Research

Next Generation Water Action

Next Generation Water Action is a global initiative that engages 100+ young talents from leading international universities and early stage start-ups, representing the next generation of water leaders. Coming from Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, South Korea, India, and Denmark, the Next Generation’s Water Action Ambassadors combine their diverse backgrounds and skills to foster a global answer to the world’s most pressing sustainable water challenges.

"Highly diverse in backgrounds yet united in their mission of challenging the status-quo of the global water industry, 11 startups and 22 selected student teams from universities in Kenya, Ghana, South Korea, Mexico, India and Denmark combine forces to crack some of the world's most pressing water challenges petitioned by our international partners."

Together with Poul Due Jensen Foundation, Grundfos, Rambøll Water & Foundation, the International Water Association (IWA) & IWA’s Young Water Professional network, the Innovation Centre in India & Seoul, the Embassy in Ghana  and global challenge partners, DTU Skylab & DTU Environment bring forward a tailored virtual program, that goes beyond the attendance of youth in events, but enables them to take action together with the corporate world and academic & public partners. The participants will not only be supported with mentorship, industry insights and bootcamps, but will also get a relevant stage to showcase and discuss their bold ideas with global decision makers.

"We felt empowered and focused on our duty to save our world. I think that the important thing is to support young people, since we are the ones who in a few years will be making the decisions "
Former Next Generation Participant from Colombia

Facing the current COVID-19 crisis, redesigned from previous successful Next Generation initiatives, Next Generation 2021 goes virtual for the first time in its history – being even more inclusive, scalable and sustainable than ever before: More participant spots, a global network of water professionals that provide sparring across time zones, virtual events, keynotes, and bootcamps, with less emissions as a great side-effect.

Timeline

The program runs from February. 2021 – May 2021 (Involving students in the spring semester 2021)

  • February to April: Kick-off and Solution Development Phase with Bootcamps, Mentor Session and Keynotes
  • 18th of May: Global Multi-Hub Final with local live events in each participating country
  • June: Acceleration of selected student and start-up teams
  • September 2022: Involvement of selected teams in IWA World Water Congress
Young participant speaking at conference. Photo: DTU Skylab.

Young participant speaking at conference. Photo: DTU Skylab.

 

Data modelling in UPPAAL

How long will this lockdown last? Researchers from Aalborg University are working on a computer-based prediction tool to provide a qualified answer to that question. It will be developed in the system UPPAAL, developed at the Department of Computer Science at Aalborg University and also used in intelligent traffic and heating control.

AAU-professor Kim Guldstrand Larsen is in charge. Photo: Lars Holm

Further information
The Foundation has committed 1.2m DKK to the project which is a collaboration between two departments at Aalborg University and coordinated with a similar project funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Living Systematic Review

Hundreds of randomised clinical trials are currently performed worldwide, testing the effects of various treatments for COVID-19. It is, however, very unlikely that one clinical trial is enough to determine whether the treatment is effective or not. Thus, the results need to be compared in a meta-analysis.

“We need to monitor, collect and compare the results at the highest level to determine what we know, and how well we know it,” explains Dr. Med. Janus Christian Jakobsen, Copenhagen Trial Unit, Copenhagen University Hospital.

The research project will create a ’living meta-analysis’ which continuously monitors available research publications as they become available. The goal is to create an international basis for evidence-based guidelines to COVID-19 treatment.

A systematic and on-going review

The research team keeps record of their publications via a dedicated website: COVID LIVING Treatments – A living systematic review of treatments for COVID-19.

 

CoRESCUE Emergency Respirator

The world’s refugee camps and other vulnerable communities are facing a regular health disaster.  Prof. Stephen Rees has been researching in mechanical ventilation for  20 years and is internationally recognised within his field. The COVID-19 outbreak led him to start working on an old design for en emergency ventilator which may be assembled by simple components for 10 % of the price of a normal hospital ventilator.

The design is widely available as open source that everyone can access. All necessary medical advice and authorizations will be sought in the process.

Professor Stephen Edward Rees, Aalborg University, with the emergency ventilator. Photo: Lars Horn/Baghuset.

The prototype was ready just before Easter and Aalborg University and Flairmo are now building 30-40 ventilators, financed by the Foundation.

