Development and integration of a renewable and sustainable energy supply is a key challenge for the world community. NTNU commits itself to contribute to such a transition by minimizing the ecological footprint in developing the existing resources, and to massively invest in research related to renewable energy sources, storage solutions, energy consumption and transportation. Description of research area (pdf).
Main research topics:
Technological solutions for new renewable energy, especially solar energy, bioenergy and offshore wind power
Development of technology for the production of renewable energy is important to achieve a significant increase of green energy. Research tasks require a broad mobilization of a range of disciplines in engineering, natural and social sciences. Examples include power electronics, membranes, combustion processes, materials, landscape design and community planning.
There is a huge potential for increased energy efficiency of equipment, transportation, buildings and industrial processes. As an example, future buildings are likely to produce more energy than they consume by an efficient design, the use of solar panels, solar thermal systems, local storage as well as other devices for controlling the indoor climate conditions. Research in the field is related to architectural design, physics, electronics, thermodynamics, refrigeration technology, cybernetics, building technology and cultural studies.
Purification and storage of CO2
Cleaning, transport and storage of CO2 has a high political priority in Norway. Research challenges involve among other things, secure and efficient methods for purification of CO2, transport and safe storage. This requires expertise in such areas as materials science, chemical process technology, gas transport and geology.
Improved efficiency in exploration and production of oil and gas
There are opportunities to increase the degree of extraction of oil and gas fields in the North Sea. This offers research challenges in the petroleum and reservoir engineering, geology, image processing, cybernetics and fluid mechanics.
Politics, innovation and public engagement for sustainable energy
There are major challenges related to the need for innovation and new thinking to contribute to sustainable restructuring of the Norwegian energy system. This involves the design of effective policy strategies, obtaining a better knowledge base for innovation and commercialization in enterprises, transfer of knowledge from research to industry, and public engagement. This mobilizes expertise in economics, business, science and technology studies, mathematical modeling, history, political science and sociology.
Smart energy systems (smart grids)
Achieving a secure and robust matching of the energy supply and consumption will be a major challenge in the future. Massive integration of renewable energy sources will due to its intermittency in resource availability, call for flexible transmission and distribution grids, a range of storage solutions and flexibility on the consumption of energy. Major enablers to achieve this are integration of ICT and smart control functions at all levels as well as to develop new components in the electric power system. Examples of expertise needed are electric power engineering, cybernetics, computer science, telematics, technology and science studies, materials science and reliability analysis.
The Norwegian hydropower system has represented an important energy storage capacity and it is looked upon for such a role when it comes to balancing variations in consumption and production in Europe. Storage is the main challenge of the transition to renewable energy sources. However, other storages alternatives will also be needed in the future.
Hydropower for the 21st century
Hydropower is an established research area, but there is a strong need and room for upgrading and redesign. Interaction with the energy system of large-scale integration of renewables and often intermittent energy will provide technological and financial challenges and will call for research in a number of areas.
Advanced thermodynamic analysis
Energy can be converted and can appear in various forms on the way from the source to the end user. The subject Thermodynamics shows how this transformation should take place and how good utilization of energy actually is.
Metallurgic industry is the largest land-based industry. However, to achieve sustainability metals must be produced with an energy and natural resource strategy aligned to "doing more with less."
Our team includes 200 professors and 500 PhD candidates and postdocs working with basic research. In addition we educate 300 to 400 candidates to the energy sector every year.