise for the electricity sector, our demands for crude oil still continue to rise and it is unlikely to peak anytime soon. So reducing transport emissions or at least preventing oil extraction to become more and more carbon intensive is crucial, says Sonia Yeh, at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment at Chalmers.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>In the recently published study <a href="">“Global carbon intensity of crude oil production&quot; (<em>Masnadi et al, Science</em>)</a> the total petroleum well-to-refinery emissions is estimated to be 1,7 Gt CO2 eq, which is 42 per cent higher than the estimations made by the industry and constitute 5 percent of global total emissions. In comparison, total global emissions from aviation is roughly 2.7 percent.  </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The study, which sums up 10 years of research from a global research network, also highlights several ways to reduce these emissions. On the one hand, it suggests leaving the densest and most energy-consuming oil in the ground and focusing on other less carbon intensive sources. On the other hand, it is about reducing the flaring, venting and fugitive emissions of methane.  </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The study shows that if the amount of methane released into the atmosphere is reduced to the same levels that have been achieved in Norway, there is a potential to reduce 40% of total emissions from oil production. But both changes require political leadership and economic and policy instruments, according to Sonia.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/flaring-200px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />– Don’t forget that methane is a product that can be captured and used, but in many countries it is considered not worthwhile or uneconomical to capture and put methane into pipelines. But if it would cost significantly more to let it out in the atmosphere the industry might reconsider. Unfortunately, the Trump administration is instead considering making it even easier to release methane into the air, which would be a step in the wrong direction”. (Read more in the New York Times article: <a href="">Trump Administration Wants to Make It Easier to Release Methane Into Air​</a>​). </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Sonia thinks that research can be even better at measuring and characterizing sources of emissions, and if society want to address these emissions, then politicians must create new rules and guidelines, and monitor how they are managed. Oil companies can also be much better at following up on these things themselves to show their environmental commitments and leaderships.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>– This important analysis gives both our politicians and the oil companies greater access to information to fully measure and compare the effects of oil emissions. if you don’t measure it you can’t control it.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>Text: Christian Löwhagen. </em></div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">Read more: </h5> <div>The full article in Science Magazine: <a href="">“Global carbon intensity of crude oil production&quot; (<em>Masnadi et al, Science</em>)</a> <em><br /></em></div> <div><a href="">Press release from Stanford University: Measuring Crude Oils Carbon Footprint​</a>. <br /></div>Wed, 26 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0200 is key when discussing digitalisation<p><b>Questions surrounding global digital development are in focus when academics and innovators from all over the world comes to Gothenburg to participate in the conference CIP Forum. One of the conference highlights this year is the launch of the gender equality project, “The Vera Project”, aimed at highlighting women in technology.</b></p><div>​Digitalisation will be discussed in many ways when the CIP Forum conference takes place. The conference is the creation of CIP - the Center for Intellectual Property – and is a collaboration between Chalmers, University of Gothenburg and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Participants from all over the world will gather to discuss globalisation and digital development. This year’s theme is <em>Transformation</em> and one of the main topics is the opportunities and challenges of a digitalised economy, where China is becoming increasingly important. Questions raised during the conference will include the competition for the leading role in technological development and how China, as a new major innovator, affects the market.</div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">Highlighting women in technology</h4> <div>The conference will also introduce &quot;The Vera Project&quot;, aimed at highlighting more women in technology. The project is inspired by Vera Sandberg, who became Sweden's first female engineer in 1917 when she graduated from Chalmers. The purpose of &quot;The Vera Project&quot; is to contribute to greater diversity when it comes to both lecturers and participants in activities coordinated by CIP. The project will have a start-up panel at the beginning of the conference and the theme will then permeate the entire conference, as well as CIP's future work. CIP wants to highlight the diversity debate in technology and evaluate the types of activities that lead to a positive development. An important person in this project is Suzanne Munck, Deputy Director of the Federal Trade Commission in the United States, who will participate in the panel.