News: Globalhttp://www.chalmers.se/sv/nyheterNews related to Chalmers University of TechnologyWed, 20 Jan 2021 13:09:15 +0100http://www.chalmers.se/sv/nyheterhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Revere-celebrates-five-years-of-vehicle-research.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Revere-celebrates-five-years-of-vehicle-research.aspxRevere celebrates five years of vehicle research<p><b>​Since the start, in autumn 2015, Revere – Chalmers&#39; vehicle laboratory – has established itself as a full-fledged research infrastructure for academia and the automotive industry in western Sweden. Originating from road traffic research, the scope of Revere now also includes marine vessels and electrified vehicles.​</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Self-driving vehicles, active safety and vehicle dynamics are the three areas in focus for Revere, Resource for Vehicle Research at Chalmers.</span><div><br /><span style="background-color:initial"></span><div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Revere%20firar%20fem%20år%20av%20fordonsforskning/fredrik_von_corswant_230px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Fredrik von Corswant" style="margin:5px;width:200px;height:260px" />“Vehicle researchers and companies in the transport sector are welcome to contact us with their ideas and projects to get help to transform them from theory to reality”, says Fredrik von Corswant, Director of Revere.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>In collaboration with Revere, technologies, theoretical models and algorithms can be developed and tested on real vehicles and in real traffic environments, or at <a href="https://www.astazero.com/" target="_blank"><div style="display:inline !important">the AstaZero test track.</div></a></div> <a href="https://www.astazero.com/" target="_blank">​</a><div><span style="background-color:initial">“We write research appli</span><span style="background-color:initial">cations in collaboration with researchers and industry partners, enabling a tailor-ma</span><span style="background-color:initial">de test phase that gets the most out of the results”, he declares.</span><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Full-scale vehicles and models </strong></div> <div>In the lab at Lindholmen in Gothenburg, Revere has several vehicles of different kinds that are used in the research activities, for example a full-scale truck as well as cars and also smaller radio-controlled model vehicles. The smaller vehicles are often used in the teaching of students.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>By adapting the vehicles to the current projects and providing them with different types of sensors and equipment for data logging, communication technology and more, data can be collected and the theories refined and verified.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Our flexible, in-house developed software platform OpenDLV is our greatest asset”, says Fredrik von Corswant. “Only imagination sets the limits on what it can be used for in vehicle research, I would say. For example, it is possible to connect remotely to the vehicles while test driving, in case there is something that you immediately want to adjust in the software. Another advantage is that the platform can handle large amounts of data and is able to compress video, without losing data that is important to the algorithms.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Real tests give more reliable results </strong></div> <div>Revere often works with long vehicles and combinations of vehicles, for example a tractor unit that is connected to two semi-trailers and a converter dolly forming a High Capacity Transport, HCT vehicle. Such a combination is longer than what is normally allowed to drive on public roads in Sweden today. In the vehicle lab, research and tests are performed on, for example, how to stabilize long vehicle combinations so that they do not tip over.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We are also developing protocols for the communication between vehicle units”, Fredrik continues. “For example, if the tractor uses the brakes, a connected electrical dolly should not continue to propel forward.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Conducting tests in real life provides supplementary and more reliable information, than computer simulations alone can supply.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Only full-scale tests cover all the factors that affect the vehicle. For example, there are often disturbances that interfere with signals from sensors, inertia due to the weight of the vehicle, and also effects such as delays in the system, limitations in computer capacity, and more. Tests can provide answers to questions concerning how sensors act in bad weather or how the grip of the tires on the road surface behave depending on road conditions. This is often very difficult to determine with theoretical models alone.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Revere's software platform can also be used to perform simulations. Real traffic data can be mixed with simulated data. For example, how would a self-driving car behave if there is an unexpected object like a dustbin, or other obstacle, on the road?</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We also compile datasets, such as film sequences, that are collected and created by our sensors in traffic situations of various kinds. We then share the data as open source with those who want to test their own  algorithms.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Data created in the test vehicles is automatically uploaded to Revere's cloud server. The latest addition is data from a bus, that in early 2021 will run in regular traffic between two cities in India. In connection with the cloud server, Revere also offers analyses of data in a computational cluster, which enables, for example, training of systems for machine learning.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>At the lab, more humanistic aspects are also studied, such as research into driver behavior and how surrounding road users perceive the interaction with self-driving vehicles since there is no driver to make eye contact with.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Research also in marine settings </strong></div> <div>For a couple of years now, Revere has entered the field of marine vessels, mainly in collaboration with RISE. A pilot boat in the port of Gothenburg is available for research projects, and also a catamaran platform and some models.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“The sensor technology used does not differ much from land to sea, apart from the radar systems. We have transferred a lot of our existing systems into marine applications”, says Fredrik. “I think there is a great need and demand for research on automation in the marine settings, from academia as well as from the industry. This is definitely an area for further expansion in the future.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>A venue to be proud of </strong></div> <div>Looking back at the first five years of the lab, what is he as a Director most proud of?</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We have successfully carried out a number of demonstrations of cutting-edge research, and our in-house developed software platform stands out well compared to the equivalents being developed at vehicle companies”, says Fredrik von Corswant. “Today, Revere is a venue where researchers and developers from various organizations and disciplines meet. That provides exciting cross-border connections and creates ideas for new innovations.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The demand for a vehicle research infrastructure remains stable for the foreseeable future. We have probably only entered the first phase of the societal development that self-driving cars and electrified vehicles of various kinds are bringing.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>”I hope that Revere in the future can attract more researchers and companies to be active collaborating partners. Our goal is to continue to build competence in automation and active security in the region, to provide a good recruitment base for industry and research institutes”, concludes Fredrik von Corswant.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text: Yvonne Jonsson<br />Photo: Henrik Sandsjö</div> <div><br /><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Revere%20firar%20fem%20år%20av%20fordonsforskning/RevereTestfordon_Lindholmen_201016_05_750x422px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Revere at Lindholmen" style="margin:5px" /><br /><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2" style="font-family:&quot;open sans&quot;, sans-serif"><span style="font-family:inherit;background-color:initial">Examples of research projects</span><br /></h2></div> <div> <div><a href="https://research.chalmers.se/en/project/?id=8349" target="_blank">I-dolly, a self-propelled truck trailer without driver or car </a><br /></div> <div>Revere is testing, in collaboration with, among others, Volvo Trucks and researchers from Chalmers, an intelligent converter dolly, that has its own electrical propulsion and steering. The dolly autonomously transports trailers with containers the last kilometers from a distribution center to the end customer for unloading.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="/en/projects/Pages/COPPLAR-CampusShuttle-cooperative-perception-Q-planning-platform.aspx">COPPLAR, a prototype car for safe navigation in complex inner-city environments </a></div> <div>In collaboration with several companies and researchers from Chalmers, Revere has developed a test vehicle for research on various self-driving functions, with a special focus on urban environments and changing weather conditions. Self-driving vehicles that cooperate with each other enable more safe navigation in complex inner-city environments. Together with Ericsson, Revere also has performed <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&amp;v=fzkv5beS4uk&amp;feature=emb_logo" target="_blank">a demo on the AstaZero test track</a> to show how vehicles communicate with each other for safe passages through an intersection.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="https://research.chalmers.se/en/project/?id=8213" target="_blank">AutoFreight, extra long self-driving trucks for smarter logistics </a></div> <div>Revere is working with about ten partners to develop solutions for self-driving trucks to travel from the port of Gothenburg to Viared, an undustrial area near Borås. Field tests are conducted on highway 40 using an extra-long vehicle combination (HCT) of nearly 32 meters, which enables the transport of two containers per truck compared to usually one.</div> <div><br /></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Facts About Revere, Resource for Vehicle Research at Chalmers </h2> <div>Revere is a part of Chalmers' research infrastructure and is closely linked to the <a href="https://www.saferresearch.com/" target="_blank">SAFER</a> traffic research center. Other partners are Volvo Trucks and Volvo Cars. Region Västra Götaland contributes with funding. </div> <div><a href="/en/researchinfrastructure/revere/Pages/default.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read more about Revere</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>For more information, contact</strong></div> <div>Fredrik von Corswant, Director of Revere</div> <div><a href="mailto:%20fredrik.von.corswant@chalmers.se%E2%80%8B">fredrik.von.corswant@chalmers.se​</a></div></div> <div><br /></div> </div>Wed, 20 Jan 2021 07:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/How-short-circuits-in-lithium-metal-batteries-can-be-prevented.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/How-short-circuits-in-lithium-metal-batteries-can-be-prevented.aspxHow lithium metal batteries can be safe and effective<p><b>There are high hopes for the next generation of high energy-density lithium metal batteries, but before they can be used in our vehicles, there are crucial problems to solve. An international research team led by Chalmers has now developed concrete guidelines for how the batteries should be charged and operated, maximising efficiency while minimising the risk of short circuits.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Lithi</span><span style="background-color:initial">um metal batteries are one of several promising concepts that could eventually replace the lithium-ion batteries which are currently widely used – particularly in various types of electric vehicles.</span><div><span style="background-color:initial"><div>The big advantage of this new battery type is that the energy density can be significantly higher. This is because one electrode of a battery cell – the anode – consists of a thin foil of lithium metal, instead of graphite, as is the case in lithium-ion batteries. Without graphite, the proportion of active material in the battery cell is much higher, increasing energy density and reducing weight. Using lithium metal as the anode also makes it possible to use high-capacity materials at the other electrode – the cathode. This can result in cells with three to five times the current level of energy-density.</div> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span>Avoiding the ’needles’ which cause punctures and internal short circuits</span></h2></div> </span><span style="background-color:initial"><div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/Blandade%20dimensioner%20inne%20i%20artikel/Dendrites_ENG_250x250.