News: Energi related to Chalmers University of TechnologyTue, 17 Mar 2020 10:16:37 +0100 between organic and conventional agriculture need to be better<p><b>​The environmental effects of agriculture and food are hotly debated. But the most widely used method of analysis often tends to overlook vital factors, such as biodiversity, soil quality, pesticide impacts and societal shifts, and these oversights can lead to wrong conclusions on the merits of intensive and organic agriculture. This is according to a trio of researchers writing in the journal Nature Sustainability.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">The most common method for assessing the environmental impacts of agriculture and food is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Studies using this method sometimes claim that organic agriculture is actually worse for the climate, because it has lower yields, and therefore uses more land to make up for this. For example, <a href="">a recent study in Nature Communications</a> that made this claim was widely reported by many publications, <a href="">including the BBC</a> and others. </span><div><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">But according to three researchers from France, Denmark and Sweden, presenting an analysis of many LCA studies in the journal Nature Sustainability, this implementation of LCA is too simplistic, and misses the benefits of organic farming. </span><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div>“We are worried that LCA gives too narrow a picture, and we risk making bad decisions politically and socially. When comparing organic and intensive farming, there are wider effects that the current approach does not adequately consider,” says Hayo van der Werf of the French National Institute of Agricultural Research.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Biodiversity, for example, is of vital importance to the health and resilience of ecosystems. But globally, it is declining, Intensive agriculture has been shown to be one of the main drivers of negative trends such as insect and bird decline. Agriculture occupies more than one-third of global land area, so any links between biodiversity losses and agriculture are hugely important.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“But our analysis shows that current LCA studies rarely factor in biodiversity, and consequently, they usually miss that wider benefit of organic agriculture,” says Marie Trydeman Knudsen from Aarhus University, Denmark. “Earlier studies have already shown that organic fields support biodiversity levels approximately 30% higher than conventional fields.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Usage of pesticides is another factor to consider. Between 1990 and 2015, pesticide use worldwide has increased 73%. Pesticide residues in the ground and in water and food can be harmful to human health, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and cause biodiversity losses. Organic farming, meanwhile, precludes the use of synthetic pesticides. But few LCA studies account for these effects. </div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Land degradation and lower soil quality resulting from unsustainable land management is also an issue – again, something rarely measured in LCA studies. The benefits of organic farming practices such as varied crop rotation and the use of organic fertilisers are often overlooked in LCA studies.</span></div> <div>Crucially, LCA generally assesses environmental impacts per kilogram of product. This favours intensive systems that may have lower impacts per kilogram, while having higher impacts per hectare of land. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/ChristelCederberg_230.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />“LCA simply looks at the overall yields. Of course, from that perspective, it’s true that intensive farming methods are indeed more effective. But this is not the whole story of the larger agroecosystem. A diverse landscape with smaller fields, hedgerows and a variety of crops gives other benefits – greater biodiversity, for example,” says Christel Cederberg of Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, (photo). </div> <div><br /></div> <div>LCA’s product-focused approach also fails to capture the subtleties of smaller, diverse systems which are more reliant on ecological processes, and adapted to local soil, climate and ecosystem characteristics. LCA needs a more fine-grained approach. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We often look at the effects at the global food chain level, but we need to be much better at considering the environmental effects at the local <span style="background-color:initial">level,” says Marie Trydeman Knudsen. </span></div> <div><br /></div> <div>The researchers note in their study that efforts are being made in this area, but much more progress is needed. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>A further key weakness is when hypothetical “indirect effects” are included, such as assuming that the lower yields of organic agriculture lead to increased carbon dioxide emissions, because more land is needed. For example, another prominent study – from a researcher also based at Chalmers University of Technology – suggested that organic agriculture was worse for the climate, because the requirement for more land leads indirectly to less forest area. But accounting for these indirect effects is problematic. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“For example, consider the growing demand for organic meat. Traditional LCA studies might simply assume that overall consumption of meat will remain the same, and therefore more land will be required. But consumers who are motivated to buy organic meat for environmental and ethical reasons will probably also buy fewer animal-based products in the first place. But hardly any studies into this sort of consumer behaviour exist, so it is very difficult to account for these types of social shifts now,” says Hayo van der Werf. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Current LCA methodology and practice is simply not good enough to assess agroecological systems such as organic agriculture. It therefore needs to be improved and integrated with other environmental assessment tools to get a more balanced picture” says Christel Cederberg. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Read the article “<a href="">Towards better representation of organic agriculture in life cycle assessment​</a>” in Nature Sustainability. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><span style="color:rgb(33, 33, 33);font-family:inherit;font-size:16px;font-weight:600;background-color:initial">For more information, contact: </span><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Christel Cederberg, <span style="background-color:initial">Professor, Department of Space, Earth and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology</span></div> <div></div> <div>+46 31 772 22 18</div> <div>​<br /></div> Tue, 17 Mar 2020 07:00:00 +0100 more business as usual with respect to energy<p><b>Recently, the media reported that both investments in fossil energy and carbon dioxide emissions are increasing, though at a slower rate than before. How should we interpret this message? We had an email chat with Dr Jessica Jewell, an expert in energy transitions. Her research focuses on mechanisms of energy transitions, particularly fossil fuel phase-out and low-carbon electricity growth. This is what she responded:​</b></p><div><span style="background-color:initial"><strong><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/20190101-20190630/jessica-jewell_portrait.jpg" alt="Portrait: Jessica Jewell" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:5px" />Fi</strong></span><span style="background-color:initial"><strong>rst, can you tell us a little about your research? </strong></span><br /></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">&quot;It's focused on political feasibility of energy transitions. I research national trends in energy use seeking to understand how individual countries respond to the global challenge of climate change given their specific national circumstances. More specifically, my research can be divided into two broad streams:<br /><br /></span></div> <div><ul><li><span style="font-size:14px">​What drives and constrains the expansion of low-carbon technologies. I have done work on nuclear power and I am now also <span></span>looking into renewable electricity investigating which countries introduce it earlier and where renewables can be expanded faster.</span></li> <li><span style="font-size:14px">What drives and constrains the decline of carbon-intensive technologies. I am measuring the global and national rates of decline in carbon-intensive sectors and comparing them to what we need to mitigate climate change; I also research social factors and mechanisms that differentiate countries that phase out fossil fuels from those that expand them.</span></li></ul></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><strong>How to interpret these media reports about carbon dioxide emissions?</strong></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">“The use of fossil fuels is still increasing because of the increasing demand for fossil fuels. Part of this trend is easier to understand: for example, demand for oil primarily depends on the growth of transportation and there are more and more vehicles in the world, particularly in the emerging economies such as China. The vast majority of cars and trucks sold today are still driven by oil, not to mention ships and airplanes which explains rising oil demand. </span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">What is more paradoxical is that in many parts of the world, emissions from the power sector are increasing. This is particularly interesting for social scientists, because we have technical solutions to produce low carbon electricity: hydropower, nuclear power, wind and solar power. Some of these technologies are already cheaper than coal or gas in some markets. However, some developing countries are making paradoxical energy choices of investing in new coal power instead of renewables”.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><strong>Is the emission curve broken?</strong></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">“Global emissions are growing, but at a slower rate than before. If we look at the business-as-usual emission forecasts from a few decades ago and compare them with what we have now, we can clearly see that we’re doing much better than ‘business as usual’ as it was imagined in the 1990s and the early 2000s. </span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">The global emission curve reflects the combination of distinct trends: in some countries emissions are plateauing or slowly declining and in some countries they are still growing. </span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">In other words, there is a gradual evolution of the emission curve rather than radical breaking with the past”.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"> </span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><strong>What is politically feasible in Europe, China and the United States?</strong></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">“First of all, this depends on global technological developments and breakthroughs. Political feasibility in all three regions will be influenced by breakthroughs in different technologies such as small modular nuclear power reactors, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), batteries and hydrogen technologies. Incremental developments such as falling the cost of solar PV panels and offshore wind power will also be important in a near future; Equally important to these global factors are national socio-political circumstances which shape political feasibility what can be done in a given context. I believe three such factors are particularly critical: </span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><ul><li><span style="font-size:14px">How fast energy demand is growing; this mostly depends on population and economic growth in a given country and thus is difficult to change by policies. Energy demand in China is growing much faster than in the EU and the US which means that China needs much faster expansion of low-carbon energy to reduce emissions and as long as low-carbon energy grows slower than demand, emissions will keep growing<br /></span></li> <li>How fast low-carbon energy technologies can expand. For example, in recent research I and co-authors show that Europe and the United States introduced nuclear, solar and wind power earlier than China. We now need to understand what determines how fast low-carbon technologies expand. The market in China is more favorable (because it is growing), so perhaps renewables can be expanded even faster with right policies.