"We want to move from prototype to production. The project will make the emergency ventilator ready for production and make sure the necessary authorizations are done. Afterwards, 40 ventilators will be ready for use."
Professor Stephen Rees, AAU

Related news from Aalborg University:

Sustainable lake stewardship

Lakes all over the world are in a miserable state. Two thirds of Danish lakes do not live up to EU minimum standards regarding the aquatic environment.The reason is decennials of neglect  in the shape of wastewater and washed-out nutrients from intensive farming. A ‘green’ lake emits twice as many greenhouse gases as a clear lake, and put together, lakes all over the world visibly impact the climate.On the other hand, phosphorus is a precious resource: Phosphorus is mined in China, Russia, USA and Morocco, but when the mines are emptied in a generation or two, we will need to find our phosphorous somewhere else in order to provide fertilizer for our crops. There is no alternative to phosphorus.

"Lakes all over the world are in a miserable state. The problem is too many nutrients, phosphorus in particular, but also heavy metals. Together with Danish researchers from several universities, we've set out to fix the problem"
Poul Toft Frederiksen, Programme Manager, Research

In the first phase of the project, Lake Ormstrup has been selected as the test object. Both the environment and the animals in and around the lake have been rigorously mapped and characterized in 2020, and the researchers will follow the development over the next years as they set out to develop and test new lake restoration methods and technologies.

We want to know where the phosphorus is stored and in which form; the history of the lake; how much sediment can be removed; can it be used as fertiliser; how do the fish respond to the interventions; and what are the socio-economical consequences of the activities.

A gentle extraction method

Standard lake restoration techniques are digging out the sediment or adding aluminium to bind phosphorus, but both are very brutal interventions, and neither are guaranteed to last. The researchers want to find a new method to extract the harmful phosphorus from the lake and transfer it to a place where it is useful. They look into whether the sediment can be used directly as fertilizer in farming, or if it is bound in chemical compounds that prevent crops from extracting the nutrients.

The consortium will welcome research colleagues from more Danish universities in the next phase of the project that can help develop and test the methods.

DTU’s engagement i forprojektet ledes af lektor Christian Skov fra DTU Aqua (højre), her i selskab med kollegaen Jes Dolby. Foto: Poul Due Jensens Fond

Several universities on board

Four universities are part of the project as per 1 January 2021:

Turbulence – Centre of Excellence

Turbulence is created when gas, e.g. air, or liquid moves sufficiently fast. The speed of the fluid motion does however not necessarily have to be that high. As an example, it is almost unavoidable to generate turbulent fluid motion when pouring cream into coffee. The general principles are easily described and the equations have been known for almost 200 years. However, the details of the mathematical problems are so complicated that solving the equations describing turbulence has been named one of seven great mathematical problems of the 21st century. The physicist Robert Feynman has named turbulence as the most important unsolved problem of classical physics research.

The models which are used in designing pumps, windmills and other machines that move in turbulent environments are based on approximations and have limited application areas. A widely used approximation for ‘very turbulent flow’ was published in 1941 and the assumptions behind have almost reached a status of physical law.

Associate Professor Clara Marika Velte, DTU Mechanical Engineering.

Old assumptions don’t hold water

New experimental and theoretical research from, among others, Clara Marika Velte at DTU Mechanics, has shown that there is a need to reformulate the equations and she has therefore received an ERC Starting Grant to document how the assumptions are mistaken. Parallel to this work, the Poul Due Jensen Foundation funds work on re-formulating the mathematical models and to communicate the results internationally.

"The main objective is to develop novel, robust, theory based on a combination of advanced experiments and mathematical analysis. To be able to describe turbulence using mathematics, the concept of waves is applied and coupled back to the governing equations of fluid motion."
Clara M. Velte, Associate Professor, DTU

Project purpose and design

The project aims to contribute to a more robust theoretical framework for understanding turbulence. We want to ensure that the results are shared with industrial stakeholders and international peers and help develop an internationally recognised centre of excellence.

  • The lab facilities will be established at top international level to attract international talent and collaboration
  • Relevant industry representatives will be invited to follow the work of the research group
  • As of 2021, a bi-annual international summer school programme will be offered

The grant of DKK 12.9M runs from 2019 to 2023.