</div> <div><br /></div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">Globalisation important for university utilisation</h4> <div>Fredrik Hörstedt is Vice President of Utilisation at Chalmers and has participated in the planning of the conference.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;The expectations that universities should contribute to global societal challenges and enhanced competitiveness affect how we utilise our knowledge and research results. This conference gives us a unique opportunity for dialogue between business, university and societal actors on the best ways to do that.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Other topics around the theme <em>Transformation</em> that will be discussed during the conference include artificial intelligence, machine learning and block chains. For example, there will be discussions surrounding other applications of block chains besides the well-known cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. In particular, the possibilities and threats of block chains will be discussed from a commercial and legal perspective.</div> <div><br /></div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">Students present new business ideas</h4> <div>Many students from Chalmers and University of Gothenburg have participated in planning the event, including designing the panels. They will also participate in the conference, where they will be able to present their own business concepts and exchange ideas with researchers and innovators.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The conference will take place between 23-25 September in Gothenburg and between 200 and 250 invited people will attend.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Read more on the <a href="">CIP Forum website</a>.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Text:</strong> Sophia Kristensson<br /></div> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 10:00:00 +0200​Awarded pioneer in plasma-physics faces accelerating challenges<p><b>​They are in x-ray machines at the hospitals and in the safety controls at the airports. They can detect fake artwork and sterilize food. Particle accelerators are fundamental in our society as tools of scientific discovery, but they are very large and expensive. This year’s Gothenburg Lise Meitner Award Laureate Chandrashekhar Joshi’s work promises to pave the way for smaller and cheaper accelerators to face crucial challenges in science and technology. ​</b></p><div><span style="background-color:initial">By using plasma to accelerate particles, Joshi has shown a new paradigm for building accelerators of the future. Professor Joshi is considered the Father of the experimental field of High-Gradient Plasma-based Charged Particle Acceleration. During four decades, Joshi and his colleagues have carried out pioneering experiments. By using plasma, they have managed to accelerate particles thousands of times more rapidly than in a conventional accelerator. </span><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>“The goal is to make the accelerators as small and cheap as possible. Aside from their use in high-energy physics, imagine that you have a thumb-sized accelerator that could be inserted into your body to irradiate a tumour or to be carried around in your briefcase.  That’s my dream for future accelerators, “says Chandrashekar Joshi, in connection with the Gothenburg Lise Meitner award ceremony on 20 September 2018.  </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Joshi made the first basic experiments in the field in the 1980’s and since then he has taught generations of students and researchers who are now scientific leaders worldwide. Today, he works at the University of California in the US, but he started his career on the other side of the world. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>In his hometown, 150 kilometres outside Mumbai, it was very unusual to study abroad. </div> <div>“My father gave me a book about great scientists when I was around 10 years old. It was so cool, and I made up my mind: I also wanted to discover something that was not known before,” says Joshi. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“I was the second person ever who left the place and went abroad. But even though I came from a small town in India, I probably had fewer difficulties in my career than Lise Meitner had in hers, because of her gender. In that context, her achievements are even more remarkable!”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>At that time, when the Austrian-Swedish physicist Lise Meitner understood that it was possible to split an atomic nucleus, women were not even allowed in the laboratories. </div> <div>&quot;She was always running against the wind. She was a real pioneer and I admire her a lot. When I studied nuclear engineering when I was an undergraduate, Lise Meitner and Marie Curie were like Gods of fission to us. Therefore, I’m very pleased to receive the Gothenburg Lise Meitner award. She did get many prizes during her career, but never the Nobel Prize she so well deserved&quot;.