News: Space, Earth and Environment, Rymd- och geovetenskap, Energi och miljö related to Chalmers University of TechnologyMon, 05 Oct 2020 15:37:53 +0200​Star hunt at Swedish schools<p><b>​An intensive star hunt is currently ongoing at more than 20 Swedish schools –but it’s not any kind of talent show. It is this year&#39;s edition of the school project Help a Scientist, arranged for the tenth time by the Nobel Prize Museum. This year&#39;s theme is stars and space. The Star Hunt is a scientific search for new stars and a hunt for new knowledge about the conditions under which stars are formed.​</b></p><div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Star-hunt-Giuliana_Ruben_Jonathan.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Portrait pictures Dr. Giuliana Cosentino, Dr. Rubén Fedriani and Professor Jonathan Tan" style="margin:5px" /><div><span style="background-color:initial">D</span><span style="background-color:initial">uring September, The Star Hunt has started at the participating schools, which are spread all over the country. 32 teachers and up to 1500 school children from 67 classes learn about astronomy and get to participate in a real research project. The students involved are in the eighth and ninth grades and they will get help from several Chalmers astronomers.</span><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>The researchers Dr. Giuliana Cosentino, Dr. Rubén Fedriani and Professor Jonathan Tan from Chalmers' Department of Space, Earth and Environment participate in this year's version of Help a Scientist. It is not only an exciting school project, but the students' results will be helpful to the researchers in their work.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Students will analyse images taken in a variety of wavelengths of light, from radio to x-ray, by telescopes in space, in the air and on the ground. The goal is to contribute new knowledge about the birth of stars and in the long run increase the understanding of our galaxy and our own origin”, says Jonathan Tan.<span style="background-color:initial"> </span></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Image analysis in collaboration with NASA</h2> <div>What the students will help the researchers with is to identify new stars that are born from interstellar clouds and answer the questions if these stars form alone, as twins or clustered together in great broods?  </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The images the pupils will analyse will be provided by the web-based WorldWide Telescope platform, which interfaces with NASA databases.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We have worked with developers of this software specially for the Star Hunt project to upload some of our research datasets for the students to analyze. The students will be able to see for themselves how stars are forming in our galaxy by examining these images and cross matching them against a wide variety of other data available at the platform”, says Jonathan Tan.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Pilot exercises in the Gothenburg area</h2> <div>Earlier this year, pilot exercises were arranged at two different schools in the Gothenburg region, at Torslandaskolan and Torpskolan in Lerum.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We met the classes and gave a lecture on the formation of stars and how astronomers make observations with telescopes. Then we worked together on a research exercise. The test rounds were great for us; we have been able to develop the tasks and the tools based on the feedback we received from the students”, says Jonathan Tan.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>In addition to giving lectures for students, the researchers have worked hard to produce an 80-page booklet which explains the exercises. The document also contains an introduction to the subject of astronomy and to the research group's main focus, star formation.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The researchers have also had a digital start-up conference with about thirty teachers and later this autumn, digital class visits will be done online.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Scientific level, creativity and design are awarded</h2> <div>Since the goal of Help a Scientist is to let the students experience a researcher's reality, they will also have to work on presenting their studies by making scientific posters that demonstrate the research process and the results from The Star Hunt. The posters are a part of a competition where different prizes are given based on science, creativity and design.</div> <div>​​<br /></div> <div>Each category has different jury groups consisting of researchers, science journalists and the pupils themselves. Students can win grants for their class funds and study visits to Chalmers where they get to meet prominent researchers.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The winners will be presented in February 2021, hopefully at a ceremony at the Nobel Prize Museum in Stockholm.</div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><strong>Text:</strong> Julia Jansson​</span></div> Thu, 01 Oct 2020 14:00:00 +0200​On dusty roads through the Universe<p><b>​Cosmic dust grains are microscopic particles that affect virtually every process in the Universe, from the formation of planets and stars to black holes and entire galaxies. But where do the dust grains come from, and how do they develop? Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg will try to answer this in a joint project, thanks to a large grant from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.– Dust is absolutely fundamental for astronomy and for us humans. Without dust, our Solar  system would not have formed, says Kirsten Kraiberg Knudsen, head of the project &quot;The Origin and Fate of Dust in our Universe&quot;.​</b></p><div><span style="background-color:initial">The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation has granted a total of SEK 541 million to 18 outstanding basic research projects in medicine, science and technology that are considered to have the opportunity to lead to future scientific breakthroughs.</span><br /></div> <div>Kirsten Kraiberg Knudsen is a professor of extragalactic astronomy at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment at Chalmers and she is very much looking forward to starting the project together with her colleagues.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Kollage-KAW-200.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />– It feels fantastic and it is a great opportunity! We are four researchers leading the project: Susanne Aalto, Wouter Vlemmings and myself from Chalmers, together with Gunnar Nyman from the University of Gothenburg. The fact that we can combine our expertise special competencies in this project means that we can cross subject boundaries to address deal with a very fundamental question in astronomy, namely &quot;what is the origin and fate of dust in the Universe&quot;.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>For non-astronomers, dust is mostly something that gets in the way. Why is it important to study dust in the Universe?</strong></div> <div><br /></div> <div>– Dust is fundamental for astronomy and for the formation of our own planet.  Dust particles are small, and complex both in shape and composition, and they are important for most processes in the Universe. For example, dust particles are necessary for star and planet formation – without dust, our Solar system would not have formed. Dust is also important for chemical processes, because an incredible number of many molecules in space are formed on the surface of the dust particles, i e it is difficult for many molecules to form without the dust particles. And dust also affects our observations since dust grains extinct the light from the objects we want to observe, which can have major consequences for the interpretation of scientific results.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>In the project you will combine new observations with theoretical models in physical chemistry. What type of objects will you focus on?</strong></div> <div><br /></div> <div>– We will focus  on three important types of objects. One of these types is the old stars, around which the seeds of the dust grains originate. Dust grains from stars will subsequently grow in space, when molecules stick to their surfaces. The step from the formation of dust grains to when they are spread throughout the galaxy can be complicated, and the dust can be destroyed by, for example, collisions or radiation.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>– We will  also focus on two types of objects that have extreme conditions, galaxies in the early universe, and the regions around supermassive black holes. In the early universe, young galaxies, with lots of dust, have been discovered, while in such young galaxies, most stars have not grown to an age where they produce enough dust. Around supermassive black holes the dust grains are destroyed, reshaped and regrown as the density of the gas and radiation is more extreme than in ordinary parts of a galaxy.</div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><strong>How can theoretical models complement the observations?</strong></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div>– The theoretical models and calculations are intended to describe the dust particles at a microscopic level. Because it is difficult or impossible to perform experiments on Earth that correspond to the extreme conditions that apply found in space, theoretical calculations become extra important. They are intended to help interpret and understand the observations we make.