Water dowsing with science

The number one problem with boreholes is that you usually do not know if you will find water until you’ve drilled a massive hole in the ground. Another problem in coastal areas is over-pumping, which over time draws salt water into the groundwater reservoirs and destroys the drinking water supply. Both problems are global and critical in developing countries because of combined population growth and climate change.

Professor Esben Auken and his research group at Aarhus University GeoScience have developed a lightweight tool to map the underground in three dimensions and in great detail.

"The device sends out an electromagnetic pulse and measures the response with a receiver. With the data, we can map the conductivity of the underground and determine not just if there is water, but also whether the water is fresh or saline."
Professor Esben Auken, Aarhus University

Previously, the device has been used hanging from a helicopter in the US, Europe, and even in Antarctica. In Denmark, a more ‘grounded’ version is used which is pulled by an ATV. It can map up to 100 hectares (247 acres) in one day.

Professor Esben Auken et.al. showing the device to Niels Due Jensen, Kim Nøhr Skibsted and Poul Toft Frederiksen. Photo: Søren Kjeldgaard/AU

Killing two birds with one stone

There are two goals with the reseach project:

  1. To develop and demonstrate the technical and business potential for detection of underground water reservoir in Africa through two test campaigns in WesternTanzania,
  2. To develop making the device usable by non-geologists. This is a prerequisite for rolling out the technology in large scale.

We hope the project can demonstrate remarkably improved possibilities for sustainable water supply management and that it will contribute to developing new methos to monitoring saltwater intrusion in coastal areas.

Tests in Tanzania

The new device will be tested twice in collaboration with the Foundation’s water partner, Water Mission. The technology has already, in a more primitive version, been used in the Foundation’s Nyarugusu water project in Western Tanzania by one of Esben Auken’s research fellows (Dr. John Lane, US Geological Survey, who will participate in the project). The device helped identfy the area’s largest groundwater source in 2017.

Dr. John Lane, USGS, tested the technology in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp in 2017. Photo: Water Mission

If successful, the project supports two of the Foundations philantropic programmes (Research and Water), contributes to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 and could in time lead to interesting business opportunities for Grundfos and its partners.

"It is crucial for the Foundation's water projects in communities and refugee camps that we can find water underground. Recently, we drilled 6 times in a small community and did not find water. The cost was about 10,000 EUR, add to that the risk of accidents or contamination of the groundwater reservoir if the borehole isn't sealed properly."
Nils Thorup, Programme Manager for Water, Poul Due Jensen Foundation

The largest water source in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp with a yield of more than 99 m3/h was identified by Dr. John Lane in 2017. Photo: Water Mission

AU Centre for Digital Twins

The overall goal of the Aarhus University Centre for Digital Twins is to understand how to leverage existing engineering multi-models for the construction of digital twins. This entails improving state-of-the-art in co-simulation algorithms, understanding which multi-models are adequate for digital twin construction, and what kind of faults can be detected/diagnosed.

Attaining this goal implies tackling traditional tradeoffs, such as how detailed we need the co-simulation predicting the behaviour of the digital twin to be, versus how fast? But also new challenges, such as when can one declare that there is a mismatch between the observed behaviour of the original twin, and the simulated behaviour of the digital twin? Can we trust the co-simulation results enough to declare that the original system is faulty when there is a mismatch? What kind of decision support can be provided in analysing the consequences of alternative interventions?

Professor Peter Gorm Larsen and engineering student Christian Legaard with a robot car. The PC in the back shows a digital simulation model. Photo: Aarhus Uni/LK

Industry collaboration

The project is lead by Professor Peter Gorm Larsen, who wants the research to be done in collaboration with relevant companies, both SMEs and larger industry players. He worked in industry for 17 years before becoming a professsor at Aarhus University. Find out more in AU Engineering’s profile magazine (p 34).

Professor Peter Gorm Larsen. Photo: Aarhus Uni/LK

Open Additive Manufacturing

David Bue Pedersen, who heads up the DTU 3D printing research group, has received a grant for a 5-year research project perfecting the the processes behind 3D printing technologies – especially when it comes to geometric precision and mechanical applications. The project will cover 3D printing with both metal and plastic, more commonly known as additive manufacturing.