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>In connection with the award ceremony in Gothenburg, Chandrashekhar Joshi gave a popular lecture at Chalmers in honour of Lise Meitner. </div> <div>He received the Gothenburg Lise Meitner award 2018 &quot;for conclusively demonstrating the advantages of using relativistically propagating plasma waves for electron acceleration.&quot;</div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Watch the award lecture by Chandrashekhar Joshi. <span></span><span style="display:inline-block"></span><br /></a></div> <a href=""><div><span><br /></span></div> <div><span><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" /></span>Meet Chandrashekhar Joshi in the Lise Meitner room at Chalmers/University<span></span><span style="display:inline-block"></span> of Gothenburg.</div> </a> <a href=""></a><div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text: Mia Halleröd Palmgren, <a href=""></a></div> <div>Foto: Johan Bodell,<a href=""> </a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read more about Lise Meitner, the Gothenburg Lise Meitner Award and previous laureates.  </a></div>Thu, 20 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0200 design forces are emerging at the AAG2018<p><b>​​The biennial International Conference AAG - Advances in Architectural Geometry - is held in different European countries. This year it is held in Gothenburg, Sweden, September 22-25, hosted by Chalmers University of Technology. Swedish and international architects, engineers and mathematicians will attend the conference to discuss how powerful design tools can solve complex problems in architecture and construction technology.</b></p><div>Architecture meets mathematics and engineering and the digital. The conference includes 15 workshops led by researchers and practitioners from around the world.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Among the speakers are Caroline Bos, one of the founders of UN Studio, Philippe Block, Professor at ETH Zurich and Leader of the Block Research Group and Julie Dorsey, Professor of Computer Science at Yale.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Examples of questions to be examined during the conference include:</div> <div><ul><li>What role can an industrial robot have in the design process and for the production of architecture?<br /></li> <li>How do we use artificial intelligence and machine learning for analysis and design?<br /></li> <li>What new design opportunities are given by automated production tools?<br /></li> <li>In what ways can we optimize designs using digital technology?<br /></li></ul></div> <div><br /></div> <div>The concept of computational design is central in this context, which means that the computational power of the computer is fully utilized in the design process, while the architect or engineer can directly adapt the methodology to different tasks. Here geometry, mathematics and digitalization meet in the solution of complex geometric problems, the simulation of construction, light or wind, or the rational production of advanced forms. At Chalmers, these methods are studied in the research groups Architecture &amp; Engineering and Architecture &amp; Computation.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/ACE/nyheter/2018/JonasRunberger_170.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="picture of Jonas Runberger" style="margin:5px" />– Computational design helps us investigate and try alternative concepts in the early stages of design, in order to make intelligent and informed design and production choices. Here, Swedish construction industry can be cross-fertilized by the international context. The conference gives us a glimpse of where international architecture and engineering is today, concludes Karl-Gunnar Olsson, Professor of Architecture and Technology, and Jonas Runberger, Artistic Professor of Digital Design, both at Chalmers Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, ACE.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div style="text-align:right">Jonas Runberger</div> <div><br /></div> <div>September 22-23: workshops. </div> <div>September 24-25: seminars</div> <div>Location: Chalmers, campus Johanneberg.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Registration is open. Welcome!</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Read more about the conference and register at the AAG2018 home page: </div> <div><a href="">​</a></div> Wed, 19 Sep 2018 17:00:00 +0200 freight transport grows despite extreme competition<p><b>​The topics ranged from electric aircraft to city planning at Chalmers Initiative Seminar on electromobility, 13 September. We had a few words with speakers Laetitia Dablanc and Tom Nørbech about the development of electric freight transport in France and Norway.</b></p><div>​Norway is well known for its large share of electric passenger cars. Over the last few years, the country has also taken the lead in electric ferries. In 2022 the country will have between 70 and 80 hybrid or battery electric ferries, according to Tom Nørbech, senior advisor at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.