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>– One goal of the project is also to understand how the microscopic properties of dust grains affect the larger scale astronomical processes, and the other way around – how macroscopic processes affect the dust grains. An example of this is the survival of dust grains under extreme conditions. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Is there a specific question that you are especially looking forward to the project succeeding in answering?</strong></div> <div><strong><br /></strong></div> <div>– This is a complex research topic with many aspects, so and there are several fascinating questions that I hope we succeed in answering. We want to answer what happens to dust grains after they have formed near dying stars and then transported through space, where the grains need to grow before they can become part of new stars and planets. Based on this, it will be interesting how this compares to galaxies in the previous early universe and in the environment around super-massive black holes.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>– If we succeed in this, we will have made an important contribution to the topic. This combination of research fields, observations and theory will impact our understanding of the Universe, the origin and evolution of stars and galaxies and not least our own origins, says Kirsten Kraiberg Knudsen. </div> <div><br /></div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Project: ”The Origi​​n and Fate of Dust in our Universe”</h3> <div>Awarded grant: 27 700 000 SEK for a five year project. </div> <div>Professor Kirsten Kraiberg Knudsen, Chalmers University of Technology, together with colleagues professors Wouter Vlemmings and Susanne Aalto, all three at the division of Astronomy and Plasma Physics, the depart ment of Space, Earth and Environment, and professor Gunnar Nyman, Department of Chemistry &amp; Molecular Biology, The University of Gothenburg.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><span>Out of the 18 projects receiving grants from The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, three will be conducted at Chalmers. At the Department of Physics, </span><a href="/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/Major-grant-to-explore-heavy-element-creation-in-neutron-star-mergers.aspx">Associate Professor Andreas Heinz will lead a project about the creation of heavy elements in neutron-star mergers</a> and <a href="/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/Bright-prospects-for-revolutionary-optics-research.aspx">Professor Mikael Käll will lead a project on light sources of the future</a><span style="background-color:initial">. </span><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><strong>Photo cre​dits: ​</strong></p> <strong> </strong><div><span style="background-color:initial">Top left: A</span><span style="background-color:initial"> scanning electron microscope image of an interplanetary dust particle. Credit: Donald E. Brownlee, University of Washington, Seattle, and Elmar Jessberger, Institut für Planetologie, Münster, Germany. <a href="">Original photo and more information can be found here</a>. </span><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Top right: Kirsten Kraiberg Knudsen. Credit: </span><span style="background-color:initial">Markus Marcetic/Sveriges unga akademi​</span></div> ​​Wed, 30 Sep 2020 09:00:00 +0200 Action Plan puts nature at the heart of economy<p><b>A new study with a ​​10-point Action Plan to Create a Circular Bioeconomy of Wellbeing published by the European Forest Institute calls for collective action to put nature at the heart of the economy and set the world on a sustainable path.​​</b></p><span></span><div><span style="font-size:14px"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/goran_berndes_200.jpg" alt="Göran Berndes" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:5px" />“The transition away from fossil carbon is sometimes considered a matter of mobilising new resources to enable us to proceed in the business-as-usual direction. The 10 Point Action Plan brings forward an alternative paradigm. Contrary to the extractive and linear fossil-based economy, the circular bioeconomy relies on healthy, biodiverse and resilient ecosystems and aims to provide sustainable wellbeing for society at large”, said Göran Berndes, Professor, Biomass and Land Use at Chalmers University of Technology.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><strong>Written by a multidisciplinary team</strong> of over 25 authors, led by EFI Director Marc Palahí, the 10-point Action Plan for a Circular Bioeconomy of Wellbeing brings together the latest scientific insights and breakthrough technologies to offer a solution to current global challenges.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">The publication features a Foreword by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, who says: “I have been deeply encouraged by the number of scientists and practitioners who have come together to develop a 10-point Circular Bioeconomy Action Plan inspired by my Sustainable Markets Initiative and its Circular Bioeconomy Alliance. It is time for leaders, across all disciplines, to step forward, be bold in their ambition and demonstrate what is possible so that others can follow.”</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><strong>The Action Plan emphasises the importance</strong> of moving towards a circular bioeconomy to holistically transform and manage our land, food, health and industrial systems with the goal of achieving sustainable wellbeing in harmony with nature.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">“It has been an honour to work with The Prince of Wales, who inspired and contributed to The Action Plan”, said Marc Palahí. “The Action Plan forms the framework for the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance established by His Royal Highness to accelerate the transition towards a Circular Bioeconomy. I am proud that EFI will coordinate such a transformative initiative.”</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><strong>“Global challenges like climate change</strong>, and biodiversity loss, coupled with a growing and highly urbanised population call for new ways of producing and consuming within our planetary boundaries”, says co-author Mari Pantsar, who is Director of Carbon-neutral circular economy at The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. “We need a transition to a circular economy.”</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">At</span><span style="background-color:initial"> the same time, we need to achieve sustainability w</span><span style="background-color:initial">hile ensuring equitable prosperity. The health and wellbeing of our citizens is a strong incentive to rethink our land, food and health systems, transform our industries and reimagine our cities.</span><br /></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><strong>The study sets out 10 Action Points</strong> which are needed to create a circular bioeconomy based on a synergistic relationship between economy and ecology:</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><ol><li><span style="font-size:14px">Focus on sustainable wellbeing</span></li> <li>I<span style="background-color:initial">nvest in nature and biodiversity</span></li> <li>Generate <span style="background-color:initial">an equitable distribution of prosperity</span></li> <li>Rethink land, food and health systems holistically</li> <li>Transform industrial sectors </li> <li>Reimagine cities through ecological lenses</li> <li>Create an enabling regulatory framework</li> <li>Deliver mission-oriented innovation to the investment and political agenda</li> <li>Enable access to finance and enhance risk-taking capacity</li> <li>Intensify and broaden research and education</li></ol></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">Palahí, M., Pantsar, M., Costanza, R., Kubiszewski, I., Potočnik, J., Stuchtey, M., Nasi, R., Lovins, H., Giovannini, E., Fioramonti, L., Dixson-Declève, S., McGlade, J., Pickett, K., Wilkinson, R., Holmgren, J., Trebeck, K., Wallis, S., Ramage, M., Berndes, G., Akinnifesi, F.K., Ragnarsdóttir, K.V., Muys, B., Safonov, G., Nobre, A.D., Nobre, C., Ibañez, D., Wijkman, A., Snape, J., Bas, L. 2020. Investing in Nature as the true engine of our economy: A 10-point Action Plan for a Circular Bioeconomy of Wellbeing. Knowledge to Action 02, European Forest Institute. </span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Download the study</a></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">The publication was developed within the framework of the Sustainable Markets Initiative of</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. It received support from Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund.</span></div> <div><br /></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />About EFI</a></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Th</span><span style="background-color:initial">e European Forest Institute (EFI) is an independent international science organization which generates, connects and shares knowledge at the interface between science and policy. EFI has 29 member countries who have ratified the Convention, and c.120 member organizations in 38 countries, working in diverse research fields.</span><br /></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">​<br /></span></div>Wed, 30 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0200 and Onsala on film: Chalmers celebrates Sweden&#39;s Day and Night of Astronomy 2020<p><b>​Chalmers&#39; exoplanet experts and a new film from Onsala Space Observatory are among the highlights at national festival Astronomins dag och natt 2020.</b></p>​Sweden's Day and Night of <span style="background-color:initial">Astronomy (Astronomins dag och natt) has theme &quot;Earth 2.0&quot; with a focus on exoplanets, and a program of events, both digital and in real life.