Fun and serious proposals for a sustainable future

Monday 25 Jun 18

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Martin Etchells Vigild
Senior Vice President and Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Student Affairs
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On UN's Sustainable Development Goals

Learn more about the goals here.

DTU’s annual student conference on sustainability, Green Challenge, was brimming with good ideas for a more sustainable world.

Photos: Ulrik Eriksen

On Friday, 22 June, more than 300 students presented their sustainable projects at the Green Challenge student conference (Grøn Dyst).

In his opening speech, Martin Vigild, Senior Vice President and Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Student Affairs, highlighted the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals which DTU has embraced—something which was quite evident at the conference, where the students were wearing the colourful logos for the 17 goals on the backs of their t-shirts, and the conference projects were organized by the sustainable development goals they will help meet.

“The first time we held the challenge, there was only one colour: Green: Now with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, we have 17 colours,” says Martin Vigild.

The projects were assessed by 25 panels of judges consisting of prominent business people, politicians, and academics who selected the winning projects. See the winners here.

See all the projects here, or read about five selected projects below:

Brewery wast becomes breakfast

ProFlakes is a breakfast product made from beer brewing residues—also known as brewer spent grain (BSG), which is discarded anyway. In order to get a good taste, the creators of ProFlakes have also added wheat, linseed, and sugar. The group has collaborated with the Danish Albani brewery which has supplied the BSG. At Green Challenge, ProFlakes was presented by two of the group’s five members: Bira Khan (left) and Nana Altay (right).

Read more about ProFlakes.

Foto: Ulrik Eriksen 
Foto: Ulrik Eriksen 

Clean beaches 

Collecting small pieces of waste such as cigarette stubs and small pieces of plastic from sand beaches is time-consuming. But in order to avoid that it is swept into the sea, it has to be removed. Six students have developed a prototype of a machine that can be pulled through the sand, almost brushing it clean. Here, two from the group are holding the ‘broom head’: Mads Enderlein (left) and Marc Morbelli-Zinck (right)

Read more about the project.

Bacteria remove plasticizers

In her project, Line Roager experiments with getting marine bacteria to convert plasticizers such as phthalates. In the laboratory, she has demonstrated that the bacteria can be trained to convert the undesirable substances that are led into the sea with the plastic waste.

Read more about the project: 'Biodegradation of Plasticizers by Marine Bacteria'.

Foto: Ulrik Eriksen 
Foto: Ulrik Eriksen 

Vegetables become vodka

In the project Wasted Wodka, carrot peelings from the businesses Green Engros and Frisksnit are used for making vodka. By using the vegetable waste which is otherwise discarded, farmland is freed up for other food production. Oliver Ørnfeld-Jensen (with the bottle) and Rasmus Jarlholm are among the six DTU students who have experimented with the enzymes for vodka production. It takes 7.5 kg carrot peelings to make a bottle of vodka.

Read more about the Wasted Wodka project.

Compost to heat greenhouses

Five BEng students believe that compost is an overlooked heat source. Special industrial greenhouses, which both have lots of compost and a great need for heating, will benefit from utilizing the compost. In this way, greenhouses can exploit their plant waste while reducing their carbon footprint, as they need less fossil fuels for heating. Another bonus is that the process produces soil.

Read more about the Organic Heating Systems project.

 Foto: Ulrik Eriksen

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