News item | 2012-01-17 | 16:25 PM

Mutual benefits from university partnerships

Vattenfall’s R&D efforts are key to the business: by improving the technology base, the ability to serve customers and reduce the environmental impact is improved.

“We operate a number of highly complex technologies, and our R&D department plays an essential role,” says Ilka von Dalwigk at Vattenfall.

Universities often focus on fundamental research. Vattenfall needs to understand what new research means in terms of opportunities for application.

“By engaging in partnerships between our R&D unit and universities and research institutes we also get a good recruitment base. As a result, we want to support areas of education that are in line with our core business so we can increase our recruitment base,” von Dalwigk says.

Many innovative ideas come from students, based on their research and their collaborations with other universities, but few of these are realized.
“With Vattenfall’s resources we are able to implement and develop solutions based on that research,” says Ilka von Dalwigk.

Maarten Berkhout, Director of Strategic Innovation at Vattenfall, says that the company’s R&D operations have three main areas of focus in relation to energy-supply technologies: affordability, sustainability and reliability.

“We’re working hard to make the energy supply sustainable, but it can’t be done overnight. We need to use existing infrastructure in the best, most effective way and promote our own capabilities.”

R&D in collaboration with universities and research institutes are essential to this process. This makes it possible for new technologies to become available and facilitates improvements to existing technologies.