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:200px;height:200px" />​The big problem, however, is safety. In two recently published scientific articles in the prestigious journals Advanced Energy Materials and Advanced Science, researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, together with colleagues in Russia, China and Korea, now present a method for using the lithium metal in an optimal and safe way. It results from designing the battery in such a way that, during the charging process, the metal does not develop the sharp, needle-like structures known as dendrites, which can cause short circuits, and, in the worst cases, lead to the battery catching fire. Safety during charging and discharging is the key factor. </div> <div><div><br /></div></div> </span><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/Blandade%20dimensioner%20inne%20i%20artikel/Shizhao_Xiong_.jpg_webb.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;height:138px;width:120px" /><div><span style="background-color:initial">“Sho</span><span style="background-color:initial">rt circ</span><span style="background-color:initial">uiting in lithium metal batteries usually occurs due to the metal depositing unevenly during the charging cycle and the formation of dendrites on the anode. These protruding needles cause the anode and the cathode to come into direct contact with one another, so preventing their formation is therefore crucial. Our guidance can now contribute to this,” says researcher Shizhao Xiong at the Department of Physics at Chalmers.</span><br /></div> <span style="background-color:initial"> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Optimised charging provides safer batteries</h2> <div>There are a number of different factors that control how the lithium is distributed on the anode. In the electrochemical process that occurs during charging, the structure of the lithium metal is mainly affected by the current density, temperature and concentration of ions in the electrolyte.</div> <div>The researchers used simulations and experiments to determine how the charge can be optimised based on these parameters. The purpose is to create a dense, ideal structure on the lithium metal anode.</div></span><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/Blandade%20dimensioner%20inne%20i%20artikel/Aleksandar%20Matic%20200930_webb.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;height:140px;width:120px" /><span style="background-color:initial"><div><br /></div> <div>“Getting the ions in the electrolyte to arrange themselves exactly right when they become lithium atoms during charging is a difficult challenge. Our new knowledge about how to control the process under different conditions can contribute to safer and more efficient lithium metal batteries,” says Professor Aleksandar Matic from Chalmers’ Department of Physics.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Text:</strong> Mia Halleröd Palmgren</div> <div><strong>Portrait photos: </strong>Anna-Lena Lundqvist (Aleksandar Matic), Chalmers (Shizhao Xiong)</div></span><span style="background-color:initial"> <div><br /></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">More about: The research project</h2> <div>The international research collaboration between Sweden, China, Russia and Korea is led by Professor Aleksandar Matic and researcher Shizhao Xiong at the Department of Physics at Chalmers. The research in Sweden is funded by FORMAS, STINT, the EU and Chalmers Areas of Advance.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><div>Read the scientific article <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/advs.202003301">‘Insight into the Critical Role of Exchange Current Density on Electrodeposition Behavior of Lithium Metal’</a> in Advanced Science. The article is written by Yangyang Liu, Xieyu Xu, Matthew Sadd, Olesya O. Kapitanova, Victor A. Krivchenko, Jun Ban, Jialin Wang, Xingxing Jiao, Zhongxiao Song, Jiangxuan Song, Shizhao Xiong and Aleksandar Matic. </div> <div>The researchers are active at Lomonosov Moscow State University and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in Russia, Xi’an Jiaotong University in China and at Chalmers University of Technology.</div></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Read the scientific article <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aenm.202002390">‘Role of Li ‐ Ion Depletion on Electrode Surface: Underlying Mechanism for Electrodeposition Behavior of Lithium Metal Anode’ ​</a>in Advanced Energy Materials. The article is written by Xieyu Xu, Yangyang Liu, Jang ‐ Yeon Hwang, Olesya O. Kapitanova, Zhongxiao Song, Yang ‐ Kook Sun, Aleksandar Matic and Shizhao Xiong. </div> <div>The researchers are active at Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia, Xi’an Jiaotong University in China, Chonnam National University and Hanyang University in Korea, as well as at Chalmers University of Technology.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">More about: Next generation batteries</h2> <div>There are a number of battery concepts which researchers hope will eventually be able to replace today's lithium-ion batteries. Solid state batteries, lithium-sulphur batteries and lithium air batteries are three oft-mentioned examples. In all these concepts, lithium metal needs to be used on the anode side to match the capacity of the cathode and maximise the energy density of the cell.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The goal is to produce safe, high energy-density batteries that take us further, at lower cost – both economically and environmentally. So far, researchers estimate that a breakthrough to the next generation of batteries is at least ten years away.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>At Chalmers, research is conducted in a number of projects in the field of batteries and the researchers participate in both national and international collaborations and are part of the large European initiative 2030+ in the <a href="https://www.big-map.eu/">BIGMAP ​</a>project.</div> <div style="text-align:right"><div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/750x340/Battery_Illustration_Muhammad750x340.jpg" alt="" />​<span style="background-color:initial">​Illustration: Muhammad Abdelhamid​</span><span style="background-color:initial;font-family:inherit;font-size:20px"> </span></div></div></span><span style="background-color:initial"> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">More battery news from Chalmers.</h2> <div><a href="/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/A-spreadable-way-to-stabilise-solid-state-batteries.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />A spreadable way to stabilise solid state batteries</a></div> <div><a href="/en/areas-of-advance/Transport/news/Pages/Testbed-for-electromobility-gets-575-million-SEK.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Testbed for electromobility gets 575 million SEK</a></div> <div><a href="/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/A-new-concept-could-make-more-environmentally-friendly-batteries-possible-.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />A new concept for more sustainable batteries </a></div> <div><a href="/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/Graphene_sponge_paves_the_way_for_future_batteries.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Graphene sponge paves the way for future batteries​</a></div> <div><a href="/en/news/Pages/Three-out-of-eight-to-Chalmers-in-Vinnova-investment.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />New center for Swedish batteries</a></div> <div><br /></div> </span><a href="https://www.batteriessweden.se/"></a><div style="display:inline !important"><a href="https://www.batteriessweden.se/">Read more about Swedish battery research on the website for Batteries Sweden (BASE)</a><br /></div> <span style="background-color:initial"><a href="https://www.batteriessweden.se/">  ​</a> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span>For m</span><span>ore information contact:</span></h2></div> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Shizhao-Xiong.aspx">Shizhao Xiong</a>, Researcher, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, +46 31 7726284, <a href="mailto:shizhao.xiong@chalmers.se">shizhao.xiong@chalmers.se</a></div> <div><a href="/en/staff/Pages/Aleksandar-Matic.aspx">Aleksandar Matic​</a>, Professor, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, +46 31 772 51 76, <a href="mailto:%20matic@chalmers.se">matic@chalmers.se​</a></div> <div></div></span></div>Tue, 19 Jan 2021 07:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Beautiful-collisions-hubble-shows-6-galaxy-mergers.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Beautiful-collisions-hubble-shows-6-galaxy-mergers.aspxBeautiful collisions: Hubble shows 6 galaxy mergers<p><b>​To celebrate a new year, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has published a montage of six beautiful galaxy mergers. Each of these merging systems was studied as part of the recent HiPEEC survey to investigate the rate of new star formation within such systems. These interactions are a key aspect of galaxy evolution and are among the most spectacular events in the lifetime of a galaxy.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">It is during rare merging events that galaxies undergo dramatic changes in their appearance and in their stellar content. These systems are excellent laboratories to trace the formation of star clusters under extreme physical conditions.</span><div><br /></div> <div>The Milky Way typically forms star clusters with masses that are 10 thousand times the mass of our Sun. This doesn’t compare to the masses of the star clusters forming in colliding galaxies, which can reach millions of times the mass of our Sun.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>These dense stellar systems are also very luminous. Even after the collision, when the resulting galactic system begins to fade into a more quiescent phase, these very massive star clusters will shine throughout their host galaxy, as long-lasting witnesses of past merging events.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>By studying the six galaxy mergers shown here, the Hubble imaging Probe of Extreme Environments and Clusters (HiPEEC) survey has investigated how star clusters are affected during collisions by the rapid changes that drastically increase the rate at which new stars are formed in these galaxies. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><div>– For me the most interesting result was that the two minor merger <span style="background-color:initial">systems (i.e., the collision between one massive galaxy and a less </span><span style="background-color:initial">massive galaxy) in the study have by far the highest cluster formation </span><span style="background-color:initial">efficiencies, says Sabine König, one of two Chalmers astronomers involved in the study. </span></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div>– So the conditions in these two galaxies support that more of the stellar mass in a galaxy is located in stellar clusters, than what can be observed in the other, major mergers of the study (collisions between two galaxies with equal masses). <span style="background-color:initial">One reason for the difference between the cluster formation efficiencies in this study could be that for the two minor mergers we have found that the stellar clusters are not located where the molecular gas is found, </span><span style="background-color:initial">as one would normally expect it to be</span><span style="background-color:initial">.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><div>–That's why I find it particularly important to not only study major <span style="background-color:initial">galaxy mergers and their importance for how galaxies and the Universe </span><span style="background-color:initial">evolve, but indeed the minor mergers as well, which occur much more </span><span style="background-color:initial">often than the major mergers, says Sabine König.</span></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Hubble’s capabilities have made it possible to resolve large star-forming “knots” into numerous compact young star clusters. Hubble’s ultraviolet and near-infrared observations of these systems have been used to derive star cluster ages, masses, and extinctions and to analyse the star formation rate within these six merging galaxies. The HiPEEC study reveals that the star cluster populations undergo large and rapid variations in their properties, with the most massive clusters formed towards the end of the merger phase.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Each of the merging systems shown here has been previously published  by Hubble.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The text is based on a <a href="https://esahubble.org/news/heic2101/">press release from ESA/NASA: When Galaxies Collide: Hubble Showcases 6 Beautiful Galaxy Mergers​</a>, edited by Christian Löwhagen.</div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">More information</h3> <div><a href="https://esahubble.org/">The Hubble Space Telescope​</a> is a project of international cooperation between NASA<span style="background-color:initial">, National Aeronautics and Space Administration</span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"> and ESA</span><span style="background-color:initial">, the European Space Agency. </span></div> <span></span><div></div> <div><br /></div> <div>The HiPEEC survey was led by Angela Adamo, Stockholm University. Susanne Aalto and Sabine König, Chalmers Univsersity of Technology, the Department of Space, Earth and Environment were part of the inter<span style="background-color:initial">national team of astronomers in this study</span><span style="background-color:initial">.