Biological and Chemical Engineering

Synthesis and characterisation of low cost batteries

Solveig Kjeldgaard

Introduction of renewable and intermittent photovoltaic and wind electricity sources in the utility grid will increase the demand for stationary electrical energy storage technologies. In such applications, high energy density has less importance, while a low cost has highest priority. State-of-the art batteries like Li-ion, lead-acid, Iron Nickel and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) have either high capital costs, short lifetime or a combination of both, which makes them unsuitable for large scale storage of electricity.

This project is focused on research into a new aqueous battery based on manganese oxide as the positive electrode and redox active polymerized anthraquinone (PAQ) as the negative electrode. Both MnO2 and PAQ have extreme low cost potential (< 10 $ kWh-1 for the electrode material) and are environmentally benign. The results can serve as the starting point for a larger application oriented project for upscaling this battery technology.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title: 
Synthesis and characterisation of low cost batteries

PhD student: Solveig Kjeldgaard

Contact: solveig@eng.au.dk

Project period: Nov 2017 to Oct 2020

Main supervisor:  Associate Professor Anders Bentien

Co-supervisor:  Prof. Bo Brummerstedt Iversen

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering

Feasibility of sustainable polyester materials in high end consumer products

Emil Andersen

The LEGO Group wants to reach a goal of sustainability by 2030, including the replacement of materials used in core products, e.g. elements, packaging and building instructions. The new sustainable materials are required to live up LEGO's three non-negotiable characteristics: durability, safety and quality. This project will establish methodologies for evaluating these three characteristics in polyesters.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:
Feasibility of sustainable polyester materials in high end consumer products

PhD student: Emil Andersen

Contact: emil.andersen@eng.au.dk

Project period: Aug 2017 to July 2020

Main supervisor:  Associate Professor Mogens Hinge

Co-supervisor:  René Mikkelsen, LEGO

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Ammonia emissions dynamics following land application of liquid manure

Johanna Maria Pedersen

Nitrogen losses from agricultural systems is a major international societal and environmental challenge. Ammonia (NH3) losses from land applied manure is accountable for about 1/3 of the total NH3 emissions form Danish agriculture, and is thereby a large contributor.

The aim of the PhD project is to develop measuring methods for gaseous emissions following land application of liquid manure by optimising and evaluating dynamic chambers for measurements in the field. These methods will be used to measure emission dynamics of NH3 and odorous gasses over time. The effect of different application systems will be measured along with important parameters controlling the emissions, such as soil water content, soil type, soil surface characteristics and soil porosity.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title: 
Ammonia emissions dynamics following land application of liquid manure

PhD student: Johanna Maria Pedersen

Contact: jp@eng.au.dk

Project period: Aug 2017 to July 2020

Main supervisor:  Associate Professor Anders Feilberg

Co-supervisor: Senior Advisor Tavs Nyord

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Development and application of a Lab-on-a-Chip ammonia sensor for measuring emissions from hybrid ventilation livestock facilities and area sources

Jesper Kamp Jensen

There is much focus on emission of ammonia from farming industries. Ammonia is often difficult to measure because it sticks to almost all surfaces, which gives long response time when comparing different concentrations. Accurate and reliable sensors are important in order to quantify emissions.

The overall aim of the project is to develop a novel micro-scrubber miniaturised ammonia sensor using fluorescence detection. The project consists of the following activities: 1) Development of micro-scrubber design and configuration. 2) Development and test of a fluorescence analytical system. 3) Characterisation and validation of lab-on-a-chip sensor at laboratory scale. 4) Field validation and inter-comparison test.

The sensor is developed for a low-energy hybrid ventilation concept and will be tested and applied for hybrid-ventilation livestock facilities. Furthermore, the sensor will be used to validate manure application techniques to minimise emissions of ammonia.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:
Development and application of a Lab-on-a-Chip ammonia sensor for measuring emissions from hybrid ventilation livestock facilities and area sources

PhD student: Jesper Kamp Jensen

Contact: jk@eng.au.dk

Project period: May 2017 to April 2020

Main supervisor: Lise Lotte Sørensen

Co-supervisor: Associate Professor Anders Feilberg

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Saccharification of lignocellulosic biomass, can super-thermostable “enzyme biofluid” be a new pathway

Jacob Nedergaard Pedersen

There is a growing interest to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources such as lignocellulosic biomass and convert this into fuels, e.g. bioethanol and chemicals in the so called integrated biorefinery process. A major obstacle to competitive biomass utilisation is the lack of cost-effective technologies for processing lignocellulosic biomass into fermentable sugars. The natural cellulose is very resistant to enzymatic breakdown and a pretreatment is needed to make the crystalline structure of cellulose more susceptible to depolymerization. So far, ionic liquids have shown promising results in solubilizing lignocellulosic biomass. However, the usual celluloses are inhibited in most ionic liquids.

