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Electrical engineering and automation professorship named Walter Ahlström professorship

Professor Matti Lehtonen will hold the professorship.
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Professor Matti Lehtonen

To honour the lifework of Walter Ahlström, Aalto University is naming the professorship in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation at the School of Electrical Engineering as the Walter Ahlström professorship. This professorship reinforces the long-term cooperation between the Walter Ahlström Foundation and Aalto University as well as the joint objectives they share for the promotion of Finland’s industrial competitiveness. Professor Matti Lehtonen will hold the professorship.

Professor Lehtonen is a recognised researcher in electrical power systems. Energy systems are undergoing the greatest transition in the history of the field since the invention of the steam engine. The aspiration towards carbon-free and sustainable energy production and use is behind this change. This refers to the widespread adoption of various solar- and wind-based generation modes, comprehensive utilisation of energy reserves, and the growing use of electricity in transportation.

‘With the use of renewable energy sources, electrical systems must be capable of integrating a large amount of variable production in the future without deterioration in operational reliability. Because production and consumption in an electrical system must continuously be in balance, the challenge is immense,’ Professor Lehtonen emphasises.

Professor Lehtonen is hopeful that new leading experts will enter the field to develop the research of electrical systems and resolve the impending challenges in the area of research.

‘The electricity market does not function at the moment with enough of a market orientation, nor does flexibility in demand and production really work. Sustainable solutions must be sought by utilising, for example, digitalisation,’ Professor Lehtonen continues.

The goal of both the Walter Ahlström Foundation and Aalto University is to better support the careers of promising young researchers.

‘Advanced energy solutions represent one of our key research areas. The great transition going on in the field requires research-related expertise and top specialists.  We are responding to the challenge by establishing a Masters’ programme concentrated on new energy systems,’ President of Aalto University Tuula Teeri relates.  

‘The Foundation gives support to Finnish technological expertise, particularly in those fields that offer a strong future and growing markets. Professor Lehtonen’s background, professional experience and expertise in the field of electrical engineering support our way of thinking,’ says Professor Markku Wilenius, Chairman of the Board for the Walter Ahlström Foundation.

Councillor Walter Ahlström (1875–1931) was the long-term general director and chairman of the Board for the A. Ahlström company. Walter Ahlström understood the significance of early research and development to the competitiveness of our nation’s industry. In 1926, Walter Ahström established a foundation to support scientific endeavour in the fields of electrical and power engineering as well as in the wood processing and metal industries.

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