SDC students win 2nd place in Green Challenge

10 July 2014

"It's a great honour to receive this year's 2nd place in the Green Challenge. I'm especially happy on behalf of my Chinese classmates, that they get to experience the Green Challenge and everything that DTU has to offer," says Henrik Teglborg.

Together with Yujue Wang, Liyan Zhao & Gongzhe Chen he won a prize of 10,000 kr. with their project, 'Treatment and Reuse of Dairy Waste Water by Membrane Technology'. The prizes are given to the greenest, most visionary and achievable projects.

The waste water emission standards of EU can be met

The team's project deals with a growing environmental issue - the scarcity of clean water - by making industrial use of water more sustainable. Cheese production, for instance, leaves 90% of the water afterwards, which cannot be reused due to the EU regulations of waste water in food production. This is because dairy waste water contains contaminants of lipids, Casein, Lactalbumin and lactose. However, these 'contaminants' can be reused for other purposes, if separated, which also effectively reduces costs of disposing it.

According to the team, one method for separation is to use membranes. Membrane technology is already well known, however it has not been developed in details within the usage of dairy filtration. Therefore, the objective of their project was to develop and test membrane processes for separating nutrients from dairy waste water and, in this way, produce reusable water. The results showed that by using this method, some of the waste water emission standards of EU can be met and the water reused.

A valuable experience

Winning 2nd place in an event such as the Green Challenge is something that Henrik believes has an extra cultural value for his SDC classmates.

"I'm also especially happy that one of the Chinese teams won, because in China it's important to have diplomas and other types of papers that prove your achievements. Also, the prize would correspond to several months of 'SU' for a Chinese student," he says.

Liyan Zhao agrees that the Green Challenge is a valuable experience.

"It's a great opportunity. We can think of a project and then actually practice it. Plus, all the projects are green, which is important for our future," Liyan Zhao says.

The students are spending their summer at DTU participating in various scientific events, lectures and Summer University. This is part of their MSc in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, at the SDC in Beijing.