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Organization profile

Organisation profile

The Research & Development group within the section of Thermal Energy Systems conducts research focused on modelling, optimisation and experimental analysis of novel integrated clean fossil fuel thermal energy systems, industrial energy systems and subsystems as well as state of the art renewable energy production and conversion technologies.

Additionally, the section is responsible for the research based education of B.Sc. and M.Sc. students in the fields of and topics linked to thermal energy systems - not least regarding the most recent techniques utilised in modelling, optimisation (with respect to design parameters, system topologies as well as operation) and experimental methodologies associated with these systems.

The focal point of the research activities is to develop novel system configurations with dedicated components and enhance the present thermal energy systems from a holistic perspective regarding for instance objectives such as sustainability and fiscal aspects. This is done with consideration of the interdisciplinary system boundaries and constraints often identified collaboratively with other research sections and research groups at the Department of Energy Technology.

Optimisation of Integrated Energy Systems
In the department of thermal systems, the fuel cell research is focused on modelling, design and optimisation of integrated fuel cell systems. Primarily focus is on low temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cell systems (LTPEMs) and more recently systems based on high temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cell systems (HTPEMs). The applications range from stationary combined heat and power generation to automotive purposes. Dedicated modelling of system components including hydrogen production and storage methods is our core expertise.

Fuel cell systems involve several multi-disciplinary scientific aspects, and hence, we collaborate closely with several industrial partners and affiliated internal and external research partners. We aim to educate engineers possessing the highest degree of expertise within fuel cell systems, and we have state of the art experimental facilities. We have expertise ranging from stack design and testing to development of automotive fuel cell systems and fuel cell reforming systems where hydrogen is produced from renewable or fossil gaseous or liquid hydrocarbons. Production of hydrogen and other synthetic fuels related to fuel cell technologies based on electrolysis technology is also a more recent focal area.

Stationary Heat and Power Production
There are great challenges in the future integrating a larger share of renewable energy technologies in the energy system. Also the carbon dioxide emissions from the stationary energy sector must be minimized. Through system modelling and optimization of advanced power plant technologies, the section of thermal energy technology conducts research to develop new technologies and enhance the existing technologies.

Heating and Refrigeration Technology
Systems such as refrigerators, cooling devices for electronics, heat pumps or other heating devices play a major role in the present energy system and will be even more important in the future. The section of thermal energy systems has a long experience with the modelling and optimization of advanced heating and refrigeration systems for both industrial and domestic purposes.

Propulsion Systems and Clean Fuel Technology
The section works with development of systems for production and testing of new clean fuels such as biodiesels and other biofuels. These fuels are usable in both traditional and novel internal combustion engine technologies as well as in fuel cell related technologies through reforming to hydrogen. The section has advanced testing systems for both internal combustion engines and fuel cell systems subject to varying load conditions reflecting realistic driving cycles. Among other automotive projects, the section has for instance recently been part of the development of the HyWet fuel cell hybrid vehicle propulsion system in collaboration with industrial partners.

Also the development of dedicated propulsion systems for off road and minor transport applications are considered important areas.

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Fuel cells Engineering & Materials Science
Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) Engineering & Materials Science
fuel cells Physics & Astronomy
Temperature Engineering & Materials Science
Methanol Engineering & Materials Science
Membranes Engineering & Materials Science
membranes Physics & Astronomy
Heat exchangers Engineering & Materials Science

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Projects 2004 2021

Synthetic fuels

Research Output 1999 2019

An experimental study of the drag reducing surfactant for district heating and cooling

Kotenko, M., Oskarsson, H., Bojesen, C. & Nielsen, M. P., Jul 2019, In : Energy. 178, p. 72-78 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

District heating
Surface active agents
Tubes (components)

Application of Software in Predicting Thermal Behaviour of Solar Stills

DevRoy, A., Prakash, O., Singh, S. & Kumar, A., 2019, Solar Desalination Technology. 1st ed. Springer VS, p. 105 148 p. (Green Energy and Technology).

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Compact modeling of a telecom back-up unit powered by air-cooled proton exchange membrane fuel cell

Gao, X. & Kær, S. K., 2019, (Submitted) In : Applied Energy. APEN-S-17-12711.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC)
fuel cell


Årets Underviser ved Studienævn for Energi (N-Sn)

Mads Pagh Nielsen (Recipient), 2009

Prize: Prizes, scholarships, distinctions

Årets Underviser ved Studienævn for Energi (N-Sn)

Mads Pagh Nielsen (Recipient), 2015

Prize: Prizes, scholarships, distinctions

Activities 2001 2018

14th Workshop on Two-Phase Flow Predictions

Jakob Hærvig (Participant)
7 Sep 201510 Sep 2015

Activity: Attending an eventOrganisation or participation in workshops, courses, or seminars

1st international expert workshop "High Temperature PEM fuel cells"

Søren Juhl Andreasen (Participant)
27 Mar 201228 Mar 2012

Activity: Attending an eventOrganisation or participation in workshops, courses, or seminars

2011 World Congress on Sustainable Technologies, WCST 2011

Shobhana Singh (Participant)
7 Nov 2011

Activity: Attending an eventConference organisation or participation

Press / Media

Miljøtjek: Er diesel værre end benzin?

Mads Pagh Nielsen


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

AAU-kandidatkonference udstillingsvindue

Jakob Hærvig


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

Luftmodstand og bakker bliver økoracers værste fjender i England

Simon Lennart Sahlin & Christian Jeppesen


3 items of media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media