"It will be super relevant for Danish industry to have access to knowledge and expertise about how 3D printing can be more widely used in production."
Kim Nøhr Skibsted, Executive Director

The project will describe physical snd digital systems behind the two most popular industrial 3D printing methods within metal and photo polymer printing via a modularisation of the processes. Afterwards, an open architecture will be created and all documentation behind the architecture (hardware, electronics, source codes will be made publicly available, allowing researchers and industry to drive further development within this field.

DTU’s photo polymer 3D-printer. Photo: DTU Mechanical Engineering

Research in 3D printing is on the rise, albeit concentrated on design and materials as well as quality assurance.

"You need skills within many disciplines such as construction, physics, chemistry and process technology to develop new processes that are faster, better and more cost efficient."
David Bue Pedersen, DTU Mechanical Engineering

These skills are all present in the DTU research group and will push existing state-of-the art within 3D-printing.

Danish participation at Stockholm Junior Water Prize

“We participated in the Science EXPO in April, and the Stockholm Junior Water Prize is in August. In between, we were privileged to visit researchers at DTU Environment who guided us with regards to report structuring and developing our research poster. They also let us use some of their equipment to refine our experiments,” the boys explained when we caught up with them during a short break at the conference centre in Stockholm.

All four participated in a tightly packed special conference programme for Stockholm Junior Water Prize contestants, while only two (Kristian Katholm Nielsen and Sebastian Lykke Dalsgaard) were allowed to present the project to the international jury.

"It was a great experience to present the project to the jury – not at all like an exam. They seemed really interested in our project and asked us questions about how we had thought and developed our project."
Kristian Katholm Nielsen

Nonetheless, all four had a learning experience for life, enjoying access to both interesting people and new knowledge.

“It was amazing to meet and spend time with the rest of our competitors. We all work on different projects, but in the end our interests are similar, as we all want to contribute to a water safe future,” concludes Rasmus Thoft Nygaard.

Meet the 2019 Stockholm Junior Water Prize participants:

Stockholm Junior Water Prize finalists 2019 from SIWI on Vimeo.

 

World Class Computer Science environment in Aalborg

The Department of Computer Science in Aalborg is set out to expand with two new international professors, each with four full-time postdoc positions at their disposal, thanks to a grant from the Poul Due Jensen Foundation. The two professorships will fall under two separate research groups in the department.

Future-proofing and generation shift

The business community is hungry for university graduates in Computer Science, and this looks set to continue for a long time to come. Over the past ten years, the Department of Computer Science has had significant growth in the number of students, and with two new professorships, the university wants to both generally strengthen as well as future-proof the area.

Top researchers head the two research groups that will be home to the two new professorships. The high-profile researchers, Professor Kim Guldstrand Larsen (distributed, embedded and intelligent systems) and Professor Christian Søndergaard Jensen (databases, programming and web), both have long CVs and have achieved many significant results, and they are also the two most cited computer scientists in Denmark. Kim Guldstrand Larsen received the prestigeous Grundfos Prize from the Poul Due Jensen Foundation in 2016.

The digital future

Aalborg University (AAU) has distinguished itself with groundbreaking solutions for effective management and analysis of temporal, spatial, and multidimensional data in relation to e.g. transport and green energy, as well as with efficient and automated validation and optimization of software embedded in products, such as safety critical software in cars and intelligent traffic management systems.

Computer science is a very important area for AAU where they have always been on the forefront. Digitalization will undoubtedly be the biggest technological force for change in society in the coming decade. By strengthening the area, we ensure that AAU continues to deliver usable knowledge and graduates to business and to society.

Facts

The Poul Due Jensen Foundation has granted 17 million kroner, covering both employees up to 2023. AAU then takes over the full financing of the appointments, thus future-proofing the two professorships.

Inspiring science for teachers and students

“Inspiring science for teachers and students” is meant as a contribution to creating more exciting science teaching in public schools and secondary education institutions. In the long term, the purpose is to increase the interest of pursuing a career in science and/or technology among young people in Denmark.

The House of Natural Sciences develops and tests learning activities within four main areas:

  • Inspiration for teachers and teacher students
  • Thematic days and activity days pupils, such as Engineering Day og Girls’ Day in Science
  • Development of new teaching tools and thematic teaching kits, which can be integrated directly in the classroom
  • Better communication and marketing of the house’s offerings

The Poul Due Jensen Foundation helped build Naturvidenskabernes Hus in Bjerringbro in 2005 through a 15 m DKK donation.

