News: Kemi- och bioteknik related to Chalmers University of TechnologyWed, 19 Sep 2018 14:00:30 +0200 Nuclear chemists get expanded permit<p><b>​The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority has decided to extend and expand Chalmers’ permission to hold and process fissile material. This means new possibilities for the department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering to conduct nuclear research, but most of all for educating students and PhD students.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">The team that makes the research and educate in Nuclear Chemistry got their permit to conduct nuclear research. In addition, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority extends the permit. This is due to the fact that the group has been able to meet the very high safety requirements for handling fissile materials. According to Christian Ekberg, Professor of Nuclear Chemistry and leading the group, the permit gives Chalmers unique possibilities.</span><div>&quot;It is amazing that this small group now has the opportunity to do things that cannot be done elsewhere in the western world,&quot; says Christian Ekberg, Professor of Nuclear Chemistry.</div> <div>The permission creates the opportunity to let students and doctoral students work hands on with relevant amounts of radioactive material which, according to Christian Ekberg, is important for learning about opportunities, risks and limitations in reality.</div> <div>&quot;It's one thing reading about radioactive material, but another thing to actually work with the material. In order to really understand what, for example, nuclear fuel is and to make real-world assessments, it's important to have experience of working with it”, says Christian Ekberg.</div> <div>The radioactive material that is contained in interlayers and final repositories will require knowledge in the area for many generations to come. The education and research that the permission now provides offer greater opportunities for competence development in this area, not only in Sweden but also internationally through the unique courses that the group provides. </div> <div><br /></div> Wed, 19 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0200 and opportunities in renewable biofuels production<p><b>​Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have identified two main challenges for renewable biofuel production from cheap sources. Firstly, lowering the cost of developing microbial cell factories, and secondly, establishing more efficient methods for hydrolysis of biomass to sugars for fermentation. Their study was recently published in the journal Nature Energy.​</b></p>​<span>The study, by Professor Jens Nielsen, Yongjin Zhou and Eduard Kerkhoven, from the Division of Systems and Synthetic Biology, evaluates the barriers that need to be overcome to make biomass-derived hydrocarbons a real alternative to fossil fuels. </span><div><br /><span></span><div> <strong>“Our study is of particular interest </strong>for decision makers and research funders, as it highlights recent advances and the potential in the field of biofuels. It also identifies where more research is required. This can help to priorities what research should be funded,” says Eduard Kerkhoven.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>It is technically already possible to produce biofuels from renewable resources by using microbes such as yeast and bacteria as tiny cell factories. <br />However, in order to compete with fossil-derived fuels, the process has to become much more efficient. But improving the efficiency of the microbial cell factories is an expensive and time-consuming process, so speeding-up the cell factory development is therefore one of the main goals. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Professor Jens Nielsen </strong>and his research group are world leaders in the engineering of yeast, and in the development and application of computer models of yeast metabolism – as well as being noted for their world-class research into human metabolism, and investigations into aging processes and diseases. Their work informs how yeast can best be engineered to manufacture new chemicals or biofuels. In their article “Barriers and opportunities in bio-based production of hydrocarbons,” the researchers investigate the production of various biofuels using a model of yeast metabolism. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>“We have calculated</strong> theoretical maximum production yields and compared this to what is currently achievable in the lab. There is still huge potential for improving the process,” says Eduard Kerkhoven.</div> <div>The other main barrier is efficient conversion from biomass, such as plants and trees, to the sugars that are used by the cell factories. If this conversion were made more efficient, it would be possible to use waste material from the forest industry, or crops that are purposely grown for biofuels, to produce a fully renewable biofuel. Eduard Kerkhoven notes how important biofuels will be for the future.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>&quot;In the future, </strong>whilst passenger cars will be primarily electric, biofuels are going to be critical for heavier modes of transport such as jets and trucks. The International Energy Agency projects that by 2050, 27 percent of global transport fuels will be biofuels. Meanwhile, large oil companies such as Preem and Total also predict that renewable biofuels will play an important role in the future. In their '<a href="">Sky Scenario</a>', Shell expects that biofuels will account for 10 percent of all global end energy-use by the end of the century. That is in line with our research too,” he concludes.  </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Read the article in Nature Energy</strong></div> <div><a href="">Barriers and opportunities in bio-based production of hydrocarbons ​</a></div> <div>the authors, Yongjin J. Zhou, Eduard J. Kerkhoven, Jens Nielsen</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>For more information, contact:</strong></div> <div><p style="margin:0cm 0cm 6.75pt;line-height:13.5pt"><span style="font-size:10pt">Eduard Kerkhoven , Project leader, Computational Metabolic Engineering, department of Biology and Biological Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, +46-31-772 3140, <a href=""><span></span></a></span></p> <p style="margin:0cm 0cm 6.75pt;line-height:13.5pt"><span style="font-size:10pt">Jens Nielsen, Professor, Quantitative Systems Biology, Head of Division of Systems and Synthetic Biology, <br />Chalmers University of Technology, +46-31-772 38 04, <span><a href=""></a></span></span></p></div></div> ​Tue, 04 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0200 nano researchers at successful networking event<p><b>​150 participants, 65 research posters and a wide range of reputable speakers. It was a successful community building event for the excellence initiative Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Marstrand on 20-22 August. &quot;This has evolved into the annual meeting place for the area&#39;s researchers, and with 150 participants it feels like we have established something really good,&quot; says director Bo Albinsson.