<br /></li> <li><span style="background-color:initial">How fast we can phase-out carbon-intensive sectors. This may be even more challenging to do than expanding low-carbon energy. This is because growing a new sector brings jobs and profits and no one is in principle against it. However, phasing out an industry leads to job and economic losses, which is a political challenge. In a recent article I and co-authors explore this dilemma by looking at which countries pledge to phase out coal power. What we found out is that these countries extract and use little coal, have older power plant fleets, slow demand growth, higher incomes and exceptionally transparent governments which are able to deal with political challenges of coal phase out. There are many such countries in Europe and many of the US states have the same characteristics, so no wonder that coal use in Europe and North America is rapidly declining. In contrast, China has a very young coal power plant fleet (with an average age of only 12 years), produces most of its electricity from the domestically extracted coal, has rapidly expanding electricity demand, and less transparent government. So it is less feasible for China to phase out coal in the near term&quot;.</span></li></ul></div> <div><strong style="background-color:initial">Is there anything more you want to say?</strong><br /></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">“I joined Chalmers about six months ago and I’m so happy I did. I have been struck by the wonderful combination of inspiring intellectual interactions and a supportive working environment. Chalmers offers great opportunities for young international scholars to build on and expand their networks and science”.<br /><br />By: Ann-Christine Nordin <br />Photo: Oil field <span style="font-size:14px"></span></span><span style="background-color:initial;font-size:14px">Haizhen Du/Shutterstock​</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><strong>RELATED:</strong><br /><span style="font-size:14px"><a href="/en/departments/see/news/Pages/current-pledges-to-phase-out-coal-power-are-critically-insufficient-to-slow-down-climate-change,-analysis-shows.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />​Current coal phase-out pledges are insufficient</a><br /></span><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Jessica Jewell, Assistant Professor, Department of Space, Earth and Environment​</a></div>  ​Tue, 21 Jan 2020 09:00:00 +0100 tickets to Göteborg Film Festival<p><b>​Compete with Göteborg Film Festival, Genie, Chalmers student center and Chalmers Energy Area of Advance.On January 24, the 43nd Göteborg Film Festival opens with cinemas all over the town, including Chalmers Student Union Building. This year the festival has two focus: feminism and Brazil! More than 400 films from nearly 80 countries will be screened during the festival week. Of course we are going to have a competition! Email the answers to the questions to at the latest on January 24. The winners will be contacted by email shortly thereafter.</b></p><strong>​</strong><span style="font-size:14px"><span style="background-color:initial"><strong>COMPETITION:</strong></span></span><div><span style="font-size:14px">1. Who has created the poster for the 2020 festival?</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">2. Which actor is nominated to the 2020 Nordic Honorary Dragon Award?</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">3. In Hollywood, 96 percent of movie directors are men. In Europe, 81 percent of the films are directed by men. This year, half of the festival's films are directed by women. What does the festival call that initiative?</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">4. <span></span>One of the festival's movies deals with the freedom fighter Harriet Tubman. Which dollar bill she was supposed to adorn in connection with the women's suffrage in the United States celebrate 100 years in 2020?</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">Send you answers to </span><span style="font-size:16px;background-color:initial"><a href="">​​</a></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><strong>PRIZES:</strong></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">1-3prize: A gift card with two tickets and two festival passes.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">More exactly is the kit a digital gift card worth SEK 305 each which you can solve with a code on the festival's program here:</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">Each gift card is two tickets and two festival passes.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">One thing though. The winner has to pay 1 SEK for it to work in the film festival's system.</span></div> <div><br /></div> <div><b style="font-size:14px">Related:</b><br /><span style="font-size:14px"></span><span style="font-size:14px"><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Brazil in Focus at Göteborg Film Festival 2020</a><br /></span><div><span style="background-color:initial"><a href="" style="outline:0px"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Fokus feminism</a></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Göteborg Film Festival​</a></span></div></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"></span><span></span><div><a href="/en/about-chalmers/Chalmers-for-a-sustainable-future/initiatives-for-gender-equality/gender-initiative-for-excellence/Pages/default.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" /><span style="background-color:initial">G</span><span style="background-color:initial">enie | Gender Initiative for Excellence</span></a><br /></div></div> ​Mon, 20 Jan 2020 00:00:00 +0100 storage at sea augments grid stability<p><b>​To reach the climate goals, society will have to rely more on renewable energy. However, solar and wind power, do not necessarily supply electricity exactly when needed. Now researchers at Chalmers have received EUR 420,000​ from the EU to develop offshore energy storage to stabilize the electricity production.​</b></p>Wind-, hydro- and solar power are seen by many as the main methods to produce sustainable electric power. But when it is calm or cloudy, wind and solar power cannot supply enough electricity to the grid. And if there is no prerequisite for controllable hydropower, the risk of electricity shortages increases. To satisfy the need for electricity at any moment, the surplus energy generated under favourable conditions needs to be stored for later occasions.<p></p> <p>“With the entire society and our modern lifestyle built around electric power, it is incredibly important to have a stable electricity supply. Our project will develop techniques to stabilize the electricity grid by storing energy in seawater reservoirs. The idea is that seawater is pumped into the reservoirs when there is an excess of electricity and then release it through turbines to ‘get back’ the electricity when there is a deficit”, says Håkan Nilsson, professor in the Department of Fluid Science at the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences.</p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">New technology at sea</h2> <p>The technique of storing water in reservoirs already exists in mountainous areas where there are large differences in altitude. This project aims to develop corresponding technology for flat coastal areas. Since the space is limited in existing coastal regions, an alternative is to build so-called &quot;energy islands&quot; offshore. The offshore plants are required to handle very small altitude differences and to be able to operate with saltwater instead of freshwater.</p> <p>The project has received EUR 5 million in total and is coordinated by TU Delft. In addition to the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences at Chalmers, another 11 industries and universities in Europe are participating, with broad expertise to meet the goal. The competencies include civil engineering, fluid mechanics, electromechanics, machine design, economy and environment. <span style="background-color:initial">Chalmers has received EUR </span><span style="background-color:initial">420,000</span><span style="background-color:initial"> over 4 years.​</span></p> <p>“The role we have at Chalmers is to design and optimize pump turbines for these specific conditions. We will also look at what loads and deformations these are exposed to in different operating cases and change between pumping and running as a turbine. We will also conduct a smaller validation experiment for one of the techniques”, says Håkan Nilsson.</p> <p>Read more about the project: <a href="">Augmenting grid stability through Low-head Pumped Hydro Energy Utilization &amp; Storage​</a></p> <p>Text: Anders Ryttarson Törneholm​</p>Fri, 17 Jan 2020 10:00:00 +0100 material for carbon dioxide capture<p><b>​In a joint research study from Sweden, scientists from Chalmers University of Technology and Stockholm University have developed a new material for capturing carbon dioxide. The new material offers many benefits – it is sustainable, has a high capture rate, and has low operating costs. The research has been published in the journal ACS Applied Materials &amp; Interfaces.</b></p><p>​Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a technology that attracts a lot of attention and debate. Large investments and initiatives are underway from politicians and industry alike, to capture carbon dioxide emissions and tackle climate change. So far, the materials and processes involved have been associated with significant negative side effects and high costs. But now, new research from Chalmers University of Technology and Stockholm University in Sweden has demonstrated the possibility of a sustainable, low-cost alternative with excellent, selective carbon dioxide-capturing properties. </p> <p>The new material is a bio-based hybrid foam, infused with a high amount of CO2-adsorbing ‘zeolites’ – microporous aluminosilicates. This material has been shown to have very promising properties. The porous, open structure of the material gives it a great ability to adsorb the carbon dioxide.</p> <p><img width="250" height="195" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/Walter%20250.png" alt="" style="height:189px;width:202px;margin:5px" />“In the new material, we took zeolites, which have excellent capabilities for capturing carbon dioxide, and combined them with gelatine and cellulose, which has strong mechanical properties. Together, this makes a durable, lightweight, stable material with a high reusability. Our research has shown that the cellulose does not interfere with the zeolites’ ability to adsorb carbon dioxide. The cellulose and zeolites together therefore create an environmentally friendly, affordable material,” says <a href="/en/staff/Pages/arbelaez.aspx">Walter Rosas Arbelaez</a>, PhD student at Chalmers' Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and one of the researchers behind the study.</p> <p><br /></p> <p><strong>Fits well with the ongoing developments within CCS and CCU</strong><br />The researchers’ work has yielded important knowledge and points the way for further development of sustainable carbon capture technology. Currently, the leading CCS technology uses ‘amines’, suspended in a solution. This method has several problems – amines are inherently environmentally unfriendly, larger and heavier volumes are required, and the solution causes corrosion in pipes and tanks. Additionally, a lot of energy is required to separate the captured carbon dioxide from the amine solution for reuse. The material now presented avoids all of these problems. In future applications, filters of various kinds could be easily manufactured.