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Projects by Process & Materials Engineering

Are you looking for projects that the Section of Process & Materials Engineering is currently working on? On this page you can find all projects by the Section of Process & Materials Engineering - Department of Biological & Chemical Engineering, Aarhus University.

Below you can find a list of all current and previous projects of research, their status, mission, and funding:

Green Biorefining Technologies

Project start-up 2022

  • ENTRANCE: Eco-efficient pig production and local protein supply (2022-2025), ICROFS

Project start-up 2021


Project start-up 2020


Project start-up 2019


Project start-up 2018

  • Green Valleys: Gröna bioraffinaderier för hållbarproduktion av bioenergi från jordbruket (2018-2021)
  • GRØN BIORAF: Dansk demoskala teknologiplatform for forskning i grøn bioraffinering (2018-2021), GUDP

Project start-up 2017

  • CBIO: Aarhus Universitets Center for Cirkulær Bioøkonomi (2017-)
  • Green Eggs: Greening of organic egg production (2017-2020), GUDP

Hydrothermal Processing

REBOOT - Resource efficient bio-chemical production and waste treatment

The REBOOT project is a European Research Council funded project under the ERC- Starting Grant scheme for young researchers. The 1.5m € grant was awarded to group leader Patrick Biller and the project started in January 2020, scheduled to last 5 years. 

The Project was funded under Grant agreement number 849841 and the official CORDIS website in multiple languages can be found here at https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/849841 

Context

  There are several different ways to treat wastewater, detect and recycle valuable materials instead of disposing of them. However, existing technologies of wastewater treatment and management do not address significant environmental challenges such as nutrient circularity and climate change. The EU-funded REBOOT project proposes an advanced technology that recovers precious materials from wastewater, treats them and generates carbon-neutral combustibles. The hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) technology employs high temperature and pressure to produce bio-crude that is a product with properties similar to those of petroleum. Bio-crude can be used in a variety of advanced applications such as bio-bitumen or renewable aviation fuel. The technology will be tested on pilot continuous reactors aiming to offer a new waste management concept.  

Objectives

The specific objectives of the REBOOT project are to bring the HTL technology to the next stage. Despite the recent advances in HTL research and reactor development there are major outstanding scientific issues which scientists have not been able to solve. The largest hurdles, which we will apply our innovative concepts to are:

1. Recovering P from the HTL reactor inline.

2. Efficient catalytic upgrading of bio-crude to high quality fuels.

3. Valorizing carbon in the process water while recovering nutrients.

These challenges will be addressed by investigating basic scientific questions which can then be applied in continuous flow with the purpose of upscaling and eventually commercialization. 

We will study the salt behavior in multiphase hydrothermal systems with the aim of full phosphorous recovery. The idea is that we can tailor the reaction conditions to achieve optimum precipitation of salts which can then be recovered using specifically designed high pressure separators. The recovered phosphorus will be applied as fertilizer, closing the nutrient circle from wet wastes.

In terms of bio-crude quality we will apply advances in-site catalysts in the HTL reactors. This can only be achieved if the inorganics are efficiently separated in the HTL reactor and stable catalyst supports are identified which can withstand the high pressure, high temperature aqueous environment. The aim is to produce a bio-crude which matches the specifications required for direct integration into existing oil refineries or which has improved properties for dedicated upgrading to jet fuel.

Finally, we will investigate the beneficial use of the HTL process water. This fraction makes up a large amount of the products from HTL due to the wet feedstocks used mainly containing water. The process water is highly contaminated with carbon and nutrients which poses a threat and opportunity. We will use a combination of chemical, electro-chemical and biologic processes to valorize this resource efficiently to utilize all product phases, recover carbon and nutrients and establish a fully circular wet waste treatment solution.   

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European  Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 849841)

Catalytic depolymerization of synthetic polymer

 

CatPol is funded by the Independant Reseach Foundation Denmark. The project started in September 2021 and is scheduled to last for 3 years. 

Summary of the proejct

Plastic pollution of the worlds oceans and land is a tremendous problem. One of the
reasons for the release of plastics to the environment is that plastics are virtually
impossible to recycle, especially if they are dirty and mixed. Plastics are made from
fossil crude oil after refining the oil to specific monomers which are used to
synthesize the plastic polymers. Chemical recycling of waste plastics is a new way
of tackling plastic waste, where the idea is to break down the plastic polymers
down to their original monomers. If this is successful no new monomers from fossil
crude have to be refined and the oil can stay underground. The problem is that the
chemical recycling method is not that easy as plastics are by nature quite resistant
to chemicals which also leads to their persistence in the environment. Hence in the
current project we will employ a technology called hydrothermal liquefaction that
uses high pressure and temperature to break down polymers. A specific type of
polymer known as polyolefins are difficult to break down with just temperatures,
hence we will design new catalysts which can achieve that. Ultimately, we aim to
develop a process that can convert unsorted and dirty plastics even mixed with
other wastes to an oil which will replace the chemicals from fossil crude.