</div> <div> </div> <div>However, the development for freight vehicles does not look as positive. The market share for this type of vehicles is only two percent, while the corresponding figure for electric passenger cars is 25 percent. How can this be?</div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">Slow but steady increase</h4> <div>“One reason is that until now only the smallest freight vehicles have come into mass production, so the comparison is not totally fair”, explains Tom Nørbech. </div> <div>The high sale of electric vehicles in Norway can to a large part be explained by tax exemptions that apply to conventional private vehicles. Such a tax exemption would have little effect on commercial vehicles where taxes are already low, according to Tom Nørbech. Still, the number of freight vehicles is growing in Norway, but at a slower pace than passenger cars.</div> <div> </div> <div>“The smallest freight vehicles have increased from 4.5 percent of sales in their vehicle segment in 2013 to 10.5 percent in 2017”, he says.</div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">An extremely competitive market</h4> <div>“Freight operators have been reluctant to switch to electric”, comments Laetitia Dablanc. She is professor at University Paris-East, French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Development and Networks, and visiting professor at the University of Gothenburg.</div> <div> </div> <div>“Freight businesses are afraid of the changes involved if they switch to electric, training staff and implementing charging stations for example”, she says, and points out that the urban freight industry is extremely competitive, with low margins, and mostly short-term concerns. </div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">Better batteries push the development forward</h4> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Transport/_bilder-utan-fast-format/LaetitiaDablanc_300x205.jpg" alt="Audio description: Laetitia Dablanc" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" style="margin:5px" />At the seminar, Laetitia Dablanc presented the results of a recent study of the challenges for electromobility in urban freight, using France as a case study. The study was made by PhD candidate P. Camilleri and will be published later this year.</div> <div> </div> <div>“Our scenarios show that, when taking the main current operating constraints faced by urban freight companies in France into account, the realistic market share for electromobility for this market is about 13 percent by 2032”, she says. “It is both very little, compared to politicians’ declared objectives in many cities, and not so bad, when thinking about the complexity of the freight delivery business today.” </div> <div> </div> <div>According to Laetitia Dablanc, we can expect a slow but steady uptake of electric freight vehicles in Europe in general. A continuous progress in battery range in combination with an increased variety of e-vans and government incentives such as subsidies, tax or traffic advantages is pushing the development forward in most European countries. Large companies such as UPS or DHL also increasingly require from their urban contractors to enhance the share of environmentally-friendly operations.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>Text and photo: Emilia Lundgren and Ann-Christine Nordin</em><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><strong>FURTHER READING</strong></div> <div><a href="/en/areas-of-advance/Transport/news/Pages/Electric-vehicles-a-game-changer-for-cities-and-transport.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Electric vehicles a game changer for cities and transport</a></div> <div><a href="/en/areas-of-advance/Transport/calendar/Initiative-seminar-2018/Pages/default.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Presentations from the Initiative Seminar <span>“<span style="display:inline-block"></span></span>Electromobility - Back to the future<span>“<span style="display:inline-block"></span></span></a></div> <div><br /></div> <div>The study results from P. Camilleri will be made public after 26 October 2018, and will then be available from <a href=""></a> </div> <div><em><br /></em></div> <div><em>Previous publication:</em> Camilleri, P., Dablanc, L. (2017) An assessment of present and future competitiveness of electric commercial vans, Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering. Vol 7(1), p. 337-364.</div>Tue, 18 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0200 innovation improves the diagnosis of dizziness<p><b>​Half of over-65s suffer from dizziness and problems with balance. But some tests to identify the causes of such problems are painful and can risk hearing damage. Now, researchers from Chalmers have developed a new testing device using bone conduction technology, that offers significant advantages over the current tests.​</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Hearing and balance have something in common. For patients with dizziness, this relationship is used to diagnose issues with balance. Commonly, a ‘VEMP’ test (Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials) needs to be performed. A VEMP test uses loud sounds to evoke a muscle reflex contraction in the neck and eye muscles, triggered by the vestibular system – the system responsible for our balance. The Chalmers researchers have now used bone conducted sounds to achieve better results.