​ </span></div> Fri, 15 Jan 2021 07:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/math/news/Pages/Travel-patterns-can-predict-care-needs-during-the-pandemic.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/math/news/Pages/Travel-patterns-can-predict-care-needs-during-the-pandemic.aspxTravel patterns can predict care needs during the pandemic<p><b>​By measuring how much people travel on a regional level, Philip Gerlee et al. have developed a model that can be used to predict the number of patients with covid-19 who need to be hospitalised.</b></p><p>​The transmission of covid-19 is dependent on the number of physical encounters between people, the rate of which has varied during the course of the pandemic due to mandated and voluntary social distancing. One way to measure and predict this transmission is to study our mobility, assuming that the more we move, the more people we encounter.</p> <p>Philip Gerlee and Torbjörn Lundh, Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, have together with several other researchers at universities and university hospitals in Gothenburg, Linköping and Lund compared the number of hospitalised covid-19 patients with mobility data in terms of public transport utilisation and mobile phone usage. This model has been shown to capture the timing of both the first and the beginning of the second wave of the pandemic.</p> <h2>Travel data from regional public transport companies</h2> <p>The comparison with mobile phone data was made for all regions in Sweden and the model turned out to perform somewhat better for larger regions than for smaller, where random effects may have a greater effect. The researchers also received travel data from the regional public transport companies Västtrafik and Skånetrafiken and were able to show that this data provided an even better agreement between model and data.</p> <p>Since there is a time lag between an increased number of infections and hospital admissions, this model can predict the need for hospital care at a regional level three weeks in advance through the access to local traffic data. The preprint “<a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/2101.00823">Predicting regional COVID-19 hospital admissions in Sweden using mobility data</a>” can be accessed via the web site arXiv.<br /><br /><a href="/en/departments/math/news/Pages/They-predict-the-need-for-care-for-covid-19-patients.aspx">Interview with Philip Gerlee in August about predicting the care need for covid-19 patients &gt;&gt;</a></p> <p>Contact information for <a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/gerlee.aspx">Philip Gerlee</a> and <a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/torbjorn-lundh.aspx">Torbjörn Lundh</a> &gt;&gt;<br /><br /><strong>Text</strong>: Setta Aspström</p>Tue, 05 Jan 2021 10:35:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/energy/news/Pages/production-gap.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/energy/news/Pages/production-gap.aspxDo something constructive of the report&#39;s message<p><b>​The pandemic may offer a rare opportunity for countries to transition to a new and more sustainable world, when recovery packages are to be distributed. This is stated by researchers in a new report, which also shows that current emission levels of carbon dioxide are incompatible with the climate targets of 1.5 to 2 degrees temperature increase. Filip Johnsson, professor of sustainable energy systems at Chalmers University of Technology, has read the report and comments on it here.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">It has been five years since the Paris Agreement was concluded. The planned extraction of fossil fuels in the world will make the agreement’s global warming goals impossible to meet. A special report, <a href="https://productiongap.org/">The Production Gap​</a>, was launched in December 2020. Researchers from several research institutes together with the UN's environmental program examined how much fossil fuels are planned to be used by 2030 and compared their use with the fossil-fuel reduction required to limit global warming according to climate goals. The gap has grown since last year.<br /><br /></span><div><img src="/sv/styrkeomraden/energi/nyheter/PublishingImages/filipj.jpg" alt="Filip Johnsson" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:5px" />“The report shows a far too large gap between how much the world's fossil fuel use would need to be reduced and different countries' plans to utilize their fossil fuels. In many cases, plans are being made for the expansion of fossil fuel use, and in many cases fossil fuels are being subsidized. It is important to remember that there are many countries, unlike countries such as Sweden, which have large domestic reserves of fossil fuels and they tend to use their resources. We pointed out that challenge a couple of years ago in Dagens Nyheter: <a href="https://www.dn.se/debatt/ingen-minskning-av-fossil-energi-trots-storsatsning-pa-fornybart/">No reduction in fossil energy despite a major investment in renewables​</a>”, says Filip Johnsson.<br /><br /></div> <div>“The positive thing is that many companies have started to communicate that they intend to become climate neutral at a certain year and that this should include all emissions resulting from their products, including emissions in connection with the extraction of materials and inputs, emissions of production and emissions caused by using the product”, says Filip Johnsson, who hopes that many politicians, business leaders and actors in the financial market will embrace the message in the report.<br /><br /></div> <div><div><strong>The pandemic has been going on for a while</strong>. Is it even possible to change course and meet climate targets now when many industries are fighting for their survival and the government is forced to present crisis package after crisis package?</div> <div>“I think there is a will among many politicians. But much of the measures and the support that has been decided on so far are to eliminate short-term effects on redundancies and unemployment, and then the capacity to act to influence is not so great. But now time has come to plan for a change”.<br /><br /></div> <div><strong>What do you think is the best thing about the report?</strong></div> <div>“That it shows in black and white that it is urgent to change the development. Not least to find ways for the EU and Sweden to establish so-called border adjustments so that carbon intensive products imported from fossil-rich countries are subject to the same carbon dioxide tax as we will have within the EU. There are many indications that it would accelerate the phasing out of fossil fuels in countries such as China and other countries, from which we import much of our consumer goods. It must be “out of fashion” with fossil fuels”.</div></div> <div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Who should read the report?</strong></div> <div>“It is more like the opposite, who shouldn’t read it? However, it is important not to become too pessimistic and instead start doing something constructive of the report's message”, Filip Johnsson concludes.<br /><br />By: Ann-Christine Nordin</div> <div><br /></div> Wed, 23 Dec 2020 00:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Bionic-touch-does-not-remap-the-brain.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Bionic-touch-does-not-remap-the-brain.aspxBionic touch does not remap the brain<p><b>​Advances in neuroscience and engineering have generated great hope for Luke Skywalker-like prosthetics: robotic devices that are almost indistinguishable from a human limb. Key to solving this challenge is designing devices that not only can be operated with a user’s own neural activity, but can also accurately and precisely receive and relay sensory information to the user. ​</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">A new study by neuroscientists at Chalmers and the University of Chicago, published in the journal Cell Reports, highlights just how difficult this may prove to be. In a cohort of three subjects whose amputated limbs had been replaced with a neuromusculoskeletal prosthetic limb, the investigators found that even after a full year of using the devices, the participant’s subjective sensation never shifted to match the location of the touch sensors on their prosthetic devices. </span><div><br /></div> <div>The stability of the touch sensations highlights the limits in the ability of the nervous system to adapt to different sensory input.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Three participants with above-elbow amputations were equipped with high-tech neuroprosthetic devices that were affixed directly to their humerus bone. The users could control the prosthetic device thanks to signals received from electrodes implanted in the residual arm muscles, and received sensory feedback via another set of implanted electrodes. A sensor located on the prosthetic thumb triggered stimulation of the nerve, which in turn elicited a touch sensation. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>However, because the organisation of the nerve is essentially arbitrary, surgeons can’t be sure whether their placement of the electrodes will generate a sensation in the correct location on the thumb. In the study, the prosthetic users did not report feeling the sensation on the thumb, but rather in other hand locations, such as their middle finger or the palm.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Participants then wore the prosthesis for upwards of 12 hours a day, every day, using it to manipulate objects during their daily routine for over a year.</div> <div><strong><br />The sensation persisted where it was originally felt</strong></div> <span style="font-weight:700"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Nytt%20centrum%20för%20ledande%20forskning%20om%20bionik%20och%20smärta/Max_Ortiz_Catalan_300x350px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Max Ortiz Catalan" style="margin:5px;height:254px;width:220px" /></span><div>“One problem with current neural electrodes is that you can’t tell during the implantation surgery which part of the nerve corresponds to what sensation, so the electrodes don’t always land in exactly the location in the nerve that would match the location of the sensors in the prosthetic hand,” said lead author and developer of the neuromusculoskeletal prostheses, Max Ortiz Catalan, PhD, an associate professor of bionics at Chalmers, and Director of the Center for Bionics and Pain Research in Gothenburg.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We hoped that because the patients were grabbing objects and feeling the sensation somewhere else in the hand, all day and every day for several months, the brain would resolve the mismatch by shifting the perceived sensation to the thumb,” he continued.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Despite being able to observe their hand while interacting with objects, none of the users ever reported that they felt the sensation on their thumb, but rather that the sensation persisted in the same area where it was originally felt. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Every day, for a year, these subjects saw their prosthetic thumb touching things and felt it in a different location – sometimes close to the thumb, but not on it – and the sensation never budged. Not even a smidge,” said senior author Sliman Bensmaia, PhD, the James and Karen Frank Family Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at UChicago. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>The results challenge dogma regarding brain plasticity</strong></div> <div>These results challenge prevailing dogma regarding brain plasticity following limb loss. Many have believed that the brain has a high capacity to reorganise itself after losing sensory input, co-opting existing, unused brain tissue for other purposes. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“There’s been this idea that the nervous system is really plastic, so if you see a mismatch between what you see and what you feel, it’s a great opportunity for neural remapping,” said Bensmaia. “For example, if you sew two fingers together and look at how that’s represented in the brain, they seem to have merged.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“But I think that this idea has been vastly overstated. It’s less like you’re reorganising a room and more like you’re just hearing echoes bouncing around an empty chamber,” he continued. “You might get some overlapping sensation from adjacent limbs, but it’s just because the area of the brain that used to respond to sensation is empty, and activating the neurons around it leads to an echo through the emptiness.” </div> <div><br /></div> <div>This study highlights the importance of knowing exactly where to place electrodes when implanting sensory arrays for patients using these types of neuroprosthetic devices, as it appears unlikely that the brain is capable of making substantial adjustments in how it perceives that sensory input. “This means that you really have to get it right,” said Bensmaia. “There are no do-overs here.