Published 2020-12-10

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SEK 50m to Mistra Electric Transition for research on sustainable energy system

Mistra’s Board has decided to approve the Mistra Electric Transition programme proposal from the Swedish Energy Research Centre (Energiforsk) and Chalmers University of Technology. These were the successful joint applicants for the call, ‘Energy transitions: a systemic approach’. The vision for this programme is to accelerate a fair, competitive transition to a sustainable, efficient energy system.

The call opened in February, and took place in two stages. In Stage 1, 15 programme proposals were submitted. On 9 June Mistra’s Board decided to invite four of the applicants who sent in programme proposals to submit complete applications in Stage 2.

Mistra Electric Transition has three primary goals:

  • To describe technically feasible, cost-effective solutions that will bring about a fossil-free energy system, with a special focus on electrification and sector coupling.
  • To analyse how fossil-free technologies and infrastructures can be implemented at the pace required to achieve Sweden’s carbon emissions targets.
  • To show how the energy transition can support positive socioeconomic development.

The programme has been awarded a maximum of SEK 50 million over four years, with a requirement of co-funding at 15 per cent.

Markus Wråke is CEO of Energiforsk, which will be programme host.

‘Mistra Electric Transition can make a real difference in speeding up the positive transformation of the Swedish energy system that’s under way. We’re delighted and proud that Mistra has entrusted to us the task of implementing the programme, jointly with a wonderful team. The issues we’ll work on are at the absolute cutting edge of the field, and we hope that, thanks to close collaboration among researchers and companies, the results will have a direct impact and application.’

Filip Johansson, Professor at Chalmers.

Filip Johnsson, Professor at Chalmers University of Technology, led the work of developing the programme proposal.

‘I’m very much looking forward to working on this programme. Jointly with the Swedish energy industry and Energiforsk, I believe we’ll be able to show the great potential in connecting the energy sector with other industries, and also help to find the best way of achieving the transition.’

The programme objectives involve social and economic, as well as technical, methods and aspects of boosting the potential for an energy system in line with Sweden’s climate target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. Technical results and conclusions will be balanced with political and social feasibility.

Linda Bell, Mistra’s Programmes Director.

‘In the current call, we received many exciting ideas and high-quality proposals. The programme that’s now to be funded will concentrate on the potential of electrification and sector coupling. Technically feasible and cost-effective paths of development are in focus, as is the connection with social and political opportunities. The programme is characterised by an innovative methodological approach and a strong focus on benefits to society, just transition and industrial competitiveness. All these elements will be needed in the transition to a fossil-free welfare society,’ says Linda Bell, Mistra’s Programmes Director.

Special studies in transport and industry

Instead of focusing separately on electricity, heating, transport and industry, the approach will consist in electrification and sector coupling. However, Mistra Electric Transition will study, in particular, two sectors, transport and industry, the connections between them and how they are related to the electricity system, to enhance understanding of how each sector can contribute to the restructuring. To ensure that the results can be applied, case studies with the companies involved and other interested parties will be an important element.

‘There are several research initiatives in the energy field, and our approach at Mistra has been to address the complexity of the whole system, in terms of environmental strategy and long-term prospects. Our programmes work across disciplines and sectors, bringing about innovative approaches and solutions. Now that many regions and countries have set goals and adopted roadmaps to achieve fossil-fuel freedom, research and innovation that yield knowledge and practical solutions along the way are very much in demand,’ Bell says.

The programme’s main contractor will be Energiforsk, and its work will be carried out in an interdisciplinary consortium, jointly with numerous stakeholders participating in the programme. They include Chalmers University of Technology, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, the University of Exeter, Lund University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). Other consortium members are Svenska kraftnät, Stockholm Exergi, Fortum, Nordion Energi, Göteborg Energi, Vattenfall, Hitachi ABB Power Grids, Egain and Utilifeed.