</span><div><br /></div> <div>Chalmers astronomer Carina Persson is one of three invited speakers in the national digital program for the festival, to be broadcast on</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Her colleagues Iskra Georgieva (Chalmers) and Oscar Barragán (University of Oxford) are also taking part in the digital program.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>A new film premieres showing Onsala Space Observatory and its telescopes as they have never been seen before. The five-minute short film <em>Onsala Space Observatory: aerial footage summer 2020</em>, by Roger Hammargren (Onsala Space Observatory), will be shown for the first time at 13:15 CEST during the festival Saturday.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Times for festival events with connection to Chalmers on Saturday 26 September 2020:</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>11:35 Searching for Earth 2.0</strong></div> <div>Iskra Georgieva &amp; Oscar Barragán. Lecture in English. Broadcast on <a href=""></a> and then available at <a href="">Astronomins dag och natt's YouTube channel</a> </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>12:30 An astronomical journey in space</strong></div> <div>Swedish cutting-edge research from the Wallenberg Foundation. Film from the Wallenberg Foundation in which the astronomer Kirsten Kraiberg Knudsen and the mathematician Robert Berman participate. The Swedish version is included at <a href=""></a> and is also available in English at </div> <div><a href=""></a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><div><span style="font-weight:700">13:10 </span><b><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial">Onsala Space Observatory: aerial footage summer 2020</span></b></div> <div>Film by Roger Hammargren, Chalmers. Broadcast on <a href=""></a> and available after that at <a href="">Onsala Space Observatory's YouTube channel.​</a></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>14:45 Exoplanets</strong></div> <div>Talk by Carina Persson. Broadcast on and available after that at <span></span><a href="">Astronomins dag och natt's YouTube channel</a><span style="background-color:initial"> </span></div> <div><br /></div> <div>The festival's audio logo, seen and heard for the first time on September 24, also has a Chalmers connection. See it at YouTube at <a href=""></a></div> <div><br /></div> <div>The music is composed by Subramanyam Jaswanth, who did his Master's in radio astronomy at Chalmers in 2019 and whose thesis is the basis for a research article recently published in Astronomy and Astrophysics (<a href=""></a>).</div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>Images:</em></div> <div>A (top) Sweden's Day and Night of Astronomy: with plenty of exoplanets courtesy of (insets) Carina Persson and her colleagues Oscar Barragán and Iskra Georgieva, as well new aerial footage of Onsala Space Observatory.</div> <div>Sources: NASA Ames / JPL / T. Pyle (illustration); Chalmers and private (photos)</div> <div><br /></div> <div>B: Still picture from the short film <em>Onsala Space Observatory: aerial footage summer 2020</em> by Roger Hammargren. In the foreground is the round white radome that protects the observatory's 20-m telescope. All the observatory's telescopes can be seen in the film.</div> <div>Photo: Chalmers / R. Hammargren</div>Thu, 24 Sep 2020 15:00:00 +0200 the future for feasible climate action<p><b>Jessica Jewell, assistant professor in Energy Transitions at Chalmers University of Technology, has been awarded a 1.5€ million grant by the European Research Council for a project entitled MechANisms and actors of Feasible Energy Transitions (MANIFEST) which will run from 2021-2026. The project will advance our understanding of whether and under what conditions it is feasible to avoid dangerous climate change. – We know how to solve the climate change problem in mathematical models, but we need to understand how to solve it in the real world, says Jessica Jewell, at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment.​</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Technologies needed to decarbonize the electricity system are already commercially available. And there are mathematical models of how these technologies can be deployed sufficiently fast and at a large enough scale to displace fossil fuels and meet climate targets. Yet there is no scientific method to evaluate whether these scenarios are feasible in the real world, given the socio-political and technological constraints in different countries and regions. </span><div><br /><span style="background-color:initial"></span><div>The project MANIFEST will develop a new scientific understanding of the feasibility to decarbonize the electricity sector focusing on both launching low-carbon electricity in developing countries and sustaining the growth of renewable electricity already in place in front-runner countries.  </div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Profilbilder/Jessica_Jewell_170.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />We asked Jessica Jewell a few questions about the grant, the project MANIFEST and the greatest challenges to overcome for the electricity sector. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>How did it feel when you heard that you were to receive this grant? </strong></div> <div><br /></div> <div>– I was surprised and super excited. My research is really interdisciplinary which is typically pretty hard to get endorsed by scientific review panels. I also feel very grateful for everyone who helped me develop as a scientist: first at Central European University where I was a doctoral student, then at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the University of Bergen and now at Chalmers. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>You describe the project MANIFEST as a &quot;shift in the thinking about the feasibility of climate change mitigation&quot;. Can you describe that change, and why a change is needed? </strong></div> <div><br /></div> <div>– We know how to solve the climate change problem in mathematical models, but we need to understand how to solve it in the real world. The main scholarly approach to assess whether something is feasible in the real world is to look at whether anything similar happened in the past. But for climate change this runs into a problem because both the challenge and what we need to do are unprecedented so there are no direct historical analogues. Thus, analysing the feasibility of successful climate change mitigation may scientifically seem to be at a dead end. I overcome this stalemate by looking at the past and ongoing climate actions through a particular social science lens called ‘causal mechanisms’. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>– My hypothesis is that while a lot of things are changing (e.g. clean technologies are becoming cheaper, population and energy demand grow), the political, economic and social mechanisms that shape our capacity to act on climate are the same. By understanding these mechanisms through empirically observing the past I hope to be able to predict what is and is not possible to do in the future.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>One of the methods described in this project is called &quot;dynamic feasibility space&quot;. What does that entail, and how can you use that method in this project?</strong> </div> <div><br /></div> <div>– A dynamic feasibility space is a tool I have developed to map empirical observations of past climate actions or energy transitions in order to tease out the underlying mechanisms shaping them. I’ve used this tool to map and understand the feasibility of rapid coal phase-out and in MANIFEST I want to similarly map and compare historical expansion of renewables to the expansion that countries plan in the future and that we need to see to reach the climate targets. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>What do you see as the greatest obstacles to overcome, in the shift to a fossil free electricity system? </strong></div> <div><br /></div> <div>– I see two main obstacles. First is how to sustain high growth rates in technology front-runners, countries which already have viable renewable electricity sectors providing up to 40% of their electricity supply, such as Denmark and Germany. For these nations it is important to sustain high growth rates to reach even higher levels of use of renewables. For example, recently, the growth of onshore wind power in Germany has significantly slowed down, primarily because of the lack of available sites. We need to understand whether this obstacle is simply a bureaucratic complication of handling planning permits, or whether it reflects the deeper mechanism of increasing social resistance and conflicts over land use which would be more difficult to overcome.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>– The second and bigger challenge is to figure out how to launch low-carbon electricity in developing countries, on what is called ‘the technology periphery’. Today the US and Europe with only 10% of the world’s population have 50% of global wind and solar power, but if we are to achieve climate targets, we need to deploy massive amounts of low-carbon technologies where the bulk of energy use in the 21st century will occur, i.e. in the Global South. This is a very different challenge because most of these countries do not yet have viable low-carbon electricity sectors (manufacturers of equipment, project developers and operators, functioning regulation and electricity markets) as in front-runners. How fast can all this knowledge, institutions, policies and business models diffuse from the front-runners (or emerge domestically) is a critical question, because only then can we expect the beginning of sustained growth of renewables.