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>More about: The study</strong></div> <div>The study, <a href="https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247%2820%2931528-X" target="_blank">Chronic use of a sensitized bionic hand does not remap the sense of touch​</a>​, was supported by the Promobilia Foundation, the IngaBritt and Arne Lundbergs Foundation, Vinnova, the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), the European Research Council and NINDS grant NS095251. Additional authors include Enzo Mastinu of the Center for Bionics and Pain Research and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and Charles Greenspon of the University of Chicago. </div> <div> </div> <div><strong>More about: Mind-controlled arm prostheses</strong></div> <div>A study about the neuromusculoskeletal arm prostheses was published in the <em>New England Journal of Medicine</em> in April.  F<span style="background-color:initial">or images, video and more information, see the press release <a href="https://news.cision.com/chalmers/r/mind-controlled-arm-prostheses-that--feel--are-now-a-part-of-everyday-life%2cc3179194" target="_blank">Mind-controlled arm prostheses that “feel” are now a part of everyday life.​</a></span></div> <div>  </div> <div><strong>More about: Center for Bionics and Pain Research</strong></div> <div><a href="https://cbpr.se/" target="_blank">Center for Bionics and Pain Research (CBPR)</a> is a new interdisciplinary research center in Gothenburg, Sweden, formed by experts in engineering, medicine, and medical practice. The overall goal is to develop medical technologies and treatments to restore lost sensory and motor function, in patients who have, for example, lost a limb or suffered nerve damage, and to relieve the pain that can arise from these types of sensorimotor impairments. The participating organisations are Chalmers University of Technology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg. Director of the center is Max Ortiz Catalan, Associate Professor at Chalmers.</div> <div> </div> <div><strong>For more information, please contact</strong></div> <div><a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/max-jair-ortiz-catalan.aspx">Max Ortiz Catalan</a>, associate professor of bionics at Chalmers University of Technology and Director of the Center for Bionics and Pain Research in Gothenburg, Sweden.</div> <div><br /></div> Tue, 22 Dec 2020 17:30:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Chalmers-contributes-to-a-sustainable-food-sector.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Chalmers-contributes-to-a-sustainable-food-sector.aspxChalmers contributes to a sustainable food sector<p><b>​Chalmers University of Technology’s contribution to research and development of new solutions for a more sustainable food sector is growing. Through three national centres − FINEST, PAN Sweden and BLUE FOOD − Chalmers researchers will be involved in developing the food of the future.</b></p><p class="chalmersElement-P">​<span>The Swedish Research Council Formas give 192 million SEK to four national centres for food research and innovation – and Chalmers is participating in three of these. In close collaborations researchers, industry and other actors, will develop new sustainable food systems in Sweden. This means an increase in production of more nutritious food, while the environmental impact decreases.</span></p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">BLUE FOOD</h2> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">BLUE FOOD, centre for the seafood of the future, will result in completely new Swedish seafood products that could play an important role in the ongoing protein shift. This shift means leaving red meat as the primary source of protein for more sustainable and healthy alternatives. Ingrid Undeland, Professor of Food Science at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, will, as the research coordinator, have a central role in BLUE FOOD.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“I hope that BLUE FOOD will contribute to more of our Swedish blue raw materials being processed nationally <span>−</span> and that this will positively influence new job opportunities, competence level, self-sufficiency and profitability in the Swedish fishing and seafood industry,” she says.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">One goal of the centre is that a larger proportion of the wild fish caught in Sweden will be used as food – another is to expand Swedish aquaculture, i.e. the cultivation of, for example, fish, mussels and algae. Today, as much as 85 percent of the wild Swedish-caught wild fish is not used for food, but for low-value products that are later used in animal feed. This includes both small fish species such as herring, and sprat, but also the parts of the fish that remain after the fillet is removed. These species and cutting details need to be better utilised. But technological development is required to succeed.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“My research group has extensive experience from processes that can be used to refine both residual raw materials and small fish species. For almost 20 years, we have used complex marine raw materials to isolate functional proteins, i.e. proteins that can provide structure to food at different levels. This knowledge will be used in the doctoral student project that Food and Nutrition Science at Chalmers will supervise in the centre. When it comes to seafood quality, we also have extensive experience, not least on how to avoid oxidation of the unsaturated marine fats, which otherwise leads to the food becoming rancid and losing nutritional value,” says Ingrid Undeland.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">Mehdi Abdollahi and Ann-Sofie Sandberg from the Division of Food and Nutrition Science and Robin Teigland from the Department of Technology Management and Economics (TME) also participate, as artificial intelligence,  AI, and digitalisation in the blue sector are important focus areas in BLUE FOOD. The latter will also form the basis for a PhD-student project in a later stage of the centre.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">FINEST</h2> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">FINEST is a centre for future innovations in a sustainable food system. The centre brings research on sustainability and nutrition, food technology, consumer behaviour, innovation management and system change together. In addition, there is a joint development of methods through the Food Transition Lab run by Rise, and a co-creation platform that will be created within the centre formation.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The centre wants to contribute to innovation in the Swedish food sector by involving actors from all parts of the value chain – to jointly create the best conditions for innovation, contribute to system change and support concrete projects, including berries as raw materials and experimental value chains.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">Professor Maria Elmquist at TME, on Chalmers' involvement in FINEST:</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“I will lead a work package together with RISE where we will work with innovation management and study how established players can find new paths to innovation by collaborating in new ways and with new parties. We will recruit a doctoral student with a focus on innovation in the food sector, who will, among other things, work closely with ICA and the Rural Economy and Agricultural Societies (Hushållningssällskapet). The activities in the centre will constitute an exciting research arena and lab environment for us, as we will be able to collaborate and study the participating actors, and easily test new models and tools.”</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">PAN SWEDEN</h2> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">Efforts to limit the environmental impact from animal-based food are needed to meet the goals of Agenda 2030 but innovations within plant-based proteins options are lagging. Evidence-based knowledge within food processing, consumption and health benefits of plant-based proteins is currently scarce, which limits the necessary further development.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The centre PAN SWEDEN (plant-based proteins for health and wellbeing) will in collaboration with universities, research institutes, the Swedish industry and public sector partners, develop new knowledge and new methods to examine how increased consumption of plant-based proteins affects health and well-being. PAN brings together a unique set of interdisciplinary competence and creates a new infrastructure that integrates research on food, nutrition, technology, medicine and social sciences. </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">Marie Alminger, Professor of Food and Nutrition Science, is part of PAN’s management team and she will participate in the research with focus on characterisation of plant-based proteins. Among other things, the researchers want to clarify the relationship between processing, structure, bioavailability, digestion of proteins, and how the proteins can affect the intestinal flora and health. </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> “We will compare selected plant proteins (model proteins combined with fibre components) with animal foods, in this case chicken. We want to identify raw materials with promising properties that work well in food processes − but also gain knowledge about possibilities and health effects, or risks, that come with increased use of plant-based foods,” she says.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">Anna Ström is Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. She is also part of the management of PAN and is responsible for the focus area &quot;Biomolecular signatures in a precision nutrition perspective&quot;. Here, the researchers will work mainly on how plant-based nutrition is absorbed by the body and investigate the processes for uptake of different vegetable proteins in the digestive systems. As a chemist, Anna Ström contributes with the physical chemical aspects and she is particularly interested in exploring one idea with an exciting focus:</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“The idea is to develop a sensor that makes it possible to follow how we degrade various plant-based proteins, which could enable us to look directly into the intestinal system. We see a great need for such technical solutions. With the help of AI, the information can be translated into new, important knowledge on the functions of different proteins in our digestive systems,” says Anna Ström.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">Another research area to be explored is how the combination of different proteins, and high and low fibre levels in the diet affects us from a nutritional and health perspective.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><br /></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><strong>Read the press release from Formas:</strong> <a href="https://formas.se/en/start-page/archive/news/news/2020-11-23-multi-million-investment-in-swedish-centres-for-food-research-and-innovation.html">Multi-million investment in Swedish centres for food research and innovation​</a></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p>Tue, 22 Dec 2020 08:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/news/Pages/students-wants-to-make-clothes-easier-to-recycle.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/news/Pages/students-wants-to-make-clothes-easier-to-recycle.aspxStudents want to make clothes easier to recycle<p><b>​When the prestigious international competition IGEM was held, a team from Chalmers participated. They wanted to make it possible to recycle more textiles – with the help of enzymes.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">IGEM, The International Genetic Engineered Machine Competition, was started in 2003 at MIT in Boston and has since grown into its own, independent organization. The topic of the competition is synthetic biology, which in short means taking advantage of the knowledge that exists about genetic code, and how to change it to influence biological systems. One example is the production of enzymes that can be used to accelerate chemical reactions, which in turn can be used in industrial processes.</span><div><div> </div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"></span></div> <div>It is this technology that Chalmers IGEM team, consisting of ten students, focused on.</div> <div> </div> <div>“We wanted to use enzymes to break down synthetic fibre found in cotton, which makes it difficult to recycle textiles. You often mix in three to four percent elastane, whose fibres are then worn out while i.e. a pair of jeans are being used. Therefore, the cotton cannot be recycled because it cannot be separated from the worn elastane fibres”, says Matilda Johansson, who is studying her fourth year at Biotechnology.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">&quot;Enzymatic cocktail&quot;</h2> <div> </div> <div>She says that because large resources are required to grow cotton, a lot is wasted when clothes cannot be recycled.</div> <div> </div> <div>Therefore, the team developed an &quot;enzymatic cocktail&quot;.</div> <div> </div> <div>“We identified nine enzymes that biotechnically should break down elastane. These can be made in laboratories and used on textiles, so they break down the elastane – but hopefully not the cotton”.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>This year's competition was of course affected by the pandemic. Among other things, the final &quot;Giant jamboree&quot;, where the teams show their projects on site in Boston, was cancelled and went digital. The corona virus also affected the work in the project itself.