Photo: GreenLab

Four green energy initiatives receive grants

Spearheaded by DTU and GreenLab, Danish universities will use concrete projects to show how we can solve climate challenges.

Four green research projects have just been selected to receive funding from VILLUM FONDEN to demonstrate new methods of optimizing and storing energy on a large scale in the green industrial and energy park GreenLab Skive. The funding comes from a grant of DKK 20 million, which VILLUM FONDEN granted last year to boost a new national research and demonstration platform, managed day-to-day by GreenLab and DTU.

Over the next three years, the money will help create an inspiring environment for students, researchers, and companies working to accelerate the green transition. Among the projects, there are plans to use stone and molten salt as thermal energy storage. The aim is for each project to help solve some of the difficult climate challenges we are faced with.

“I’m pleased that with the grant from VILLUM FONDEN we can now start testing, developing, and demonstrating four concrete research projects to advance smart green energy solutions. The projects keep with the Prime Minister’s New Year’s speech, which was mainly about achieving an ambitious green transition,” says Anders Bjarklev, President of DTU.

“But if the ambition is to be realized, we have to start now. At GreenLab Skive, universities work together with private foundations, regional initiatives, and companies, to create green energy solutions that can provide guidance in solving some of the climate challenges Denmark and the rest of the world are facing. This is how DTU can bring its research into the world for the benefit of society.”

Four green projects

The four projects that are being launched are led by researchers from DTU, the University of Southern Denmark, and Aalborg University. The aim of the first project is to develop an optimal design for a system that uses molten salt as thermal storage that can supply steam for industrial processes.

In the second project, Energy Rocks, researchers will investigate how best to store surplus electricity from wind production as heat in large stones, to meet the needs of heating GreenLab and make the best use of the industrial park’s wind and solar resources.

The third project, Flex-PtX, is about creating a computer simulation of the electricity market, and exploring how to optimize the economic benefits of Power-to-X production through flexible operation.

And finally, researchers of the fourth project will develop and demonstrate a tool that will help design energy systems for green industrial parks. The tool will enable operators of industrial parks to optimize energy flows and calculate the dynamic energy impact of future investments in energy infrastructure.

Strong field of applicants

The four projects have been chosen by representatives from DTU, the University of Southern Denmark, Aarhus University, Aalborg University and GreenLab, and constitute the first round of funding from VILLUM FONDEN. The second round of research funding will be awarded in May 2022.

Ebbe Kruse Vestergaard, Research Director of GreenLab, says that there has been a great interest in applying for financial support:

“We have received a very strong field of applicants with 17 applications. Although we have initially chosen four projects to back, we’re expecting to continue working with several of the researchers and see some of the other projects begin to operate at a later date.

“There has been particularly great interest in creating digital models for GreenLab’s industrial symbiosis network, and I’m really pleased that we have launched a couple of projects to ensure that we have a common collaborative platform where researchers from many universities can work together and build on each other’s results.

“In addition, energy storage and special storage of thermal energy is very important to us, and with the backing of two exciting projects about heat storage, we have ensured that our technological choices are made on a well-informed basis.”

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Project 1: Molten salt as thermal energy storage: Ahmad Arabkoohsar, Aalborg University,

Project 2: Energy Rocks: Kurt Engelbrecht, DTU Energy,

Project 3: Flex-PtX: Bo Nørregaard Jørgensen, Center for Energy Informatics, SDU,

Project 4: GreenLab Designer Lite: Bo Nørregaard Jørgensen, Center for Energy Informatics, SDU,