Industry got insight into the latest Danish energy research

Wednesday 23 Nov 16
DTU Energy held its annual PhD symposium with industrial participation at DTU Lyngby Campus where PhD students could discuss their research with scientists and representatives from industry.

The 102 participants at DTU Energy’s PhD symposium exchanged knowledge about the latest research on topics as diverse as research in electrolysis, fuel and solar cells, multifunctional oxides, active catalysts, lithium batteries plus several technologies for energy management in smart cities and more.

The PhD students presented their good research either through one of 18 oral presentations or through one of the 23 good illustrative posters that all left an impression of a high overall quality.

Dialogue is important

"It is always exciting to see the whole range of research at DTU Energy, see what moves and the different approaches to the tasks and challenges of industry"
Jesper Frausig, R&D engineer, Gaia Solar

"It is always exciting to see the whole range of research at DTU Energy, see what moves and the different approaches to the tasks and challenges of industry," said research and development engineer Jesper Frausig from the company Gaia Solar, who among others from industry attended the symposium to learn from the participants.

Read more about Gaia Solar here

Gaia Solar works with a wide range of solar cell technologies, from those made of silicon to organic solar cells. As the photovoltaic technologies have entered the markets, requirements for flexibility and efficiency have increased. Good performance is no longer enough; new solar cells also have to be aesthetic.

"Aesthetics and thus the surfaces of solar cells have become more and more of an issue when architects integrate solar technology into modern buildings, making direct dialogue with the researchers in the field much more valuable if we want to match the end users' desires with the capacities. Symposiums like this are perfect events to get insight into the latest research, "said Jesper Frausig who also used the symposium as an opportunity to spot new talents that Gaia Solar could cooperate with in the future.

Talented PhD students

And, according to professors Anke Hagen and Peter Vang Hendriksen, the PhD symposium was blessed with many talents this year. Based on years of experience with PhD students, they rated the PhD presentations as good, well-structured and of very high quality. They were proud of the PhD students from DTU Energy.

"Many have delved into complex research topics this year, topics that can be quite a challenge to talk about, but they have done a good job trying to explain both the specifics and the background of their research, making it possible for outsiders to understand it. It is well done," said Anke Hagen and Peter Vang Hendriksen.

PhD student Mathias Kjærgaard Christensen agreed. Not only did the symposium give him a good opportunity to practise presenting his own battery research, it was also an excellent opportunity to discuss and learn from the research of his fellow students which he considered both incredibly wide and very good.

"I know the research of those that I have lunch or share office with, but there is lot of research going on that I do not know, and although we may have different fields of research, we can still learn from each other on the practical approach. How we deal with different but often quite similar types of problems etc. It's pretty good to get the opportunity to discuss it, and then of course get an understanding of the research we are doing on the department," said Mathias Kjærgaard Christensen.

PhDs are very sought-after experts in industry

Two former PhD students at DTU Energy had been invited to speak at the PhD symposium and tell the current PhD students about life outside the university walls, and about how business will be eager to hire them.

"When you graduate, you are experts in your field. You often forget that when you are around the professors at the university, but you’ll quickly realize it on the labour market where many of your future colleagues do not have the fundamental knowledge you have acquired. This makes you a valuable employee because you are able to familiarize yourself with complex cases and long working hours, and employers know that," said Søren Lyng Ebbehøj who becamea civil servant at the Danish Energy Agency after completing his PhD.

The former PhD student Annemette Hindhede Jensen took a different path after DTU Energy and joined the company SiOx to become research and development engineer. SiOx works with anti-corrosive coating featuring the use of specific silicon oxides as coating on metals and ceramics. She advised the current PhD students.

"No one knows how to do research better than you! You look at problems nobody has seen before, and you find the necessary solutions. This makes you very sought-after experts in industry, "said Annemette Hindhede Jensen, who also reassured the students that the leap from research to a job outside is small.

"You will find project structures in innovative jobs exactly the same as in a PhD project, so you are already able to do much more than you know. And you have a lot of networks among scientists that I urge you to remember and use as they are extremely valuable."