</div> <div> </div> <div>“In terms of lab work, it was tricky because the time in the lab halls was limited and we were allowed to be a maximum of two people at a time. There we missed a few weeks. We managed to build up the genetic codes to get the bacterium to produce the required enzymes, but never had the time to test them. We hope to be able to hand it over to next year's Chalmers team or hope that another competitor picks up the thread, says Matilda Johansson.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Reached bronze level</h2> <div> </div> <div>In the competition, you can receive the bronze, silver or gold award, depending on how far you have managed to take your project and how many criteria you have managed to achieve. To be allowed to step up a level, it is required that all criteria are met. The Chalmers team reached bronze but were stumbling close to silver as only a few criteria were lacking at the silver level.</div> <div> </div> <div>“There are a wide range of criteria, such as Human practices on how society affects the project and vice versa. We managed to spread our message widely because we broadened it. It does not matter what level we ended up at, the important thing was that we got very good feedback”, says Matilda Johansson.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>The thought of continuing the project outside of the competition has been there, but reality also comes into play.</div> <div> </div> <div>“There is potential, the need exists among, for example, municipal actors and clothing stores. But time and money are a problem. We are involved in recruiting next year's team and hope that they will want to continue working with this”, says Matilda Johansson.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">&quot;Learned so much&quot;</h2> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"> </h2> <div>The Chalmers team consisted of ten students, from different years and specializations, and two students from the University of Gothenburg.</div> <div> </div> <div>“We try to get as broad a team as possible, because for example web design is a component of the project”, says Matilda Johansson.</div> <div> </div> <div>She does not hesitate to push other Chalmerists to participate in IGEM.</div> <div> </div> <div>“We have learned so much. You get an overall picture of biotechnology and get to be with it all the way: from idea via sequences, lab work and model work to documentation. Above all, we learned extremely much about working in projects and groups and got a try of what it is like to do this for real because it is up to us to plan our work”.</div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><a href="https://igem.org/Main_Page">​More information on IGEM on their site.</a><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Text:</strong> Erik Krång</div> <div><strong>Pictures: </strong>Private</div> <div> </div></div>Tue, 22 Dec 2020 00:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Drinking-milk-while-breastfeeding-may-reduce-the-child’s-food-allergy-risk.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Drinking-milk-while-breastfeeding-may-reduce-the-child%E2%80%99s-food-allergy-risk.aspxCow’s milk while breastfeeding reduces allergy risk<p><b>​Children of mothers who drink relatively more cow&#39;s milk during breastfeeding are at reduced risk of developing food allergies. That is the conclusion of researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, in a new study published in the scientific journal Nutrients.</b></p><p class="chalmersElement-P">​<span>The result is based on a survey of more than 500 Swedish women's eating habits and the prevalence of allergies in their children at one year of age.</span></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“We have found that mothers of healthy one-year-olds consumed more cow's milk during breastfeeding than mothers of allergic one-year-old​s. Though​ the association is clear, we do not claim that drinking cow's milk would be a general cure for food allergies.” says Mia Stråvik, doctoral student in the Division of Food Science at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, and first author of the study.</p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">There are many factors behind​ the risk of food allergy, not least genetic predisposition. Yet, as Mia Stråvik explains, “Diet is a factor where parents themselves can have direct influence. It is quite common nowadays for young women to avoid drinking milk, due in part to prevailing trends and concerns, some of which are linked to myths about diet.” </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">She points out that allergy to milk protein is uncommon in adults, so most women can consume milk and dairy products themselves without issue. Lactose intolerance is something completely different, when the body cannot break down milk sugars. And in this case, lactose-free dairy products are tolerated by the body.</p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">The hygiene hypothesis</h2> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">According to Professor Ann-Sofie Sandberg, Mia Stråvik's supervisor, one possible explanation may be that the milk in the mother's diet contains substances that stimulate the maturity of the immune system.</p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“In a child's early development, there is a time window where stimulation of the immune system is necessary for the child to develop tolerance to different foods.”</p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial">According to something known as the hygiene hypothesis, early contact with various microorganisms can function as something of a kickstart’ for a child's immune system, she explains.</span></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“But, with the lower prevalence of microorganisms nowadays in our more hygienic society, substances taken in through the mother's diet can be another way to stimulate the maturity of the immune system.”</p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">Mia Stråvik's study is not the first to link cow's milk in a mother’s diet to a reduced risk of allergies in children. Previous studies, however, have often been based solely on questionnaire responses – both in terms of eating habits and the presence of allergies. In this study both data and conclusions are significantly more robust.</p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“In this study, we were able to actually verify the women’s reported intake of milk and milk products through biomarkers in her blood and breast milk. The biomarkers are two fatty acids formed in the cow's stomach, which are specific to dairy products,” says Mia Stråvik. “Furthermore, all the cases of allergy in children were diagnosed by a doctor specialising in child allergies.”</p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The study is part of a more extensive research project built around a family cohort study of 655 families who gave birth at Sunderby Hospital near Luleå, northern Sweden, during the years 2015–2018. The project was initiated, and the cohort established, by Ann-Sofie Sandberg from Chalmers, Professor Agnes Wold at the University of Gothenburg and the chief physician and paediatric allergist Anna Sandin, affiliated with Umeå University and Sunderby Hospital.</p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The current study is the first scientific publication, focusing mainly on allergies based on data collected from the families in northern Sweden.</p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">A clear connection</h2> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The mothers in the study, more than 500, gave detailed accounts of their eating habits on three occasions – in the 34th week of the pregnancy, one month after the birth and four months after birth. At one year of age, the children were medically examined, and all cases of food allergy, atopic eczema and asthma were identified.</p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">After the material was adjusted for various other factors, such as hereditary predisposition or reverse causation, the researchers were able to establish that there was indeed a clear connection between the mother's intake of milk and dairy products and the smaller incidence of food allergy in their children.</p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> “No matter how we looked at and interpreted the data, we came to the same conclusion,” states Chalmers researcher and co-author Malin Barman, Assistant Supervisor to Mia Stråvik.“The mechanisms behind why milk has this preventative effect against allergies, however, are still unclear.” A further explanation of various hypotheses can be found below. </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">Another result in the study that Mia Stråvik highlights is that children of breastfeeding mothers, who at the four month measurement were eating a lot of fruit and berries, tended to suffer from eczema to a much greater extent – though she stresses that further studies are needed before anything can be said with certainty about this connection. </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">A follow-up study is currently underway to examine the children's health at the age of four.</p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><strong>Text:</strong> Björn Forsman</p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><br /></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Read the article in the scientific journal Nutrients:</h3> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/12/3680">Maternal Intake of Cow’s Milk during Lactation Is Associated with Lower Prevalence of Food Allergy in Offspring </a></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><br /></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="font-family:inherit;font-size:16px;font-weight:600;background-color:initial">More about: Child Allergies</span><br /></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">Allergy is the most common chronic disease that affects children, and is becoming ever more prevalent in Sweden and other industrialised countries. </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">Of the 508 children included in the current study:</p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <ul><li>​7.7 percent of the children (39) had a diagnosed food allergy at one year of age, most commonly to cow's milk or eggs (or both)</li> <li>6.5 percent of the children (33) were diagnosed with atopic eczema and the same amount were diagnosed with asthma</li> <li>23 percent of the children had allergies of some type (including non-food-based) at the age of one year​</li></ul> <div> </div> <p></p> <div> </div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">How does milk cause these effects?</h3> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">It is unclear exactly why cow's milk in the mother's diet can reduce the risk of child allergy. According to researcher Malin Barman, there are several possible explanations, that could potentially work together.</p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“One hypothesis is that cow's milk contains something that activates the child's immune system and helps it to develop tolerance. This as-yet unknown cause could be found in the fat of the milk or in its protein content. But it could also be the case that the milk itself is neutral in relation to the immune system. Then it might be more simply a matter of a higher intake of milk fats leading to a relatively lower intake of polyunsaturated fats.</p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">This would help, because we believe high levels of polyunsaturated fat in a mother's diet can counteract the maturation of a child’s immune system at an early age.” </p> <div> </div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">More about: the funding of this research</h3> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3"> </h3> <p class="chalmersElement-P">This research was funded by the Swedish Research Council, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Forte), Västra Götaland Region, Region Norrbotten, Magnus Bergvalls stiftelse, Wilhelm och Martina Lundgrens stiftelse, Per Håkanssons stiftelse, Stiftelsen Sigurd och Elsa Goljes Minne, The Royal Society of Arts and Sciences in Gothenburg and Jane och Dan Olssons stiftelse. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results. The authors declare no conflict of interest.</p> <div> </div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">More about: the NICE project</h3> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The 655 families participating in the NICE cohort (Nutritional impact on Immunological maturation during Childhood in relation to the Environment) were recruited during the years 2015–2018 in connection with pregnant women visiting Sunderby Hospital in northern Sweden.</p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The aim is to map how a number of factors in the nutritional intake of the foetus and infant affect their immune system and, in the long run, their health and development.</p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">In addition to the connection between food and allergies, which is the Chalmers researchers' special area of responsibility, researchers are also looking at microorganisms and toxic substances and their significance for such things as dental health and neuropsychological development.</p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">To this end, the researchers hav​​e built up an extensive biobank with samples from the participants – everything from placentas and umbilical cord blood to breast milk, urine and saliva.