Renewable Production of Electricity

Biomass-driven power plants – Biomass is the largest renewable energy resource in Sweden and its production can grow further. Especially interesting is the use of biomass in combined electricity-heating plants. Our efforts focus on the development of biomass-adapted turbines, as well as on increasing the efficiency of steam turbines and small-scale machines with catalytic combustion.

Hydropower – Hydroelectricity production is one of prime sources of electricity in Sweden. It will be increasingly used to regulate intermittent production from other renewable sources such as wind energy. This presents new technical challenges for hydroplants, for river system management and for the grid system. Our work includes analysis for an upgrading of existing large-scale hydroturbines and design optimization of new and upgraded small-scale plants.

Marine current energy conversion – Extracting energy from marine currents is a largely unexploited renewable energy resource. An experimental plant, presently under construction, will enable verification of the theoretical design of vertical-axis technology. Our research includes the design of verticalaxis turbines that can harness energy efficiently from low speed currents. This choice of technology is intended to provide a simple and robust system with low maintenance needs and minimal environmental impact.

Ocean wave energy conversion – The buoy-linear generator system represents a well established technology. The wave energy park at Lysekil with its land connection of generated power, has been operating since 2006. Our main development goal is the optimization of the plants regarding energy absorption from the waves, electricity conversion, grid integration, hydrodynamics and environmental impact. Our work also focuses on the design of large-scale wave power integration into the grid and on the monitoring of large-scale parks.

Solar energy conversion – Solar energy can be tapped thermally through heat production for turbines, photovoltaically as in solar cells, or by conversion to fuels such as hydrogen. Our research includes the development of techniques and materials for enhancing solar concentration for use in thermal machines, as well as thermal solar energy storage. In the area of solar cells our main goal is to improve the efficiency of energy conversion by focusing on nanostructure research. One short-term goal is to bring thin film technology up to 20 per cent efficiency.

Wind energy conversion – Efficient electricity generation from wind parks demands integration of different areas of research and development. Our research covers the entire span from the development of individual components such as generators, towers, turbines and gearboxes, to complete systems with vertical-axis turbines. Among our research areas also are park design and optimization, integration to the grid and models for extreme climate and complex terrain.