</span><div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Ny%20metod%20ger%20bättre%20diagnos%20för%20yrsel/bo_hakansson_200px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="Bo Håkansson" style="margin:5px" />&quot;We have developed a new type of vibrating device that is placed behind the ear of the patient during the test,&quot; says Bo Håkansson, a professor in the research group 'Biomedical signals and systems' at Chalmers. The vibrating device is small and compact in size, and optimised to provide an adequate sound level for triggering the reflex at frequencies as low as 250 Hz. Previously, no vibrating device has been available that was directly adapted for this type of test of the balance system.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>In bone conduction transmission, sound waves are transformed into vibrations through the skull, stimulating the cochlea within the ear, in the same way as when sound waves normally go through the ear canal, the eardrum and the middle ear.<a href=""> Bo Håkansson has over 40 years of experience in this field and has previously developed hearing aids using this technology.</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br />Half of over-65s suffer from dizziness, but the causes can be difficult to diagnose for several reasons. In 50% of those cases, dizziness is due to problems in the vestibular system. But today's VEMP methods have major shortcomings, and can cause hearing loss and discomfort for patients. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>For example, the VEMP test uses very high sound levels, and may in fact cause permanent hearing damage itself. And, if the patient already suffers from certain types of hearing loss, it may be impossible to draw any conclusions from the test. The Chalmers researchers’ new method offers significant advantages.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Ny%20metod%20ger%20bättre%20diagnos%20för%20yrsel/Karl-Johan_Freden_Jansson_200px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />&quot;Thanks to this bone conduction technology, the sound levels which patients are exposed to can be minimised. The previous test was like a machine gun going off next to the ear – with this method it will be much more comfortable. The new vibrating device provides a maximum sound level of 75 decibels. The test can be performed at 40 decibels lower than today's method using air conducted sounds through headphones. This eliminates any risk that the test itself could cause hearing damage,” says postdoctoral researcher Karl-Johan Fredén Jansson, who made all the measurements in the project.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The benefits also include safer testing for children, and that patients with impaired hearing function due to chronic ear infections or congenital malformations in the ear canal and middle ear can be diagnosed for the origin of their dizziness.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The vibrating device is compatible with standardised equipment for balance diagnostics in healthcare, making it easy to start using. The cost of the new technology is also estimated to be lower than the corresponding equipment used today.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>A pilot study has been conducted and recently published. The next step is to conduct a larger patient study, under a recently received ethical approval, in collaboration with Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, where 30 participants with normal hearing will also be included.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">More about the research</h5> <div><span style="background-color:initial">The scientific article <a href="" target="_blank">&quot;VEMP using a new low-frequency bone conduction transducer&quot;</a> has recently been published by Dove Medical Press, in the journal Medical Devices: Evidence and Research.</span><br /></div> <div>Chalmers’ partners in the study are the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, and the Danish audio companies Ortofon and Interacoustics. Grants for this project are received from Vinnova (Swedish Innovations Agency) and Hörselskadades Riksförbund (Hearing Impairment Federation).</div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />See the researchers' own presentation of the project</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="/en/departments/e2/research/Signal-processing-and-Biomedical-engineering/Pages/Biomedical-signals-and-systems.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read more about research on medical signals and systems</a></div> <div><br /></div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">More about Diagnostics for Dizziness</h5> <div>A common method of diagnosing the cause of dizziness is a VEMP test – Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials. The test uses sound stimulation to evoke a muscle contraction in the neck and eye muscles, triggered by a reflex from the vestibular system – the system that is responsible for our sense of balance. The muscular response is measured and provides you information on whether the disorders responsible for the patient’s dizziness are in the vestibular system, or in its pathways to the brain.