 

ReSuit

The main project website is deisgned by and hosted by Design School Kolding at: https://www.designskolenkolding.dk/en/projects/resuit

ReSuit (Recycling Technologies and Sustainable Textile Product Design) gathers a number of leading players to achieve a more sustainable textile industry and recycle all textile waste in Denmark.

Every year, 100 billion textile units are produced worldwide. Many of them have a short life. Materials worth 400 billion euros are lost as we lack infrastructure and solid recycling technologies on a very large scale.

In this project, we are looking to get all textile waste in Denmark into a loop where it can become new textiles or raw materials for other products. 

The project group will address the textile problem from two angles: How can the textile industry get better at designing sustainably? And which technologies can ensure circularity for consumer textile waste? 

In short: The purpose of ReSuit is to achieve a more sustainable textile industry and recycle all textile waste in Denmark

 

Chemical reuse of sorted clothes

When it comes to textile waste, the project focuses on the 85,000 tonnes of clothes and textiles that enter the Danish market every year. In the end, more than half of these materials are incinerated as waste.

From 2022, Denmark will start sorting clothes separately - and from 2025 the rest of the European Union will follow.

- Polyester accounts for half of all clothes fibres in the world. Therefore, we will further develop technology based on chemical purification to recycle the polyester materials so that they can return to the textile industry, says Anders Lindhardt from the Danish Technological Institute.

The remainder of the textile products must be degraded using so-called HTL technology (hydrothermal liquefaction). The process makes it possible – under the influence of water, heat and pressure – to convert the complex textile stream into oil products that can be used for the production of e.g. plastic, fuel or synthetic textile fibres. HTL is a well-known and robust technology, but it is ground-breaking to apply it to textiles. 

In the project, the HTL technology will be further developed and scaled up in collaboration with A/S Dansk Shell, which has successfully tested the possibility of refining bio-oil products and sees opportunities for recycling of other oil products. 

Project partners

ReSuit is a Grand Solutions project funded with DKK 13 mio. by Innovation Fund Denmark. The project partners are leading players within fashion and textiles, raw material production, and consumer behaviour, as well as recycling technology experts.

Danish Technological Institute (project manager)
Teknologisk Institut er et uafhængigt og almennyttigt forsknings- og udviklingsinstitut, der fremmer udnyttelsen af teknologiske fremskridt til gavn for erhvervsliv og samfund. Teknologisk Institut har over 1.000 specialister, der samarbejder på tværs inden for mange videnskabelige retninger. I dette projekt bidrager Teknologisk Institut med specialviden inden for blandt andet produktkemi og genanvendelsesteknologi.

Aarhus University 
Aarhus Universitet (AU) blev grundlagt i 1928 og er et landsdækkende universitet med 38.000 studerende, 1.800 ph.d.-studerende og 8.000 ansatte, hvoraf 4.500 er forskere. AU har et stærkt internationalt omdømme på tværs af hele forskningsspektret og er i den absolutte verdenselite inden for flere forskningsområder. Universitetet rangerer blandt verdens 10 bedste universiteter, der er grundlagt inden for de sidste 100 år og har en lang tradition for partnerskaber med topforskningsinstitutioner og universitetsnetværk i hele verden.

Fraunhofer
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, headquartered in Germany, is the world’s leading applied research organization. With its focus on developing key technologies that are vital for the future and enabling the commercial exploitation of this work by business and industry, Fraunhofer plays a central role in the innovation process. As a pioneer and catalyst for groundbreaking developments and scientific excellence, Fraunhofer helps shape society now and in the future. Founded in 1949, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft currently operates 75 institutes and research institutions throughout Germany. The majority of the organization’s 29,000 employees are qualified scientists and engineers, who work with an annual research budget of 2.8 billion euros. Of this sum, 2.4 billion euros are generated through contract research.

BESTSELLER
BESTSELLER er en international, familieejet modevirksomhed bestående af mere end 20 individuelle modebrands. I de senere år har BESTSELLER accelereret sin indsats for en bæredygtig udvikling af modeverdenen, blandt andet med sidste års lancering af den ambitiøse innovationsplatform ’Fashion FWD Lab’, hvor målet er at skabe fremtidens bæredygtige løsninger i samarbejde med verdens førende innovatorer. 

