Afsluttede PhD Projekter

Synthesis and Characterisation of Nano-Porous Perfluorinated Membranes

Mette Birch Kristensen

One of the big topics these years concerns the transition from a fossil fuel based society to a society that will rely mainly, if not completely, on renewable energy resources. Many proposals on different scales (from household to whole of Europe) and with different perspectives (storage, conversion, new materials, grid, etc.) are being investigated and discussed in both academia, industry and on a political level in order to find good and responsible solutions. Renewable energy resources such as biogas, wind and solar power are well known technologies that are already implemented into society today. One of the big challenges is how these energy resources can be used in the best possible way at the time and place where it is needed. This angle towards the energy problem is the focus area of the research in the Membrane Technology group.

In this specific project, the main focus will be on synthesis of polymeric membranes for use in biogas plants with the goal of separating the different gases. The main goal will be to separate CH4, CO2 and H2. The objective is to synthesise membranes with high selectivity ratios, high permeability, good stability and good chemical resistance. Depending on the driving force for the separation different types of membranes should be synthesised. Polymeric ion conductive membranes are one option which can be used in electrokinetic processes. Another option is polymeric membranes with inorganic or metal organic frameworks. For the characterisation of the last type of membranes, a gas permeability setup will be built as part of this project.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title: 
Synthesis and Characterisation of Nano-Porous Perfluorinated Membranes

PhD student: Mette Birch Kristensen

Contact: mettebk@eng.au.dk

Project period: Aug 2013 to July 2017

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Anders Bentien

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Volatile Sulfur Compounds from Livestock and Biogas Production: Emission Control by Dissolved Iron Catalysts and Impact of Odor Removal Assessment

Pernille Lund Kasper

Emissions of odorous compounds from livestock and biogas production cause nuisance in the vicinity of the production sites and limit the development of these industries in populated areas. Part of the project is focused on abatement of these emissions with emphasis on reduced sulfur compounds which are identified as key odorants. Desulphurization with chelated iron is a well-known and proven technology in the natural gas and oil refining industries. The focus of this work is to evaluate and optimise this process for deodorization purposes.

In order to make sure that the air cleaning technique has a significant and measurable impact on perceived odor, a part of the project is focused on odor measuring and sampling techniques. Currently, common practice is to store odor samples in bags and quantify them by olfactometry with human panelists. However, due to their volatile and reactive nature, many of these compounds are lost during sampling and, hence, the results of this method may become misrepresentative. To ensure the validity and scientific credibility of odor measurements and evaluations of abatement methods, these losses are investigated and the technique is sought improved through direct measurement of odorous compounds with Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometry.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:
 Volatile Sulfur Compounds from Livestock and Biogas Production: Emission Control by Dissolved Iron Catalysts and Impact of Odor Removal Assessment

PhD student: Pernille Kasper

Contact: peka@eng.au.dk

Project period: April 2014 to March 2017

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Anders Feilberg

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Li Ion Nanomaterials for Improvement of Large Scale Energy Storage

Steinar Birgisson

This project aims to develop new nanomaterials for application in Li-ion batteries.

The research is focused on synthesis methods that are industrially relevant and are based on the solvothermal reaction of the materials being studied. The main focus is on synthesis in supercritical fluids which has great potential as a new, environmentally friendly way to produce chemicals industrially.

After the synthesis, the nanoparticles are structurally characterised with the help of X-ray diffraction, neutron diffraction, TEM/SEM, SAXS, XRF, ICP, BET and potentially X-ray absorption techniques (XANES/EXAFS).

Our group has developed and implemented a novel way for in-situ measurement of solvothermal reactions with great success. Therefore, the research will focus on in-situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction measurement especially to study reaction mechanism and nanoparticle growth.

The electrochemical characteristics of these materials will also be studied using the newly developed battery-lab at the Department of Chemistry, Aarhus University.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title: 
Li Ion Nanomaterials for Improvement of Large Scale Energy Storage

PhD student: Steinar Birgisson

Contact: steinar@eng.au.dk

Project period: Feb 2013 to Jan 2017

Main supervisor: Prof. Bo Brummerstedt Iversen

Co-supervisor: Søren Dahl, Haldor Topsøe A/S

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering/Department of Chemistry, Aarhus University


Research and Development of Optical Components and Technologies for Simultaneous Measurement of Micro/Nano Particle Size, Concentration and Velocities

Casper Clausen

The ability to accurately measure velocities, concentration and size of nano- and micro-particles in liquid and gas flows is a cornerstone in many environmental, medical and industrial technologies.

The scope of the project is related to research and development of a low-cost optical sensor technology that can measure micro/nano particle size, concentration and velocities simultaneously. The overall goal is to investigate the feasibility of the optical technologies in relation to specific applications.

