Lastbil och Tomas 750x340
​Tomas Grönstedt, coordinator of TechForH2​​
​Photo: Anna-Lena Lundqvist 

For a sustainable hydrogen economy of tomorrow

​“Getting a node for vehicle research and hydrogen with its main focus in the western part of Sweden is fantastic. And it’s of course also great that we’ll now get a center that focuses on collaboration between different modes of transport,” says Tomas Grönstedt, coordinator of the competence center TechforH2, which now receives almost SEK 54 million from the Swedish Energy Agency in order to develop new technology in hydrogen propulsion as a step towards conversion to fossil freedom.
It was just before Christmas that the Swedish Energy Agency announced their large investments in centers that research sustainable energy systems. A total of SEK 600 million is to be distributed in grants to eleven different competence centers, of which more than half are based at Chalmers - as the main applicant in four cases and co-applicants in two. The centers’ overall purpose is to build knowledge and competence that accelerates the transition away from the fossil society and strengthens Sweden's competitiveness.

One of the competence centers that receives grants from the Swedish Energy Agency is TechForH2 at the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Studies, which receives almost SEK 54 million to develop new technology and innovations for the integration of hydrogen propulsion focused on heavier transports. The center's total budget, including funding from the industry and Chalmers, amounts to almost SEK 162 million over a five-year period in a first stage, with the possibility of extension for another five years.

“Getting a node for vehicle research and hydrogen with its main focus in the western part of Sweden is fantastic. And it’s of course also great that we’ll now get a center that focuses on collaboration between different modes of transport. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed networking and seeking collaborations within the academy, it will be fun to be able to do this wholeheartedly,” says Tomas Grönstedt, professor of fluid dynamics at the Department of Mechanic and Maritime Studies and coordinator for TechForH2.

Hydrogen - for a fossil-free Sweden

To achieve Sweden's goal of zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, a fossil-free transport system and renewable fuels are an absolute must. The focus so far has been mainly on the importance of electrification, especially in the automotive industry. But for heavier vehicles and trucks, which account for 30% of the transport system's total carbon dioxide emissions, electrification is somewhat trickier as it would entail a very large number of batteries to drive such heavy vehicles, which in turn comes with consequences in terms of weight, space and costs.

Subsequently, there has been a need for research that develops new technical solutions that reduce greenhouse gases and harmful emissions, that aren’t dependent on fossil energy sources, and that, at the same time, answers to the needs of the truck industry and other industries that depend on heavy transport, such as aviation.

With the Swedish Energy Agency's major investment in TechForH2, the hope is now to be able to contribute to knowledge building and education in the area, accelerate the introduction of new technology and thereby contribute to the transition to fossil freedom. More specifically, TechForH2's focus areas will include composites and lightweight structures for vehicle-integrated hydrogen storage and the manufacture and post treatment of metallic materials for, among other things, hydrogen use and sensors. Additionally, the center will further research on fuel cells and vehicle integration and technology/instruments and innovations in a future hydrogen society.

New recruitments on the way

TechForH2 is coordinated and led by Chalmers, which owns the center together with RISE. A number of industry partners are also involved in the centre's activities; Volvo, Scania, PowerCell, JohnsonMatthey, Oxeon, GKN Aerospace, Insplorion, Siemens Energy and Stena.The Swedish Energy Agency's investment in TechForH2 means that it's now facing a staff expansion. 

“With this funding, we’ll be able to recruit nine new PhD students. In addition, the Transport Area of Advance is contributing with a number of post-docs specialized in hydrogen use to co-finance Chalmers' operations, while partners from the industry contribute with their own operations to the same extent,” says Tomas Grönstedt.

For more info about TechForH2, please contact Tomas Grönstedt​, coordinator of TechForH2

Text: Lovisa Håkansson

Page manager Published: Wed 23 Mar 2022.