<img width="500" height="478" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/Anders%20500.png" alt="" style="height:194px;width:205px;margin:5px" /></p> <p>“This research fits well with the ongoing developments within CCS and CCU (Carbon Capture and Utilisation) technology, as a sustainable alternative with great potential. In addition to bio-based materials being more environmentally friendly, the material is a solid – once the carbon dioxide has been captured, it is therefore easier and more efficient to separate it than from the liquid amine solutions,” says <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Anders-Palmqvist.aspx">Professor Anders Palmqvist</a>, research leader for the study at Chalmers.</p> <p><br /></p> <p><strong>Overcoming a difficult obstacle – vital breakthrough </strong><br />Zeolites have been proposed for carbon capture for a long time, but so far, the obstacle has been that ordinary, larger zeolite particles are difficult to work with when they are processed and implemented in different applications. This has prevented them from being optimally used. But the way the zeolite particles have been prepared this time – as smaller particles in a suspension – means they can be readily incorporated in and supported by the highly porous cellulose foam. Overcoming this obstacle has been a vital breakthrough of the current study. </p> <p>“What surprised us most was that it was possible to fill the foam with such a high proportion of zeolites. When we reached 90% by weight, we realized that we had achieved something exceptional. We see our results as a very interesting piece of the puzzle in the search for a solution to the complex challenge of being able to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere quickly enough to meet climate goals,” says Walter Rosas Arbelaez.</p> <p><br />Read the article, <a href="">Bio-based Micro-/Meso-/Macroporous Hybrid Foams with Ultrahigh Zeolite Loadings for Selective Capture of Carbon Dioxide </a>in the journal ACS Applied Materials &amp; Interfaces. </p> <p>    </p> <img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/blomma.png" alt="" style="height:213px;width:235px;margin:5px" /><p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>A sample of the new material resting on a flower, demonstrating its extremely low weight<br /><br /></p> <p><strong></strong> </p> <p> </p> <p><strong>For more information, contact:</strong><br /><a href="/en/staff/Pages/arbelaez.aspx">Walter Rosas Arbelaez</a><br />PhD student, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology<br />0765609973</p> <div><br /><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Anders-Palmqvist.aspx">Anders Palmqvist</a><br />Professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology<br />031 772 29 61</div> <div><br /><strong>Managing captured carbon dioxide </strong></div> <div>After capture, the carbon dioxide can then be stored (CCS) or converted in a reaction (CCU). The latter is undergoing interesting and promising parallel research at Chalmers right now to enable the conversion of carbon dioxide to methanol. The results need further evaluation and comparison with other conversion methods. </div> <div> </div> <div><strong>More information about the research:</strong><br />The two main authors, doctoral students Walter Rosas from Chalmers University of Technology and Luis Valencia from Stockholm University, met within an EU project and started collaborating. The aim of their research has been to investigate the combination of a very porous biomaterial that can be manufactured at a low cost, with the specific function of the zeolite to adsorb/capture carbon dioxide. The research showed that microporous (&lt;2 nm) crystalline aluminosilicates – ‘zeolites’ – made with small particle size (&lt;200 nm), could be readily supported by the biomaterial and thereby offer great potential as effective adsorbents for atmospheric carbon dioxide.<br />In the study, the researchers managed to overcome the difficult-to-handle properties that ordinary larger zeolite particles have, an obstacle which has until now made them difficult to implement in this type of application. The key was that the smaller particles could be combined with a meso- and macroporous support material based on a foam of gelatin and nanocellulose, which could then contain ultra-high amounts of the zeolite without losing too much of its strong mechanical network properties. Up to 90% by weight of zeolite content could be achieved, giving the material a very good ability to selectively adsorb carbon dioxide in combination with a very open pore structure, enabling high gas flows. The zeolite used was of the type silicalite-1 and can be seen as a model that can be replaced by other zeolites if needed.<br /></div> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>Text: Jenny Jernberg <br />Translation: Joshua Worth <br />Illustration: Yen Strandqvist </p>Mon, 09 Dec 2019 00:00:00 +0100 some countries do more than others?<p><b>​If we are to meet the climate goals, we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, we need to capture some of the carbon dioxide that we have already released to the atmosphere. This is a big challenge.We had a chat with climate scientist Sabine Fuss, who holds Chalmers Jubilee professorship 2019.</b></p>​<img src="/en/areas-of-advance/energy/news/PublishingImages/Sabine-Fuss_Photo-MCC.jpg" alt="Sabine Fuss" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:5px" /><span style="background-color:initial;font-size:14px">“My research has been focused on deep decarbonisation in recent years – especially in the context of the ambitious climate goals of the Paris Agreement. In particular, I have been assessing the potential and costs of technologies and practices for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as a lead author of the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C Global Warming”, says professor Sabine Fuss, head of a working group on sustainable resource management at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change in Berlin. </span><div><br /><span style="background-color:initial;font-size:14px"></span><div><span style="font-size:14px">She is also one of Chalmers´ four Jubilee Professors in 2019. The Department of Space, Earth and Environment is her host. </span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><strong>What has the cooperation with the scientist at Chalmers meant to you? </strong></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">“Just coming out of the IPCC process and having developed a lot of expertise on deep decarbonization pathways and carbon removal technologies, I brought with me both bottom-up knowledge and a systems perspective of the Paris challenge. Being an economist by background, I hope that I managed to complement the expertise of my Chalmers colleagues, jointly taking the work I had previously done further. In particular, we took first steps at conceptualizing the policies needed to move towards implementation, benefiting both from the exchange with the very experienced Chalmers researchers as well as ongoing reflections on the Swedish plans to go carbon-negative”, she says.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">In the near future, she hope to take these insights back to the international context and also return to Chalmers for the International Conference on Negative Emissions next May.<br /><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">” It has been a great pleasure and benefit for us to have Sabine here”, says Daniel Johansson, Associate Professor, Department of Space, Earth and Environment at Chalmers.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">He has known Sabine since 2007 when both were at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis IIASA in Austria. They collaborated in a project on investments in electricity production carried out given uncertainty in future CO2 prices.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">“Sabine has since then developed into one of the leading researchers in the world on issues related to investments under uncertainty as well as on issues related to negative CO2 emissions. It was her focus on the latter subject that was the main reason why she came here as a Jubilee professor”, says Daniel. <br /><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><strong>How can we achieve negative emissions? </strong></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">“We can remove CO2 emissions from the atmosphere in very different ways. For example: </span></div> <div><ul><li><span style="font-size:14px">Planting new forests leads to sequestration of CO2 through photosynthesis, </span></li> <li>Absorbing CO2 directly from the ambient air by means of a chemical reaction with subsequent geological storage. </li> <li>As a hybrid option, BioEnergy generation can be coupled with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), so that the CO2 sequestered in the additionally grown biomass does not escape into the atmosphere but is instead captured and locked away”, Sabine Fuss says.</li></ul></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">Sabine says we have to keep in mind that practices and technologies, which are associated with additional needs for land, for example for afforestation or growing biomass for BECCS, have been debated controversially. This is because land is a finite resource that will also be needed for other policy goals such as conserving biodiversity, producing food for a growing population, and so on. <br /><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">“But they can indeed complement each other: by composing a careful portfolio of options, we can decrease risks to a certain extent. The best way to mitigate climate change remains to avoid emitting CO2 in the first place, of course!” </span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><strong>If we have to be carbon-negative must some countries do more than others?</strong></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">“Carbon-neutrality is a necessary condition for keeping our option to reach the 1.5°C target open. However, uncertainties surround the amount of CO2 that we are still allowed to emit, the so-called carbon budget. This makes it difficult to predict exact years in which carbon-neutrality must be reached. If we are to be carbon-neutral around mid-century, we will need to remove any emissions that still occur after that point. Who exactly will need to go carbon-negative depends on technology and potential as much as distributional considerations”, Sabine Fuss explains. </span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">The implementation will ultimately happen in industry and individual companies, but politicians will have to set the governance framework and create the incentives. </span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><strong>What concrete action do you see as a first step?</strong></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">“An enquiry of the scope carried out in Sweden at the moment – which maps out both technology roadmaps and policy options – is needed to move forward. Close interaction of government, industry and society will be needed to determine the viable pathways to carbon-neutrality”. </span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">Fossil Free Sweden is an initiative to encourage business sectors to draw up their own roadmaps as to how they will be fossil free while also increasing their competitiveness. Currently, thirteen roadmaps have been handed over to the Swedish Government and more are in progress.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><strong>What role can researchers take to drive the development?</strong></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">“Researchers can help the dialogue described above by compiling the relevant knowledge and mapping the different pathways to 1.5°C. In our work we find that there is a gap in knowledge when it comes to implementation of carbon removal technologies and practices and active research is needed to enable policymakers and industry to take the next steps”.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><strong>RELATED:</strong></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Professor Sabine Fuss</a></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><a href="/en/research/our-scientists/Pages/Jubilee-Professors.