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"With the help of hydrogen, we get an opportunity to store energy"

Published: 18 June 2021

Luleå University of Technology has started a new competence center (CH2ESS) that researches the entire hydrogen system, including the use of hydrogen in various industries.

How can students benefit from your research?

Luleå University of Technologyhas started a new competence center (CH2ESS) that researches the entire hydrogen system, including the use of hydrogen in various industries. The researchers who carry out the projects often participate as teachers in the courses we give at the advanced level, which guarantees that the knowledge that is taught is completely updated according to "state-of-the-art". In the HET program, there will also be an opportunity for interested students to carry out hydrogen-oriented projects that are included in the project courses that are included in the education. The supervision will then be handled by one of the researchers who participate in the competence center.

Do you have any tips for new students?

Be curious, ask a lot and take every opportunity to learn more. A slightly more traditional tip is to learn more about study techniques. Remember that nothing worth anything comes for free. The ten thousand hour rule, that it takes at least 10,000 hours of hard work to reach world class in any field, whether it is about music, sports or technology, also applies to engineers. If you work hard all the time, you are halfway to the goal and have brilliant future prospects as engineers.

What are you researching in?

My research area is the thermochemical conversion of biomass into various utilities, e.g. methanol, synthetic gasoline or jet fuel. My background is in fluid mechanics, which has influenced my research so that it almost always contains an element of fluid mechanics. As a senior researcher, you supervise doctoral students who do most of the "hard work" as part of their education. Right now I am working with advanced computer models of combustion of renewable fuels in gas turbines that are intended for electricity production. I also have an experimental project where we use advanced optical methods to investigate multiphase flow with chemical reactions of the type that occur in biomass carburetors. In the HET program, we teach most of what you need to know to work in this type of project. To become a technical doctor, you also need to sharpen your knowledge in certain special areas, but the foundation that you get in the education is a very good start.

How will hydrogen affect society in the future?

Society faces a gigantic challenge when it comes to replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy. Most people do not think about it, but more than 80% of the world's energy supply today comes from fossil fuels. At first glance, one might think that it should not be so difficult to replace the fossil because the sun gives us tens of thousands of times more than we need but the problem is that the renewable energy varies due to weather and wind and thus is not planned. With hydrogen, we get a chance to store energy as it is produced by electrolysis with renewable electricity that comes in and gives us an opportunity to store renewable energy when there is a good supply of renewable electricity so that it becomes available when there is a shortage of renewable electricity ( night or windless). The advantage of hydrogen over batteries is that it is possible to store enormously much more energy in the form of hydrogen than with batteries if you want a reasonable cost. When the fossil fuels are completely phased out in a few decades, the energy system will look completely different than today and the hydrogen gas will be everywhere around us.

In which courses do the students meet you?

I teach F7012T Advanced Heat and Mass Transfer and F7040T Renewable Fuels. I also usually participate in the supervision of student projects and be an examiner for degree projects that are connected to my research.

Why study sustainable energy technology at Luleå University of Technology?

It is a very broad education in an area that is important for Sweden. The tasks that you can get after graduation are exciting and give results that you can be proud of. Luleå and Norrbotten are currently something of an epicenter for the development of a fossil-free energy system and the conditions for participating in this development are very good both during their education at Luleå University of Technology and after graduation.