Our R&D portfolios
R&D is responsible for identifying, developing and ensuring the implementation of value adding technical solutions that support the strategic needs of Vattenfall and its business units.
As a complementary task, R&D supports Vattenfall's business units with technical problem solving, tests, and verification.
Vattenfall R&D is organised into various R&D portfolios. These portfolios are defined around technology areas such as wind, hydro, electric mobility, smart grids, biomass and ocean energy. R&D work is categorised by three categories which are executed in all R&D portfolios:
- Core asset development: We focus on improving the assets and technology products that we have today. Examples include efficiency improvement of gas turbines, reducing the impact of hydro dams on fish migration and improved utilisation of overhead power lines.
- Technology leaps: We develop new technologies that are not commercially available today. Examples are wave energy and carbon capture and storage.
- Exploratory: We assess new technologies and identify those that fit Vattenfall well. In particular, we select technologies that need further R&D work. Examples include geothermal and energy storage.
The goals of the R&D work in all R&D portfolios in these three categories are to improve the various elements of the energy system. Key priorities are affordability, reliability and environmental impact.
Support sustainable development
Tomorrow's energy system must be able to support sustainable development in society, and to not compromise the quality of life for future generations.
Meeting these demands provides a major challenge. A wide palette of technical solutions will be required. There will not be one finite solution. At Vattenfall, we are aware of our responsibility to make our contribution to transforming the energy supply system into a sustainable one.
It is because of this commitment that Vattenfall performs research and development – to develop our business, to support our strategies, to improve existing plants, and to contribute to the development of tomorrow's energy solutions.
Funds for long-term investments
Calculated in proportion to the Group's sales, Group-wide R&D expenditure was approximately 122 MEUR correspond to about 0.6% of the net company turnover in 2011, which is in parity with Vattenfall's competitors. This share is reasonable considering that Vattenfall is a technology-using – rather than product-developing – company.
In 2012, Vattenfall spent a total of SEK 840 million on R&D. Of this, SEK 187 million pertained to Vattenfall's share of the work on developing a safe and approved method for final storage of spent nuclear fuel, which is conducted by the subsidiary SKB.
Future Energy Talks
Watch the first episode of Future Energy Talks with Johan Tollin from Vattenfall's E-mobility programme.