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />More about Chalmers´ Jubilee Professors</a></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />The 2nd International Conference on Negative CO2 Emissions</a></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Roadmaps for fossil free competitiveness</a></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial;font-size:14px"><a href="/sv/styrkeomraden/energi/kalendarium/Sidor/Carbon-neutral-or-carbon-negative.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Carbon-neutral or carbon-negative? Can we still keep global warming below 1.5°C?​</a></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial;font-size:14px"></span><span style="font-size:14px">Together with Christian Azar and Ottmar Edenhofer, she wrote an debate article in Svenska Dagbladet: </span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />&quot;No, the UN Climate Panel does not recommend nuclear power&quot;.</a> (Swedish)</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />CCS (Wiki)</a></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />BECCS (Wiki)</a></span></div> <div><br /></div> ​By: Ann-Christine Nordin, <br />Photo Sabine Fuss: David Ausserhofer.</div>Tue, 26 Nov 2019 00:00:00 +0100 the Fulbright inaugural lecture with Professor David Blekhman<p><b>We are standing in the doorway of a transportation revolution with the advent of electrified and autonomous vehicles&quot;. How can hydrogen be the fuel of the future? Professor David Blekhman is an expert in the field of hydrogen infrastructure and has been selected as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Alternative Energy Technology. On the Sustainability Day, November 8, he gave his inaugural lecture.</b></p>​<img src="/sv/styrkeomraden/energi/nyheter/PublishingImages/Blekhman21.jpg" alt="David Blekhman" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" style="margin:5px" />Watch the seminar:<br /><a href=";"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Fulbright inaugural lecture with Professor David Blekhman </a><div><br /></div> <div>Interview with David Blekhman:<br /><span style="font-size:14px"><span></span><a href="/en/areas-of-advance/energy/news/Pages/Fulbright-inaugural-lecture---How-can-hydrogen-be-the-fuel-of-the-future.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />How can hydrogen be the fuel of the future?</a></span><br /><br /><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Cal State LA technology professor named a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Alternative Energy Technology</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div>​<a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />UB alum David Blekhman inspires students to develop a passion for clean energy</a></div>Mon, 18 Nov 2019 00:00:00 +0100 can hydrogen be the fuel of the future?<p><b>We are standing in the doorway of a transportation revolution with the advent of electrified and autonomous vehicles. This is speaking from the point of view of a Los Angeles resident where both air quality and congestion are major factors”. Professor David Blekhman is an expert in the field of hydrogen infrastructure and has been selected as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Alternative Energy Technology. On the Sustainability Day, November 8, he gives his inaugural lecture.​</b></p><p>​<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Production/David%20Blekhman.jpeg" alt="David Blekhman" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" style="margin:5px" /><span style="background-color:initial">“Like Greta, my older son is 16 years old. At this age, our kids are already old enough to tell us that we are not leaving them the world in a pristine condition. Rapid climate change, multiple sites of human operation, and rampant exploitation of the Earth’s resources are the drivers for finding solutions that are more humane. Hydrogen is one of the pathways we are exploring to address these challenges. Hydrogen has its positive properties as well as challenges. But it certainly is and will be the technology of interest,” says David Blekhman, ​<span style="font-size:14px"></span></span><span></span><span style="background-color:initial;font-size:14px">professor at California State University Los Angeles and Technical Director of  Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, He</span><span style="background-color:initial"> will conduct research an</span><span style="background-color:initial">d teach at the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences at Chalmers for one year.</span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span></p> <p><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span><span style="background-color:initial">“It means a lot for Chalmers to have David here for one year, participating in education, research collaboration and outreach activities,” says Maria Grahn, associate professor, Director of Energy Area of Advance, and host for David Blekhman.</span><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></p> <p>His research fits well into what many researchers already do at Chalmers. Maria Grahn especially highlights his broad network within academia, industry and other actors and appreciates David Blekhman´s natural ability to explain in a pedagogical way:</p> <p>“He is a true inspiration for me and for the researchers he has met. I encourage everyone to register and join the inaugural lecture and take the opportunity to meet David”.</p> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Fulbright Distinguished chair</h3> <p>Professor David Blekhman has been selected as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Alternative Energy Technology. He has expectations to establish new collaborations and research projects that he could continue in the future.<br /></p> <p>“Chalmers is a premier European institution with leading researchers in their field. My hope is that my contributions will expand projects already under development here at Chalmers. The university currently is the resource for contacts and my home base from which I am to travel to various hydrogen sites in Scandinavia. I look forward to hosting my colleagues at Chalmers back home at my institution in Los Angeles when visiting California”, says David Blekhman. </p> <p>He looks for projects that result in physical realization and real-world testing in the area of alternative fuels, advanced transportation and variety of topics in renewable energy. </p> <p>David Blekhman´s major focus area for the past ten years has been the construction and operation of the Cal State LA Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility. </p> <p>“Due to the inherent complexity and being a new technical undertaking, hydrogen infrastructure still has a number of lessons to learn and challenges to overcome. In addition to hydrogen, I have worked in the area of fuel cell and hybrid vehicle development,” says David Blekhman. </p> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Hydrogen – part of a sustainable future</h3> <p>Several years ago, Los Angeles hosted a small conference on the Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway. Ever since David Blekhman wanted to see it for himself. </p> <p>“As a part of my project at Chalmers, I plan to visit and asses the performance of hydrogen stations in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and wherever else that highway leads. I also look forward to forging collaborations with local researchers and industry”.</p> <p>The evolution of hydrogen as a fuel is a complex question with uncertain answers. <br /><span style="background-color:initial">“My general view and the hope for my work is that hydrogen and electricity will co-exist in powering our vehicles very similar to what is happening with gasoline and diesel. I also think that some applications will be better suited for hydrogen and some for electric,” says David Blekhman. </span></p> <p>Recently, energy storage has been adding another dimension to hydrogen as energy storage in intermittent renewable energy generation. David Blekhman thinks that this could be a part of building a circular and sustainable society.<br /></p> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Many applications for hydrogen</h3> <p>Twenty years ago, hydrogen was mainly targeting the light duty transportation, but the electric vehicles are now offering strong competition for short and medium transport. In response, hydrogen is evolving with heavier duty applications where additional range is associated with lighter than battery energy storage on board. Applications are currently developed in marine and heavy duty transport. </p> <p>“The large-scale of hydrogen operations is around the corner. Following the California leadership of the past twenty years, Japan, Korea, Germany and others have been rapidly developing their hydrogen infrastructure. Several stations also operate in Denmark and Norway. I am hoping that there will be several more in Sweden in a short time”.</p> <p>The technology for producing hydrogen on a large scale from natural gas has been well established due to space exploration and other broad technologies. This will be a transitional pathway for some time allowing for the development of the hydrogen infrastructure. As renewable energy resources become more prevalent, electrolysis will be the source of hydrogen.</p> <p>“Another scenario we are not talking about enough is the controlled nuclear fusion leading to a completely new world. That would also be based on hydrogen,” says David Blekhman.</p> <p>David Blekhman will conduct research and teach at the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences during the 2019/2020 semesters. David Blekhman gives a special mention to his host Dr. Maria Grahn and says that her professional network is amazingly broad and she has generously shared her contacts with him, and also to professor Sonia Yeh who a few years ago was a Fulbright chair at Chalmers.</p> <p></p> <p>“My experience at Chalmers is nothing short of amazing. People are warm and genuinely interested in my work and share interesting opportunities that I could engage in”, he concludes.<br /><br />By: Ann-Christine Nordin and Anders Ryttarson Törneholm, ​<br /></p> <p><br /></p> <p><a href="/en/about-chalmers/Chalmers-for-a-sustainable-future/sustainability-day2019/Pages/default.aspx" style="outline:0px"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />The lecture is a part of Chalmers Sustainable day</a><br /><a title="link to registration" href="" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" style="background-attachment:scroll;background-origin:border-box;background-clip:border-box" />REGISTRATION (Masterclasses, workshops and Fulbright inaugural lecture) ​​</a><br /></p> <p><br /></p> <p><strong>The program for the Inaugural lecture of the 2019-2020 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Alternative Energy Technology:</strong></p> <p><br /></p> <p><strong>​14:30-14:45</strong> Opening, moderator Maria Grahn, Director of Energy Area of Advance<br /></p> <p>Welcome speech, Stefan Bengtsson, president and CEO</p> <p><strong>14:45-15:00</strong> Sonia Yeh to speak about the Fulbright Distinguished Chair program and value it has had in her case, her research at Chalmers</p> <p><strong>15:00-16:00</strong> David Blekhman, Inaugural Lecture, “If you build it, he will come” – Hydrogen Infrastructure</p> <p><strong>16:00-16:30</strong> Bill Elrick, Director of California Fuel Cell Partnership to speak remotely on Hydrogen Developments in California perspective</p> <p></p> <p><strong>16:30</strong> Reception​​</p>Thu, 31 Oct 2019 09:15:00 +0100 challenges for an increased share of wind power<p><b>​In a call for action from international wind power researchers, published in the scientific journal Science, the challenges of wind power are summarised in three points. Ola Carlson, Professor of Sustainable Electric Power Production at Chalmers University of Technology, has been the only Swedish researcher involved in the work to formulate the challenges of the future.</b></p><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Tre%20utmaningar%20för%20vindkraften/Ola_Carlson-2_250x350px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Ola Carlson" style="margin:5px;width:210px;height:294px" /><span style="background-color:initial">&quot;Every country around the world is basically facing similar research challenges regarding wind power development”, says Ola Carlson. “It is about creating the conditions for wind power to take a stronger position as a cost-effective and reliable renewable power source. Wind power has the potential to increase its share of the world’s power supply and to contribute to carbon dioxide-free electricity production as a substitute for fossil fuels.