Poul Due Jensen Foundation pumps DKK 40 million into water technology research at Aarhus University

With four donations totalling more than DKK 40 million, Aarhus University's new Centre for Water Technology (WATEC) is off to a flying start and headed for a place among the international elite within the field of research into sustainable water cycles. This is largest sum ever donated to water research by the Poul Due Jensen Foundation.

2018.01.23 | Peter F. Gammelby

Professor Niels Peter Revsbech is head of WATEC. Photo: Lars Kruse, AU

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.

Confidence and wild ideas

Professor Revsbech is particularly pleased because the large grant signals great confidence from the Poul Due Jensen Foundation.

“The grant shows courage to let wild ideas grow, and it is not tied up in politics, control and constraints. The Foundation is represented on our steering committee, and this offers several advantages: We can continually adapt the framework, and we can benefit from the fact that the Foundation has its finger on the pulse of the needs of the outside world,” said Professor Revsbech.

He will be appointed as emeritus professor in 2022, and the funding of one of the professorships at the centre will ensure a smooth generational change within his field of expertise: research and development of water quality sensors.

Key to UN Sustainable Development Goals

The extra resources for research into water purification will serve the dual purpose of protecting one of the world’s most valuable resources, clean water, and bringing Denmark back to the international elite in water treatment research.

“Through global promotion of water recycling, recovery of resources and energy production, I’m convinced that wastewater treatment is the key to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal 6: access to safe water and sanitation for all by 2030. And the donation is perfectly timed, as Aarhus Vand is about to build the world's most advanced wastewater treatment plant in Marselisborg in cooperation with Aarhus University,” said Christian Hartvig, executive director at the Poul Due Jensen Foundation.

Wastewater with no waste

WATEC is cooperating with Aarhus Vand, a local water company, and DHI, a consultancy and research firm, on establishing a platform, a pilot plant, where researchers can test laboratory models on a larger scale under operating conditions. The grant will be used to attract the best researchers and establish a stronger research environment within water purification, but the Foundation is also positive towards plans to establish a water process laboratory as an integrated part of the wastewater treatment plant.

“The perspective of this is resources in a broad sense. Historically, focus in wastewater treatment has been to protect the recipient, but wastewater also contains resources that can be recycled, e.g. energy, fuels and materials to make plastics. We want to streamline the processes to make recycling worthwhile,” said Lars Ditlev Mørck Ottosen, project manager, associate professor and head of section at the Department of Engineering, Aarhus University.

  


Contact:

Poul Due Jensen Foundation:

Kim Nøhr Skibsted, executive director:

E-mail: kskibsted@grundfos.com

Mobile: +45 3052 5020

www.pdjf.dk/strategi-forskning

 

Professor Niels Peter Revsbech

E-mail: revsbech@bios.au.dk

Mobile: +45 2338 2187

http://watec.au.dk/

 

Associate Professor Lars Ditlev Mørck Ottosen, head of section

E-mail: ldmo@eng.au.dk

Mobile: +45 5137 1671

 

Dean Niels Christian Nielsen,

Science and Technology, Aarhus University

E-mail: dean.scitech@au.dk 

Mobile: +45 2899 2541

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