Mats Leijon
​Mats Leijon during his inauguration lecture at Chalmers, titled "Electricity - any need for science and innovation?".

A profile in renewables returns

​After 35 productive years as a researcher, inventor and entrepreneur, Mats Leijon has returned to Chalmers, where he once started his career, now as a Professor in Electrical Engineering.
​“This is a new and exciting step for me”, Mats Leijon says. “I see myself as a resource for younger researchers, with the purpose to contribute with my knowledge where I can make the most of it.”

His career started with studies in electrical engineering at Chalmers in the 1980s. After having defended his doctoral thesis in high voltage engineering in 1987 he started working at ABB in Västerås. During his 13 years at the company he had several positions and worked as head of research, developing technology for measurements of diagnostics and monitoring of insulation systems and electrical power devices. In addition, he has invented and developed products in power generation. Most known is perhaps the Powerformer, a high voltage generator for connection to the grid without any intermediate transformer.

Developing renewables
Since 2000, Mats Leijon is a Professor in electrical science at Uppsala University. He has got about 1500 patents and has published more than 300 scientific articles. Developing renewable energy sources by using waves, wind and tidal currents have become his specialty. In parallel he has started the company Seabased, which plans, builds and installs complete, grid-connected wave parks at sea. Research and demonstration facilities are located outside Lysekil.

He is now phasing out part of his many commitments to be able to take on the assignment at Chalmers.

"I look forward to combining theory and practice to a larger extent than I have been able to do previously in academia", says Mats Leijon. “Here at the division of Electrical Power Engineering, there are good laboratory activities.”

In his opinion, setting high goals is crucial to success.

“First of all, I'm going to familiarise myself with the research activities here, and then apply for funding to do exciting research, but it is still too early to say in what areas this will be.”

Important to do one´s homework
“As a researcher, it is important not to limit your mind. One prerequisite is that you have done your homework and have a solid and stable knowledge base founded in basic theory”, Mats emphasises. “That gives you qualifications to take responsibility for development in society.”

"In order to implement your ideas, as an engineer, you can´t ignore what is possible to put into practice and what is commercially viable”, he states. “It is important to understand how your own research fits into the big picture.”

He sees the conformity within academia as a problem.

”People of the same type tend to choose the same type of solutions. The question is then if the right solutions really are highlighted? At Uppsala University, women account for about 40 percent in the field of electrical engineering. Perhaps I have some lessons learnt, that I could bring here”, Mats Leijon concludes.

Text: Yvonne Jonsson

Contact: Mats Leijon, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Chalmers

Published: Fri 16 Feb 2018. Modified: Tue 20 Feb 2018