The aim of this project is to develop a new form of celluloselysis enzymes that have super-termostability, high activity and are resistant to solvent inhibition. This will be done using the so-called “enzyme biofluid” concept, where the enzymes are enclosed in an anionic polymer corona. Another aim is to develop an ionic liquid processing system for the deconstruction and enzymatic breakdown of lignocellulosic biomass to produce fermentable sugars in high yield and with a high efficiency.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:
Saccharification of lignocellulosic biomass, can super-thermostable “enzyme biofluid” be a new pathway

PhD student: Jacob Nedergaard Pedersen

Contact: jnp@eng.au.dk

Project period: Sept 2016 to Aug 2020

Main supervisor: Associate Professor Zheng Guo

Co-supervisors: Postdoc Bianca Pérez de Lucani

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Designing Recyclable Advanced Materials for Wind Energy

The Dreamwind project (Designing REcyclable Advanced Materials for WIND energy) works towards solving this challenge through development of new materials for high strength composites. Today, the high technological composite materials used in wind turbine blades pose the most substantial barrier for the realisation of an entire recyclable wind turbine production.

Therefore, the Dreamwind project works towards the development of new materials for high strength composites for the future use in wind turbine blades, allowing to disassemble the blades and reuse the components. Clearly, this is beneficial for our environment and society as new jobs will be generated through the entire life-cycle of the material. Furthermore, it will maintain Denmark as a pioneer country in the field of sustainable and innovative production.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:
Designing recyclable advanced materials for wind energy (DREAMWIND)

PhD student: Martin Lahn Henriksen

Contact: lahn@eng.au.dk

Project period: July 2016 to June 2019

Main supervisor: Associate Professor Mogens Hinge

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Effects of enzyme inhibition on environmental impacts of manure processes

Frederik Dalby

This PhD project is part of a larger project titled Next Generation Manure Ammonia Reduction Technology (ManUREA Technology). The PhD project constitutes a sub-project aimed at developing methods for assessing manure processes and their effects on gaseous emissions.

Loss of nitrogen sources, e.g. ammonia, from agricultural systems currently remains a major international societal and environmental challenge. Ammonia emissions arise from intensive livestock production as well as from management of manure as fertilizer. Bacteria present in animal manure hydrolyses urinary urea into ammonia via an enzyme called urease. By treating manure with newly identified urease inhibitors, ammonia emissions from animal manure can potentially be reduced by 70-85 per cent compared to untreated manure. However, the adverse or beneficiary side effects of utilising urease inhibitors are not well understood.

Therefore, the aim of this project, is to assay the environmental effects of urease inhibitors in manure with respect to not only ammonia emissions but also methane production, cycling of sulfur compounds and emissions of volatile organic compounds. Other aims of the project are to optimise the manure treatment with regards to scaling and examine the effect of urease inhibitors on different methanogenic pathways.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:
Effects of enzyme inhibition on environmental impacts of manure processes

PhD student: Frederik Dalby

Contact: fd@eng.au.dk

Project period: Aug 2016 to July 2019

Main supervisor: Associate Professor Anders Feilberg

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Optimisation of biogas production by improved digester performance and precise regulation of the biogas process

The Danish government has made ambitious plans for the expansion of energy production from biogas. Increased application of biogas plants (anaerobic digesters, AD) plays an important role in the ultimate goal of a 100 per cent sustainable energy supply in 2050 ("Energiaftalen").

In order to reach the ambitious goal, phasing out fossil fuel and balancing the large share of electricity from wind power in 2050, increased production of biogas is of high importance. The national plan for “Green Growth” aims at using 50 per cent of the manure in biogas plants in 2020.

Anaerobic digestion and biogas production are complex processes carried out by a well-organised community of several microbial populations. Some of the microbial groups involved are slow-growing and sensitive to changes in operating conditions. This will cause instability in fermentation during both the start-up phase and at steady state operation of the fermentation of biomass in biogas plants. The biogas process will be more commercially attractive if the risk of instability has been overcome through optimisation of the process.