</p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">Alongside Chalmers University of Technology, Umeå University, Karolinska Institutet and the University of Gothenburg are also participating in studies based on the NICE cohort – a total of around 30 researchers are involved.<span style="background-color:initial">​</span></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p>Mon, 21 Dec 2020 08:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/mc2/news/Pages/Tiny-quantum-computer-solves-real-optimisation-problem.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/mc2/news/Pages/Tiny-quantum-computer-solves-real-optimisation-problem.aspxTiny quantum computer solves real optimisation problem<p><b>Quantum computers have already managed to surpass ordinary computers in solving certain tasks – unfortunately, totally useless ones. The next milestone is to get them to do useful things. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have now shown that they can solve a small part of a real logistics problem with their small, but well-functioning quantum computer.​</b></p><div><div><span style="font-size:14px">Interest in building quantum computers has gained considerable momentum in recent years, and feverish work is underway in many parts of the world. In 2019, Google's research team made a major breakthrough when their quantum computer managed to solve a task far more quickly than the world's best supercomputer. The downside is that the solved task had no practical use whatsoever – it was chosen because it was judged to be easy to solve for a quantum computer, yet very difficult for a conventional computer.<br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">T</span><span style="background-color:initial">herefore, an important task is now to find useful, relevant problems that are beyond the reach of ordinary computers, but which a relatively small quantum computer could </span><span style="background-color:initial">solve.</span><br /></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Centrum/WACQT/PIs/GiuliaFerrini_180109_02%20kvadrat.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Giulia Ferrini" style="margin:5px;width:180px;height:180px" />“We want to be sure that the quantum com​puter we are developing can help solve relevant problems early on. Therefore, we work in close collaboration with industrial companies”, says theoretical physicist Giulia Ferrini, one of the leaders of Chalmers University of Technology’s quantum computer project, which began in 2018.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">Together with Göran Johansson, Giulia Ferrini led the theoretical work when a team of researchers at Chalmers, including an industrial doctoral student from the aviation logistics company Jeppesen, recently showed that a quantum computer can solve an instance of a real problem in the aviation industry.</span></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span>The algorithm proven on two qubits</span></h2> <div><span style="font-size:14px">All airlines are faced with scheduling problems. For example, assigning individual aircraft to different routes represents an optimisation problem, one that grows very rapidly in size and complexity as the number of routes and aircraft increases.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">Researchers hope that quantum computers will eventually be better at handling such problems than today's computers. The basic building block of the quantum computer – the qubit – is based on completely different principles than the building blocks of today's computers, allowing them to handle enormous amounts of information with relatively few qubits. </span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">However, due to their different structure and function, quantum computers must be programmed in other ways than conventional computers. One proposed algorithm that is believed to be useful on early quantum computers is the so-called Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm (QAOA).</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">The Chalmers research team has now successfully executed said algorithm on their quantum computer – a processor with two qubits – and they showed that it can successfully solve the problem of assigning aircraft to routes. In this first demonstration, the result could be easily verified as the scale was very small – it involved only two airplanes.</span></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span>Potential to handle many aircraft</span></h2> <div><span style="font-size:14px">With this feat, the researchers were first to show that the QAOA algorithm can solve the problem of assigning aircraft to routes in practice. They also managed to run the algorithm one level further than anyone before, an achievement that requires very good hardware and accurate control.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Centrum/WACQT/PIs/JonasBylander_171101_kvadrat.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="Jonas Bylander" style="margin:5px;width:180px;height:180px" /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">​“We have shown that we have the ability to map relevant problems onto our quantum processor. We still have a small number of qubits, but they work well. Our plan has been to first make everything work very well on a small scale, before scaling up,” says Jonas Bylander, senior researcher responsible for the experimental design, and one of the leaders of the project of building a quantum computer at Chalmers. </span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">The theorists in the research team also simulated solving the same optimisation problem for up to 278 aircraft, which would require a quantum computer with 25 qubits.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">“The results remained good as we scaled up. This suggests that the QAOA algorithm has the potential to solve this type of problem at even larger scales,” says Giulia Ferrini.</span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px">Surpassing today’s best computers would, however, require much larger devices. The researchers at Chalmers have now begun scaling up and are currently working with five quantum bits. The plan is to reach at least 20 qubits by 2021 while maintaining the high quality. </span></div></div> <div><span style="font-size:14px"><br /></span></div> <strong>Text:</strong> Ingela Roos<br /><strong>Portrait pictures: </strong>Johan Bodell<br /><p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">The research results have been published in two articles in <em>Physical Review Applied</em>:</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="sv"><span lang="EN-GB"><a href="https://journals.aps.org/prapplied/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevApplied.14.034010"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Improved Success Probability with Greater Circuit Depth for the Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm</a><br /></span></span><a href="https://journals.aps.org/prapplied/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevApplied.14.034009"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" /><span lang="EN-GB">Applying the Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm to the Tail-Assignment Problem</span></a><span style="background-color:initial"> </span></p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span>More about: The Swedish quest for a quantum computer</span></h2> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14px">The research is part of the Wallenberg Centre for Quantum Technology (WACQT), a twelve-year, billion-dollar investment with two main purposes: to develop Swedish expertise in quantum technology, and to build a useful quantum computer with at least one hundred quantum bits. The research centre is mainly funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.</span><br /><span style="background-color:initial"></span></p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span lang="EN-GB">Read more:</span></h2> <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="sv"><a href="/en/news/Pages/Engineering-of-a-Swedish-quantum-computer-set-to-start.aspx"><span lang="EN-GB">Engineering of a Swedish quantum computer set to start</span></a></span><span lang="EN-GB"> (initial press release from 2017)</span><span lang="EN-GB"><br /></span><span lang="sv" style="background-color:initial"><a href="/en/centres/wacqt/discover/Pages/default.aspx"><span lang="EN-GB">Discover quantum technology</span></a></span><span lang="EN-GB" style="background-color:initial"> (introduction to quantum technology)<br /></span><span lang="sv" style="background-color:initial"><a href="/en/centres/wacqt/discover/Pages/Quantum-computing.aspx"><span lang="EN-GB">Quantum computing</span></a></span><span lang="EN-GB" style="background-color:initial"> (introduction to quantum computing)<br /></span><span lang="EN-GB"><a href="/en/centres/wacqt/Pages/default.aspx">Wallenberg Centre for Quantum Technology (WACQT)</a><br /></span><span lang="sv" style="background-color:initial"><a href="/en/centres/wacqt/research/Pages/Research-in-quantum-computing-and-simulation.aspx"><span lang="EN-GB">Research in quantum computing and simulation</span></a></span><span lang="EN-GB" style="background-color:initial"> (about quantum computing research within WACQT)</span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span></p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span lang="EN-GB">For more information, please contact:</span></h2> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="background-color:initial;font-size:14px">Giulia Ferrini, Assistant Professor in Applied Quantum Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, <a href="mailto:ferrini@chalmers.se">ferrini@chalmers.se</a>, +46 31 772 6417<br />Jonas Bylander, Associate Professor in Quantum Technology, Chalmers University of Technology, <a href="mailto:jonas.bylander@chalmers.se">jonas.bylander@chalmers.se​</a>, +46 31 772 5132</span><span style="background-color:initial">​​​</span>​ ​</p>Thu, 17 Dec 2020 09:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/mc2/news/Pages/The-world’s-shortest-wavelength-for-a-vertical-cavity-surface-emitting-laser-demonstrated.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/mc2/news/Pages/The-world%E2%80%99s-shortest-wavelength-for-a-vertical-cavity-surface-emitting-laser-demonstrated.aspxCreating compact lasers at record-short wavelengths<p><b>​Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, with collaborators at Technische Universität Berlin, have demonstrated the shortest wavelength ever reported of a vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL). This can pave the way for future use in, for example, disinfection and medical treatment. The results were recently published in the scientific journal ACS Photonics.</b></p><div>“Although there is still much work to be done, especially to enable electrically driven devices, this demonstration provides an important building block for the realization of practical VCSELs covering the major part of the UV spectral range”, says Filip Hjort, PhD student at the Photonics Laboratory at MC2 and first author of the article.</div> <div> </div> <div>A vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL) is a compact semiconductor laser and has seen widespread application in, for example, facial recognition in smartphones and for optical communication in data centers. So far, these lasers are only available commercially with red and infrared wavelengths, but also other visible-emitting VCSELs, that could find applications in adaptive headlamps for cars or projection displays, will soon be commercialized. </div> <div>“If the wavelength range could be pushed further, into the ultraviolet (UV), VCSELs could find any even broader use. UV light can be used for disinfection, material curing, fluorescence excitation, and medical treatment, and UV-emitting VCSEL could, for example, be used in compact water, air and surface disinfection systems as well as for treatment of skin diseases”, says Filip Hjort.</div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/MC2/News/vcsel-laser_gruppfoto_20-12-14_665x330.jpg" alt="Research Group." style="margin:5px" /><br /><span><em>Four of the researchers behind the results, from the left Johannes Enslin, Technische Universität Berlin, Michael Bergmann, Chalmers, Åsa Haglund, Chalmers, and Filip Hjort, Chalmers. Photo: Henrik Sandsjö</em></span><br /><br /></div> <div>To realize UV emission wavelengths in the ultraviolet B (280-320 nm) and ultraviolet C (200-280 nm), which is needed for most of these applications, the laser medium must be made of AlGaN. The research group of Åsa Haglund, Professor at the Photonics Laboratory at MC2, have previously, together with their collaborators at Technische Universität Berlin, demonstrated an electrochemical etching method that can be used to selectively etch specific AlGaN layers. In their current work, the two research groups use this method to create the world first optically pumped UVB-emitting VCSEL. </div> <div> </div> <div>“By using the electrochemical etching technique to remove the substrate and create smooth AlGaN membranes, we solved a long-standing problem for UV VCSELs. VCSELs need two mirrors with over 99% reflectivity and these can either be made using epitaxial growth or dielectric materials. However, reflectivities that high in the UVB or UVC have not been achieved using epitaxial growth, and the typical substrate removal methods used to enable the deposition of the second dielectric mirror in blue-emitting VCSELs are not suitable for AlGaN”, explains Filip Hjort. </div> <div> </div> <div>He continues:</div> <div>“By employing electrochemical etching, we were able to create AlGaN membranes that we could sandwich between two highly reflective dielectric mirrors. In this way, we formed a vertical cavity that lases under optical pumping”.