</div> <div><br /></div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">More info on the ERC: ​</h3> <div>The European Research Council (ERC), supports excellence in research in EU member countries. The Council primarily does this by three major systems for research that fits within the EU's Seventh Framework Programme. ERC Starting Grants for outstanding scientists who are at the beginning of his career, ERC Consolidator Grant to support researchers at the stage at which they are consolidating their own independent research team or programme and ERC Advanced Grants that can be awarded to researchers who has established their own research groups.</div> <div><a href="/en/research/our-scientists/Pages/ERC-funded-scientists.aspx"><span style="background-color:initial">Read more about the ERC funded scientists</span><span style="background-color:initial"> at Chalmers</span>​</a><span style="background-color:initial">. </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><strong>Text:</strong> Christian Löwhagen</span></div> </div>Thu, 03 Sep 2020 18:00:00 +0200 insights into the birth of Sun-like stars<p><b>​Astronomers have for the first time observed a crucial part of the process that our Sun went through when it was no more than a baby. A very young so called protostar was observed gathering material from the disk of matter that surrounds it – the same disk in which planets later will form.  – This is the first direct observation of a process that our Solar System would have gone through when it formed 5 billion years ago, says Rubén Fedriani, astronomer at Chalmers and member of the Irish-led research team. The study was published in Nature, August 26.​​</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Astronomers believe that young stars acquire matter via their magnetic fields and that this material falls towards the star’s surface at supersonic velocities. The new observational findings, published August 26 in </span><div><span style="background-color:initial">Nature (</span><a href="" style="background-color:rgb(255, 255, 255)">A measure of the size of the magnetospheric accretion region in TW Hydrae in Nature</a><span style="background-color:initial">), help astronomers to better understand how stars like our Sun form, and how the disks surrounding these stellar embryos can give rise to planets similar to the Earth. </span><div><br /><span style="background-color:initial"></span><div>The team, led by Rebeca García López working at University College Dublin and the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies in Ireland, looked at one of the closest young stars to us, in the constellation of Hydra, the water snake. The star is “only” one million years old (an age equivalent to that of a human embryo). </div> <div><br /></div> <div>– This star is special because it is located very close to the Earth at only 160 light years away and the disk of material surrounding the star is directly facing us. This makes it the ideal candidate to probe how matter from a planet forming disk is channeled on to the stellar surface, says Rebeca García López. </div> <div>García López and her colleagues discovered emissions coming from hot gas and found that the size and velocity of the gas matched what theoretical models had predicted.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>– After eliminating all other scenarios, such as the hot gas could originate from matter expelled from the disk or stellar surface (that is from a  wind) there was only one remaining possibility to explain our observations: that the hot gas emission must come from the accretion flows of matter! concludes Alessio Caratti o Garatti, a study co-author from the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies in Ireland. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The disk surrounding a young star is known as a protoplanetary disk. Such disks are the birthplace of planets, which can form when matter is still being acquired by the young star. Earth-like planets are believed to form in the inner regions of these disks where enormous amounts of energy are released by the accreting process. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>– Therefore, understanding how these processes occur is crucial to our understanding of the formation of planets and even the Earth, says Tom Ray from the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Profilbilder/Ruben_Fedriani_170.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />– What we want to do now is to see how the material left over from the star formation process is transformed <span style="background-color:initial">into planets, says team member, Rubén Fedriani from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. Rubén Fedriani’s contribution to the research helped explain some of the physical parameters, the fundamental one being the size of the gas-emitting region. </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><a href="" style="background-color:rgb(255, 255, 255)">Link to the paper: A measure of the size of the magnetospheric accretion region in TW Hydrae in Nature</a>.</div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">More information about the research team </h3> <div>This research was conducted by an international team led by Irish astronomers with collaborators from France, Portugal, Germany and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). The team is part of the GRAVITY collaboration, named after the instrument they helped develop, which combines the light of four 8-metre ESO telescopes into a super-telescope (with a resolution equivalent to that of a telescope 130 metres in diameter). </div> <div><br /></div> <div>This work was in part supported by the European Research Council and Science Foundation Ireland. </div> </div></div>Thu, 27 Aug 2020 00:00:00 +0200 Energy Podcast<p><b>​Is nuclear power one of the solutions to the climate change? Can the forest replace fossil fuels? Hydropower, how climate-smart is it? How do we convert to a sustainable energy system? Welcome to Chalmers Energy Area of Advance podcast. Here you get to meet researchers, entrepreneurs and others who are involved in some of the most important issues of our time.</b></p>​<span style="font-size:14px"><span style="background-color:initial">In our first podcast, we talk about carbon capture and storage, so-called CCS technology, and how Sweden can achieve negative emissions, ie remove carbon  that already is in the atmosphere, to meet the climate goals.</span></span><div><span style="font-size:14px">The Paris Agreement of 2015 called on the countries involved to develop long-term strategies to describe greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. In Sweden, this has resulted in the investigation &quot;Klimatpolitiska vägvalsutredningen&quot;. It presents strategies for how Sweden can achieve net negative emissions of greenhouse gases after 2045. Three Chalmers researchers participated in the investigation. We've talked to two of them:</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">Anders Lyngfelt, Professor of Energy technology and Christel Cederberg, Assistant Professor of Physical resource theory.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><a href="/sv/styrkeomraden/energi/nyheter/Sidor/Energipodden.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read more (Swedish)​</a><br /></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Listen (Swedish): &quot;Negative emissions necessary to achieve our climate goals&quot; (22 min)</a></span></div> <div><br /></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"></span><span></span><div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">Editors for the energy podcast are Julia Franzén and Ann-Christine Nordin.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">Original music: EleckTrick by Stefan Karlsson.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">Responsible publisher and project manager: Maria Grahn.</span></div></div>Wed, 05 Aug 2020 00:00:00 +0200 ambitious climate policy is economically beneficial<p><b>​An economically optimal climate policy is in line with the Paris Agreement’s 2-degree temperature target. This is according to a new study involving the University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology and others. The study updates the cost/benefit analyses of climate measures made by Economics Laureate William Nordhaus.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">The economist William Nordhaus was awarded the 2018 The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for his research on climate-related questions. In particular, the prize recognized his development of the DICE model (Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy), which has gained widespread influence. When he calibrates his model, he found that an increase in the average temperature of 3.5 degrees until 2100 is economically most optimal. This new level was well above the Paris Agreement’s 2-degree target and would have resulted in extensive negative consequences for nature and society in large parts of the world.<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Daniel_Johansson_256x344px.jpg" alt="Daniel Johansson" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:10px;width:190px;height:255px" /><br /></span><div><br /></div> <div>In a new study published in Nature Climate Change, a team of researchers in Sweden, England and Germany has updated this DICE model.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We made a number of important changes. In part, it was about an improved calibration of how much carbon dioxide and heat is absorbed by the oceans, and in part updating calculations of how much climate damage will cost in economic terms,” says Daniel Johansson, associate professor in physics resource theory at Chalmers University of Technology, and one of the authors of the study.