The aim of this project is to optimise anaerobic digestion performance by improving operation conditions and eliminate factors limiting metabolism of the CH4 producing the microorganisms. This may include more efficient process designs like serial coupling of digesters, specialised digesters for hydrolysis, process additives and pre-treatment

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:
Optimisation of biogas production by improved digester performance and precise regulation of the biogas process

PhD student: Lu Feng

Contact: lufeng@eng.au.dk

Project period: June 2016 to May 2019

Main supervisor: Senior Researcher Henrik Bjarne Møller

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Process Development of Large Scale Biomethanisation

Mads B. Jensen

This PhD project is part of the ElectroGas project which concerns storing electricity and carbon. In order to substitute fossil fuels for renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, it is a key necessity that surplus energy from renewable electricity production can be stored for later use. Currently, adequate storage possibilities are lacking.

One potential solution is to convert excess renewable energy into hydrogen and feed it to an anaerobic digester used for biogas production. Conventional biogas consists roughly of 50/50 methane and carbon dioxide, but microorganisms present in the reactor can readily react the carbon dioxide fraction with hydrogen to produce additional methane. Hence, surplus energy is converted into methane, which can be stored in the existing natural gas grid. A main issue for this technology is that hydrogen gas is not readily transferred to the microorganisms in the anaerobic digester due to poor solubility. The scope of this PhD project is therefore to develop technical solutions for the addition of hydrogen to full-scale anaerobic digesters.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title: 
Process Development of Large Scale Biomethanisation

PhD student: Mads B. Jensen

Contact: mbje@eng.au.dk

Project period: May 2016 to April 2019

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Lars Ottosen

Co-supervisor: Postdoc Niels Vinther Voigt

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Innovative catalytic upgrading of biogas

Christian Dannesboe

The scope of this PhD project is to demonstrate how the polluting greenhouse gas CO2 can be converted to natural gas. This process is combustion going backwards. Being inverted combustion the process requires a lot of energy. This PhD will demonstrate how electricity from windmills can be the energy source. A 50kW pilot plant will demonstrate the chemical processes using biogas as source of CO2. The produced natural gas will be pumped to the national gas grid. The PhD project will highlight the flexibility this technology introduces to renewable energy sources and will serve as a promising solution to both CO2 pollution and energy storage requirements of the future.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:  
Innovative catalytic upgrading of biogas

PhD student: Christian Dannesboe

Contact: chda@ase.au.dk

Project period: Nov 2015 to May 2019

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Ib Johannsen

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Energy Storage via Biomethanisation of Hydrogen: Unravelling the Biochemical Kinetics

Renewable energy sources, e.g. wind and solar, provide sustainable and necessary alternatives for fossil fuels. However, fluctuations in renewable power production and a lack of adequate storage possibilities are key limitations. Hence, technologies for buffering renewable power production are indispensable for a fossil free economy. 

Superfluous electrical energy may be converted to H2 gas and added to anaerobic digesters where it is readily used by hydrogenotrophic methanogens and allows for an increased production of CH4, an easy to store energy carrier.

The goals of the PhD project are to 

  1. evaluate the microbial response to H2 addition to the anaerobic digester, assessing potential microbial community changes and response time.
  2. determine the effect of different H2 addition regimes on carbon substrate turnover and C mass balances.

Trials will be carried out in lab and full scale reactors to thoroughly gauge the implementation potential of H2 addition to anaerobic digesters to obtain biogas upgrading and energy storage.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:  
Energy Storage via Biomethanisation of Hydrogen: Unravelling the Biochemical Kinetics

PhD student: Laura Mia Agneessens

Contact: lma@eng.au.dk

Project period: Nov 2015 to Nov 2018

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Lars Ottosen

Co-supervisor: Michael Vedel Wegener Kofoed, DTI

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Solar Redox Flow Batteries

Amirreza Khataee

Solar power as a clean and economical energy source plays an important role in the 21st century in a low greenhouse gas future. This most environmentally friendly intermittent energy source (solar) constitutes yet a small fraction compared to hydropower. Globally, solar installed capacities are growing at rates of 60 percent, driven by the necessity to reduce carbon emissions.

On the other hand, large-scale energy storage serves as an important means to enhance the efficiency and power quality of the electrical grid. In order to do this, Redox flow batteries (RFBs) or Redox Flow Cells (RFCs) are considered to meet many of the requirements such as modular design, fast response time, durability for large numbers of charge/discharge cycles as well as calendar life, high round-trip efficiency, an ability to respond rapidly to changes in load or input, and reasonable capital costs.

In redox flow batteries (RFBs), at least one electrode comprises a solution (or sometimes movable slurry) of an electroactive material, and energy is generated/stored when the redox species flow through the electrochemical cell. Anode and cathode chambers are separated by an ion-exchange (cation or anion) or microporous membrane and undergo electron transfer reactions at inert electrodes.