</b></p><div><span style="background-color:initial"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/MC2/News/nanoevent_balbinsson_IMG_4530_350x305.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="" style="margin:5px" />Chalmers former Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Area of Advance has since been reorganized into an excellence initiative. It was the first time the researchers met in the new form for three days at Marstrands Havshotell, and overall the ninth networking meeting.</span><br /></div> <div>&quot;It is an opportunity to talk about both current and future issues. Those who are interested and active come here and know that it's good to meet and greet. Several have been here since the beginning – and it must mean that some think it's worth coming here,&quot; says Bo Albinsson (to the left), who is a professor of physical chemistry at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.</div> <div>He is the director of the excellence initiative together with co-director Göran Johansson, Professor of Applied Quantum Physics and Head of the Applied Quantum Physics Laboratory at MC2.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/MC2/News/nanoevent_IMG_4657_robert_hadfield_bra_350x305.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />The participants were invited to a packed program with speakers from Sweden and other countries. Chalmers was represented by, among others, Per Delsing, Julie Gold and Giulia Ferrini. Among the invited international speakers were Robert Hadfield (to the right), University of Glasgow, and Tuomas Knowles, University of Cambridge.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>During the three days, 65 posters were exhibited and judged by a jury consisting of Professor Erwin Peterman, Vrije Universiteit in The Netherlands, and Professor Tero Heikkilä, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. The top three posters were rewarded with SEK 5,000 each, to be used for conference trips.</div> <div>On Wednesday morning, prizes for best posters were awarded to Maja Feierabend, Astrid Pihl and Ludvig de Knoop. Also, Arne Sjögren's award for best doctoral dissertation in the nano area 2017 was awarded to Martin Eriksson from the Department of Physics.</div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/MC2/News/nanoevent_IMG_5050_arrangorer_b_665x330.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br /><span style="background-color:initial">The community building event was arranged by Astrid Pihl, </span><span style="background-color:initial">Maja Feierabend and </span><span style="background-color:initial">Ingrid Strandberg (picture above), PhD students at the departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Physics, and Microtechnology and Nanoscience –</span><span style="background-color:initial"> MC2.</span></div> <div>&quot;Preparations have taken place since April. At the end, there were a lot of logistics before all pieces fell into place,&quot; says Ingrid Strandberg, adding that all three were very pleased with the event.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text and photo: Michael Nystås</div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="/en/research/strong/nano">Read more about the excellence initiative Nano</a> &gt;&gt;&gt;</div>Thu, 30 Aug 2018 10:00:00 +0200's-first-research-conference-on-battery-recycling.aspx's-first-research-conference-on-battery-recycling.aspxThe world&#39;s first battery recycling research conference<p><b>​Our vehicles are moving towards an increasingly electrified future, but without functioning battery recycling technology, development will stop and electric cars&#39; batteries are still very difficult to recycle industrially. Now researchers and industry gather at Chalmers to attend the world&#39;s first research conference with the main focus on battery recycling.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Research on recycling of lithium batteries from, among other things, electric cars and portable electronics has grown as we approach a fossil-free and electrified society. Metals and minerals that are necessary for the batteries will sooner or later end. Cobalt, for example, which is one of the most common substances in the batteries, is now expected to reach its production peak around 2025. Cobalt is also considered by many to be a so-called conflict mineral where human rights are often violated in connection with mining in the form of child labour and slavery.</span><div><br /><span style="background-color:initial"></span><div>&quot;This is a very critical issue where it is crucial that we find a solution soon. Sustainable cobalt supply and recovery is crucial to the electric car's existence, &quot;says Assistant Professor <a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/marpetr.aspx">Martina Petranikova</a>, organiser of the conference.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>However, there are more areas in the battery life cycle that hold them back in terms of durability. Among other things, electric cars, when consumed, still have so much energy that recycling can be dangerous. In addition, electric vehicle batteries may vary so much between manufacturers that it is difficult for the recycler to know what the battery contains. At the same time, it is a competitive advantage for the companies to develop new assemblies on the batteries and thus the producers have to talk to the recyclers in order to find a right design</div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;The industry is very interested in finding the right recycling technology. Among other things, they are obliged to take care of the waste from their products, such as used batteries. With different combinations of batteries, they are very difficult to recycle industrially. Today we can recover most of a battery, but it takes time and is costly. With the conference, we want to meet and solve these problems, &quot;said Martina Petranikova.</div> <div>In order to find a sustainable solution, the entire battery life cycle must be coordinated from production and development to collection and recycling, as well as legislation. Therefore, Chalmers researchers in industrial recycling gather researchers, experts, manufacturers, users and recyclers under the same roof to share their knowledge, their expectations, technical and financial realities, and also their dreams to take the initiative for a circular economy of batteries .</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The Circular Economy of Batteries Production and Recycling, CEB, will be held at Lindholmen Conference Center 24-26 September 2018.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="">Read more at the conference page.