Tomas Kåberger's hallmark is to drive change from different platforms. So what does the vision look like when you now take on this task?
– The world's energy supply is developing rapidly and research results and new technology are valuable. Chalmers’ researchers have a lot to offer and I want to help in making this knowledge useful, says Tomas Kåberger, who is reinstated professor of Industrial Energy Policy at Chalmers University of Technology.
Tomas left his professorship at Chalmers three years ago, to work with energy technology innovations and industrial development together with InnoEnergy, which is part of the EIT, European Institute of Innovation and Technology. He has also until recently been a member of the Swedish Government's Climate Policy Council and will continue as chairman of the Renewable Energy Institute in Tokyo and board member of Vattenfall.
– The key word during my years as Director for Chalmers Energy Area of Advance has been collaboration and achieving exciting strategic collaborations together with academia, authorities and industry, says Maria Grahn, associate professor at the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences.
For research on complex systems, the term wicked sustainability problems is sometimes used. One example is the transition into sustainable energy and transport systems.
– Now, for example, electric cars are part of the solution, but as soon as you introduce electric cars, you have to deal with new challenges - you have to think about cobalt and lithium with all that entails regarding resource constraints and other risks such as child labor. But there is no actor who can solve a wicked problem on his own. So we have to take on the challenge from a larger perspective so that we really create a sustainable society and achieve the UN's sustainability goals, says Maria Grahn.
During her time as Director for the Energy area, she introduced a special track for collaborative projects, where researchers can apply for funding where they take on a challenge based issue from at least two different aspects to find as sustainable solutions as possible.
The IPCC's latest report, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis, is the sharpest to date, with the same message as previous reports but now with even larger letters and with even more consensus among the researchers. In media reporting, one hears that much must change, not just the energy system, but everything from what we consume, to how it is produced. Here you have to be wise strategically and have a long-term focus.
How do you see the role of Chalmers University of Technology and the Areas of Advance in contributing to this transition?
– Yes, the threat levels look worse. But at the same time, the technical solutions have become better and economically competitive. Now it is more about quickly putting the new technology into use and developing the industry in Sweden and Europe to enable global economic prosperity. Now it is more important and more fun to engage in energy technologies than it has been in 100 years, says Tomas Kåberger.
Tomas is constantly moving between academia, authorities, environmental organizations, and companies, and they are also the ones who gather at our seminars.
– Here, he points out, that Chalmers Areas of Advance has, in organized collaborations with companies at open seminars, managed to establish an arena that attracts participants from Chalmers and society. With these contacts with the outside world, Chalmers also contributes to the formation of new constellations of researchers to handle research tasks that are relevant to the outside world.
What do you especially want to highlight?
– After the pandemic year, I hope that we will be able to have more creative meetings both internally and externally, and that the combination of real meetings and all the communication methods we have now learned will give us even more international exchange.
Tomas Kåberger wants to contribute with efficient internal processes and focus on getting results in use.