</div> <div> </div> <div>The new demonstration is the shortest wavelength VCSEL ever reported and the electrochemical etch technique is also extendable to UVC wavelengths which are needed for sterilization applications to, for example, combat future pandemics and provide clean drinking water. </div> <div> </div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Contacts</h3> <div> <a href="mailto:filip.hjort@chalmers.se">fil</a><span>ip.hjort@chalmers.se</span></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Åsa Haglund, Professor, Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience – MC2, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, <a href="mailto:asa.haglund@chalmers.se">asa.haglund@chalmers.se</a> </div> <div><strong><br /></strong></div> <div><strong>Read the article in ACS Photonics &gt;&gt;&gt;</strong></div> <div><a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsphotonics.0c01382">dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsphotonics.0c01382</a></div>Thu, 17 Dec 2020 09:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/ace/news/Pages/Extracting-precious-zinc-from-waste-ash.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/ace/news/Pages/Extracting-precious-zinc-from-waste-ash.aspxExtracting precious zinc from waste ash<p><b>​Incineration of solid waste produces millions of tonnes of waste fly ash in Europe each year, that most commonly ends up in landfill. But this ash often contains significant amounts of precious metals, such as zinc. A unique method developed by researchers at Chalmers can now help extract these precious metals, potentially leading to reductions in environmental pollution, landfill and transport.</b></p><div>​During waste incineration, the released flue gases are purified and the small particles present are separated, leading to the formation of fly ash. This fly ash contains toxic substances, such as dioxins, and so is normally classified as hazardous waste and landfilled. But it also contains valuable metals, such as zinc, which are thereby lost.  But a new method from Chalmers University of Technology, tested at pilot scale and detailed over several years of research, involves treating this waste with an acid wash, also separated from the flue gases, to separate the zinc from the fly ash. The zinc can then be extracted, washed and processed into raw material.  </div> <div> </div> <div>  – In our pilot study, we found that 70 percent of the zinc present in fly ash can be recycled. The zinc is not extracted as a pure metal, which would be a much more intensive process, but instead as a zinc-rich product, which can be sold to the metal industry and processed further in currently existing industry production lines,” says <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/karin-karlfeldt.aspx">Karin Karlfeldt Fedje</a>, Associate Professor at the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, and researcher at the recycling and waste management company Renova AB.  </div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Ash turned into useful material </h2> <div> </div> <div>In further refinement to the method, the researchers have been able to significantly reduce the level of toxicity.  </div> <div> </div> <div>  – After extraction, we incinerate the residual ash again to break down the dioxins. Ninety percent of this is then turned into bottom ash, which can be used as a construction material, for example,” explains Karin Karlfeldt Fedje.  </div> <div> </div> <div>Internationally, the prevalence of waste incineration is varied, but the need to handle large amounts of ash after the process is widespread. In Sweden, incineration of household waste in waste-to-energy plants is common, and results in around 250,000 tonnes of fly ash every year that could potentially be treated in this way. The rest of Europe accounts for around ten times that amount.    </div> <div> </div> <div>Although it is hard to estimate how many tonnes of zinc are currently lost through landfill in Sweden and beyond, the method developed by the Chalmers researchers can be of great interest to all waste management actors. It offers great potential for recovering these metals in a relatively simple way and could have a significant impact on the profitability of waste incineration, as well as its role in the circular economy.  </div> <div> </div> <div>  – The technology for extracting zinc from fly ash could have several positive effects, such as reducing the need for mining virgin zinc raw material, lower levels of toxicity in the ash, and greatly reduced landfill contributions. It can be a vital contribution to society's efforts towards a more circular economy,” says <a href="/en/staff/Pages/sveander.aspx">Sven Andersson</a>, Adjunct Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and R&amp;D Manager at flue gas cleaning supplier Babcock &amp; Wilcox Vølund AB.  </div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Applied in full scale in Sweden  </h2> <div> </div> <div>Dividing her time between Chalmers and Renova, Karin Karlfeldt Fedje has spent many years developing the methodology, in collaboration with several external actors. Together with Sven Andersson, they have been able to design a full-scale process. Their research has led to Renova AB and B&amp;W Vølund now building an ash washing facility with zinc recycling in Gothenburg Sweden, an investment that is estimated to save hundreds of thousands of euro every year for the municipally owned waste management company.  </div> <div> </div> <div>Read their scientific article, “<a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2020.07.017">Zinc recovery from Waste-to-Energy fly ash – A pilot test study</a>”, published in the journal Waste Management. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>Text: Catharina Björk</em><br /><br /></div>Tue, 15 Dec 2020 17:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/New-center-for-leading-research-into-bionics-and-pain.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/New-center-for-leading-research-into-bionics-and-pain.aspxNew center for research into bionics and pain<p><b>​A new, interdisciplinary research center has been established in Gothenburg to promote the further development and clinical implementation of novel technologies to treat sensory and motor impairments, such as amputations or nerve injuries. Thanks to generous donations, the Center for Bionics and Pain Research (CBPR) will help patients regain quality of life through world-leading technologies and treatments, developed by engineering and medical professionals working closely together.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">The new Center for Bionics and Pain Research (CBPR) is formed by experts in engineering, medicine, and medical practice from three participating organisations: Chalmers University of Technology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg. </span><div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">CBPR has been made possible thanks to significant research grants from the Promobilia Foundation and the IngaBritt and Arne Lundberg Research Foundation, awarded to Chalmers researcher and Associate Professor Max Ortiz Catalan, now also serving as Director for CBPR. Max Ortiz Catalan is the researcher who led the development of the world's first mind-controlled and sensate arm prostheses used in daily life.</span><div><br /></div> <div>The overall goal of the collaboration is to develop medical technologies and treatments to restore lost sensory and motor function, in people who have, for example, lost a limb or suffered nerve damage, and to relieve the pain that can arise from these types of sensorimotor impairments. ‘Sensorimotor’ refers to the experience of sensations and the control of our body movements.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>There will also be research into the wider effects of such technologies and methods, such as safety aspects and health economics. Increasing the understanding of the causes of sensorimotor pain, such as phantom pain, will be an important part of research at CBPR.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Strong investment by Swedish research foundations</strong></div> <div>CBPR has been made possible thanks to significant research grants, mainly from two private Swedish foundations. The largest financier is the <a href="https://www.promobilia.se/?lang=en" target="_blank">Promobilia Foundation</a>, which has contributed SEK 50 million to the establishment of CBPR.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Nytt%20centrum%20för%20ledande%20forskning%20om%20bionik%20och%20smärta/Max_Ortiz_Catalan_300x350px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Max Ortiz Catalan" style="margin:5px;width:245px;height:284px" />“We are extremely happy to participate and have high expectations for this new project,” says Kaj Sigstam, Chairman of the Promobilia Foundation. “The research and development that will take place at the Center echoes the values we have at Promobilia – to create more independent lives for people with disabilities. We also appreciate that the research and development is closely and directly implemented by users of the healthcare system, so that the results can benefit those in need more quickly.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Another important donor is the <a href="https://www.lundbergsstiftelsen.se/en/home/" target="_blank">IngaBritt and Arne Lundberg Research Foundation​</a>, which is financing the purchase of equipment through an award of SEK 15 million.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We are very happy to continue our investment in this important research. Through the new center, Max Ortiz Catalan's globally unique technology can continue to develop at an even faster pace and provide ever better help to more patients,” says Christina Backman, Chairwoman of the IngaBritt and Arne Lundberg Research Foundation.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Facilitating successful research collaboration</strong></div> <div>“I have enjoyed successful collaborations with researchers from Sahlgrenska and the University of Gothenburg for several years. I see the new center as a platform to enable my research team to work even more closely with our medical partners. In this way, we can continue to develop even more effective technologies for overcoming physical disabilities and pain,” says Max Ortiz Catalan.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Their collaboration so far has already led to the development of cutting-edge technologies such as neuromusculoskeletal prostheses – artificial limbs, mainly arm prostheses, which are connected to the patient's skeleton, nerves, and muscles.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Introducing new technologies into clinical practice is just as important as developing them. At CBPR, we will work together with clinicians and industrial partners to ensure that our new advances are developed and tested considering the needs of all stakeholders, and according to the best clinical practices. This will enable a seamless clinical introduction,” says Max Ortiz Catalan.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Exciting projects with great benefit for patients</strong></div> <div>The establishment of CBPR will bring many benefits, something further emphasised by representatives from Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg:</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“This is a welcome development of the successful research collaboration we have already enjoyed at the Center for Advanced Reconstruction of Extremities (C.A.R.E.). This has resulted in, among other things, the development of globally unique mind-controlled arm prostheses, and important research into the phenomenon of phantom pain,” says Carina Reinholdt, Head of C.A.R.E. and the Department of Hand Surgery at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Now that CBPR is opening, in the newly constructed R-building at Mölndal Hospital, many exciting projects can begin – projects with great benefit for patients with amputations requiring prosthetics, as well as patients suffering nerve damage, pain in the musculoskeletal system, spinal cord injuries, strokes and paralysis, for example,” continues Carina Reinholdt.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We have a lot to learn from each other about the meeting points between humans and technology, between Chalmers and Sahlgrenska University Hospital. This collaboration will be very positive for everyone involved – especially the patients,” says Anna Nilsdotter, Head of the Department of Orthopaedics, Sahlgrenska University Hospital.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Gathering broad competence with cutting-edge knowledge</strong></div> <div>“Those of us who work with orthopaedics at Sahlgrenska Academy are very much looking forward to an expanded collaboration with Chalmers. The goal of research into musculoskeletal diseases and injuries is to find new and more effective ways to improve mobility and relieve pain. The collaboration through the Center will provide broad competence for clinical medical technology research in this area, offering good opportunities to develop new treatment methods,” says Ola Rolfson, Professor and Head of the Department of Orthopaedics at Sahlgrenska Academy.