</a></div> </div>Tue, 28 Aug 2018 00:00:00 +0200 cell research receives Horizon 2020 funding<p><b>​Jan Froitzheim, Associate Professor at Chalmers Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the Department of Energy and Materials, has received funding from the industry-driven Fuel Cells &amp; Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, FCH, which is a sub programme under Horizon 2020. This is the first time Chalmers gets a fuel cell funding within Horizon 2020.</b></p><p>​<img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/jan_froitzheim-170.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" />&quot;We have received this funding in competition with the best research teams in Europe so it's really very fun and a recognition for our group,&quot; says <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/jan-froitzheim.aspx">Jan Froitzheim.</a></p> <p>The project is part of the LOWCOST-IC project, where the group at Chalmers is part of a consortium led by Danish DTU, where several universities and companies participate.</p> <p>The Chalmers group focuses on the part of the fuel cell stack that links the cells into a larger unit, which is also the core of the overall project. Challenges within this area is predominantly corrosion problems because the material is exposed to temperatures between 600 ° C and 900 ° C. Their work is primarily to develop coatings that reduce corrosion and thus increase the durability of the cell.</p> <p>The budget is 3 million over three years.</p> <p> </p> <p>Read more:<br /><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/jan-froitzheim.aspx">Jan Froitzheim</a><br /><a href="">Fuel Cells &amp; Hydrogen Joint Undertaking</a><br /> </p>Thu, 23 Aug 2018 00:00:00 +0200 article about challenges in bio-based production of hydrocarbons in Nature<p><b>​​Congratulations to our colleagues Eduard Kerkhoven, Yongjin Zhou and Jens Nielsens, at the Division of Systems and Synthetic Biology.Together, they have written an article discussing and summarizing the barriers that needs to be overcome to make hydrocarbons produced from biomass a real alternative to fossil fuels.</b></p><div>The main challenges are to lower development costs of microbial cell factories and to make the conversion of the biomass feedstock more efficient. In their article they also discuss how to develop new tools for cell factory development.</div> <div>The article, “Barriers and opportunities in bio-based production of hydrocarbons, is published in Nature Energy, July 30.<br /><br /></div> <div><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read the Abstract in Nature Energy</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div>By: Ann-Christine Nordin</div>Fri, 03 Aug 2018 08:00:00 +0200 alloys could be possible, thanks to ground-breaking research<p><b>Many current and future technologies require alloys that can withstand high temperatures​ without corroding. Now, researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have hailed a major breakthrough in understanding how alloys behave at high temperatures, pointing the way to significant improvements in many technologies. The results are published in the highly ranked journal Nature Materials.​</b></p><div style="font-size:14px"><div><span>Developing alloys that can withst​and high temperatures without corroding is a key challenge for many fields, such as renewable and sustainable energy technologies like concentrated solar power and solid oxide fuel cells, as well as aviation, materials processing and petrochemistry. </span></div> <span> </span><div><span><br /></span> </div> <span> </span><div><span>At high temperatures, alloys can react violently with their environment, quickly causing the materials to fail by corrosion. To protect against this, all high temperature alloys are designed to form a protective oxide scale, usually consisting of aluminium oxide or chromium oxide. This oxide scale plays a decisive role in preventing the metals from corroding. Therefore, research on high temperature corrosion is very focused on these oxide scales – how they are formed, how they perform at high heat, and how they sometimes fail.</span></div> <span> </span><div><span>The article in Nature Materials answers two classical issues in the area. One applies to the very small additives of so-called ‘reactive elements’ – often yttrium and zirconium – found in all high-temperature alloys. The second issue is about the role of water vapour.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:10.66px"> </span></div></div> <div><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/350x305/TItan%20Microscope.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><span style="font-size:10.66px"><span style="background-color:window"> <span style="font-size:14px">“Adding reactive elements to alloys results in a huge improvement in performance – but no one has been able to provide robust experimental proof why,” says Nooshin Mortazavi, materials researcher at Chalmers’ Department of Physics, and first author of the study. “Likewise, the role of water, which is always present in high-temperature environments, in the form of steam, has been little understood. Our paper will help solve these enigmas”. </span></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:10.66px"><span style="background-color:window"><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></span></span> </div> <span style="font-size:14px"> </span><span style="font-size:14px"></span><div style="font-size:14px"><span>In this paper, the Chalmers researchers show how these two elements are linked. They demonstrate how the reactive elements in the alloy promote the growth of an aluminium oxide scale. The presence of these reactive element particles causes the oxide scale to grow inward, rather than outward, thereby facilitating the transport of water from the environment, towards the alloy substrate. Reactive elements and water combine to create a fast-growing, nanocrystalline, oxide scale. </span></div> <div style="font-size:14px"><span><br /></span> </div> <span style="font-size:14px"> </span><div style="font-size:14px"><span>“This paper challenges several accepted ‘truths’ in the science of high temperature corrosion and opens up exciting new avenues of research and alloy development,” says Lars Gunnar Johansson, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at Chalmers, Director of the Competence Centre for High Temperature Corrosion (HTC) and co-author of the paper. </span></div> <div style="font-size:14px"><span><br /></span> </div> <span style="font-size:14px"> </span><div style="font-size:14px"><span>“Everyone in the industry has been waiting for this discovery. This is a paradigm shift in the field of high-temperature oxidation,” says Nooshin Mortazavi. “We are now establishing new principles for understanding the degradation mechanisms in this class of materials at very high temperatures.” </span></div> <div style="font-size:14px"><span><br /></span> </div> <span style="font-size:14px"> </span><div style="font-size:14px"><span>Further to their discoveries, the Chalmers researchers suggest a practical method for creating more resistant alloys. They demonstrate that there exists a critical size for the reactive element particles. Above a certain size, reactive element particles cause cracks in the oxide scale, that provide an easy route for corrosive gases to react with the alloy substrate, causing rapid corrosion. This means that a better, more protective oxide scale can be achieved by controlling the size distribution of the reactive element particles in the alloy.