The tasks of the PhD project include to

  • develop integrated optical components in Aarhus University’s cleanroom facilities,
  • build lab-scale facilities for testing optical components,
  • build functional models for test of specific applications,
  • develop advanced signal processing techniques,
  • use and integrate innovation models into the project in order to create specific goals with respect to applications and specification, 
  • increase knowledge on innovation and know how within applications and techniques through cooperation with external partners (EU, USA).

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:
Research and Development of Optical Components and Technologies for Simultaneous Measurement of Micro/Nano Particle Size, Concentration and Velocities

PhD student: Casper Clausen

Contact: casperc@eng.au.dk

Project period: May 2012 to Sept 2016

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Anders Bentien

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Screening and Selecting Antibodies against Rare Circulating Cancer Cells

Cancer cells display vast amounts of genetic mutations leading them to divide, grow and invade neighbouring tissue.  However, not all cancers are restrained within the adjacent tissue but can also change morphology and start to circulate via the blood. These cells are the so-called circulating tumour cells (CTCs) causing the cancer to spread to otherwise healthy tissue. CTCs are rare in a patient sample, accounting for about 5-50 cells per teaspoon of blood.

This project is concerned with isolating and characterising CTCs through a screening platform based on the phage display technique.

From the phage display technique platform, antibodies will be selected and used for coating microchips. The development of such microchips is a part of a collaboration with engineers from the fluid dynamics research group.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title: 
Screening and Selecting Antibodies against Rare Circulating Cancer Cells

PhD student: Mathias Jørgensen

Contact: mlindh@eng.au.dk

Project period: Aug 2013 to July 2016

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Peter Kristensen

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Optimisation of Pre-Treatment Methods for Animal Manure as a Biogas Substrate – Enzymatic Activities and Temperature Dependence

Michael Bjerg-Nielsen

As part of the NomiGas biogas project, one important aspect is to improve the utilisation of the inherent biogas potential of substrates such as animal manure.

The main components of the biogas product resulting from Anaerobic Digestion are CO2 and CH4. These gasses are synthesised by a consortium of microorganisms through several steps beginning with the hydrolysis of larger molecules such as celluloses, lipids and proteins. Hydrolysis of cellulose to simple sugars is considered the rate-limiting step of Anaerobic Digestion when treating recalcitrant lignocellulosic substrates e.g. straw in cow manure and pure straw for co-digestion. The rate of enzymatic hydrolysis is determined by the species of microorganisms present, the physical and chemical environment in which they exist as well as the pre-treatment prior to the Anaerobic Digestion process.

The objective of this study is to investigate the effects of temperature differences in Anaerobic Digesters on enzymatic hydrolysis and biogas production, isolate and examine microorganisms responsible for high methane yields as well as produce models based on a variety of physical and chemical production variables.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:  
Optimisation of Pre-Treatment Methods for Animal Manure as a Biogas Substrate – Enzymatic Activities and Temperature Dependence

PhD student: Michael Bjerg-Nielsen

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Lars Ottosen

Co-supervisor: Senior Researcher Henrik Bjarne Møller

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Heterogeneous Catalysis for the Production of Biodiesel

Mohamad Firdaus Bin Mohamad Yusoff

This project is divided into two main parts. The main goal of both parts is to investigate and possibly develop a model that describes the mechanism and kinetics of interesterification.

The first part of the project focuses on how to utilise a specific kind of lipase to produce biodiesel. The reaction using enzymes is relatively complex and because of that a unique strategy of disassembling the whole mechanism of the reaction is conducted.

The enzymatic reaction is divided into hydrolysis pathway and esterification pathway. Within these parts, an investigation of kinetics and reaction mechanism is carried out using the Michealis-Menten function.

When all the information is collected, a computer model that illustrates the whole reaction will be developed. The investigation also involves total fatty acid consumption, total water effect and enzyme concentration.

The second part of the project aims at developing a chemical catalyst including Brønsted acid functionalised ionic liquid and sulfonic functionalised MCM-41. Several solutions will be tested to investigate their function as a catalyst for biodiesel production and also as a solvent that facilitates the reaction.

The analysis of the reactivity of the catalyst will be conducted using several analytical instrumentations such as gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, high performance liquid chromatography and UV-spectrometry.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title: 
Heterogeneous Catalysis for the Production of Biodiesel

PhD student: Mohamad Firdaus Bin Mohamad Yusoff

Project period: July 2012 to May 2015

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Zheng Guo

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Synthesis and Characterisation of Nano Porous Ion-Conductive Membranes for Energy Conversion Purposes

Sofie Haldrup

The major goal of the project is to screen among ion-conductive membranes to select the most promising ones in terms of high conversion efficiency, stability, lifetime, etc. that are suitable for electrokinetic and thermoelectric conversion processes.