Elis
Elis Danmark A/S (tidligere Berendsen Textil Service A/S) tilbyder bæredygtige tekstil- og hygiejneløsninger og svanemærket vaskeriservice, hvor forbruget af vand, energi og vaskemidler ligger under Svanemærkets krav. Elis var én af de 10 første virksomheder i Danmark, der blev CSR-certificeret, og i 2019 blev Elis verdensmålcertificeret af Bureau Veritas som den første virksomhed i verden. Elis er tildelt en Kronesmiley af Arbejdstilsynet for at gøre en ekstraordinær indsats for at sikre en høj arbejdsmiljøstandard og 85 % af Elis Danmarks tekstiler har mindst ét af mærkerne: Svanemærket, EU-blomsten og OEKO-TEX. Elis koncernen er en international multiservice-leverandør, der tilbyder løsninger indenfor tekstil-, hygiejne- og facility services.

Design School Kolding
Designskolen Kolding er en selvejende videregående uddannelsesinstitution under Uddannelses- og Forskningsministeriet. Skolen dedikerer en betydelig del af sit uddannelses- og forskningsfokus til bæredygtighed med vægt på innovativ praksis og tæt samarbejde med virksomheder, offentlige institutioner og det øvrige samfund. Designskolen bidrager i dette projekt med designmetoder og viden om bl.a. materialer, produktion og brugere.

Shell
Shell Raffinaderiet i Fredericia producerer 35 procent af det danske forbrug af brændstof. Raffinaderiet leverer overskudsvarme til fjernvarme svarende til mere end 23.000 almindelige husstandes årlige forbrug af fjernvarme, hvilket gør raffinaderiet til Danmarks største leverandør af overskudsvarme. Desuden er raffinaderiet verdens tredje mest energieffektive af sin slags. Raffinaderiet har med succes testet muligheden for at kunne raffinere bilo-olieprodukter i det eksisterende anlæg og deltager i flere projekter omkring grønnere brændstoffer.

Naboskab
Naboskab er et grønt konsulenthus, der er specialiseret i at forstå og ændre adfærd. Naboskab bruger antropologiske metoder til at få indsigt i menneskers hverdag og undersøge, hvad der motiverer mennesker til mere bæredygtig adfærd og forbrug. I dette projekt bidrager Naboskab med viden og undersøgelser om mennesker og adfærd samt erfaring med at lave adfærdsstudier og designe tiltag, som skaber reelle bæredygtige løsninger.

The HyFlexFuel project is dedicated to the development of an entire process chain to produce sustainable liquid fuels based on hydrothermal liquefaction of a broad range of biomass feedstocks.

The Project website can be found at https://www.hyflexfuel.eu . The project ended in September 2021 but the outcomes and achievements from the proejct can be found at the website. 

Context

The European Union has set out ambitious targets for renewable fuels and stipulated that they should cover 10% of the final energy consumption in transport in 2020 (Directive 2009/28/EC). Decarbonisation of the transport sector is highlighted as a major challenge in the Energy Roadmap 2050.

Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) has recently received increasing attention as technology option to convert essentially any type of biomass feedstock into liquid fuels without the requirement of prior energy-intensive drying. HTL holds the potential of truly sustainable and cost-efficient production of drop-in capable biofuels at large scale.

Objectives

The central objective of HyFlexFuel is to advance the technical maturity of the hydrothermal liquefaction technology to provide truly sustainable fuels that are compatible with existing infrastructure (drop-in capable) and that can be produced at competitive costs.

The specific objectives are:

  • Demonstrating HTL conversion compatibility with diverse advanced biomass feedstocks
  • Maturing key subsystems of HTL-based fuel production from TRL 2-4 to TRL 5, including the upgrading of the intermediate product biocrude to final fuel products
  • Demonstrating drop-in capability of HyFlexFuel fuel products
  • Increasing process efficiency through enhanced heat integration and product recovery procedures
  • In-depth understanding of the relation between feedstock and process conditions vs. product yield and quality
  • Efficient valorization of residual process streams, particularly of the aqueous phase from HTL conversion
  • Quantification of technical, socio-economic and environmental performance potentials, risks and benefits
  • Identification of technology gaps and development of an R&D roadmap towards full-scale implementation

The strength of HyFlexFuel lies in the fact that its scope goes beyond the process step of hydrothermal liquefaction and also includes the upgrading of biocrude to fuel products and the energetic and material utilization of the aqueous phase as main residual process stream. Moreover, supply and utilization of a broad range of feedstock is studied in detail. HyFlexFuel will examine the key subsystems in continuous operation under relevant conditions. In combination with an in-depth assessment of environmental, economic and social potentials, the project will thereby generate technology solutions and insights as valuable basis for further developments of HTL-based fuel production towards industrial application.