This project is focused on finding of suitable redox couples, electrodes and membrane in order to have a low cost and efficient solar flow battery.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title: 
Solar Redox Flow Batteries

PhD student: Amirreza Khataee

Contact: khataee@eng.au.dk

Project period: Nov 2015 to Nov 2018

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Anders Bentien

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Biosynthesis and functional characterization of novel emulsifiers for high omega-3 delivery emulsions

Sampson Anankanbil

There is an increasing interest in the enrichment of food products with omega-3 fatty acids as a result of beneficial health effects of consuming these fatty acids. However, due to their polyunsaturated nature, omega-3 fatty acids are inherently prompt to oxidation in the presence of oxygen, metal ions and free radicals which limits their applications for food fortification. To increase oxidative stability of omega-3 fatty acids, current strategies consist in the generation of delivery systems such as emulsions loaded with high omega-3 fatty acids. So far, the use of milk proteins as emulsifiers for the stabilisation of omega-3 fatty acids has proved to be a valuable method. However, mixtures of macromolecule stabiliser (e.g. polymer) and surfactants which can ensure a high oxidative stability and low viscosity of high omega-3 fatty acids delivery emulsions have not been reported.

The aim of this project is to investigate polymer-surfactant interactions intensively using experimental and in silico approaches to synthesise multifunctional emulsifiers that confer high oxidative stability and low viscosity to omega-3 fatty acids in emulsions (containing 70 percent omega-3 oil). Polymers such as proteins and polysaccharides from natural sources will be screened whereas novel surfactants will be designed and synthesised based on the structure-activity relationships of commercial emulsifiers.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:
Decarboxylative Trifluoromethylations Performed Safely using Continuous Flow – Flow Reactor Design and Scale-up

PhD student: Sampson Anankanbil

Contact: sampsonanankanbil@eng.au.dk

Project period: Nov 2015 to Nov 2018

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Zheng Guo

Co-supervisor: Bianca Pérez de Lucani

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Decarboxylative Trifluoromethylations performed safely using Continuous Flow – Flow Reactor Design and Scale-up

Martin Bundgaard-Johansen

The trifluoromethyl group (CF3) is an important functional group in drugs and agrochemical substances as it induces greater metabolic stability, perturbation of pKa values and effects changes in ground state conformations. The usage CF3-donors are limited to small-scale research and development purposes because they normally are highly specialised and expensive. Metallic trifluoroacetate-derivatives might be a potential CF3-donor in a decarboxylation reaction but current methods using these derivatives require super-stoichiometric use of copper(I)-mediator and elevated temperatures (140-200°C). Evolution of carbon dioxide at high temperatures might lead to hazardous situations and therefore calls for extraordinary measures in order to prevent run-away of the reaction and/or carbon dioxide production.

The main focus of this project is to perform the synthesis of CF3-containing molecules using a metallic trifluoroacetate-derivative as CF3-donor and a catalytic amount of copper(I)-mediator in a closed continuous flow system which offers several advantages compared to classical batch synthesis. Some of the advantages include excellent heat/cool transfer properties due to a high surface/volume ratio, short reaction times, complete pressure control, straightforward scale-up and, most importantly, increased operator safety.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:
Decarboxylative Trifluoromethylations Performed Safely using Continuous Flow – Flow Reactor Design and Scale-up

PhD student: Martin Bundgaard Johansen

Contact: bundgaard@eng.au.dk

Project period: Nov 2015 to Aug 2020

Main supervisor: Prof. Troels Skrydstrup

Co-supervisor: Assistant Prof. Anders Thyboe Lindhardt

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


High Friction and Water Repellent Polymer Coated Paper for Transportation and Secondary Food Packaging

Christoffer Bjerremand Hansen

The aim of this project is to get an enhanced knowledge of high-friction polymer coatings of paper, specifically in the areas of foods, water repellent properties and time-temperature dependencies. Both micro and macroscopic interactions of the various properties will be investigated to obtain a complete understanding of the tribological process (friction, adhesion, wear, etc.).

A series of scientific methods is to result in a model for tailor-made coating design solutions. The coatings are specifically designed for the transportation sector where various situations require easily applicable packaging with high friction and low adhesion. The coatings are not intended for direct food contact but rather as a secondary packaging layer.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:  
High Friction and Water Repellent Polymer Coated Paper for Transportation and Secondary Food Packaging

PhD student: Christoffer Bjerremand Hansen

Contact: xoffer@eng.au.dk

Project period: Nov 2014 to Nov 2017

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Mogens Hinge

Co-supervisor: Johnny Larsen, PAL-Cut A/S

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Value-Added Products from Lignin

Lignin is an important constituent of all biomass amounting to 15-30 wt% or up to 40% by energy. To render biorefining processes attractive, it is important to get a higher value out of this stream. Project 6 will apply an integrated conversion and refining approach, aiming at developing sustainable processes for value-added products such as phenolic binders, guaiacol, other phenols and methanol.