World class water technology research

WATEC opened in October 2017 as an interdisciplinary strategic research initiative, bringing together and reinforcing water technology research in a broad sense, from mapping water resources and the natural water cycle to wastewater management and development of sensors to control water purification and identify harmful substances in water.

Through basic research, the centre aims to produce new insight, and utilise this insight to arrive at new and better solutions through applied research within water technologies.

“Research at the centre will address crucial social tasks, while at the same time generating considerable potential for Danish industry – for existing as well as new businesses within the Danish water sector,” said Niels Christian Nielsen, Dean, Science and Technology, Aarhus University.

The four donations from the Poul Due Jensen Foundation will make a direct contribution to strategies at the research centre.

The donations will fund:

  • A new professorship and two postdoc positions within water treatment research
  • A professorship and two postdoc positions for research and development of water-quality sensors
  • Establishment of an advanced sensor laboratory
  • Recruitment of two-three postdocs to give WATEC a broad foundation on which new and innovative ideas can thrive across the centre’s subjects and fields of research.

WATEC is headed by Professor Niels Peter Revsbech, who was awarded the Grundfos Prize in 2013 for his development of advanced sensors and his research into the relationship between microorganisms and the natural conditions under which they live. Indeed, to a great extent, WATEC is based on Professor Revsbech’s achievements; both as a researcher and as an inventor.

WATEC Aarhus University Centre for Water Technology

World-class lab facilities

A lot of water is wasted around the world. Through better control of water networks, we can minimise leakage and control the risk of wastewater contamination. Climate change, population growth and continued urbanisation puts a massive strain on the urban infrastructures transporting water, wastewater and energy for the consumers.

Through better control of the water networks, we can minnimise leakage and control the risks of wastewater polluting the drinking water suplies. Increased research in the robustness of systems  is happening worldwide, but there is a lack of lab facilities to simulate the systems.

Smart Water Infrastructure Lab from Grundfos Foundation | PDJF on Vimeo.

We can study the interconnections

The partnership was launched in 2017. The lab is the first phase in a series of activities to support the research group’s development. It will be a flexible testing ground with 14 building blocks, which can be used to model different water networks. It comprises district heating, drinking water supply and waste water recollection.

Part of the project is to also study the interconnection between different networks. In the last phase of the project, the group will collaborate with water utilities to collect network data. The real-life data will be used to make more realistic experiments. An example could be water consumption, which changes over the course of the day.

 

AAU Smart Water Lab’s 14 modules each has a specific functionality. It will allow the research group to simulate and test advanced water infrastructures.Photo: Poul Due Jensen Foundation

Mission: “zero” power wireless transceivers

The Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Department of Engineering (ENG), AU is building up capabilities to do world-class research and teaching within Integrated Circuits & Electronics (ICE) to support the growing Internet of Things (IoT) electronic industry. This requires excellent key researchers equipped with state-of-the lab facilities. Aarhus University is investing massively in building up the engineering science department over the next 10 years; this includes a strong focus on digitalisation, processing power, hyper-connectivity and artificial intelligence/big data. The other big areas are materials science and industrial biotech.

The Foundation’s contributions

  • In 2016, the Poul Due Jensen Foundation and the Department of Engineering at Aarhus University agreed to work together to create a state of the art laboratory in support of the wireless transceivers research group led by Professor Domenico Zito, who moved to Aarhus from Ireland to head up the work.
  • In 2018, the Foundation funded the recruitment of a PhD in Wireless Transceivers. Italian-born PhD student Michele Spasaro will be playing an important role in Professor Zito’s research program towards “zero” power wireless transceivers.

Key achievements since 2016

Building a world-class academic centre of excellence from scratch in a young environment is a challenge. Nonetheless, Domenico Zito has managed to pass several milestones:

  • New teaching courses to expand the existing MSc degree program in Electrical Engineering and key contributions to the development of the new BSc programme that is on the way to being rolled out.
  • 15+ publications in top international journals and international conferences.
  • The first Master’s student graduated in September 2018. His excellent thesis work has been accepted for presentation/publication at the flagship conference of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society in December 2018.
  • The first step of the research programme toward low-power wireless transceivers has started and the first PhD student, Michele Spasaro, began in May 2018.