&quot;</span><div><br /><span style="background-color:initial"></span><div>Behind the call for action are 70 wind power scientists from 15 countries, having joined forces on the initiative of the US Department of Power’s National Renewable Power Laboratory (NREL).</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Higher, bigger and more stable</strong></div> <div>The first challenge is to increase the understanding of how the physical conditions of the wind affect the wind turbines, in terms of production capacity and lifetime expectancy.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“By building higher wind turbines, more energy from the winds can be utilised. New wind power plants may reach 250 metres, and, in the future, we will see heights up to 300 metres&quot;, says Ola Carlson. &quot;But higher plants also mean new wind conditions and other strains to consider. Therefore, we need to increase our knowledge of the effects of air currents.” </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Wind turbines are the largest rotating machines in the world today. As the plants become larger, new materials and manufacturing processes need to be developed, as well as systems for handling for example transportation and recycling.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;The second challenge is the structural dynamics in terms of the materials chosen and the construction design&quot;, continues Ola Carlson. &quot;Carbon fibre, for example, is an interesting future material for the wings, being both light and strong.&quot;</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Wind power’s third challenge focuses on the need to maintain stability in the electricity grid as the proportion of weather-dependent production increases.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“It is quite possible to equip the wind turbines with functions to provide extra active power to balance the electricity grid during frequency fluctuations&quot;, says Ola Carlson. &quot;There is also research showing that controlling the reactive power of wind turbines leads to increased grid stability.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Challenges that engage</strong></div> <div>Several of the challenges involve researchers at the Swedish Wind Power Technology Centre (SWPTC), hosted by Chalmers with Ola Carlson as Director. The goal of the centre is to optimize the capacity of wind power plants and make production and operation more cost-effective. The method is to combine theory and practice through close collaboration between industry and academia.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;I think the call for action focuses on exciting future challenges in wind power. My hope is that young researchers are attracted by this and that the call has enough weight to impact the funding for wind power research at a high international level&quot;, concludes Ola Carlson.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Although energy systems and energy policies vary from country to country, the research challenges are the same, for making wind power a significant part of the solution to the energy and climate challenges.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>Text: Yvonne Jonsson</em><br /><em>Illustration: Josh Bauer, NREL</em></div> <div><em>Portrait photo: Oscar Mattsson</em></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>More about the wind power researchers’ call for action</strong></div> <div>The call is addressed to the research community and was published on 10 October 2019 in the form of an article in the scientific journal Science.</div> <a href="" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" /></a><div style="display:inline !important"><a href="" target="_blank">Read the article “Grand challenges in the science of wind energy'​</a></div></div> <div><div style="display:inline !important"><a href="" target="_blank"></a></div> <br /> <div><strong>More about Swedish wind power research</strong></div> <div><a href="/en/centres/SWPTC/Pages/default.aspx">Swedish Wind Power Technology Centre (SWPTC) at Chalmers University of Technology</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>For more information contact</strong></div> <div><a href="/en/staff/Pages/ola-carlson.aspx">Ola Carlson</a>, Professor of Sustainable Electric Power Production at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology</div> <div><a href=""></a></div> </div>Tue, 22 Oct 2019 00:00:00 +0200 plastic waste could be recycled into new plastic<p><b>​A research group at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, has developed an efficient process for breaking down any plastic waste to a molecular level. The resulting gases can then be transformed back into new plastics – of the same quality as the original. The new process could transform today&#39;s plastic factories into recycling refineries, within the framework of their existing infrastructure.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">The fact that plastics do not break down, and therefore accumulate in our ecosystems, is one of our major environmental problems. But at Chalmers, a research group led by Henrik Thunman, Professor of Energy Technology, sees the resilience of plastic as an asset. The fact that it does not degrade makes it possible for circular usage, creating a true value for used plastic, and therefore an economic impetus to collect it.</span><div><br /></div> <div>“We should not forget that plastic is a fantastic material – it gives us products that we could otherwise only dream of. The problem is that it is manufactured at such low cost, that it has been cheaper to produce new plastics from oil and fossil gas than from reusing plastic waste,” says Henrik Thunman. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Now, through experimenting with chemical recovery via steam cracking of plastic, the researchers have developed an efficient process for turning used plastics into plastics of virgin quality.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Through finding the right temperature – which is around 850 degrees Celsius – and the right heating rate and residence time, we have been able to demonstrate the proposed method at a scale where we turn 200 kg of plastic waste an hour into a useful gas mixture. That can then be recycled at the molecular level to become new plastic materials of virgin quality,” says Henrik Thunman.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The experiments were carried out at the Chalmers Power Central facility in Gothenburg.</div> <div>In 2015, around 350 million tonnes of plastic waste were generated worldwide. In total, 14 per cent was collected for material recovery – 8 per cent was recycled into plastic of lower quality, and 2 per cent to plastics of similar quality as the original. Around 4 per cent was lost in the process. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Overall, around 40 per cent of global plastic waste in 2015 was processed after collection, mainly through incineration for energy recovery or volume reduction – releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. </div> <div>The rest – about 60 per cent – went to landfill. Only around 1 per cent was left uncollected and leaked into natural environments. Though only a small percentage, this nevertheless represents a significant environmental problem, since the amount of plastic waste is so high overall, and since the natural degradation of plastic is so slow, it accumulates over time.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="/SiteCollectionDocuments/SEE/News/Graphic-summary-ENG.pdf"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/graphic_summary_220.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />​</a>The current model for recycling plastic tends to follow what is known as the ‘waste hierarchy’. This means the plastic is repeatedly degraded, to lower and lower quality before finally being burned for energy recovery.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Instead of this, we focused on capturing the carbon atoms from the collected plastic and using them to create new plastic of original quality – that is, back to the top of the waste hierarchy, creating real circularity.” </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Today, brand new plastics are made by shattering fossil oil and gas fractions in a device known as a ‘cracker’ in petrochemical plants. Inside the cracker, building blocks consisting of simple molecules are created. These can then be combined in many different configurations, resulting in the enormous variety of plastics we see in our society.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>To do the same from collected plastics, new processes need to be developed. What the Chalmers researchers now present are the technical aspects of how such a process could be designed and integrated into existing petrochemical plants, in a cost-effective way. Eventually, this kind of development could enable a hugely significant transformation of today's petrochemical plants into recycling refineries of the future.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The researchers are continuing their work on the process.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We are now moving on from the initial trials, which aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of the process, to focusing on developing more detailed understanding. This knowledge is needed to scale up the process from a few tonnes of plastic a day, to hundreds of tonnes. That is when it becomes commercially interesting,” says Henrik Thunman. </div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">More about: The Chalmer​s researchers' method and its potential</h3> <div>The process is applicable to all types of plastic that result from our waste system, including those that have historically been stored in landfills or at sea.</div> <div>What makes it now feasible to use collected and sorted plastics in large-scale petrochemical plants is that a sufficient volume of material is collected, meaning that the plants can theoretically maintain the same output. These plants require around 1-2 million tonnes of sorted plastic waste per year to convert to match the production levels they currently derive from oil and fossil gas. </div> <div>Sweden's total amount of plastic waste in 2017 was around 1.6 million tonnes. Only around 8 percent of that was recycled to lower quality plastics.</div> <div>The Chalmers researchers therefore see an opportunity to create a circular use of plastic in society, as well as free us from the need for oil and fossil gas to produce various high-quality plastics.</div> <div>“Circular use would help give used plastics a true value, and thus an economic impetus for collecting it anywhere on earth. In turn, this would help minimise release of plastic into nature, and create a market for collection of plastic that has already polluted the natural environment, says Henrik Thunman.</div> <div>End-of-life bio-based materials like paper, wood and clothes could also be used as raw material in the chemical process. This would mean we could gradually reduce the proportion of fossil materials in plastic. We could also create net negative emissions, if carbon dioxide is also captured in the process. The vision is to create a sustainable, circular system for carbon-based materials.</div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">More about: Chalmers Power Central​</h3> <div>The Chalmers Power Central (CPC) is an advanced research facility focusing on carbon capture and conversion of biomass and waste. The power plant attracts researchers and industry from all over the world, who want to contribute to a sustainable future.</div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">More about: The research</h3> <div>The research results have been published in the journal Sustainable Materials and Technologies:</div> <div><a href="">Circular use of plastics-transformation of existing petrochemical clusters into thermochemical recycling plants with 100% plastics recovery</a></div> <div>The authors of the article are Henrik Thunman, Teresa Berdugo Vilches, Martin Seemann, Jelena Maric, Isabel Cañete Vela, Sébastien Pissot and Huong N.T.Nguyen. At the time of the research, all of them worked at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment at Chalmers University of Technology.