The basic ideas behind the project are

  1. to study the physical transport properties, e.g. ion-conductivity, hydraulic permeability, streaming potential, Seebeck effect and thermal conductivity, of commercially available ion-conductive membranes for which no specific data can be retrieved in the pertinent literature.
  2. to synthetize novel ion-conductive membranes with tuned transport properties.

Indeed, current commercially available ion conducting membranes are optimised for fuel cell or electrodialysis applications in which a large ion-conductivity is wanted. This does not necessarily hold for electrokinetic and thermoelectric membrane conversion processes.


The basic tasks of the PhD project:

  • Syntheses of ion-conductive polymer membranes and in this process control the parameters: pore size from a few nm up to hundreds of nm, ion exchange capacity and water content in order to increase the water/ion coupling.
  • Measurement of different transport properties with varying electrolytes and concentrations on specialised equipment.
  • Estimate the electrokinetic and thermoelectric conversion efficiency of specific membranes, electrolytes and concentration, and asses the feasibility for larger scale use.  

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:
Synthesis and Characterisation of Nano Porous Ion-Conductive Membranes for Energy Conversion Purposes

PhD student: Sofie Haldrup

Project period: Jan 2013 to Dec 2015

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Anders Bentien

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Co-Digestion of Mixed Substrates and Its Pre-Treatment for Biogas Production

Radziah Wahid

The aim of this project is to improve biogas potentials through pre-treatment and co-digestion processes.

Pre-treatment is important as it can increase the accessibility of microorganisms to cellulose during anaerobic fermentation, especially for highly lignified substrate, and thus increase the biogas potential. Different substrates such as agricultural crops, algae and animal manures are used in this research. Briquetting and extrusion are two main pre-treatment techniques that will be analysed in depth. Different control parameters are manipulated to find the optimal settings and configuration of the machinery for the highest biogas yield and lowest costs in terms of energy.

The influence of co-digestion of plant materials with animal manures is another focus area as it may offer a range of process benefits. Animal manures provide buffering capacity and a wide range of nutrients while plant material with high carbon content balances the carbon to nitrogen (C/N) ratio, thus reducing the risk of ammonia inhibition.

Fundamental knowledge about anaerobic digestion of animal manures is investigated first before co-digestion with different substrates is initiated. This is important to fully understand the synergies of anaerobic digestion involved in biogas production from animal manures alone.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title: 
Co-Digestion of Mixed Substrates and Its Pre-Treatment for Biogas Production

PhD student: Radziah Wahid

Project period: Dec 2012 to Nov 2015

Main supervisor: Senior Researcher Henrik Bjarne Møller

Co-supervisor: Postdoc Alastair James Ward

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Application of Advanced Oxidation Processes for Treatment of Air from Livestock Buildings and Industrial Facilities

Hongqing Yao

Originally, Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs) as a set of chemical treatment procedures have been used extensively to remove organic and inorganic contaminants in wastewater treatment by oxidation.

Generally, AOPs are based on generation of high concentrations of highly reactive hydroxyl radicals. Recently, AOPs are considered to be new technologies for application in livestock buildings and industrial facilities to reduce the emissions of volatile organic compounds and H2S.

The introduction of cost-effective AOP technologies requires new research on the function and efficiency of the process involved. Examples of AOPs for air treatment are photocatalysis based on UV radiation with catalysts and O3 treatment and catalytic scrubbers such as Fenton’s system.

The objectives of the project are to:

  • explore the aqueous surface reactivity of hydroxyl radicals towards relevant volatile organic compounds and H2S,
  • investigate the efficiency of odorous compounds by using AOPs,
  • assess the most promising technologies in field application.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title: 
Application of Advanced Oxidation Processes for Treatment of Air from Livestock Buildings and Industrial Facilities

PhD student: Hongqing Yao

Project period: Feb 2011 to May 2015

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Anders Feilberg

Co-supervisor: Senior Researcher Anders Peter Adamsen

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Identification and Analysis of Functional and Cell Specific Bio-Markers supporting Individualised Treatment Strategies

Theresa Meldgaard

The work of this project is a sub-project within an innovation consortium called Center for Cellulær Sygdomsanalyse (CCS). CCS is a cooperation between six smaller biotechnological companies with complementary skills and two academic partners.

The mutual goal is the development of new technology for characterising and, in the end, analysing tumour material with a view to design individualised and effective treatment strategies. The consortium puts emphasis on breast cancer.

The objective of this particular sub-project is to discover unique or better markers of different breast cancer cell subpopulations. By employing the phage display technology in which libraries of antibody fragments are displayed on the surface of bacteria specific virus particles called phages, antibody fragments are selected against different breast cancer cells. Through the identification of antibodies showing specific recognition of different cancer cell subpopulations, their cognate antigen can be identified and applied as markers.