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>An important factor that determines what is economically optimal involves discounting or comparing future costs to current costs. Fundamentally, this is a value judgement, and in the study the research team used a large number of expert assessments of these ethical questions, which deal with how the current and future generations’ interests should be weighed against each other.</div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Thomas-Sterner_256x344px.jpg" alt="Thomas Sterner" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" style="margin:10px;width:190px;height:255px" /><br /></div> <div>These changes to the model lead to the conclusion that a 1.5–2 degree increase in average temperature is economically optimal.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Nordhaus has shown the way forward in these questions, like the need for a significant price on carbon dioxide emissions throughout the world, but compared to his previous analyses, our results show that more ambitious targets can be supported with economic arguments,” says Thomas Sterner, professor of environmental economics at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>According to the researchers, in wider international climate policy discussions, the study can support climate targets in line with those adopted in the Paris Agreement and thereby increase acceptance for setting a tax on emissions that meets the adopted climate targets. The model points to a carbon dioxide tax of around USD 100 per tonne, which is in line with the current carbon dioxide tax in Sweden and four times higher than the price in EU’s emissions trading scheme, ETS.</div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/christian-azar_256x344px.jpg" alt="Christian Azar" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:10px;width:190px;height:255px" /><br /></div> <div>“Achieving ambitious climate targets requires politicians to introduce a significant tax on carbon dioxide, but it also requires investments in new technology like electric cars, solar cells, hydrogen and carbon capture, to name a few examples. If this is done, it is possible to achieve ambitious climate targets like the 2-degree target. But we also must be aware that there is significant political resistance in large parts of the world, presenting us with a major challenge. This is not a simple question,” says Christian Azar, professor of physical resource theory at Chalmers University of Technology.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>For more information, please contact:</strong></div> <div><div><ul><li>Christian Azar, professor of physical resource theory at Chalmers University of Technology<br />e-mail: <a href=""></a>, telephone: +46-(0)31–772 31 32</li> <li>Daniel Johansson, associate professor of physical resource theory at Chalmers University of Technology<br />e-mail: <a href=""></a>, telephone: +46-(0)31–772 28 16</li> <li>Thomas Sterner, professor of environmental economics at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg<br />e-mail: <a href="">​</a>, telephone: +46-(0)70–816 3306</li></ul></div></div>Tue, 14 Jul 2020 07:00:00 +0200’s-largest-carbon-capture-and-storage-plant.aspx’s largest CO2 capture and storage plant launched<p><b>​Sweden’s largest test facility for carbon dioxide capture has begun operation at Preem&#39;s refinery in Lysekil. Within the pilot project the entire value chain will be analyzed – from the capture of carbon dioxide to its storage. The outcome of the project will enable more companies to use the technology and reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial;font-size:14px">“This is an important project to test CCS technology on a larger scale. Chalmers participation is about studying how the technology being tested could be scaled up. Together with research in other projects, we believe that this gives an important piece to the puzzle how Swedish industry can meet our climate goals for net zero emissions by 2045”, says Filip Johnsson, professor in sustainable energy systems at Chalmers.</span><div><span style="font-size:14px">The results of the pilot project will  be made public – in order for more companies to be able to use the technology and reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br />In</span><span style="background-color:initial"> 2020, the test facility will capture carbon dioxide from the flue gases from Preem’s hydrogen gas plant at the Lysekil refinery.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">The technology for capturing and storing carbon dioxide is an important component for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and for achieving Sweden’s climate goals. For Preem, this is an important piece of the puzzle to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and to become climate neutral by the year 2045. The goal is for the tests to form the basis for a full-scale CCS plant that can be operational by 2025.<br /><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">“We see carbon capture and storage as a vital measure to reduce global carbon emissions. For Preem, a full-scale CCS plant could initially reduce emissions from our Lysekil refinery by 500,000 tonnes, which is close to a quarter of the refinery’s total carbon emissions,” says Petter Holland, CEO of Preem.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">The carbon dioxide is planned to be stored in Norway, which is leading in this area and has better geological conditions for storage than Sweden. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-size:14px"><strong>Read more about the project:</strong></span><br /><span style="font-size:14px"><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Launch of Sweden’s largest carbon capture and storage plant</a></span><br /><br /><br /></div> <div><br /></div>Wed, 27 May 2020 09:00:00 +0200's-technology.aspx's-technology.aspxEmissions from road construction could be halved<p><b>​The construction sector accounts for a quarter of carbon dioxide emissions, in Sweden and globally. Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg studied the construction of an eight km stretch of road in detail and calculated how much emissions can be reduced now and until 2045, looking at everything from materials choice, production technology, supply chains and transport.</b></p><div><span style="background-color:initial">“We identified several low hanging fruits, and if we address those first, it will become easier and cheaper to make bigger emission reductions in the future,” says Ida Karlsson, PhD student at Chalmers, and participant in the Mistra Carbon Exit project.</span></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>The researchers evaluated opportunities for reducing emissions in an eight kilometre stretch of the Swedish highway 44 between Lidköping and Källby, which was finished in 2019. It was one of the Swedish Transport Agency’s first projects in which a complete climate calculation was made. All the materials and activities involved in its construction were calculated for their total climate impact – energy and materials used in the construction and what emissions these contribute to.<br /></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>“We used the contractor Skanska's climate calculation as an input for breaking down emissions by materials and activities and then analysed how much they could be reduced. What materials are used? How are they produced? What alternatives are available, and how might those alternatives develop until 2045?” explains Ida Karlsson.  </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>The climate calculation showed that the contractor would be able to reduce emissions by 20 percent compared to the Swedish Transport Agency's reference values. But the researchers also demonstrated that emissions could be halved with technology already available today – and completely eliminated by the year 2045.<br /></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>Ida Karlsson's research is part of the project Mistra Carbon Exit, which focuses on what are termed transformative solutions. These require both time and large investments and include, for example, production of steel, cement, concrete and asphalt without carbon dioxide emissions, as well as fossil-free or electric vehicles. Solutions are being developed and implemented, but climate-saving technologies and choices exist already today. Ida Karlsson wants to highlight four of these:</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>• Transport optimisation</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>• Recycling and reuse of excavation masses, asphalt and steel</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>• Material efficiency and design optimisation</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>• Replacement of cement clinker as a binder in concrete</div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>“If you were to optimise the transportation of materials, excavation masses and waste, for example, large gains could be made. We could be better at transport logistics in Sweden. In addition to transporting materials and waste to and from a road construction site, many movements also take place within projects,” she explains. </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>The study ‘Reaching net-zero carbon emissions in construction supply chains - Analysis of a Swedish road construction project’ was published earlier this year in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, and was written by Ida Karlsson together with colleague Filip Johnsson of Chalmers and Johan Rootzén, at the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics and Law.