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KTH students received SEK 50,000 each: Here are the results

portrait photo Weronika Tuszynska
KTH student Weronika Tuszynska's thesis aims to assess the severity of forest fires using satellite data and artificial intelligence. Photo: Peter Asplund
Published Jun 10, 2024

At a time when surveys such as The Nordic youth barometer show that interest among young people in sustainability issues is on the decline, there is evidence to the contrary. Like the 12 KTH students who received between SEK 25,000 and 50,000 each for theses with an environmental focus. Now they have presented their achievements.

Through an environmental grant from the Swedish Engineers Association, KTH was given the opportunity to select a number of promising degree projects. Students were required to use technology and physical applications to solve various environmental problems. Out of 48 applications, ten projects were selected to share half a million kronor. 

Edible perennials

Students have now presented their work within the framework of the KTH Climate Action Centre. One of the recipients of the scholarship is Nienke Grosse, who worked on a study of Stockholm, the edible city (the concept of "edible cities"). She has conducted a survey among hundreds of Stockholmers about their views on the introduction of edible perennials in Stockholm's public green spaces. 85 per cent are in favour of such plantations and almost half of those surveyed would like to be involved in growing them.

portrait photo Seyed Amir Rezvani
KTH student Seyed Amir Rezvani talks about his thesis project on the best placement of wetlands to mitigate the effects of climate change. Photo: Peter Asplund

"This type of urban garden fulfils several functions," Grosse says. Among other things, it would give residents what geographer and researcher Edward Relph calls a sense of place, i.e. a stronger emotional connection to their own part of the city. This in turn indicates an increased emotional engagement with the environment, which is linked to the introduction of edible perennials.

Mapping forest fires

The scholarship holder and KTH student Weronika Tuszynska has focused her thesis on using satellite data and artificial intelligence to map Swedish forest fires in detail from 2018 to 2023. Given that Sweden consists of 68 per cent forest land, the forest is an important natural resource for the country, hence the interest.

"There are two reasons for using a large amount of data. The most important is to have enough data for deep learning and the second most important is that the model represents the actual pattern of fires in the Swedish boreal forests," Tuszynska says.

She says her thesis, which is not quite finished yet, makes it possible to have a very good overview of the extent of forest fires, both small and large.

Fellow student Mohammadreza Delavar has been studying the opposite of fires, i.e. extreme rainfall and floods, and the risk of such natural disasters affecting urban planning.

Hours instead of weeks

In more detail, Mohammadreza Delavar has developed a new simulation method that can quickly and accurately forecast flood risks. The method is based on existing data from, for example, the flooding in Gävle a few years ago, and unlike similar simulations that can take weeks, Mohammadreza Delavar will do the whole job in an hour. Municipal urban planners could be a potential user of the method, he says.

The Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers has given a total of SEK 1.5 million in scholarship money to KTH, which means that additional KTH students will receive compensation for their degree projects in the subject of sustainability over the next two years.

Text: Peter Asplund

Fact box

  • In addition to the above-mentioned degree projects, the KTH students and scholarship holders have worked on optimising the location of wetlands to mitigate the effects of climate change, improving methods for the remediation of contaminated soils, and life cycle analysis of biomass gasification for hydrogen production.
  • A number of scholarship holders have been employed by various companies and organisations, where they continue to work on the same topics as in their degree projects.