Photo: Vibeke Hempler

Million-kroner support for the climate and the environment

Monday 07 Mar 16
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by Bertel Henning Jensen
Innovation Fund Denmark has invested almost DKK 150 million in projects led by DTU. Two themes appear again and again: green transition and the prospect of actual jobs.

From hydrogen production, via ink for solar cells, to new and improved formula for children. A whole spectrum of DTU projects have recently received financing from Innovation Fund Denmark.

The fund jointly finances research and innovation projects, and under the banner of ‘Major Projects’—or ‘Grand Solutions’ as they are to be known as from 2016—has chosen to invest in nine DTU projects considered to have the potential to generate growth and jobs in Denmark.

And it is precisely the fact that the projects have growth potential that has delighted one of the researchers to have received joint financing from the fund:

"The primary task of Innovation Fund Denmark is to generate growth and employment through knowledge."
Peter Høngaard Andersen, CEO of Innovation Fund Denmark

“This support means we have the chance to work with research we find interesting and important. And, of course, it lets us work in areas with commercial potential. Innovation Fund Denmark focuses primarily on supporting projects with the potential to create jobs for our students in the future, and as a student supervisor, I’m extremely keen to help them find work,” relates Professor Robert Madsen from DTU Chemistry, project manager of the Cat2BioChem project.

In addition to generating actual jobs in Denmark, his project—just like the vast majority of those in which the fund chooses to invest—is a ‘green project’ with the emphasis on climate issues and sustainability.

And this is no coincidence, as Peter Høngaard Andersen, CEO of Innovation Fund Denmark, explains:

“The primary task of Innovation Fund Denmark is to generate growth and employment through knowledge, but the fund was also set up to tackle some of the greatest challenges facing society in the fields of climate, the environment, health and welfare. That is why we are most keen to invest in new solutions that focus on both growth and sustainability.”

 

Research projects

 Photo: project INKA
 

Solar cell ink to harness the sun

Plastic solar cells painted with a special ink that captures the rays of the sun offer a range of advantages in relation to conventional solar cells, and feature numerous important properties in a world where the importance of green energy continues to rise. First and foremost, they weigh a lot less and can therefore be used in more places, without having to worry about the strength of the supporting surface. Moreover, plastic solar cells are cheaper to produce on a large scale. The development of solar cell ink is well under way at DTU Energy.

Official project title: INKA – Inks for large-scale processing of polymer solar cells.

Innovation Fund Denmark is supporting the project in the amount of DKK 17.5 million out of a total budget of DKK 23.3 million

 
 Photo: Colourbox
   

City buses to run on manure

‘Piss and shit’ are words often spoken irately in connection with public transport, but they are now becoming remarkably accurate. With the assistance of new, nano-structured materials, researchers from DTU Energy will be teaming up with colleagues both in Denmark and abroad to look into methods for converting biogas from manure into fuel for heavy vehicles such as buses and lorries. Surplus biogas from the agricultural sector will thus become the driving force behind heavy transport, thus powering Denmark even further along the path to becoming a fossil fuel-free society.

Official project title: HiGradesGas – Highly structured materials for upgraded biogas and storage.

Innovation Fund Denmark is supporting the project in the amount of DKK 14.8 million out of a total budget of DKK 20.4 million

 Photo: Colourbox
 

Looking straight through you at the airport

Improved X-ray systems are to make airport security checks both quicker and more effective. Under the leadership of DTU Physics, project CIL2018 is to develop screening technology with the capacity to deliver images from multiple angles and in colour.

Official project title: CIL2018 NextGen Scanner for Checked In Luggage

Innovation Fund Denmark is supporting the project in the amount of DKK 22 million out of a total budget of DKK 30 million

 
 Photo: Colourbox
   

Wine gum LEGO bricks

In a world where our dependence on fossil fuels is an increasing problem, the search for viable alternatives often makes for a popular field of research. That is why Innovation Fund Denmark has chosen to invest in the Cat2BioChem project, whose objective is to identify methods for making plastic out of carbohydrates.

Official project title: Cat2BioChem: New Catalytic Processes to Bio-Based Chemicals.

Innovation Fund Denmark is supporting the project in the amount of DKK 12 million out of a total budget of DKK 19,8 million.

 Photo: Colourbox
 

 

Brain food for the researchers of the future

Newborn babies who, for one reason or another, do not have access to natural breast-milk, experience more learning difficulties later in life than children who do breast-feed. The DTU subsidiary Bioneer is therefore teaming up with partners including Arla and the University of Copenhagen to develop formula that better supports brain development in infants.

Official project title: InfantBrain – New infant formulas to promote optimal brain development.

Innovation Fund Denmark is supporting the project in the amount of DKK 14,6 million out of a total budget of DKK 25,9 million.

Photo: Colourbox

   

The future is gas

DTU Management Engineering is to lead an international team of researchers tasked with finding better ways of incorporating gas into the energy supply system as an alternative to fossil fuels—to the benefit of the environment.

Official project title: FutureGas.

Innovation Fund Denmark is supporting the project in the amount of DKK 18,6 million out of a total budget of DKK 33,4 million. 

 Photo: Colourbox
   

DTU to deal with your flood

DTU Environment and DTU Compute are to work with partners including Rambøll, HOFOR and the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) to develop software technologies to handle the huge volumes of water that are becoming an increasingly common phenomenon on account of climate change.

Official project title: Water Smart Cities

Innovation Fund Denmark is supporting the project in the amount of DKK 12,1 million out of a total budget of DKK 28,3 million.

Illustration: ESS/Team Henning Larsen Architects

   

Giant microscopes to boost Danish innovation

DTU, Aarhus University, and University of Copenhagen will join 18 other partners (e.g the Confederation of Danish Industries and some of Denmark’s largest companies) in a project to help Danish companies exploit the full potential of the giant neutron and X-ray microscopes (ESS and MAX IV) that are under construction in Lund, Sweden. Both microscopes provide a historical opportunity to understand the structure of materials and biotechnological products at the atomic level in three dimensions and over time. The project is headed by DTU Physics and will help Danish businesses find answers to some of their materials challenges. It will strengthen the innovation and competitiveness of Danish research environments and companies in areas such as production technologies, sustainable energy, food, and new pharmaceuticals.

Official project title: LINX – Linking Industry to Neutrons and X-rays

Innovation Fund Denmark supports the project with DKK 50 million out of a total budget of DKK 77.9 million.

 Photo: Colourbox
   

Control of congestion

More and more people will live in or close to large cities. And so will the companies as it provides increased accessibility and productivity. But it also gives more congestion. We are stuck in queues, both when we drive our own cars and when go by public transport, which is annoying for the individual and expensive for society. Transport researchers from DTU must therefore in collaboration with, among others, Department of Economics at University of Copenhagen, combine knowledge of traffic, urban economics, and transport economics as well as develop a number of tools which make it easier for decision-makers to plan new infrastructure.

Official project title: URBAN: Urbanization, productivity and congestion

Innovation Fund Denmark supports the project with DKK 16.5 million out of a total budget of DKK 22.3 million.