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>In a traditional vestibular investigation, two variants of VEMP tests are used today: air transmitted sound through headphones or bone conducted sounds via a vibrating device attached to the head. When air transmitted sounds are used, high sound levels are required, which is uncomfortable to the patient and there is a risk of hearing damage. For bone conducted sound, the sound levels are lower, but the equipment currently available on the market is large and cumbersome, and therefore difficult to use. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The new method uses new transducer technology, is smaller in size and generates bone conducted sound at a lower frequency than has been possible before (around 250 Hz). At this level, the muscle reflexes are more efficiently evoked. <span style="background-color:initial">The muscle contractions in both the neck and the eye muscles are measured using fairly standardised equipment, so it should be easy to start incorporating it into healthcare systems.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Ny%20metod%20ger%20bättre%20diagnos%20för%20yrsel/yrsel_500px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><div><span style="background-color:initial">Bo Håkansson, Professor of Electrical Engineering, undergoes testing using the new compact vibrating device he and the team helped design. </span><span style="background-color:initial">​</span><br /></div></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">​<span>For more information contact</span></h5></div> <div><strong><a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/bo-hakansson.aspx">Bo Håkansson</a></strong>, Professor in Biomedical Engineering at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers,</div> <div>031-772 18 07, <a href=""></a></div> <div><strong><a href="/en/staff/Pages/karl-johan-freden-jansson.aspx">Karl-Johan Fredén Jansson</a></strong>, Postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers and in charge of clinical studies, 031-772 17 83, <a href="​"></a></div> <div><br /></div> <div>​<br /></div></div> <div>Text: Yvonne Jonsson</div> <div>Translation: Joshua Worth<br />Photo: Johan Bodell</div> <div><br /></div>Mon, 10 Sep 2018 07:30:00 +0200 and Chalmers become strategic partners<p><b>​Chalmers University of Technology and vehicle developer CEVT have signed a ten-year strategic partnership agreement. The goal is to ensure long-term supply of well-educated engineers as well as efficient research.</b></p>​On September 7, Chalmers President Stefan Bengtsson and CEVT CEO Mats Fägerhag met at Lindholmen, Gothenburg,  to sign the agreement.<br /><br />“The collaboration between CEVT and Chalmers is an investment for the future. I see it as a very important strategic step in strengthening Chalmers, CEVT and the business community in western Sweden, since knowledge, competence building and research and development are the keys to success,” says Mats Fägerhag.<br /><br /><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Transport/_bilder-utan-fast-format/CEVT_Avtal_189807_06_350x305px.jpg" alt="Audio description: Decorative image" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:5px" />CEVT and Chalmers aim to jointly develop and strengthen education, research and innovation in a number of priority areas. These include self-driving cars, sustainable mobility, artificial intelligence and cyber security. The vehicle developer plans to have up to four industry doctoral students per year linked to Chalmers and the proportion of Chalmers students who do their degree projects at CEVT will also increase.<br /><br />“For us as a university, the agreement is particularly valuable in areas such as self-driving electric vehicles and artificial intelligence. It is all about defining relevant research questions and ensuring opportunities for our students - both during and after their studies,” says Stefan Bengtsson.<br /><br />Chalmers now has official partnership agreements with fourteen different companies.<br /><br />“The agreement with CEVT represents an interesting broadening of our partner agreements. We are developing in collaboration with a fast-growing player in the automotive industry, which strengthens both Chalmers and the west Swedish automotive industry, as I see it,” says Stefan Bengtsson.<br /><br /><div>The collaboration will ultimately be governed by an annual management conference where representatives of Chalmers and CEVT will meet to evaluate and define relevant areas of collaboration. At Chalmers, the commitment will be coordinated by the Transport Area of Advance.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>Text: Emilia Lundgren</em></div> <div><em>Photo: Johan Bodell</em><br /></div> <br /><strong>FACTS</strong><br />The vehicle developer CEVT (China Euro Vehicle Technology) is owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which also owns Lynk &amp; Co, Volvo Cars, Polestar and Lotus, among others. The company has about 2 000 employees and has offices in Gothenburg and Trollhättan. Read more: <a href=""></a><br /> <br /><a href=";query=cevt"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Ongoing collaboration between Chalmers and CEVT</a><br /><br />Fri, 07 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0200