  

Membrane Engineering

  • 2018 Synergistic Grant, JC (PI) and Nina Lock: MOF-based 3D electrodes for continuous CO2 conversion
  • 2019 WATEC grant, JC (PI), Konstantinos Anastasakis, Nina Lock, and Leendert Vergeynst: Integrated Sea Water Desalination System for Bio-Fouling Mitigation (i-Des)

Plastics and Polymer Engineering

Sort by: Start date | End date | Title

  1. Quantitative elastography of the uterine cervix and prediction of labor induction

    Puk Sandager, Niels Uldbjerg, Christine Rohr Thomsen (Antonsen) & Mogens Hinge

    Aim
    The aim of this study is to:
    • Assess the intra- and interobserver reliability of elastography of the cervix with a cap of a water-based material as reference material
    • Assess the correlation between compressibility of the uterine cervical tissue evaluated by quantitative elastography and the success of induction of labor

    Hypothesis
    Evaluation of the cervical tissue by quantitative elastography in post-term pregnant women can predict the success of induction of labor.
    Description

    01/02-202031/01-2021

  2. Obstetrics: New principles for quantitative elastography of the human uterine cervix

    Christine Rohr Thomsen (Antonsen), Isil Pinar Bor, Niels Uldbjerg, Puk Sandager & Mogens Hinge

    The overall aim of the study is to develop in vitro and to assess in women a clinical useful method for assessment of the biomechanical properties of the uterine cervix. The technique is based on elastography combined with a reference cap, already developed in collaboration with Mogens Hinge and his group at the Department of Engineering, Aarhus University. Description

    01/03-201710/03-2021

  3. Molecular Adhesive for Strong and Durable Bonding of Rubber to Metal

    Michal Kazimierz Budzik, Simon Heide-Jørgensen & Mogens Hinge

    Adhesives are used throughout industry, but many contain toxics and others are not reliable or durable. But what if you could merge two materials together using clean molecular bonding? That is exactly what scientists are working on right now.Description

    01/01-201631/03-2019

  4. Gel for ultrasound imaging

    Mogens Hinge

    01/01-201825/11-2022

Power to Chemicals

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A new twist on ammonia production: more efficient electrochemical synthesis using "designer" hydrogen binding mediators (2021 - 2025)

Danmarks Frie Forskningsfund

The project aims to develop a new groundbreaking concept of energy-efficient electrochemical ammonia synthesis.

Organic Battery Systems (2017-2020)

Innovation Fund Denmark

The project aims to build a prototype flow battery with a power rating in the range 5-25 kW. An ambitious cost target of < $100/kWh, including materials, stack and balance-of-plant has been set.

In this project we worked on the development and screening of organic redox species, we currently investigate the lifetime of the battery and the effect of the operating conditions and the electrolyte on battery stability. Finally we are scaling up a flow battery which will be finished ultimo 2020.

All organic redox flow batteries (2015 - 2017)

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship

In this project we worked on screening and the development of organic redox species for redox flow batteries.

Sustainable Process Systems Engineering

'ELHYOs: Electrochemical Hydrogenation of biO-crude'. Granted by: Villum experiment, The Vellux Foundations, DK, 2020-2023, 1,776,430 DKK (238,597 €). Co-PI. Collaborators: Jacopo Catalano (PI).

 

‘ACLEAN - Activated Carbon from hydrothermal Liquefaction of sludge: recovering nutriEnts and mitigating micropollutANts'. PI. Granted by: WATEC (Aarhus University Centre for Water Technology), DK, 2020, 200,000 DKK (26,856 €). Collaborators: Pedro Carvalho (Co-PI).

 

'From wastewater to green liquid fuels: A techno-economic analysis for integrating hydrothermal liquefaction in wastewater treatment facilities'. PI. Granted by: Innoexplorer, Innovation Fund DK, 2019-2020, 812,527 DKK (108,870 €). Collaborators: Patrick Biller.

 

'i-Des: Integrated Sea Water Desalination System for Bio-Fouling Mitigation' project. Co-PI. Granted by: WATEC (Aarhus University Centre for Water Technology), DK, 2019, 130,000 DKK (17,546 €). Collaborators: Jacopo Catalano (PI), Nina Lock, and Leendert Vergeynst.

 

Hyflexfuel - Hydrothermal Liquefaction: Enhanced performance and feedstock flexibility for efficient biofuel production’. Funder: Horizon 2020, EU, 2017-2021. Research and participation in project management for hydrothermal liquefaction processing tasks. Collaborators: Patrick Biller et al.