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Published: 09 Apr, 2019

Collaboration with industry generates funding for solar energy researchers

NEWS The Kempe Foundations have granted SEK 700,000 to Professor Thomas Wågberg, Professor Ludvig Edman, and industrial doctoral student Erik Zäll at the Department of Physics. The money is to be invested in a world-class spectrophotometer for the Department of Physics.

In order to be able to stop burning oil and gas and instead use renewable energy sources such as solar energy, efficient solar collectors are needed. The Härnösand-based company Absolicon is running a research project together with the Department of Physics at Umeå University on new glass, reflectors and black receiver tubes for solar concentrators.

Erik Zäll has just started his career as an industrial doctoral student and is working on this research project. As an industrial doctoral student, he has a mentor at Absolicon and a supervisor at Umeå University. In his preliminary studies, he established that even better equipment is needed to measure optical properties in order to enable efficient research on surface coatings for solar collector components.

Erik Zäll’s supervisor, Professor Thomas Wågberg, and his colleague, Professor Ludvig Edman, agreed and together they started investigating how this problem could be rectified.

The Kempe Foundations have now granted SEK 700,000 so Umeå University can buy a world-class spectrophotometer for the Department of Physics. This investment will mean the university will not have to depend on external institutions for optical analyses when doing research on solar collector components.

“The spectrophotometer can measure optical properties for receivers, glass and reflectors with extremely high precision over the entire solar spectrum,” says Erik Zäll.

Earlier last autumn, Erik Zäll received about SEK 890,000 from Vinnova in order to develop better cover glass for solar collectors.

IDS - Industrial Doctoral School for Research and Innovation

IDS is an inter-faculty research school that is based on collaboration between Umeå University and an external organisation, for example, a company or a public-sector organisation.

IDS aims to promote collaboration with companies, foundations or public-sector organisations in order to strengthen research and development, increase the doctoral students’ employability, independence and innovative capacity, and increase knowledge and innovation in society.

IDS