The intention is to apply a panel of such antibodies in the development of analysis platforms. These platforms, such as a flow based cell-capture platform, can hopefully aid in the characterisation of the composition of tumour cell sub-types within a given tumour. This will allow decisions on treatment choices to be made for a given patient.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title: 
Identification and Analysis of Functional and Cell Specific Bio-Markers supporting Individualised Treatment Strategies

PhD student: Theresa Meldgaard

Project period: April 2010 to April 2015

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Peter Kristensen

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Methanogenic Pathways in Anaerobic Bioreactors by Stable Isotope Techniques

Daniel Girma Mulat

The production of methane from agricultural and industrial wastes in anaerobic digestion (AD) has been used as pollution control and for energy recovery purposes. However, the advantages of anaerobic digestion for treating organic wastes have not been brought into full play. This process is still far from optimised due to incomplete process understanding.

The overall aim of the project is to generate an in-depth knowledge about the degradation mechanisms of key intermediates and the most important methanogenic pathways for the formation of CH4 in anaerobic digestion.

Analytical techniques based on stable isotope labelling combined with isotope ratio determination by optical spectroscopy and mass spectrometry will be developed and applied for understanding methanogenic pathways.

The aim of the project is to obtain new knowledge about the relative contribution of methanogenic pathways and the role of intermediate precursors such as hydrogen, formate and acetate to the total CH4 production which will be combined with a technology to optimise the production of biogas production from organic waste.

 

 

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title: 
Methanogenic Pathways in Anaerobic Bioreactors by Stable Isotope Techniques

PhD student: Daniel Girma Mulat

Project period: Dec 2011 to Jan 2015

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Anders Feilberg

Co-supervisor: Senior Researcher Anders Peter Adamsen and Postdoc Alastair James Ward

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Development of Innovative Ingredients for Improved Microencapsulation

Mia Falkeborg

This project aims at developing a range of new food emulsifiers which, in addition to having surface-active properties, also possess antioxidative properties. Such emulsifiers find potential applications in the encapsulation of fish oil for use in food products.

A high intake of fish oil has been associated with several health benefits, and the addition of fish oil to regularly consumed food products is believed to contribute to an increased health.

Encapsulation of the fish oil is necessary however as fish oil is very unstable and oxidizes easily. Fish oil can be encapsulated with emulsifiers, and antioxidants should be added for improved protection of the fish oil.

This project aims at developing innovative ingredients with combined emulsifier and antioxidant properties. The ingredients are developed from natural raw materials using environmentally friendly production processes. The ingredients are believed to be able to encapsulate fish oil in a stable emulsified form in which the fish oil is protected from oxidation through the action of the antioxidants. Such a fish oil emulsion could potentially be added to various food products.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title: 
Development of Innovative Ingredients for Improved Microencapsulation

PhD student: Mia Falkeborg

Project period: Sept 2011 to Aug 2014

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Zheng Guo

Co-supervisors: Assoc. Prof. Marianne Glasius and Prof. Xuebing Xu

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


The Future of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology in the Sustainable Socio-Technical Transition Processes of the Danish Energy System

The introduction of radically new technology into the market is a complex and often very costly and time consuming process.

In this project, the development process of the hydrogen and fuel cell innovation system in Denmark and the introduction of these technologies into the current energy system will be analysed. The hydrogen and fuel cell innovation system is comprised of the network of actors involved in research, development, production and commercialisation activities for the hydrogen and fuel cell technology.

The outcome of this research will be a set of strategic recommendations for the actors involved in the innovation system in order to benefit the future socio-technical development.

The hydrogen and fuel cell technology is a very interesting technology to follow for the energy systems of the future since it has the potential to solve many of the challenges involved in the transition to a fully sustainable energy system. This could be as an energy storage solution for intermittently produced electricity from wind power in order to be able to supply the power when consumers demand it and, hence, not necessarily when it is produced.

Another advantage is related to the transportation sector which is the largest emitter of man-made greenhouse gasses today and, hence, should be among the most important focus areas for technological transition. However, the transportation sector is also the most difficult area in which to intervene because it requires changes at all levels of society, namely at consumer, organisational, industry, society and governmental level. In time, hydrogen and fuel cell technology can potentially eliminate transportation emissions without sacrificing the benefits of the current technology.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:
The Future of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology in the Sustainable Socio-Technical Transition Processes of the Danish Energy System

PhD student: Kristian Peter Andreasen

Project period: Aug 2011 to July 2014

Main supervisor: Prof. Michael Evan Goodsite/Prof. Benjamin Sovacool

Co-supervisors: Assoc. Prof. Torben René Jensen

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering/Business Development Engineering, AU Herning