</div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"> </h2> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Biomass an important issue</h2> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>Biomass plays an important role in both the short and long term. Many industries need biomass to reduce their emissions. It can be used for example as a fuel in the production of asphalt, cement and steel, for electricity production or as a vehicle fuel. Already today Sweden imports 95 per cent of the raw materials needed for transport biofuel because it is cheaper than using domestic material. It is hardly a sustainable solution when more and more countries import biomass. Ida believes that we need a coherent national strategy for biomass production and use.<br /></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>“Where there are fossil-free alternatives, such as electrification, these should be used. But then the politics must clearly steer towards such a development. Otherwise, the biomass will simply go to the one who pays the most and not to where it would have the best use.”</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Further areas for improvement</h2> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>Another area for improvement could be the recycling of asphalt, explains Ida Karlsson.<br /></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>“The legislation for this has recently changed but new, more efficient ways of working are not yet fully implemented. There are also different technologies to choose from depending on the quality of the tarmac, how heavy the vehicles which travel the route are and so on. Recycling requires energy but can still reduce emissions considerably, since asphalt is largely made up of bitumen, a variant of crude oil.” <br /></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>Concrete is another major source of emissions. In Sweden, cement clinker is used as a binder in infrastructural concrete, but in other countries, materials such as slag from steel production or fly ash from coal-fired power plants is used as partial replacement of cement clinker, reducing emissions considerably.</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>“Here we must dare to recognise the long positive experiences from its use in other countries, like Norway, and adopt these techniques and measures even if they have not been used before in Sweden.”</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"> </h2> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"> </h2> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"> </h2> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Time to take a clear path forward</h2> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>Ida Karlsson calls for clear plans, first until 2030, then onwards to 2045 as well.</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>“If you already know what you want in 2030, you can make demands today. And then companies can also know that ‘OK, if we have to be able to meet these requirements by 2030, then we have the opportunity to invest in technology to achieve that’. Because large investments will be needed to change production and haulage operations. Then you have to make sure that there are requirements, needs, incentives and not least that there is climate neutral electricity available.”<br /></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>“The transformative solutions - electrification, carbon capture, carbon-free steel and concrete - require time and significant investment. But if we have already picked the low hanging fruits, the cost increase for the transformative solutions need not be so great. That is why the low-hanging fruits are so important to get started with, because they make it easier cut emissions further in the future, at a lower cost.”</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div><div><strong>For more information, contact:</strong></div> <div>Ida Karlsson</div> <div>PhD student, Department of Space, Earth and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology</div> <div><a title="mail" href=""><span>​​</span>​</a><br /></div> <div>+46317726517</div></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div><br /> </div> <div><strong>Text: </strong>Christian Löwhagen </div>Mon, 18 May 2020 00:00:00 +0200 drivers use the most energy<p><b>​​The number of people in each vehicle is the single most important factor explaining the energy and greenhouse gas intensity of travel. This is shown in a new study by researchers from Chalmers and University College London, who also warn that self-driving vehicles could increase both energy consumption and emissions from passenger transport.– On average, about 1.5 people travel in each car in industrialized countries. But that number could actually decrease to less than one person per car, when automated vehicles enter the market. This could lead to a tripling in light-duty vehicle energy intensity, says Sonia Yeh, at the department of Space, Earth and Environment.</b></p><div>Occupancy is a central concept when it comes to calculating and assessing energy consumption and emissions for passenger transport. If you drive a car alone, the occupancy is 1 person kilometer per vehicle kilometer, or 1pkm/vkm. With two people in the car, the occupancy rate increases to 2 pkm/vkm. But there are also trips that have fewer than one person in the car. Sonia Yeh, professor in the division of Physical Resource Theory explains:</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Profilbilder/Sonia_Yeh_170.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />– In taxi travel, we don’t count the driver. For example, if a taxi driver drives 15 km to pick up a passenger,  and drive the customer 20 km to the destination, and drive another 5 km to finish the shift and go home. Since half the trips is empty, the trip average occupancy is 0.5, or 0.5 passenger kilometers for every vehicle kilometer. So the problem with taxi, some shared mobility, and automated vehicles, is that there are a lot of “empty miles” to pick up or drop off passengers or moving vehicles around. This could lead to even a tripling in light-duty vehicle energy intensity, an increase that would be difficult to compensate by fuel-saving technology.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>An increased occupancy rate in the cars would reduce both emissions and energy consumption per passenger kilometer, but the occupancy has instead decreased for the last several decades due to the increase of two car household for example. Today, there are really no examples where that trend has been broken.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>– Price based incentives, such as making single driver rides more expensive or shared rides cheaper, can be implemented. But previous studies show that people are generally not very sensitive to price, especially if they have to wait longer or if the trip takes longer. says Sonia.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>– Public transportation in Sweden has very low GHG emissions in general. To reduce transport GHG emissions further, the most effective strategies are to reduce trip distance, decarbonize fuels and increase occupancy. The current situation with the corona pandemic makes the situation trickier, as people are avoiding public transportation or shared mobility to reduce transmissions. There remains the hope for electric vehicles powered by fossil-free electricity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger transport.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Sonia Yeh and her colleague at University College London, Andreas W Schaefer's, article “<a href="">A holistic analysis of passenger travel energy and greenhouse gas intensities</a>” was recently published in Nature Sustainability.</div> <div><br /></div>Fri, 24 Apr 2020 07:00:00 +0200 satellites help us navigate<p><b>​”Have you ever encountered a situation where you did not know exactly where you are? Somewhere in the middle of nowhere and with no idea where to go? Fortunately, there was your mobile phone nearby, your small, precious device. Soon you were able to find your way out, fix yourself some decent transport, get some food, and more. And all because of the Global Navigation Satellite System, a system which we use on a daily basis and for many different purposes.” With these words begins a new animated video that Grzegorz Klopotek, Ph.D. student at Onsala Space Observatory, has created.</b></p><p>Grzegorz works with radio telescopes and space geodesy, and among other things, technology for Onsala Space Observatory's Twin Telescopes. On April 17 he defends his doctoral dissertation. In the video he explains how satellites in space help us with navigation and positioning in everyday life. How can you use your cellphone to find your way home when you get lost? ​<br /></p> <p><br /></p> <p><span style="background-color:initial"><strong>Why did you produce this video? </strong></span><br /></p> <p><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></p> <p>- All Ph.D. students at Chalmers have to give a popular science presentation, before they can defend their thesis. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, there was no possibility to prepare a normal presentation with an audience. So making a film that could reach the public sounded like a good alternative.</p> <p><br /></p> <p><strong>Who should watch the video and how can it be of use to them? </strong></p> <p><br /></p> <p><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Greg-video-screenshot-280.