Subject: Travel Pool Report No. 6
Hundreds of people lined the streets of Stockholm for the roughly 10-minute motorcade from the synagogue to the Royal Institute of Technology. President Obama arrived at the school’s campus about 4:30 p.m. local and he was warmly greeted by hundreds of what appeared to be students snapping pictures of his arrival from behind police barricades. Notably, your pool did not see any protest signs at the campus.
About 4:40 p.m., Obama and Prime Minister Reinfeldt entered what looked like an large library in an airy atrium with lots of natural light flowing through the windows. Obama met with institute officials as they showed him three energy based projects. Details about the specific presentations are below. The three presenters showed off their projects at three separate display tables spread across the room’s floor, with shelves of books and a beautiful brick wall forming a backdrop behind them.
It was difficult to understand everything Obama said during the presentation from your pool’s vantage point but a few comments were audible. At the first presentation, Solvatten, Obama asked how much a unit would cost to distribute through villages in Africa or India. He was told it could be scaled up in volume for less than $100 per. Obama said, “Congratulations. It’s a great story to tell. We’re very proud of your work.”
At the second presentation, Obama saw a small car that looks like a low-to-the-ground bicycle with three wheels. It is powered by fuel cells. When the presenter lifted the door, Obama turned to a slender woman and remarked, “You could get in this but not me.”
Obama also asked about experimentation with electric cars in Sweden and other technologies. “In the United States, one of the challenges has to do with distribution…if I was going shopping, where am I gonna refuel, right?” Obama added, “it’s sort of a chicken and egg question.”
“If I’m a small business, I’m a rural farmer, what does this mean for me economically?” Obama asked about a fuel cell technology development. It was not clear what the presenter told him in response, but she said the next frontier is to use cheaper materials and demonstrate that the technique actually works.
At the third stop, Obama saw an electric hybrid plug-in driveline for mass transit (city buses, for instance) from Volvo Group. The presenter told Obama they want to take their technology further and expand its use because one can do things with this engine like routes in residential areas with no noise and offer an array of services in the bus.
Obama asked him, “Where are we at right now in terms of cost so if I’m a city manager and I’ve got a fleet of 50 buses, is it at this stage economical for me to purchase this?” The presenter said they are seeing interest in the technology increasing and that it could pay for itself in “10 years easily.”
The tour lasted about 25 minutes before Obama wrapped up and your pool was escorted out of the institute’s library. At 5:10 p.m., Obama’s motorcade was rolling back to the Grand Hotel, where he is scheduled to have some downtime before his dinner with Nordic leaders.
Here is background information provided by the White House:
President Obama and Prime Minister Reinfeldt of Sweden will view three energy focused presentations during their time at the Royal Institute of Technology. They will be led by Dr. Peter Gudmundson, Vice Chancellor at KTH. The three presentations include:
1. Solvatten – Life Changing Clean-Tech Solution:
Presenters: Petra Wadstrom, CEO, David Wadstrom, Head of Marketing and Communications
The Solvatten Solar safe water system is a reliable household water solution providing enough safe and warm water for a family of 5-6 people. The solution combines three well documented water treatment methods: filtration, pasteurization and UV sterilization and an indicator shows when the treatment process has finished.
2. Fuel Cells for a Sustainable Transport and Energy Sector
Presenters: Professor Goran Lindbergh, Associate Professor Carina Lagergren, Assistant Professor Rakel Wreland Lindstrom
KTH will present different applications built around fuel cell concepts with a strong focus on the sustainability of the automotive industry and energy sector. Related to the concept vehicle Sleipner and the mobile charger PowerTrekk, KTH will display research fuel cells and a paper-based new concept for the lithium-ion batteries. Sleipner is a concept vehicle built by KTH students. The vehicle is powered by a fuel cell running on compressed hydrogen gas. The PowerTrekk is a small charger for mobile electronic equipment; it uses a small fuel cell to convert the fuel into electrical energy.
3. First Commercially Viable Hybrid Solution for Trucks and Buses:
Presenters: Olof Persson, CEO Volvo Group, Niklas Gustavsson, Vice President and Expert on Hybrid Vehicles
In 2015 Volvo will launch fully electric and emissions free buses as an innovation platform for public transport systems. The goal is efficient, silent and emission free transport systems providing new possibilities for city and urban planning.
The Washington Post