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The work has been carried out with financial support from the Swedish Energy Agency through the projects <em>Innovative transformation processes at Chalmers power plant</em> and <em>Material recovery of plastic fractions via thermal conversion</em>, as well as the Swedish gasification centre.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><em>Photos: Johan Bodell, Chalmers</em></span><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><em>Illustration: BOID</em></span></div> <em> </em><div>​<br /></div> Tue, 15 Oct 2019 06:00:00 +0200 local energy market tested at Chalmers<p><b>​When the project Fossil-free Energy Districts (FED) ends this autumn, the first local energy market that combines the three energy carriers, electricity, heating and cooling has been established on Chalmers University of Technology campus Johanneberg.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Local energy systems are often mentioned as part of the solution, when it comes to the transformation of the energy system, that is necessary to meet an increased demand, but also to take care of a growing share of energy from renewable sources. Driven by these future challenges and with AI-technology as an enabler, the nine partners of the FED project have built such a system on the campus of Chalmers. By doing so they have moved forward the position of local energy systems as a possible piece of the energy transition puzzle.</span><div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Lokal%20energimarknad%20först%20att%20testas%20på%20Chalmers/Stina_Rydberg_128x172px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Stina Rydberg" style="margin:5px" />“It is a great success that we have managed to create and demonstrate this new and unique energy system that is now in full operation on campus. The attention and interest FED has attracted, both nationally and internationally, confirms that the concept of local energy systems is on the rise”, says Stina Rydberg, project manager at Johanneberg Science Park.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Trading between the buildings</strong></div> <div>By connecting the buildings on campus to a digital marketplace, the FED system is programmed to independently manage a constantly ongoing trade between buildings that can both consume, produce and store energy. The system continuously gets external input such as weather forecasts and electricity prices, and it is also connected to the surrounding energy grid.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>This way the system can control the energy consumption, for example by heating a building a few hours before the weather turns cold, and ensure that locally produced, renewable energy is used efficiently within the area. Hence, power-intensive peaks are avoided, and imports of fossil-based energy can be reduced.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>A model for operations and investments</strong></div> <div>In parallel with the construction of the real system on campus, the researchers at Chalmers have created a simulation model of the energy system and the digital marketplace.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Lokal%20energimarknad%20först%20att%20testas%20på%20Chalmers/David_Steen2_128x172px.jpg" alt="David Steen" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:5px" />“We have developed an investment model that prescribes technical solutions to reduce energy consumption and cut energy peaks”, says David Steen, researcher at the Department of Electrical Engineering. “Our simulations can also be useful in decision making on how the system should be operated by combining different energy sources, depending on what is most beneficial in terms of environment and economy, at any given time.<span style="background-color:initial">”</span></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>The testbed remains open</strong></div> <div>The FED project ends in 2019, but the campus testbed and marketplace will remain open to researchers and companies to test the new energy solutions needed in the transition towards a sustainable society. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“It is unique to have access to this kind of testbed and to be able to test solutions in close cooperation with industry as well as academy<span style="background-color:initial">”,</span><span style="background-color:initial"> says David Steen. “We will use it for continued research on local energy systems and to further develop the models created so far. One example is the newly launched project FlexiGrid, focusing primarily on the electric system and services directed to the local grid, performed in collaboration with researchers from Bulgaria, Switzerland, Turkey and Canada.”</span></div> <span></span><div></div> <div><br /></div> <div>In other EU-funded projects, the researchers will examine <a href="" target="_blank">advanced solutions for the future distribution grid​​</a> and<a href="" target="_blank"> how different micro-grids can interact </a><span></span>in order to facilitate the use of renewable energy production. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Small-scale local energy systems will become increasingly more important for managing the energy supply in the future”, David Steen concludes. ”FED has given us important pieces of the puzzle, but there is more to be explored to manage the energy transition.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">This is FED –​ Fossil-free Energy Districts</h3> <div>The Fossil-free Energy Districts project (FED), is an innovative effort by the City of Gothenburg to decrease the use of energy and the dependence on fossil fuel in a built environment. A unique local marketplace for electricity, district heating and cooling is being developed together with nine strong partners. </div> <div>The City of Gothenburg, Johanneberg Sciene Park, Göteborg Energi, Business Region Göteborg, Ericsson, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Akademiska Hus, Chalmersfastigheter and Chalmers University of Technology are all contributing with their expertise and knowledge to make FED attractive for other European cities as well.</div> <div>During 2017−2019 the FED testbed will be situated on Chalmers Campus Johanneberg. FED is co-financed by the European Regional and Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative, an initiative of the European Commission for cities to test new solutions for urban challenges. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Read more on the FED project</strong></div> <div><a href="/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Testbed-creates-ripple-effect-for-energy-research-.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Testbed creates ripple effect for energy research </a></div> <div><a href="" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Facts about FED on the web site of Johanneberg Science Park</a><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Contact</strong></div> <div>For questions regarding the research in FED:</div> <div>David Steen, researcher at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology</div> <div>E-mail: <a href=""></a></div> <div><br /></div> <div>For general questions about the FED project:</div> <div>Stina Rydberg, project manager, Johanneberg Science Park</div> <div>E-mail: <a href=""></a></div></div> <div><br /></div>Tue, 08 Oct 2019 00:00:00 +0200 new concept for more sustainable batteries<p><b>​A new concept for an aluminium battery has twice the energy density as previous versions, is made of abundant materials, and could lead to reduced production costs and environmental impact. The idea has potential for large scale applications, including storage of solar and wind energy. Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and the National Institute of Chemistry, Slovenia, are behind the idea. ​</b></p><div><span style="background-color:initial">Using aluminium battery technology could offer several advantages, including a high theoretical energy density, and the fact that there already exists an established industry for its manufacturing and recycling. Compared with today’s lithium-ion batteries, the researchers’ new concept could result in markedly lower production costs.</span><br /></div> <div> </div> <img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/Blandade%20dimensioner%20inne%20i%20artikel/PatrikJohansson_20190823_280x300.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:180px;height:194px" /><div>“The material costs and environmental impacts that we envisage from our new concept are much lower than what we see today, making them feasible for large scale usage, such as solar cell parks, or storage of wind energy, for example,” says Patrik Johansson, Professor at the Department of Physics at Chalmers. </div> <div>​“Additionally, our new battery concept has twice the energy density compared with the aluminium batteries that are ‘state of the art’ today.” </div> <div> </div> <div>Previous designs for aluminium batteries have used the aluminium as the anode (the negative electrode) – and graphite as the cathode (the positive electrode). But graphite provides too low an energy content to create battery cells with enough performance to be useful.</div> <div> </div> <div>But in the new concept, presented by Patrik Johansson and Chalmers, together with a research group in Ljubljana led by Robert Dominko, the graphite has been replaced by an organic, nanostructured cathode, made of the carbon-based molecule anthraquinone. </div> <div>The anthraquinone cathode has been extensively developed by Jan Bitenc, previously a guest researcher at Chalmers from the group at the National Institute of Chemistry in Slovenia.</div> <div>The advantage of this organic molecule in the cathode material is that it enables storage of positive charge-carriers from the electrolyte, the solution in which ions move between the electrodes, which make possible higher energy density in the battery. </div> <div><br /> </div> <img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/Blandade%20dimensioner%20inne%20i%20artikel/NiklasLindahl_190823_280x300.jpg" alt="" style="width:180px;height:193px;margin-top:5px;margin-bottom:5px;margin-left:10px" /><div>“Because the new cathode material makes it possible to use a more appropriate charge-carrier, the batteries can make better usage of aluminium’s potential. Now, we are continuing the work by looking for an even better electrolyte. The current version contains chlorine – we want to get rid of that,” says Chalmers researcher Niklas Lindahl, who studies the internal mechanisms which govern energy storage. </div> <div>​<br /></div> <div>So far, there are no commercially available aluminium batteries, and even in the research world they are relatively new. The question is if aluminium batteries could eventually replace lithium-ion batteries. </div> <div>“Of course, we hope that they can. But above all, they can be complementary, ensuring that lithium-ion batteries are only used where strictly necessary. So far, aluminium batteries are only half as energy dense as lithium-ion batteries, but our long-term goal is to achieve the same energy density. There remains work to do with the electrolyte, and with developing better charging mechanisms, but aluminium is in principle a significantly better charge carrier than lithium, since it is multivalent – which means every ion 'compensates' for several electrons. Furthermore, the batteries have the potential to be significantly less environmentally harmful,” says Patrik Johansson. </div> <div> </div> <div>Read the article, ‘<a href="">Concept and electrochemical mechanism of an Al metal anode ‒ organic cathode battery​</a>’, published in the journal Energy Storage Materials. </div> <div> </div> <div><div><span style="font-weight:700">Text</span>: Joshua Worth, <a href="">​</a> <span style="background-color:initial">and </span><span style="background-color:initial">Mia Halleröd Palmgren,</span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span><a href=""></a></div> <div><span style="font-weight:700;background-color:initial">Foto</span><span style="background-color:initial">: Henrik Sandsjö (Patrik Johansson) och Mia Halleröd Palmgren (Niklas Lindahl)​</span></div></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">For more information, contact: </h2> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><strong><a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/Patrik-Johansson0603-6580.aspx">Patrik Johansson</a>,</strong> Professor, Department for Physics, Chalmers University of Technology <a href=""></a></span><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><strong><a href="/en/staff/Pages/Niklas-Lindahl.aspxspx?q=niklas+lindahl">Niklas Lindahl</a>,</strong> researcher, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, currently based at the Department of Physics at the University of Gothenburg</div> <div>+46 76 622 91 36 ​ <a href=""></a></div> <div> </div> <div><div><a href=""><span><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read the press release and download high resolution images.