illustration of the research filed catalysis
​Competence center Catalysis develop catalysts for sustainable energy systems. The catalytic reaction is stimutlated either by heat (thermal catalysis) or electrical potential (electrocatalysis)​​​​​​​​​
​Competence center Catalysis 

Competence centers in Catalysis and Nuclear technology receive support

​The Swedish Energy Agency has allocated a total of 600 million SEK to eleven destinated competence centers for sustainable energy systems. In strong competition, Competence Centre for Catalysis, lead by Chalmers and a new competence center in nuclear technology, which includes researchers from Chalmers, have been selected as two of these.
Competence Centre for Catalysis has the position as Sweden's foremost in its field since it was founded in 1995 and is also an internationally important player. This has not made waiting for the Energy Agency’s decision less nervous for Magnus Skoglundh, Professor at the Department for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and Director for the center. He is shining in a contagious joy, when he talks about the news and what it means for the center.
“It has been a fierce competition, and we have been preparing for two years. The funding means that we can start new research areas and projects, and develop our existing areas”, says Magnus Skoglundh. 

Start chemical reactions and lowers energy consumption 

Catalysis is a phenomenon that allows us to start and affect chemical reactions, with the help of a catalyst. The use of catalytic technology is essential for several of our critical sustainability issues. Therefore, competence and research within this field, is vital if we shall succeed in the transition to sustainable systems for transport, chemical and material production, and energy conversion.

portrait Magnus Skoglundh “The main property of a catalyst is that it lowers the energy barrier required for the reaction to take place. Instead of 300 degrees, it can for example proceed at room temperature, Magnus Skoglundh explains.”

In the upcoming period, the center will focus on greenhouse gases to a greater extent than emissions, which they are already strong in. Further, the research on synthesis and production of fossil-free energy carriers will increase. Electrocatalysis is a large part of the center’s work and development of fuel cells, which is an important component for the future fossil-free society. They will also introduce a completely new part - energy efficient and greener chemical industry. The center has many exciting research projects underway. Right now, they are for example working on reducing nitrous oxide emissions, where they are internationally leading.

One of the center's most important purposes is to train skilled engineers, licentiates, doctors and senior researchers, who can implement what they have learned in the industry. The collaboration with the business community has been ongoing from the start. Today, there are eight member companies in the competence center. At Chalmers, researchers in chemistry and physics have been included and now it will be further broadened with researchers in energy system analysis​.

Premiere for nuclear technology support 

Among the Swedish Energy Agency's designated competence centers, there is also research and competence in nuclear technology. It is the first time that the agency supports competence and research in this area. The competence center, which has been named ANItA (Academic-Industrial Nuclear Technology Initiative to Achieve a Future Sustainable Energy Supply) is led by Uppsala University, aims to support the development of small modular nuclear power reactors in Sweden. The project will primarily be focused on current reactor technology, but a significant part will also be about the foundation for future nuclear energy systems. Researchers from the departments of chemistry and physics at Chalmers participate in the center.

More about the Swedish Energy Agency's grants  

Together with the business and the public sector and academia, the Swedish Energy Agency finances 11 competence centers that will build knowledge and competence that accelerate the transition away from the fossil dependence and strengthen Sweden's competitiveness. The Swedish Energy Agency's support of SEK 600 million makes up a third of the funding and is shared by equal parts from universities and research institutes, respectively business and public organizations.

The Competence center for Catalysis was granted SEK 39 million
The Competence Center ANItA was granted SEK 25 million

Of those who were granted grants, Chalmers was the main applicant behind four, and the co-applicant for two. The direct grants to Chalmers amount to a total of SEK 239,355,500.

Contact and more information Competence Center for Catalysis 

Magnus Skoglundh, Professor at the Department for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and Director for the Competence Centre for Catalysis  

Contact and more information Competence Center Anita

Christian Ekberg, Professor at the Department for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and co-applicant for the Competence Center ANita.

Text: Jenny Holmstrand 
Portrait photo: Mats Tiborn/Chalmers 

Page manager Published: Wed 19 Jan 2022.