This project will focus on pilot-scale conversion of different waste products with a high content of lignin in sub and supercritical conditions (~300 bar, 350-450 oC). The pilot plant is currently under construction and will start commissioning in the beginning of 2015 in Foulum.

The main goals are to gain knowledge on the conversion process going on in the extreme conditions and develop products to be used in industrial processes, specifically binders used in mineral wool processes.

 

 

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:  
Value-Added Products from Lignin

PhD student: Bjørn Sjøgren Kilsgaard

Contact: bsk@eng.au.dk

Project period: Nov 2014 to Oct 2017

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Ib Johannsen

Co-supervisor: Erling Hansen

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Novel Microbiological Platform for Optimisation of Biogas Production (NomiGas)

The government's desire and ambitious goal of phasing out fossil fuels by 2050 creates high demands on the development and optimisation of existing alternative energy sources including the production of biogas. Biogas contains a high amount of methane which is utilised as a high-energy fuel in several devices. The production of biogas is microbially catalysed during anaerobic digestion of various substrates such as household waste and organic waste from livestock production. The production process is complex and catalysed by different microbial groups. Unfortunately, the knowledge on the specific bacteria catalysing the different processes is very limited.

The goal of this PhD project is to identify and describe the involved bacteria classes. A number of Danish biogas plants have been selected for further studies. Different techniques will be applied for the examination including microbial molecular techniques. The microbial data will be compared to the process data from different biogas plants in order to determine the influence of the microbial composition on the methane yield. The data obtained in this project is expected to form the basis for future process optimisations and design of biogas plants.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:
Novel Microbiological Platform for Optimisation of Biogas Production (NomiGas)

PhD student: Maja Nielsen

Contact: maja.nielsen@eng.au.dk

Project period: May 2014 to April 2017

Main supervisor: Senior Researcher Henrik Bjarne Møller

Co-supervisors: Assoc. Prof. Lars Ottosen

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


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

David Nicolas Østedgaard-Munck

Energy conversion technology plays a vital role in many industrial applications today e.g. in the conversion of energy from electric into electrochemical as in batteries, or the conversion of kinetic/mechanical into electrical energy as in generators.

Converting energy from one form into another, e.g. from electric to kinetic energy, also holds potential for creating alternatives to devices such as vapour compressors for cooling cycles.

The aim of this project is to investigate the potential use of nano-porous ion-conductive membranes in an industrial setting. The project is split into two parts. The first is the construction and use of specialised equipment for measuring the electrokinetic and thermoelectric conversion efficiency of nano-porous ion-conductive membranes with respect to electrolytes and concentration.

The second part of the project concerns the application of the membranes. The initial idea is to apply the energy converting ability of the membranes to convert electric energy into kinetic energy and thus use the resulting set-up as a vapour compressor. When this compressor has been characterised, it will be applied in a cooling cycle where the overall efficiency of the cycle will be investigated. Ultimately, the feasibility for larger scale use of this technology will be assessed.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


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

PhD student: David Nicolas Østedgaard-Munck

Contact: dnmunck@eng.au.dk

Project period: Aug 2013 to July 2017

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Anders Bentien

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Energy Storage with Redox Flow Batteries

Kristina Wedege

The European energy production is expected to change in the coming years from being based mostly on fossil fuel and into having a larger contribution from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy. This is a great challenge for the electrical grid as these energy sources are inherently variable in their energy output. Consequently, stationary large-scale energy storage is of great interest, which motivates research into the field of so-called redox flow batteries. In these batteries, redox couples in two separate chambers are charged electrochemically by changing their oxidation states. During discharge, the reverse redox reaction takes place and charge balance is kept by ion-exchange through a selective membrane between the chambers.

The aim of the project is to improve the efficiency and lower the cost of such a battery, e.g. by searching for new redox couples and improving the membranes. Study of various catalytic effects and possibly direct coupling of the battery with solar charging is also part of the research areas.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title: 
Energy Storage with Redox Flow Batteries

PhD student: Kristina Wedege

Contact: wedege@eng.au.dk

Project period: May 2014 to Aug 2018

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Anders Bentien

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering