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Three out of eight Vinnova investments to Chalmers

Chalmers University of Technology receives three new centers of excellence – for research about 2D materials, digital twin cities and for the transition to bio-based thermoplastics. That is the result when Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova presents its new investment in eight new centers where universities and companies will collaborate. Chalmers is also a partner in the new Vinnova center for battery research that will be located at Uppsala University.
“In order to address today's global challenges, we need to develop completely new solutions and research needs to benefit society. Research environments where universities and industry work closely together are therefore crucial, and long-term investments in centers of excellence are an important part of it”, says Darja Isaksson, Director General of Vinnova.

In the competence centers, universities, research institutes, companies and public actors shall conduct research and education in close cooperation in areas that are important for Sweden's competitiveness. Vinnova has therefore attached great importance to the strong collaboration Chalmers has with several industrial partners in each area in its assessment. The collaboration will contribute to new knowledge, and new technology will be developed and used for new products, processes and services in business and other parts of society.
 
Each competence centre receives funding from Vinnova with between SEK 4 and 8 million per year for five years, a maximum of 36 million. In addition, the universities and industrial partners participate equally, all in all providing total financing of approximately SEK 100 million.
 
Behind the success of Chalmers is a purposeful work that connects many researchers in different fields of research. Not least through the Areas of Advance at Chalmers University; AoA Material has supported both the upcoming 2D center and the center that will enable the transition from fossil to biobased thermoplastics. The researchers behind the digital twin cities have been supported by the new Area of Advance that is under construction: Liveable Cities.
 
These new centers of excellence will start in 2020:

2D material-based technology for industrial applications (2D-TECH)

A new center for research on two-dimensional materials is formed from 2020 with support from Sweden's governmental innovation agency Vinnova. The initiative will start at the turn of the year 2020 and will focus on research on two-dimensional materials in several different application areas for Swedish industry. It is about getting multifunctional composites, sustainable energy, electronics and new materials. Just like the Graphene centrum, 2D-Tech will be hosted by the Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience, MC2. In total, 17 Chalmers researchers from six different departments are associated with the project.
 
“We will build a powerful and dynamic hub for 2D material here at Chalmers. Through strong industrial cooperation, we can ensure that our knowledge comes in handy. The fact that we receive this funding is crucial for us to be able to establish the 2D materials in society”, says Ermin Malic, professor at the Department of Physics and director for the new center, which will be part of the Graphene center at Chalmers.
 

Digital Twin Cities

Digital twins is a concept that revolutionised the manufacturing industry and is used daily to construct increasingly refined products. The Digital Twin Cities Competence Center will develop the concept of digital twins for cities by modelling and simulating the city as a complex multi-physics system based on real-time data.
 
“We are extremely happy and proud. Behind our application is very hard and long-term work from a committed team at Chalmers in close collaboration with our partners”, says Anders Logg, professor at the Department of Mathematical Sciences and one of two directors of the center.
 
"Digital Twin may be a well-established concept, but what is unique about our concept compared to those elsewhere, is that we aim to integrate what is underground, treating the city as a four-dimensional complex system in our simulations, says Minna Karstunen, professor at the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering and director of the centre.

Design for Circularity: Lignocellulose based Thermoplastics – Fib:Re

The center will build on research and education to enable the transition from fossil to bio-based thermoplastics produced in a sustainable and circular manner.
Project leader: Anette Larsson, professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

Center for Swedish batteries – an alliance for ultra-high functionality (SweBAL)

Chalmers was also a co-applicant for the center of expertise that will be placed at Uppsala University. The center will focus on research to create new types of light, cheap, environmentally friendly and safe batteries with ultra-high energy storage capacity. Some examples of research activities from Chalmers side: electrolytes for next-generation batteries, graphene-sulfur battery cells, battery recycling strategies, novel modelling strategies, use of large-scale facilities etc.
 
“Chalmers is already a truly innovative environment when it comes to battery materials. Within the new center we can further strengthen the national collaboration, not the least with Kristina Edström at Uppsala University leading the project. As we are so strongly connected with the electromobility, efforts in the region will also be highly useful, and can truly focus on the most problematic, and important, part of an electrified vehicle – the battery”, says Patrik Johansson, professor at the Department of Physics who will lead a cross-disciplinary team from materials design to LCA and recycling.
 
Text: Anita Fors, Michael Nystås, Mia Halleröd Palmgren, Catharina Björk
 

Published: Thu 20 Jun 2019. Modified: Mon 24 Jun 2019