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>This is something that Peter Dahm, Professor and Head of the Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, agrees with:</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“The experience and competence of our partners will contribute valuable knowledge to our organisation. We see great developmental potential for future joint projects, especially for patients who need prostheses, and those suffering from neuropathic pain. We are looking forward to it, and warmly welcome them!” he says. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Several industry partners are also involved in projects at CBPR, such as Össur and Ottobock – the two largest prosthetic and orthopaedic companies in the world – as well as the robotics company Prensilia in Italy, and the orthopaedic implant company Integrum AB in Sweden.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>CBPR will be based at the R-building at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Mölndal.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Examples of successful research projects</strong></div> <div>The three parties have already collaborated on projects and achieved remarkable results. The center is being established to strengthen and facilitate this close collaboration.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Examples of projects carried out under the leadership of Max Ortiz Catalan:</div> <div><a href="/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Mind-controlled-arm-prostheses-now-a-part-of-everyday-life.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Mind-controlled prostheses that “feel” for real​</a></div> <div><a href="/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Hand-prosthesis-successfully-implanted.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />First dexterous hand prosthesis implanted</a></div> <div><a href="/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Artificial-joint-restores-wrist-like-movements-to-forearm-amputees-.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Artificial joint restores wrist-like movements </a></div> <div><a href="/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/A-new-theory-for-phantom-limb-pain-points-the-way-to-more-effective-treatment.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />A new theory for phantom limb pain points the way to more effective treatment</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>More information</strong></div> <div><a href="https://www.cbpr.se/" target="_blank">Read more about the Center for Bionics and Pain Research</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>For further information contact:</strong></div> <div><a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/max-jair-ortiz-catalan.aspx">Max Ortiz Catalan​​</a>, Associate Professor, Head of the Bionics Research Unit at the Department of Electrical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, and Director of the Center for Bionics and Pain Research</div> <div> +46 70-846 10 65​, <a href="mailto:%20maxo@chalmers.se">maxo@chalmers.se</a></div> <div><strong>Carina Reinholdt</strong>, Head of the Department of Hand Surgery and of C.A.R.E., Sahlgrenska University Hospital</div> <div>+46 70-085 26 12, <a href="mailto:%20carina.reinholdt@vgregion.se">carina.reinholdt@vgregion.se</a></div> <div><strong>Anna Nilsdotter</strong>, Head of the Department of Orthopaedics, Sahlgrenska University Hospital</div> <div>+46 70-082 56 05, <a href="mailto:%20anna.nilsdotter@vgregion.se">anna.nilsdotter@vgregion.se</a></div> <div><strong>Ola Rolfson</strong>, Professor and Head of the Department of Orthopaedics, Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, </div> <div>+46 31-343 08 52, <a href="mailto:%20ola.rolfson@gu.se">ola.rolfson@gu.se</a></div> <div><strong>Peter Dahm</strong>, Head of the Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Sahlgrenska University Hospital</div> <div> +46 031-34 250 59, <a href="mailto:%20peter.dahm@vgregion.se">peter.dahm@vgregion.se</a></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>Portrait photo of Max Ortiz Catalan: Oscar Mattsson<br />Other images: Chalmers</em></div>Tue, 15 Dec 2020 08:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/news/Pages/Digital-Christmas-dinner-new-student-union-tradition.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/news/Pages/Digital-Christmas-dinner-new-student-union-tradition.aspxDigital Christmas dinner – a new student union tradition?<p><b>​The pandemic may mean that we can’t gather for a traditional Christmas dinner, but a true Chalmerist doesn’t see problems – only challenges. So, the Chalmers Student Union arranged a digital Christmas dinner where 800 streams started with participants at a distance from student halls, rental rooms and collectives all around Gothenburg.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Chalmerist or not. Everyone who wanted was welcome to pre-book their vegan or traditional Christmas plate at Kårrestaurangen and pick it up at a stated time on Friday or Saturday. It was herring or pickled shiitake, Jansson's and Vegansson's temptation, meatballs, cold meats and salads, combined with cheeses and Christmas sweets. In addition, the restaurant had listed recommended beverages of different strength and taste, but one had to procure them oneself.</span><div><br /><span style="background-color:initial"></span><div><strong>Exciting flavors to look forward to</strong></div> <div>Some of those first in line to pick up their food were the international students Sofia and Annalena.</div> <div>“I think this is a fantastic idea by the Student Union and as an international student I see it as a unique chance to get a taste of Sweden, now that we can’t do it any other way,” said Annalena from Germany who is studying in the field of Civil Engineering.</div> <div>Materials Engineering master's student Sofia from Italy agreed.</div> <div>“I am really looking forward to seeing what kind of food it is. And to the broadcast!” she said.</div> <div>Next in line, at a proper distance, were the two undergraduate Biological Engineering students Albin and Erik, waiting with Filip, who is an undergraduate student in Physics.</div> <div>“I think this will be an unforgettable experience,” said Albin.</div> <div>“It really will”, Filip agreed.</div> <div>“It will be exciting to taste the vegan Christmas plate, it is the first time for me,” said Erik.</div> <div>None of them really knew what to expect from the livestream, but they agreed that the initiative brought some light into this strange time of social distance and distance learning.</div> <div>“Above all, I look forward to getting a little Christmas feeling. Christmas feeling and Brussels sprouts!” said Albin.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Everyone contributed to the success</strong></div> <div>And so, on Saturday, December 12, it was time. In front of the fireplace in a self-built studio in Kårhuset, the hosts Viktoria Bogren and Sebastian Ringqvist welcomed everyone with a Christmas poem. Then they lit the candles and the party was on.</div> <div>The Chalmers Choir supported the singing and during the evening, classic elements such as a rhyming cabin and Christmas crafts were interspersed with humor and “spex”. And to give time and space to enjoy the food, Svea Skivgarde provided the dinner music.</div> <div>A couple of days later, the experience has had time to sink in with the Christmas hosts.</div> <div>“It's so cool how we at Chalmers can organize something like this together, completely non-profit,” says Sebastian Ringqvist. ”We come up with an idea and everyone contribute with their skills. And I think we created something really nice together, in true Chalmers spirit.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The ingenuity and creativity of the students was something that both President Stefan Bengtsson and union chairman David Welander praised in their respective speeches during the Christmas dinner. That the Chalmerists constantly think outside the box as well as work together as one big family.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“It was so impressively supported by our societies and committees and with everyone who contributed in different ways,” says Viktoria Bogren. “The best part of the evening, in my opinion, was the commitment from the viewers, all the rhymes they sent to the rhyme cabin. We had a desire to have the viewers involved and that succeeded beyond expectations!”</div> <div>Sebastian Ringqvist agrees.</div> <div>“Yes, I will carry the feeling of family with me for a long time. This was a fantastic opportunity for more people than usual to join. It did not feel at all like an emergency solution, on the contrary. I’m excited to see what new traditions can come from this!”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text: Helena Österling af Wåhlberg</div> <div>Photos: CFFC</div></div>Mon, 14 Dec 2020 17:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/m2/news/Pages/They’re-developing-an-AI-based-ship-support-system.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/m2/news/Pages/They%E2%80%99re-developing-an-AI-based-ship-support-system.aspxThey’re developing an AI-based ship support system<p><b>​A group of Swedish technology entrepreneurs and researchers from Chalmers have joined forces to develop an AI-based system for executing the most energy-efficient sea voyages.</b></p>​Swedish ship propulsion optimization experts, Lean Marine and AI-application developers Molflow have been collaborating with academics from the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg to develop a new AI-powered, semi-autonomous system for planning and executing more energy-efficient sea voyages since the project commenced in August 2020. The project goes by the name Via Kaizen and is funded by the Swedish Transport Administration. <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">AI systems give the captain advice on how the voyage should be carried out </h3> <div>The technology available in the companies enables a high degree of digitization and automation in vessel operations. The systems optimize the propulsion line dynamically, in real-time, based on orders given by the AI system that has been developed. Data collected from the AI system and other signals on-board are then fed into a cloud-based performance management platform which shares information with other systems. With &quot;Deep Learning&quot; technologies, the systems will then be able to determine, given the constraints of the route and the ship, the most energy-efficient voyage and calculate the commands that need to be set to reach the destination with the least possible amount of fuel consumed. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Linus Ideskog, development manager at Lean Marine, says that when the perfect simulated journey is determined, their system steps in and creates an interface between the captain and the AI-based solution for travel planning. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;This gives human and machine the opportunity to collaborate and carry out the journey in an optimal way. The system can automatically and directly optimize the propulsion machinery based on commands given by the captain or received directly from the AI-solution&quot; says Linus Ideskog. </div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3"><span>Reduces emissions from shipping </span></h3> <div><span style="background-color:initial">From an academic perspective, naval architect researchers at the Chalmers University of Technology are working in close collaboration with Lean Marine and Molflow on the development of new methods, models, and algorithms. </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div>“In this project, we at Chalmers will develop dynamic ship speed-power performance models by combining theoretical naval architecture knowledge with AI to predict the dynamic time series of a ship’s propulsive power when the ship is encountering different wind and wave conditions” says Wengang Mao, professor at the Division of Marine Technology at the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Researchers from social anthropology and human factors at Gothenburg University and Linnaeus University are conducting research on what happens to practices onboard and ashore as the new technology is implemented. The Swedish Shipowners’ Association is also participating in the project, providing vital insights and input from the Swedish shipping industry and by contributing to the dissemination of research findings and development information to the Swedish maritime industry. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>In addition to the project partners, a trio of ship owners and operators are involved in the project, including chemical/product tanker owner and operator, Rederiet Stenersen and pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) owner and operator, UECC. By offering their vessels for technology and product validations, they will enable onboard testing, and the results will be directly evaluated within the scope of the project. Mikael Laurin, CEO of Lean Marine, says: </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We believe this project will contribute considerably to the reduction of emissions both from international and domestic transportation, importantly making Swedish shipping more sustainable and competitive in the long-term.”<br /></div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Read more</h3> <div><a href="https://leanmarine.com/2020/12/09/ai-powered-ship-operation-support-system-developed-by-swedish-consortium/">Press release from Lean Marine</a><br /><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/wengang-mao.aspx">Wengang Mao​</a></div> <div></div>Fri, 11 Dec 2020 08:30:00 +0100