</span></div> <span style="font-size:14px"> </span><div style="font-size:14px"><span>This ground-breaking research from Chalmers University of Technology points the way to stronger, safer, more resistant alloys in the future. </span></div> <div><br /> </div> <div>Text: Joshua Worth and Johanna Wilde</div> <div>Image: Johan Bodell</div> <div>Caption (the image in the text above): Nooshin Mortazavi and the Titan TEM microscope, which was used to investigate the nanocrystalline oxide forming on high-temperature alloys.  ​​<br /></div> <div><br /> </div> <a href=""></a><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" /></a><div style="display:inline !important"><a href="">Read the scientific paper <span style="background-color:initial"><em>Interplay of water and reactive eleme</em></span><span style="background-color:initial"><em>nts in oxidation of alumina-forming alloys</em> </span></a><span style="background-color:initial"><a href="">in Nature Materials.</a></span></div> <div><div><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read the press release from Chalmers University of Technology and download high-resolution images. ​</a></div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">More about: Potential consequences of the research breakthrough</h4> <div>High temperature alloys are used in a variety of areas, and are essential to many technologies which underpin our civilisation. They are crucial for both new and traditional renewable energy technologies, such as &quot;green&quot; electricity from biomass, biomass gasification, bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), concentrated solar energy, and solid oxide fuel cells. They are also crucial in many other important technology areas such as jet engines, petrochemistry and materials processing.</div> <div>All these industries and technologies are entirely dependent on materials that can withstand high temperatures – 600 ° C and beyond – without failing due to corrosion. There is a constant demand for materials with improved heat resistance, both for developing new high temperature technologies, and for enhancing the process efficiency of existing ones. </div> <div>For example, if the turbine blades in an aircraft's jet engines could withstand higher temperatures, the engine could operate more efficiently, resulting in fuel-savings for the aviation industry. Or, if you can produce steam pipes with better high-temperature capability, biomass-fired power plants could generate more power per kilogram of fuel. </div> <div>Corrosion is one of the key obstacles to material development within these areas. The Chalmers researchers' article provides new tools for researchers and industry to develop alloys that withstand higher temperatures without quickly corroding. </div> <div><br /> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">More About: The Research</h4> <div>The Chalmers researchers’ explanation of how oxide scale growth occurs – which has been developed using several complementary methods for experimentation and quantum chemistry modelling – is completely new to both the research community, and the industry in the field of high-temperature materials.</div> <div>The research was carried out by the High Temperature Corrosion Center (HTC) ( in a collaboration between the Departments of Chemistry and Physics at Chalmers, together with the world leading materials manufacturer Kanthal, part of the Sandvik group. HTC is jointly funded by the Swedish Energy Agency, 21 member-companies and Chalmers. </div> <div>The paper was published in the highly prestigious journal <a href="">Nature Materials​</a>. </div> <div><br /><br /></div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">Related news: ​</h5> <div><a href="/en/departments/ims/news/Pages/on-the-quest-for-high-entropy-alloys.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />On the quest for high-entropy alloys that survive 1500 °C ​​</a><br /></div> <div style="display:inline !important"><span style="background-color:initial"><a href=""></a></span> </div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/750x340/Nooshin%20WEB.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br />Nooshin Mortazavi is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Physics at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. <a href="/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/Materials-scientists-wins-two-prestigious-fellowships-------.aspx">She was recently awarded prestigious fellowships by the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Wallenberg Foundation. ​</a><span style="background-color:initial">She can now choose between two or three years of postdoctoral training at either Harvard University or at Stanford University in the US – followed by two years at Chalmers Univ</span><span style="background-color:initial">​ersity. </span></div> <div><br /> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">For more information: </h4> <div><div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Nooshin-Mortazavi-Seyedeh.aspx">Nooshin Mortazavi​</a>, Postdoctoral researcher, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, , +46 73 387 32 26, +46 31 772 67 83, <span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span></div> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/lg.aspx">Lars-Gunnar Johansson</a>, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, +46 31 772 28 72, <span style="background-color:initial">,​</span></div> </div></div>Tue, 19 Jun 2018 07:00:00 +0200 initiative for personalised medicine<p><b>​There are high expectations on the new wave of so-called &quot;personalised medicine&quot; which is adapted for each patient&#39;s needs. Chalmers is now involved in a new pharmaceutical collaboration between ten Nordic universities, funded by NordForsk with 46 million SEK.</b></p><p>​The personalised medicine is a kind of pharmaceutical that is constructed to suit each individual patient’s precondition. This will lead to better effect and less side-effects of the pharmaceutics.