​​</span>​</a></div> <div> </div></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">More on the research behind the new results:</h2> <div>In November 2015, Patrik Johansson’s idea for a new battery concept won close to a million kronor in an innovation competition organised by the chemical concern BASF. His team presented an aluminium-based battery technology. The concept offered higher energy density and significantly lower raw materials costs than previous versions. Now, four years on, after close collaboration with the National Institute of Chemistry in Slovenia, the idea has reached the physical concept stage.</div> <div> </div> <div>Jan Bitenc, one of the researchers in Slovenia, was awarded a stipend in 2017 from the Rune Bernhardsson Graphene Fund, and thereby got the opportunity to become a guest researcher at Chalmers. This allowed the two research groups to begin tackling the challenge together, with Gothenburg as their base. Chalmers worked on the aluminium anode and the electrolyte, while Jan Bitenc developed the organic cathode concept, which had already demonstrated its potential in magnesium batteries. The project became the start of a multi-year collaboration, where the cathode material was developed and optimised to become more resilient, and the mechanism behind the energy storage could be analysed. </div> <div> </div> <div>The results have been published in the journal Energy Storage Materials, in the article, ‘<a href="">Concept and electrochemical mechanism of an Al metal anode ‒ organic cathode battery​</a>’. It was written by Jan Bitenc, Niklas Lindahl, Alen Vižintin, Muhammad E Abdelhamid, Robert Dominko and Patrik Johansson. </div> <div>Patrik Johansson and Robert Dominko are two of three leaders in Europé’s biggest battery research network: <a href="">Alistore – European Research Institute (Alistore-ERI).​</a></div> <div> </div> <div>The research has been financed by the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Energy Agency, and Chalmers’ own Areas of Advance for Material Sciences and Energy. </div> <div style="text-align:right"><div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/750x340/Battery_Illustration_Muhammad750x340.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;font-size:20px" />​<span style="font-size:12px;background-color:initial">Illustration: Mu</span><span style="font-size:12px;background-color:initial">hammad Abdelhamid ​</span></div></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Towards next generation batteries</h2> <div>Anyone who follows the debates around electric vehicles knows that the most energy-dense batteries currently available contain lithium. But lithium is expensive, and is expected to become even more so, with growing demand leading to scarcity. Furthermore, lithium-ion batteries often contain the metal cobalt, which is mined under dangerous working conditions, and can fuel conflicts in the countries where it is extracted. </div> <div>Intensive work is ongoing at Chalmers regarding developing more sustainable alternatives to energy storage.<span style="background-color:initial">​</span></div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Read further articles on Chalmers research into energy storage:</h2> <div><a href="/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/Graphene_sponge_paves_the_way_for_future_batteries.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Graphene sponge paves the way for future batteries </a></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><a href="/en/news/Pages/Three-out-of-eight-to-Chalmers-in-Vinnova-investment.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />A new centre for Swedish batteries</a></span><br /></div> <div><a href="/en/departments/ims/news/Pages/carbon-fibre-can-store-energy.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Carbon fibres can store energy in the body of a vehicle </a></div> <div><a href="/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/Liquid-storage-of-solar-energy-–-more-effective-than-ever-before.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Liquid storage of solar energy</a></div> <div><a href="/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/Battery-idea-from-Chalmers-won-international-contest-on-energy-storage.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Battery idea from Chalmers wins international contest on energy storage ​</a></div> ​Mon, 30 Sep 2019 07:00:00 +0200 evaluate fossil-free system for replication<p><b>​A unique local marketplace for electricity, heat and cooling has been built at Chalmers University of Technology, campus Johanneberg. The purpose is to find new ways towards a fossil-free energy supply system at international level.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">During spring 2019, four master's students studied aspects of replicating and optimising the project Fossil-free Energy Districts (FED). The students presented their results in a joint seminar at Johanneberg Science Park.</span><div><br /></div> <div>Here are comments from some master’s students that you can meet in the film:</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Sandra Greven, from Eindhoven Technical University</strong></div> <div>“I focused on the replication of the FED project from the Swedish context to a Dutch context. My study mostly concerned the FED marketplace, the digital ICT solution and if it is possible to transfer that from one country to another, and how that can be made. There are opportunities for the FED system in special locations; in industrial areas, in renovated or newly built areas or in living labs or campuses.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Vu Hoang, from Chalmers University of Technology</strong></div> <div>“I looked mainly at peak-cooling in the district cooling system and how to reduce it. Then we can save money and also reduce environmental impact. The quickest way to reduce peak-cooling is by reducing demand from the building itself. Therefore, I have looked at how the cooling is distributed in the building and if the occupants in the building are satisfied with it. It is possible to do adjustments so that most people are satisfied while the cooling demand is lower than it was before, and that way we can reduce cooling itself. It is very fun!”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Chalmers%20blir%20unik%20handelsplats%20för%20energi/FED_750px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br /><br /><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong><br /></strong></div> <div><strong><br /></strong></div> <div><strong><br />This is FED – Fossil-free Energy Districts</strong></div> <div>The Fossil-free Energy Districts project is an innovative effort by the City of Gothenburg to decrease the use of energy and the dependence on fossil fuel in a built environment. A unique local marketplace for electricity, district heating and cooling is being developed together with nine strong partners. </div> <div>The City of Gothenburg, Johanneberg Sciene Park, Göteborg Energi, Business Region Göteborg, Ericsson, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Akademiska Hus, Chalmersfastigheter and Chalmers University of Technology are all contributing with their expertise and knowledge to make FED attractive for other European cities as well.</div> <div>During 2017−2019 the FED testbed will be situated on Chalmers Campus Johanneberg. FED is co-financed by the European Regional and Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative, an initiative of the European Commission for cities to test new solutions for urban challenges.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Read more: <a href="/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Testbed-creates-ripple-effect-for-energy-research-.aspx">Testbed creates ripple effect for energy research</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><em style="background-color:initial">The film is produced by Johanneberg Science Park.​</em><span style="background-color:initial">​</span></div>Fri, 30 Aug 2019 00:00:00 +0200 data transfer model saves energy on the internet<p><b>​The internet has arisen in the public debate as a climate hazard that causes carbon dioxide emissions as high as those originating from airplane travel. For five years, research at Chalmers has been underway to build models for energy-efficient data traffic. So far, the researchers have managed to reduce energy consumption to one tenth in specified areas.​</b></p>​​<span style="background-color:initial">We are streaming movies and music, saving our pictures in the cloud, and are constantly connected to all the opportunities that the internet offers. The use of a regular smartphone requires about as much electricity as a refrigerator. However, the charging of the mobile phone only accounts for a negligible part of that energy. The rest of the electricity is not being used at our homes, but in data centres which are housing the data stored in the cloud, and during the transportation of data through fiber-optic cables, sometimes being hundreds of kilometers long.</span><div><br /></div> <div><strong>An immense increase in data traffic</strong></div> <div>The amount of data transported via fiber-optic cables is increasing at an almost unimaginable rate. And so does the energy consumption from the data traffic. If nothing is done about the situation, within ten years, the internet alone will consume more electricity than is globally produced. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Ny%20modell%20för%20datatrafik%20sparar%20energi%20på%20internet/peter_andrekson_170112_250px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Peter Andrekson" style="margin:5px" />“It is a great challenge for society, and for us as researchers, to solve the equation of how to meet the demand for data capacity and performance, while keeping costs at a reasonable level and minimizing environmental impact. Not least, it requires a completely new way of optimizing the technical systems, says Peter Andrekson, Professor of photonics at Chalmers, who over the past five years has been the leader of a large research project with the aim to build a future model for energy-efficient optical fiber communication.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The intention of the project has been to locate the dominating energy consumers in the fiber-optic systems, and then to design and build a model that only uses one-tenth as much energy as the existing systems do. To succeed in this, a broad approach has been applied. Three different scientific perspectives have been joined together – optical hardware, electronic hardware and information theory, in order to perform coordination and transfer of data in the best possible way.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Many small energy thieves</strong></div> <div>Something that, at least to some extent, came as a surprise to the researchers was the fact that there are quite many small energy thieves with the potential of affecting the system – not a few large bottlenecks to tackle.