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Afsluttede PhD Projekter

Reducing gas emissions from livestock slurry

This project searched for potential compounds that reduce methane, ammonia, and many other gases released from slurry. These environmentally harmful gases are produced when microorganisms present in slurry degrade organic matter, and the microbial processes can be indirectly understood by analyzing the isotope composition of the emitted gases. By doing so, he identified a combination of biodegradable compounds that reduced gas emissions from livestock slurry. This discovery could potentially be used in pig or cattle barns to reduce the environmental footprint of the livestock sector.

The research findings contribute with the discovery of a potent gas reducing agent and methodological approaches that can be used to gain an increased understanding of the microbiological interplay that leads to harmful gas emissions from manure.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:  
Reducing gas emissions from livestock slurry

Main supervisor:  Associate Professor Anders Feilberg

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Powering the Small: Large-Scale Approach to Biological Methanation

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:  
Powering the Small: Large-Scale Approach to Biological Methanation

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Lars Ottosen

Co-supervisor: Postdoc Niels Vinther Voigt

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

Main supervisor: Senior Researcher Henrik Bjarne Møller

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Innovative catalytic upgrading of biogas

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

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Ib Johannsen

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)

Main supervisor: Associate Professor Mogens Hinge

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Solar Redox Flow Batteries

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

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

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

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Zheng Guo

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

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Lars Ottosen

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Energy Storage with Redox Flow Batteries

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

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Anders Bentien

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


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

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

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Anders Bentien

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)

Main supervisor: Senior Researcher Henrik Bjarne Møller

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


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

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

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Mogens Hinge

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Processing Technology for Value Proposition of Lipid Ingredients

Lipid ingredients based on vegetable oils are essential elements in modern food industry, representing high nutritional value and functionality. Present industrial refining processes and technology, however, often result in the loss of valuable accompanying minor lipid ingredients which are released as waste streams in different refining stages.

This project aims to develop industrially viable processes for a more efficient utilisation of the lipidic components in vegetable oils for the benefit of resource efficiency and economic sustainability of the industry. Continued research and development in emerging bioprocessing methods and technology is required to ensure an increasingly more efficient and sustainable production of food ingredients and bioenergy. The ultimate goal of this project includes development of scientific and technological toolboxes covering the full production line of a vegetable oil biorefinery where the efficiency and ecological footprint of the process and the quality and physical indexes of the products are beyond state of the art.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:  
Processing Technology for Value Proposition of Lipid Ingredients

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Zheng Guo

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Anti-Fouling Coatings for Heat Exchanger Surfaces

Fouling is an ubiquitous and complex process in which materials of diverse origin – biological, organic and inorganic – adhere to surfaces that are in contact with a liquid medium. Fouling is detrimental in many industrial installations causing inefficient process output, reduced lifetime and thereby necessitating frequent cleaning and/or replacement of parts, leading to increased maintenance costs. One industrial installation that is often exposed to fouling is heat exchangers; a piece of equipment built for efficient heat transfer from one medium to another. The current anti-fouling coating technology offers only thick coatings, which results in poor heat transfer properties.

The purpose of this project is to develop stable heat transfer effective anti-fouling coatings for heat exchanger installations. These anti-fouling coatings are to be made by a combination of surface modification tools in order to chemically attach different types of hydrophilic polymers and/or metal nano-particles of sub-micron thickness to stainless steel surfaces.

Several parameters will be studied systematically to optimise the coating performance in terms of thermal and solvent stability, anti-fouling and heat transfer efficiency. The surface analytical techniques include: Ellipsometry, contact angle, XPS and ToF-SIMS. The anti-fouling property of the coated surfaces will be evaluated using microscopes equipped with a flow cell. The heat transfer efficiency will be tested by mimicking the relevant conditions employed at the industrial site. Finally, the optimised coatings will be tested on commercial heat exchanger installations in collaboration with industrial companies.

ABOUT THE PROJECT


Project title:  
Anti-Fouling Coatings for Heat Exchanger Surfaces

Main supervisor: Assistant Prof. Joseph Iruthayaraj

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Synthesis and Characterisation of Nano-Porous Perfluorinated Membranes

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

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

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

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Anders Feilberg

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Li Ion Nanomaterials for Improvement of Large Scale Energy Storage

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

Main supervisor: Prof. Bo Brummerstedt Iversen

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

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

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

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


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

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

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Lars Ottosen

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Heterogeneous Catalysis for the Production of Biodiesel

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

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

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

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Anders Bentien

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


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

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

Main supervisor: Senior Researcher Henrik Bjarne Møller

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


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

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

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Anders Feilberg

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


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

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

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Methanogenic Pathways in Anaerobic Bioreactors by Stable Isotope Techniques

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

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Anders Feilberg

Research section: Biological and Chemical Engineering


Development of Innovative Ingredients for Improved Microencapsulation

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

Main supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Zheng Guo

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

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