<br /></p> <p>Though expectations are high, the development has been relatively slow. Now NordForsk, which is a research funder part of the Nordic Council of Ministers, takes the initiative to increase the speed of development by funding the project Nordic PP (Patient Oriented Products) with 46 million SEK. The aim of the project is to put the Nordic research within the field of development of patient oriented products. This will reduce unwanted suffering and side effects for the patients. To reach the aim all researchers at the universities with this goal should build a strong community with much exchange of ideas and sharing of competences and instruments. The grant can only be used to mobility actions. <br /></p> <p>“At Chalmers we have both good equipment and competences in material science, production and pharmaceutics, which will be the platform for incoming researchers from the other universities. At the same time, all Chalmers researchers´ can visit the other universities in the network and do research. I am sure that this will strengthen both Chalmers and the Nordic research within the field” says Professor Anette Larsson, at Chalmers, who is leading the project from Chalmers’ side. <br /></p> <p>Involved in the project are pharmaceutical researchers at universities in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Denmark. They will develop strategies to design new type of pharmaceutical products, make the production of medicine more flexible, and move it closer to the end-user. The project runs for six years and was initiated in January with a kick-off meeting at University of Southern Denmark where 140 researchers participated. Collaborating partners are from University of Copenhagen and University of Southern Denmark, University of Oslo and University of Tromsö, University of Helsinki, Åbo Akademi University and University of Eastern Finland, University of Iceland and University of Uppsala and Chalmers University of Technology.<br /></p> <p>If you interested to invite guest researchers (from students to professors) or visit any of the universities in the network, please contact <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/anette-larsson.aspx">Professor Anette Larsson</a>  or <a href="">Professor Jukka Rantanen </a>for more information.</p> <div> <br /></div>Tue, 29 May 2018 00:00:00 +0200 biofuels can be produced extremely efficiently, confirms industrial demonstration<p><b>​A chance to switch to renewable sources for heating, electricity and fuel, while also providing new opportunities for several industries to produce large numbers of renewable products. This is the verdict of researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, who now, after ten years of energy research into gasification of biomass, see an array of new technological achievements.&quot;The potential is huge! Using only the already existing Swedish energy plants, we could produce renewable fuels equivalent to 10 percent of the world&#39;s aviation fuel, if such a conversion were fully implemented,” says Henrik Thunman, Professor of Energy Technology at Chalmers.​</b></p><h5 class="chalmersElement-H5"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Popreport_cover.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />Report detailing 200 man-years of research  </h5> <div>​We have summarized the work of the last ten years at Chalmers Power Central and GoBiGas in the report: &quot;GoBiGas demonstration – a vital step for a large-scale transition from fossil fuels to advanced biofuels and electrofuels&quot;. Researchers at the division of Energy Technology at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment at Chalmers have worked together with colleagues at the departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Microtechnology and Nanoscience, Technology Management and Economics, Biology and Biological Engineering, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences​ as well as a wide range of Swedish and international collaborative partners in industry and academia. <a href="" style="outline:none 0px"><span style="background-color:initial">Download the report: </span><span style="background-color:initial">GoBiGas demonstration – a vital step for a large-scale transition from fossil fuels  to advanced biofuels and electrofuels. </span></a>(21 Mb). <div><h6 class="chalmersElement-H6">​Pathway to a radical transition</h6></div> <div><div>How to implement a switch from fossil-fuels to renewables is a tricky issue for many industries. For heavy industries, such as oil refineries, or the paper and pulp industry, it is especially urgent to start moving, because investment cycles are so long. At the same time, it is important to get the investment right because you may be forced to replace boilers or facilities in advance, which means major financial costs. Thanks to long-term strategic efforts, researchers at Sweden´s Chalmers University of Technology have now paved the way for radical changes, which could be applied to new installations, as well as be implemented at thousands of existing plants around the globe.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The solution presented involves widespread gasification of biomass. This technology itself is not new. Roughly explained, what is happening is that at high temperatures, biomass is converted into a gas. This gas can then be refined into end-products which are currently manufactured from oil and natural gas. The Chalmers researchers have shown that one possible end-product is biogas that can replace natural gas in existing gas networks.</div> <h6 class="chalmersElement-H6">The problems with tar are solved​</h6> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/tar-problem-before-and-after.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />Previously, the development of gasification technology has been hampered by major problems with tar being released from the biomass, which interferes with the process in several ways. Now, the researchers from Chalmers’ division of Energy Technology have shown that they can improve the quality of the biogas through chemical processes, and the tar can also be managed in completely new ways, see images to the right. This, in combination with a parallel development of heat-exchange materials, provides completely new possibilities for converting district heating boilers to biomass gasifiers. <a href="">Watch an animation with more details about how the problems with tar has been solved​</a>. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;What makes this technology so attractive to several industries is that it will be possible to modify existing boilers, which can then supplement heat and power production with the production of fossil-free fuels and chemicals.&quot;, says Martin Seemann, Associate Professor in Energy Technology at Chalmers.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We rebuilt our own research boiler in this way in 2007, and now we have more than 200 man-years of research to back us up,” says Professor Henrik Thunman. “Combined with industrial-scale lessons learned at the GoBiGas (Gothenburg Biomass Gasification) demonstration project, launched in 2014, it is now possible for us to say that the technology is ready for the world.” </div> <h6 class="chalmersElement-H6">Many applications</h6> <div>The plants which could be converted to gasification are power and district heating plants, paper and pulp mills, sawmills, oil refineries and petrochemical plants.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“The technical solutions developed by the Chalmers researchers are therefore relevant across several industrial fields”, says Klara Helstad, Head of the Sustainable Industry Unit at the Swedish Energy Agency. “Chalmers´ competence and research infrastructure have played and crucial role for the demonstration of advanced biofuels within the GoBiGas-project.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The Swedish Energy Agency has funded energy research and infrastructure at Chalmers for many years. </div> <div>How much of this technological potential can be realised depends on the economic conditions of the coming years, and how that will affect the willingness of the industrial and energy sectors to convert. The availability of biomass is also a crucial factor. Biomass is a renewable resource, but only provided we do not deplete the conditions for its biological production. There is therefore a limit for total biomass output.</div></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text: Christian Löwhagen, Johanna Wilde. </div> <div>Translation: Joshua Worth.</div> <div>Tar illustration: BOID. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href=""><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Process-video.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />Watch a film detailing the process in the GoBiGas Plant</a>. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="">Read more in the international press release. ​</a></div> <div>​<br /></div></div>Mon, 21 May 2018 07:00:00 +0200 chemistry in severe nuclear accidents<p><b>​In the event of a nuclear accident, the release of radionuclides is always a concern. In his PhD project, Fredrik Espegren, PhD student in Nuclear chemistry at Chalmers, maps what happens with tellurium under different conditions during an accident.</b></p>​<span>The extent of radionuclide release is affected by several factors, for example type of atmosphere, temperature, and what structural materials are present during the accident. </span><div>The release of tellurium is especially worrying due its volatility, its reactivity, and the fact it decays to radioactive iodine. Moreover, the radiological and chemical toxicity of tellurium will, during an accident, be very problematic to the public and the environment. Fredrik has experimentally studied the interaction of tellurium both with metallic structural materials of the containment and with sea-salt residues, which is relevant if seawater is used as a coolant in an accident scenario.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Results from the containment experiments using a furnace showed signs of possible reaction between tellurium and a copper surface under inert humid conditions close to room temperature. Otherwise, tellurium deposition occurred on the metal surfaces with no observable chemical reaction and no strong attachment to the surface. For the seawater investigations, thermogravimetric analysis and furnace experiments were used. Under inert atmosphere, no indication of interaction was seen, but for oxidizing conditions an interaction for all samples was observed” says Fredrik Espegren.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>What does that mean?</strong></div> <div>&quot;The containment experiments give a clear picture of what happens to tellurium when exposed to different conditions in the atmosphere and the corresponding deposition in the containment on selected metal surfaces. The sea-salt residue is a sort of screening experiment to see if anything at all happens. Something was potentially seen under oxidizing conditions, and further research can continue onward from this.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>How can these findings be used? </strong></div> <div>The main use lies in better understanding the source term of tellurium from a chemical speciation perspective and potentially validating simulations of nuclear accidents with regards to tellurium. In general, this supports the use of the already existing mitigating system (containment spray).</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>You have another 2-3 years left of your PhD project - What will you do next?</strong></div> <div>Continue with another condition (reducing) and a new surface, paint. Moreover, the tellurium water chemistry will be touched upon with some interaction between tellurium and painted surfaces in water. Furthermore, some Cs-I-Mo investigations will be performed as well, to see what chemical species are formed between them under different conditions. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>What is the best part of your work?</strong></div> <div>The best part is the experimental work, and analyzing the outcome.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div>Fri, 04 May 2018 00:00:00 +0200 method for recycling titanium dioxide from white paint<p><b>​Large amounts of titanium dioxide become waste in the paint industry and at recycling stations. Now, research from Chalmers shows a method of utilizing the valuable material.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Titanium dioxide is one of the more common substances used to produce white paint. But titanium dioxide is an expensive material that is extracted by refraction. In today's chemical processes for paint production, much titanium dioxide is wasted. In collaboration with AkzoNobel and Stena Recycling, <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/kx02kami.aspx">Mikael Karlsson</a>, at Chalmers Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, has developed a method of recovering titanium dioxide through pyrolysis, a type of separation process that occurs through heating.</span><div>The method involves separating organic from inorganic material. Mikael Karlsson has primarily looked at titanium-based white paint because it does not contain as many other types of inorganic material as coloured paints.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;By my method, we can recycle titanium dioxide of sufficient quality to be used as a matte wall paint, which is one of the biggest uses for white paint,&quot; says Mikael Karlsson.<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Centrum/Competence%20Centre%20Recycling/Nyheter/Mikael%20Karlsson.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:200px;height:299px" /><br /><br /></div> <div>The PhD student project is linked to AkzoNobel's strategic work to reduce its carbon footprint by recycling white paint in their processes. But much titanium dioxide is also wasted today in colour cans that come from private individuals and companies to recycling centres. Manufacturers may be required to be responsible for recycling for the products they sell, which makes the method interesting even with regard to this type of waste.