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />– In principle it’s for anyone who uses smartphones and who would like to know a bit more about how global navigation satellite systems work. It’s true that these systems are used most often for navigation, but they also have other applications, for example in land surveying or in Earth sciences. With the help of GNSS satellites in space, one can measure long-term changes in climate and environment, and their variation in time and space. </p> <p><br /></p> <p>At Onsala Space Observatory, Grzegorz and his colleagues study the shape, orientation and size of the Earth using space geodetic techniques such as GNSS. They also use geodetic very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI), which involves observing radio waves from distant galaxies (so-called quasars) with networks of radio telescopes. Together with observations of geodetic satellites, these measurements can be used to study the Earth, and how its atmosphere, sea level and climate change over different timescales.</p> <p><br /></p> <p>– Space-geodetic techniques, such as GNSS and geodetic VLBI, provide us also with accurate and stable global reference frames. Those reference frames are needed in order to be able to measure, describe and quantify long-term changes in climate and the environment. You can say that with space-geodetic techniques we look deep into the sky in order to find out what’s beneath our feet.</p> <p><br /></p> <p>Besides navigation, the global satellite systems have many scientific applications, Grzegorz explains.</p> <p><br /></p> <p><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Grzegorz.png" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />– GNSS is used for instance to examine one of the Earth’s orientation parameters – so-called ’polar motion’ - and how the Earth’s shape is changing, for example movement of tectonic plates or land uplift. In Scandinavia, the biggest contribution to the land uplift comes from the phenomenon referred to as the post-glacial rebound. This effect is caused by the Earth’s crust returning to a mechanical resting state after being released from pressure from ice sheets during the last glacial period. With GNSS we can also study the atmosphere, particularly the troposphere and ionosphere. </p> <p><br /></p> <p>– At Onsala Space Observatory the technique called GNSS-R (GNSS-Reflectometry) is also used to determine sea-level height with few-centimeter-level precision. </p> <p><br /></p> <p><strong>In the video you mention that there will be even more applications for GNSS in the future. Which do you think will be the next applications we can expect? </strong></p> <p><br /></p> <p>– Autonomous driving could be the first and most obvious example. And in the near future, we can expect even better performance from GNSS for navigation purposes. </p> <p><br /></p> <p><strong>You will defend your Ph.D. thesis on April 17. What’s next for you? </strong></p> <p><br /></p> <p>– Probably research related not only to geodetic VLBI, but to space-geodetic techniques in general. A project concerning GNSS, satellite/lunar laser ranging and geodetic VLBI would sound good to me...</p> <p><br /></p> <p><a href="">Read Grzegorz’s thesis: Observations of Artificial Radio Sources within the Framework of Geodetic Very Long Baseline Interferometry here</a>. </p> <p><br /></p> <p>See <a href="">Grzegorz’s film Navigation in your hand on YouTube</a>, (subtitles are available in English and Swedish).</p> <p><br /></p>Thu, 16 Apr 2020 00:00:00 +0200 between organic and conventional agriculture need to be better<p><b>​The environmental effects of agriculture and food are hotly debated. But the most widely used method of analysis often tends to overlook vital factors, such as biodiversity, soil quality, pesticide impacts and societal shifts, and these oversights can lead to wrong conclusions on the merits of intensive and organic agriculture. This is according to a trio of researchers writing in the journal Nature Sustainability.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">The most common method for assessing the environmental impacts of agriculture and food is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Studies using this method sometimes claim that organic agriculture is actually worse for the climate, because it has lower yields, and therefore uses more land to make up for this. For example, <a href="">a recent study in Nature Communications</a> that made this claim was widely reported by many publications, <a href="">including the BBC</a> and others. </span><div><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">But according to three researchers from France, Denmark and Sweden, presenting an analysis of many LCA studies in the journal Nature Sustainability, this implementation of LCA is too simplistic, and misses the benefits of organic farming. </span><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div>“We are worried that LCA gives too narrow a picture, and we risk making bad decisions politically and socially. When comparing organic and intensive farming, there are wider effects that the current approach does not adequately consider,” says Hayo van der Werf of the French National Institute of Agricultural Research.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Biodiversity, for example, is of vital importance to the health and resilience of ecosystems. But globally, it is declining, Intensive agriculture has been shown to be one of the main drivers of negative trends such as insect and bird decline. Agriculture occupies more than one-third of global land area, so any links between biodiversity losses and agriculture are hugely important.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“But our analysis shows that current LCA studies rarely factor in biodiversity, and consequently, they usually miss that wider benefit of organic agriculture,” says Marie Trydeman Knudsen from Aarhus University, Denmark. “Earlier studies have already shown that organic fields support biodiversity levels approximately 30% higher than conventional fields.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Usage of pesticides is another factor to consider. Between 1990 and 2015, pesticide use worldwide has increased 73%. Pesticide residues in the ground and in water and food can be harmful to human health, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and cause biodiversity losses. Organic farming, meanwhile, precludes the use of synthetic pesticides. But few LCA studies account for these effects. </div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Land degradation and lower soil quality resulting from unsustainable land management is also an issue – again, something rarely measured in LCA studies. The benefits of organic farming practices such as varied crop rotation and the use of organic fertilisers are often overlooked in LCA studies.</span></div> <div>Crucially, LCA generally assesses environmental impacts per kilogram of product. This favours intensive systems that may have lower impacts per kilogram, while having higher impacts per hectare of land. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/ChristelCederberg_230.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />“LCA simply looks at the overall yields. Of course, from that perspective, it’s true that intensive farming methods are indeed more effective. But this is not the whole story of the larger agroecosystem. A diverse landscape with smaller fields, hedgerows and a variety of crops gives other benefits – greater biodiversity, for example,” says Christel Cederberg of Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, (photo). </div> <div><br /></div> <div>LCA’s product-focused approach also fails to capture the subtleties of smaller, diverse systems which are more reliant on ecological processes, and adapted to local soil, climate and ecosystem characteristics. LCA needs a more fine-grained approach. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We often look at the effects at the global food chain level, but we need to be much better at considering the environmental effects at the local <span style="background-color:initial">level,” says Marie Trydeman Knudsen. </span></div> <div><br /></div> <div>The researchers note in their study that efforts are being made in this area, but much more progress is needed. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>A further key weakness is when hypothetical “indirect effects” are included, such as assuming that the lower yields of organic agriculture lead to increased carbon dioxide emissions, because more land is needed. For example, another prominent study – from a researcher also based at Chalmers University of Technology – suggested that organic agriculture was worse for the climate, because the requirement for more land leads indirectly to less forest area. But accounting for these indirect effects is problematic. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“For example, consider the growing demand for organic meat. Traditional LCA studies might simply assume that overall consumption of meat will remain the same, and therefore more land will be required. But consumers who are motivated to buy organic meat for environmental and ethical reasons will probably also buy fewer animal-based products in the first place. But hardly any studies into this sort of consumer behaviour exist, so it is very difficult to account for these types of social shifts now,” says Hayo van der Werf. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Current LCA methodology and practice is simply not good enough to assess agroecological systems such as organic agriculture. It therefore needs to be improved and integrated with other environmental assessment tools to get a more balanced picture” says Christel Cederberg. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Read the article “<a href="">Towards better representation of organic agriculture in life cycle assessment​</a>” in Nature Sustainability. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><span style="color:rgb(33, 33, 33);font-family:inherit;font-size:16px;font-weight:600;background-color:initial">For more information, contact: </span><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Christel Cederberg, <span style="background-color:initial">Professor, Department of Space, Earth and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology</span></div> <div></div> <div>+46 31 772 22 18</div> <div>​<br /></div> Tue, 17 Mar 2020 07:00:00 +0100 reveals an aged star’s metamorphosis<p><b>​An international team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (Alma) has captured the very moment when an old star first starts to alter its environment. The star has ejected high-speed, bipolar gas jets which are now colliding with the surrounding material; the age of the observed jet is estimated to be less than 60 years. These features help scientists understand how the complex shapes of planetary nebulae are formed.</b></p><div><div><span style="background-color:initial">Sun-like stars evolve to puffed-up red giants in the final stage of their lives. Then, the star expels gas to form a remnant called a planetary nebula. There is a wide variety in the shapes of planetary nebulae; some are spherical, but others are bipolar or show complicated structures. Astronomers are interested in the origins of this variety, but the thick dust and gas expelled by an old star obscure the system and make it difficult to investigate the inner-workings of the process.</span><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>To tackle this problem, a team of astronomers led by Daniel Tafoya at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, pointed Alma at W43A, an old star system about 7000 light years from Earth in the constellation Aquila, the Eagle.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Centrum/Onsala%20rymdobservatorium/340x/20200305_W43A_composite_72dpi_340x340.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />Thanks to Alma’s high resolution, the team obtained a very detailed view of the space around W43A. “The most notable structures are its small bipolar jets,” says Tafoya, the lead author of the research paper published by the Astrophysical Journal Letters. The team found that the velocity of the jets is as high as 175 km per second, which is much higher than previous estimations. Based on this speed and the size of the jets, the team calculated the age of the jets to be less than a human life-span.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Considering the youth of the jets compared to the overall lifetime of a star, it is safe to say we are witnessing the 'exact moment' that the jets have just started to shove through the surrounding gas,” explains Tafoya. “When the jets carve through the surrounding material in some 60 years, a single person can watch the progress in their life.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>In fact, the Alma image clearly maps the distribution of dusty clouds entrained by the jets, which is telltale evidence that it is impacting on the surroundings.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The team assumes that this entrainment is the key to form a bipolar-shaped planetary nebula. In their scenario, the aged star originally ejects gas spherically and the core of the star loses its envelope. If the star has a companion, gas from the companion pours onto the core of the dying star, and a portion of this new gas forms the jets. Therefore, whether or not the old star has a companion is an important factor to determine the structure of the resulting planetary nebula.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“W43A is one of the peculiar so called ‘water fountain’ objects,” says Hiroshi Imai at Kagoshima University, Japan, a member of the team. “Some old stars show characteristic radio emissions from water molecules. We suppose that spots of these water emissions indicate the interface region between the jets and the surrounding material. We named them ‘water fountains,’ and it could be a sign that the central source is a binarity system launching a new jet.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“There are only 15 ‘water fountain’ objects identified to date, despite the fact that more than 100 billion stars are included in our Milky Way galaxy,” explains José Francisco Gómez, astronomer at Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain. “This is probably because the lifetime of the jets is quite short, so we are very lucky to see such rare objects.”</div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><div>Daniel Tafoya is looking forward to new insights on these remarkable stars, which are also similiar to our Sun.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>– We believe that these stars have a lot to tell us about what happens when stars like the Sun die. They give us new knowledge about why the sky's most beautiful objects, the planetary nebulae, look the way they do. They are also telling us about how stars like the Sun return material to the galaxy that can be part of the next generation of new stars, he says.</div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>More about the research</strong></div> <div><br /></div> <div><span></span><div>These observation results were presented in D. Tafoya et al. “Shaping the envelope of the asymptotic giant branch star W43A with a collimated fast jet” published by the Astrophysical Journal Letters on February 13, 2020.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The research team members are: <span style="background-color:initial">Daniel Tafoya (Chalmers University of Technology), Hiroshi Imai (Kagoshima University, Japan), José F. Gómez (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, CSIC), Jun-ichi Nakashima (Sun Yat-sen University, China), Gabor Orosz (University of Tasmania, Australia/Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory, China), and Bosco H. K. Yung (Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center, Poland).</span></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Images</strong></div> <div><strong><br /></strong></div> <div>For high-resolution images, see the press release from NAOJ: <a href=""></a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><div><span style="background-color:initial"><em>A (top) - Artist’s impression of W43A based on the Alma observation results. Diffuse spherical gas was emitted from the star in the past. W43A has just started ejecting bipolar jets which entrain the surrounding material. Bright spots in radio emissions from water molecules are distributed around the interface of the jets and the diffuse gas.</em></span><br /></div> <div><em>Credit: NAOJ.</em></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><div><em>B - Alma image of the old star system W43A. The high velocity bipolar jets ejected from the central aged star are seen in blue, low velocity outflow is shown in green, and dusty clouds entrained by the jets are shown in orange.</em></div> <div><em>Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Tafoya et al.</em></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Contacts:</strong></div> <div><div> </div> <div>Robert Cumming, communicator, Onsala Space Observatory, Chalmers, 031-772 5500, 070-493 31 14,</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Daniel Tafoya, astronomer, Onsala S<span style="background-color:initial">pace Observatory</span><span style="background-color:initial">, Chalmers, 031 772 5519,</span></div> <em></em></div> <div><br /></div>Thu, 05 Mar 2020 07:00:00 +0100 000 school students will become Star Hunters<p><b>​Help a Scientist is an annual project under the auspices of the Nobel Prize Museum that brings together scientists, students and teachers. The Star Hunt is the tenth project, and it is about space and to identify stars together with three scientists based at Chalmers.</b></p><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Star-hunt-Giuliana_Ruben_Jonathan.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />The project &quot;the Star Hunt&quot; and astronomers Giuliana Cosentino, Rubén Fedriani and Jonathan Tan at Chalmers' Department of Space, Earth and Environment have been selected for the 2020 Help a Scientist program, run by the Nobel Prize Museum. In this, the 10th edition of the Help a Scientist program, about 1 000 participating Swedish school students from about 30 schools will be the first Star Hunters as this is the first space-astronomy project offered by the program. <div><br /></div> <div><div>In the project The Star Hunt the astronomers need help finding new stars that are being born from dusty interstellar clouds in our galaxy.<br /></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div>– We have a lot of knowledge about space and the stars in our galaxy, but there are still a lot of mysteries surrounding the birth of new stars. In this project we need the students to help us understand where stars come from, the origin of stars in our galaxy - oncluding our own Sun. This way we will also learn about or own origins, says Jonathan Tan. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><div>Students will analyse images taken in a variety of wavelengths of light, from radio to x-ray, by telescopes on the  ground, in the air and in space. The scientists will provide a background to the research and instructions for  analysis of the images. <span style="background-color:initial">Each team of students will explore their  own regions of the galaxy targeting particular interstellar clouds. </span><span style="background-color:initial">​</span></div></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"> – This project is a great opportunity for us. When working with kids we usually focus on them learning while having fun, but in this case the main goal is that they actually will discover new things that are useful for us in our research, says Rubén Fedriani.<br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><a href="">Read more about the Star Hunt on the Nobel Prize Museum website​</a>. </span></div> ​Wed, 26 Feb 2020 10:00:00 +0100