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Ny%20modell%20för%20datatrafik%20sparar%20energi%20på%20internet/ErikAgrell_170608_250px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="Erik Agrell" style="margin:5px" />“Examples of such energy thieves are the signal processors in the transmitters and receivers in the optical systems”, says Erik Agrell, Professor of communication systems, who in this project has been responsible for developing mathematical models for designing new, more efficient types of transmitter and receiver algorithms. “Higher data transfer rates are requiring transmitters and receivers with the ability to handle stronger signals. However, with the help of error correcting codes, the requirements on the optical hardware can be partially lowered. On the other hand, it also consumes more energy, because the error correcting electronic hardware also runs on electricity. This is a concrete example of the need to find a balance between performance, cost and energy consumption in order to choose the best solution in every individual case.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Within the framework of the project, chips containing error correcting code have been designed at Chalmers and then custom made by a manufacturer in Europe. Thereafter, the chips have been tested to verify that the theoretical models and simulations of the power consumption are correct, also in practice. The design and testing have been conducted by researchers in Professor Per Larsson-Edefors' research group at the department of Computer Science and Engineering at Chalmers.​</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Aims at reducing energy consumption to one tenth</strong></div> <div>The prerequisites for how to design the optimal system differ, among other things, depending on the distance that data is being transported. On one hand, the researchers have studied data communication over short distances, from 1 up to 500 meters, which occur, for example, in data centres and in network-based computation clusters. On the other hand, research has also been focused on larger optical systems, where traffic from many users simultaneously travel over distances up to hundreds of kilometers.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The project aim, to reduce energy consumption to one tenth compared to the models used today, seemed in advance to be quite tough.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;Within defined areas, we are able to state – not without pride – that we have managed to reach the levels that we aimed for,&quot; says Peter Andrekson. “This applies not least to the power reduction thanks to the error correcting code. We have also received good feedback on the scientific results that we have presented. However, commercial companies are not particularly willing to contribute to this type of research. For competitive reasons, they keep their knowledge to themselves but on the other hand they don´t hesitate to apply the results from academia.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Ny%20modell%20för%20datatrafik%20sparar%20energi%20på%20internet/Erik-Agrell-1_500px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="Cristian Bogdan Czegledi and Erik Agrell" style="margin:5px" /><em>Professor Erik Agrell (to the right) is discussing effects of polarization in fiber optical communication with the doctoral student Cristian Bogdan Czegledi. (Photo J-O Yxell)​</em><br /><br /><br /></div> <div><strong>Interdisciplinary approach</strong></div> <div>To present results that really optimize the system as a whole, and not just the constituent parts, the researchers have worked interdisciplinary across three research fields. In total, the project will result in five doctoral theses. The doctoral students have worked in pairs circulating across departmental borders – an approach that has been the basis for reaching research results in a broad perspective.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“To be honest, the process of fully understanding each other's concepts within the project has been time-consuming. Even though we work within related fields of research, there are cultural differences between our specialist areas. Chalmers has a strength in the competence center <a href="/en/centres/force/Pages/default.aspx">FORCE​</a>, which coordinates research on fiber-optical communication”, says Peter Andrekson, who is also the director of this centre. ”We are now expanding, thanks to the move of the research group Optical Networks to Chalmers from KTH in Stockholm.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Sustainable economizing of the internet</strong></div> <div>“To obtain an internet that is sustainable from a resource-based point of view, three different perspectives have to be applied, says Erik Agrell. Firstly, it is about developing and using communication technology that is energy efficient, and in this perspective we can contribute as researchers. Secondly, it is about raising awareness and creating incentives for every one of us as internet users not to be unnecessarily wasteful of data traffic. In this case, the individual person, as well as the society at large, and our politicians, have a shared responsibility to maintain sustainability. And lastly, it is important for the climate which energy sources are used in each country to produce the electricity – the less fossil fuels and the more renewables the better.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“I am convinced that we are moving towards a paradigm shift”, he concludes. “In a not-too-distant future, data transfer and heavy calculations on the internet will be seen as resources to economize with, not as free and unlimited assets.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><div><strong>More about the research</strong></div> <div>The research has been funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation during five years starting from 2014, with 33,9 MSEK.</div> <div><a href="" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Energy-efficient optical fibre communication</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>For more information, contact:</strong></div> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Peter-Andrekson.aspx">Peter Andrekson</a>, Professor of photonics, Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience, Chalmers University of Technology, <a href=""></a></div> <div><a href="/en/staff/Pages/erik-agrell.aspx">Erik Agrell​</a>, Professor of communication systems, Department of Electrical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, <div style="display:inline !important"><a href=""></a></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><div>Text: Yvonne Jonsson</div> <div>Photo: J-O Yxcell (photo at the top of the page), Henrik Sandsjö (portrait photo of Peter Andrekson) and Oscar Mattsson (portrait photo of Erik Agrell)</div></div> <div><br /></div> <a href=""></a><div><br /></div> <div><strong style="background-color:initial">Data traffic and storage on the internet – this is how it works</strong><br /></div> <div>The internet is largely made up of fiber-optic cables, which are built into our houses, buried in the ground and at the bottom of the sea. In these cables, light is passed through the bundles of optical fibers with cores of very clean glass or plastic. The diameter of the fibers can range from a few millimeters down to less than a strand of hair, and they can be very long. A transmitter sends coded light signals through the optical fibers using lasers or light emitting diodes. At the other end, a receiver obtains the light signals and translates them back into electrical pulses, which are then passed on to computers, TV sets or mobiles. When the fiber-optical system is extended over long distances, signal amplifiers between the transmitter and the receiver may also be needed.</div> <div>When we use internet-based cloud services, we get access to applications, data storage and server capacity via the internet instead of having to handle them locally. Our data is then stored in huge server halls. These data centers use electricity for data storage, but also for cooling the servers.</div></div> <div><br /></div>Wed, 26 Jun 2019 00:00:00 +0200 quality by bus opened the door to summer jobs<p><b>​Six students at the Computer Engineering program at Chalmers decided to measure Gothenburg&#39;s air quality using a bus. It has led all the way to summer jobs and awards.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">During spring, small air quality measuring stations have been placed on several bus stops along the route of bus 55, including at Chalmersplatsen and Götaplatsen. In addition, one of the buses on the line has had a sensor on the roof, which in real time could measure the air quality of the city along the way the bus travels.</span><div>“There are already great sensors from the City’s Environmental Administration, but with a bus you can cover a huge area. In addition, the measuring equipment ends up in a good height, it is at street level that people breathe”, says Lina Lagerquist who, together with Magnus Carlsson, Åke Axeland, Henrik Hagfeldt, Simon Duchén and Sofija Zdjelar, study the third year at Computer Technology and have been part of the group.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Placed a meter on the bus</strong></div> <div>The idea appeared on an <a href="/sv/styrkeomraden/energi/nyheter/Sidor/Moved-vinnare-i-Ideathon.aspx">ideathon</a> before Christmas. After winning it, the students went on to do a bachelor thesis based on the idea.</div> <div>“We wanted to design a chain between sensors that measure air quality in Gothenburg and a web application where we can both see the measurement data in real time and during time periods in compiled reports. The chain also includes a server that we have developed that receives and manages the measurement data”, says Lina Lagerquist.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Early during the bachelor thesis, contact was made with Ericsson, Västtrafik and the Environmental Administration, and then there was no difficulty in placing a meter on one of the electric buses that go through town.</div> <div>“Everyone has been accommodating and it went quickly to be permitted to place the sensors out when we got in touch. That's a topical issue”, says Lina Lagerquist.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Important collaboration for Västtrafik</strong></div> <div>Hanna Björk is Head of Sustainability at Västtrafik:</div> <div>“Our collaboration with Chalmers and the students is important for us, to be able to take part of the ideas and knowledge that the students have. We have recently conducted a test drive campaign to attract motorists to more sustainable ways of traveling, with the issue of whether we should act differently if we saw the problem – that is, the poor air quality. Carrying out this test gives another dimension to the problem and hopefully the students' ideas can be taken from test to development that society then benefits from”, she says.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The project has used the Environmental Administration's air quality meter on Nordstan's roof as a reference. It turned out that the project's simple and inexpensive sensors followed the same trends but were not sufficiently reliable for the students to want to go out with their results.</div> <div>“We deliberately chose cheap sensors to see how they managed. Now we are thinking about how to make progress, for example placing more of them and denser, to get a more reliable result”, says Lina Lagerquist.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Summer jobs at Ericsson</strong></div> <div>And there will opportunities for more tests and theories. Everyone in the group have gotten a summer job at Ericsson.</div> <div>“We will work on developing a foundation for a technical system that <a href="">ElectriCity </a>will be able to use in future air measurements. It is such a great opportunity that we are very happy about. And it is awesome to see that you can put your studies into practice, that we can accomplish something and are on the right path”.</div> <div>In addition, the group has been awarded the Entrepreneurial Student Award within the Eng project at Chalmers.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>In the end, Lina Lagerquist and the others hope to be able to contribute to making people more aware of the problems of air pollution.</div> <div>“Poor air quality is a global problem, and one has to understand what it is to do something about it. Therefore, we hope that this project will be the same eye-opener for others as it has been for us”.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Text:</strong> Erik Krång</div> <div><strong>Photo:</strong> Johan Bodell</div> Wed, 12 Jun 2019 00:00:00 +0200