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The research has been done with the help of CCR and Mikael Karlsson sees the advantages with having the centre close at hand.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>- I have been helped with different points of view during the course of work. Recycling is so wide that it is good to keep knowledge of others close. I am basically a paint technician and my work here has been very interdisciplinary with access to both industry and different research disciplines, &quot;says Mikael Karlsson.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>One possible next step in process development is to investigate paint that contains more inorganic materials than just titanium dioxide so that these may be separated to create as efficient value chain as possible.</div> <div>On May 4, Mikael Karlsson defends his thesis Recycling of TiO2 pigment from waste paint: process development, surface analysis and characterization.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text and photo: Mats Tiborn</div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="/sv/institutioner/chem/kalendarium/Sidor/Mikael-Karlsson,-Energi-och-material.aspx">More about the defense​</a><br /></div> Wed, 02 May 2018 00:00:00 +0200 provides Chalmers funding to develop new methods to study brain cells<p><b>​Greater insight into the chemical processes of brain cells can lay the groundwork for new ways to cure brain-related diseases where short-term memory is affected. In a new grant from the ERC (European Research Council), Professor Andrew Ewing has received 25 million to chart the role of secretion of neurotransmitters in our memory process.</b></p><p>​Signal substances in the brain are the molecules that cells use to communicate and send nerve signals to each other. The cells contain capsules, so-called vesicles, which are filled with a certain amount of transmitter molecules, so-called signal substances, used by the cells for communication and regulatory functions in the organism.</p> <p><br />Our short-term memory starts with a chemical process in the brain where brain cells interact with the aid of neurotransmitters that are secreted from these vesicles. The cellular processes that direct the vesicle to start release have been charted and the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine was given for this. Exactly how this finishes is, however, not known today, but earlier results from Andrew Ewing’s research show that the amount of signal substance that cells emit varies in different situations providing a mechanism for change in signal or learning. By examining the content of signal substance in individual vesicles and comparing to the amount of signal substance that a cell yields, his research shows that it is possible to see at a very detailed level how much signal substance is released from the cell in different situations. </p> <p><br />&quot;This discovery provides a completely different view of what regulates neurotransmitter release and shows this regulation is possible at the level of single release events.&quot;</p> <p> <br />Knowledge of this opens up for further research on the transmission of signal transmission and raises questions about the plasticity of the cell wall and how strong the coupling, synapse, between the nervous cells, which can lead to methods that may counter memory diseases.</p> <p><br />&quot;This can give us tools to understand the processes that are affected in diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, adding a new pharmaceutical target by regulating individual vesicles and how they open.&quot;</p> <p><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/andrew-ewing.aspx"><br />Andrew Ewing</a> has now received an estimate of 2.5 million euro from the ERC to test how extensive the proposed mechanism is, to develop new methods of analysis of nanometer vesicles, and to use this in a next step to investigate full brain cells of banana flies as a model. In addition, he will investigate the role of changes in the membrane of the cell in the chemical reactions that are essential for a functioning short-term memory.</p> <p><br />&quot;I have been blessed with being able to interact with great students, postdocs and collaborators with open minds and super ideas. ​This is a very exciting and far reaching project where many of the things we are investigating are clearly controversial and parts might not work, but that adds to the excitement and this is the kind of work the ERC funds to push science to the future.&quot;</p> <p><br />In the long run, Andrew Ewing hopes that his research will provide tools to understand how diseases that damage short-term memory work on a deeper level.</p> <p> </p> <p>Text: Mats Tiborn</p>Fri, 06 Apr 2018 00:00:00 +0200 textile lights a lamp when stretched<p><b>​Working up a sweat from carrying a heavy load? That is when the textile works at its best. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have developed a fabric that converts kinetic energy into electric power, in cooperation with the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås and the research institute Swerea IVF. The greater the load applied to the textile and the wetter it becomes the more electricity it generates. The results are now published in the Nature Partner journal Flexible Electronics.</b></p>​Chalmers researchers Anja Lund and Christian Müller have developed a woven fabric that generates electricity when it is stretched or exposed to pressure. The fabric can currently generate enough power to light an LED, send wireless signals or drive small electric units such as a pocket calculator or a digital watch.<div> </div> <div>The technology is based on the piezoelectric effect, which results in the generation of electricity from deformation of a piezoelectric material, such as when it is stretched. In the study the researchers created a textile by weaving a piezoelectric yarn together with an electrically conducting yarn, which is required to transport the generated electric current.</div> <div> </div> <div>“The textile is flexible and soft and becomes even more efficient when moist or wet,” Lund says. “To demonstrate the results from our research we use a piece of the textile in the shoulder strap of a bag. The heavier the weight packed in the bag and the more of the bag that consists of our fabric, the more electric power we obtain. When our bag is loaded with 3 kilos of books, we produce a continuous output of 4 microwatts. That’s enough to intermittently light an LED. By making an entire bag from our textile, we could get enough energy to transmit wireless signals.”