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Sustainable solutions by future energy engineers

Published: 11 December 2015

HET-dagen, which is about smart energy solutions for the future, was packed with interesting student projects, presentations by company representatives and researchers, poster sessions, and a closing dinner.

– You have a bright future!

This was said by Gunnar Sundström, head of department and project manager at WSP, one of the world's leading research and technology consulting firms. He was referring to important task ahead of for energy engineering students when it comes to finding technology solutions for a sustainable environment.

Air gap prevents icing

Great solutions was also something that participant at the HET-day got to hear about when eight student groups at the MSc Programme in Sustainable Energy Engineering presented their projects in the Energy Technology main course. One of the groups had looked at the problem of icing that occurs when snow melts on so-called warm roofs.

– After comparing several solutions, including electric coils on the ceiling, we concluded that the best alternative from an environmental perspective, would be to make an air gap on the hot roof. However, there are many factors that come into play and we do not know if it is technically or economically feasible, it requires that the underlying construction can withstand point loads that arises, says Malin Nordstedt, who reads the final year at the MSc Programme in Sustainable Energy Engineering.

Isolation best option

Linda Levén and Johan Koskinen, also the students at the Sustainable Energy Engineering programme, had collaborated with Älvsbyhus to investigate the temperature and moisture conditions on suspended foundations.

– A problem with suspended foundations, especially during summer, is the mold that can occur when warm air enters in the ground that hits the cold surfaces. Then it can create condensation on for example beams of wood that leads to mold. We investigated several methods to reduce the problem of moisture and we came to the conclusion that it is best to isolate the ground when it is built, says Johan Koskinen.

– For existing suspended foundations, I would recommend a thermal dehumidifier, combined with some insulation in the bottom of the foundation, to remove a portion of the cold from the ground, says Linda Levén.

Easy to learn

The idea behind the course is that students will be working at a company in real projects that are similar to the challenges they later will face in their working life.

– The project has been very rewarding and I have developed a different mindset to find new ideas. It has become easy to learn new things, you can add it on the knowledge you already have, says Johan Koskinen.

– Release the strains while you are in the planning stage. Do not look at existing solutions, instead dare to think outside the box. Trust yourself and the knowledge you built up during your education, says Viktor Naeslund, final year student at the MSc Programme in Sustainable Energy Engineering.

The other projects in the Energy technology main course this year were:

  • Gas to liquid from the blast furnace, Swerea MEFOS.
  • Transient Simulation of heat flows in a pressurized gasifier powder, SP ETC.
  • Calculation model of heat exchange of process gas, LKAB.
  • Operating Efficiency of heat and electricity at Gällivare Energi.
  • Small scale biopower, SP Borås.
  • Optimization of windmill services, Wind Power Service Sweden.