</div> <div> </div> <div>The piezoelectric yarn is made up of twenty-four fibres, each as thin as a strand of hair. When the fibres are sufficiently moist they become enclosed in liquid and the yarn becomes more efficient, since this improves the electrical contact between the fibres. The technology is based on previous studies by the researchers in which they developed the piezoelectric fibres, to which they have now added a further dimension. </div> <div> </div> <div>“The piezoelectric fibres consist of a piezoelectric shell around an electrically conducting core,” Lund says. “The piezoelectric yarn in combination with a commercial conducting yarn constitute an electric circuit connected in series.” </div> <div> </div> <div>Previous work by the researchers on piezoelectric textiles has so far mainly focused on sensors and their ability to generate electric signals through pressure sensitivity. Using the energy to continuously drive electronic components is unique. </div> <div> </div> <div>“Woven textiles from piezoelectric yarns makes the technology easily accessible and it could be useful in everyday life. It’s also possible to add more materials to the weave or to use it as a layer in a multi-layer product. It requires some modification, but it’s possible,” Lund says. </div> <div> </div> <div>The researchers consider that the technology is, in principle, ready for larger scale production. It is now mainly up to industrial product developers to find out how to make use of the technology. Despite the advanced technology underlying the material, the cost is relatively low and is comparable with the price of Gore-Tex. Through their collaboration with the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås the researchers have been able to demonstrate that the yarn can be woven in industrial looms and is sufficiently wear-resistant to cope with the harsh conditions of mass production.<br />   </div> <div><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" /> Anja Lund about the research results</a></div>Thu, 22 Mar 2018 00:00:00 +0100 study increases the trustworthiness of charcoals.<p><b>​Charcoal filters are shaped to protect against and sample radioactive methyl iodide. But how well do the filters protect us from and capture other kinds of radioactive organic iodine? Researchers at Chalmers recently published an article about this in the journal Nuclear Engineering and Design.</b></p>​Charcoal filters are used in environmental sampling to estimate radioactive iodine both under normal operating conditions and during emergencies. They are used in protection systems such as air purifying filter respirators to protect against radioactivity. But they must be versatile. Iodine can exist in many forms during a nuclear accident. <div><br />One of the most common types is methyl iodide, which is why the charcoal filter is designed to retain this kind of iodine. But there may also be other kinds of radioactive iodine, and as the formation of other organic iodine compounds has been observed in nuclear plants it can be reasoned that a failure of a charcoal to retain other types of organic iodine than methyl iodide could have adverse consequences. </div> <div><br />Researchers at Chalmers have investigated how different charcoals have the ability to capture radioactive organic iodine compounds other than methyl iodide. </div> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="font-size:14px;margin-right:0px"><div style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-size:14px">– Of the compounds tested it has been found that methyl iodide is the compound which is most poorly retained by charcoal. The charcoal in our tests was more able to capture and retain ethyl iodide, isopropyl iodide and chloromethyl iodide than methyl iodide. This is an important finding as it indicates that we can better trust the charcoal based devices used to sample the radioactive iodine in the air and also that we can better trust respirator filters which are based on the charcoal with the standard methyl iodide fixing agent, says <a href="/en/staff/Pages/foreman.aspx">Associate Professor Mark Foreman</a>.</span></div></blockquote> <div style="font-size:14px">Compared with many other radioactive elements, iodine has a particularly high ability to harm humans and other animals. All vertebrates have a thyroid, a small but vital gland which controls the metabolic rate and other important bodily functions. The thyroid gland needs iodine to work properly and it absorbs both radioactive and non-radioactive iodine, which may lead to thyroid cancer if it is exposed to the harmful kind.  </div> <div style="font-size:14px"> </div> <div>A lot of radioactive iodine is formed by the fission of uranium and plutonium atoms in a nuclear reactor. During a serious nuclear reactor accident a large fraction of the radioactive iodine in the fuel can escape from the core and subsequently from the plant. The iodine also has the potential to become very mobile, it can form several gases and very low boiling point compounds. While the noble gases in reactor fuel are more mobile than iodine, the iodine is often of greater concern as its chemistry and biology causes it to be more radiotoxic. </div> <div><a href="">Read the article here</a><br /></div> <div><br /> Text: Mats Tiborn</div>Fri, 26 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100 methods to analyze molecular dynamics in biology, chemistry and physics<p><b>​A recent paper in Nature Chemistry, involving Chalmers guest researcher Jakob Andreasson, explains a key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes.</b></p><p class="chalmersElement-P">​<img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Materials%20Science/News/Jakob-Andreasson.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" />In biology, chemistry, and physics, molecular function is strongly dependent on the interaction between structure and dynamics. In processes such as photosynthesis and many types of catalysis, charge transfer reactions between metal ions and their surroundings, and the time scale on which they occur, play a major role. Jakob Andreasson, guest researcher at the Condensed Matter Physics division at Chalmers University of Technology, has together with an International and interdisciplinary team of researchers performed a study where a combination of ultrashort X-ray and laser pulses were used to show how the local binding of copper ions depends on the speed of charge transfer in photochemical reactions. The results of this demanding series of experiments were published earlier this week in Nature Chemistry.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The research project is led by Sonja Herres-Pawlis from the RWTH Aachen University (RWTH),  Michael Rübhausen from the University of Hamburg and Wolfgang Zinth from Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><a href="">Read the press release from DESY</a><br /></p> <div> </div> <div><a href="">Read the article in Nature Chemistry<br /></a></div> <div>doi:10.1038/nchem.2916</div> <div><br /> </div> <div><p class="chalmersElement-P"><em>Photo: Jakob Andreasson during preparations for an experiment at the AMO instrument at the X-ray Free Electron Laser LCLS at SLAC, Stanford, California. </em>(Jakob Andreasson, private)</p> <div><a href=""></a> </div></div>Fri, 19 Jan 2018 11:00:00 +0100