Energy and environment

About the group

  • Research areas

    We study the global challenges for energy and the environment.


    • Geothermal heating 
    • Cooling 
    • Energy storage


    • Drinking water supply
    • Soil and soil contamination 
    • Water resources
    • Climate change adaption
    • Resilience
  • Selected projects

    We also participate in projects within water supply, heat storage and protection against future sea-level rises.

    A combined ground source heating and fascine technology concept must promote the use of geothermal energy and increase energy efficiency

    The aim of the project is to demonstrate a full-scale technological concept for increased efficiency of ground-to-water heat pump systems in buildings.

    The concept combines a horizontal ground source heat exchanger with a fascine with water-absorbent mineral wool. Rainwater from the building is led to the specially designed fascine with an integrated ground source heat exchanger, whereby energy absorbed by the ground source heat exchanger potentially increases due to increased moisture through percolation.

    The researchers expect to find that a horizontal ground heat system, which is combined with seepage, is more suitable for relatively small registers as construction of ground source heat exchangers may be reduced due to improved energy absorption.

    The project is to document the size of the achieved energy efficiency improvement by the combination of geothermal energy and percolation in relation to similar traditional systems, as well as to establish a better basis for a full-scale plant.

    The project's full-scale test and demonstration will take place at the Green Tech Center in Vejle – a test site for green technology.

    Project period: 2016-2018

    Project partners: VIA Energy & Environment, Rockwool International, Insero Energy, Vølund Varmeteknik.

    Financing: The project is funded by the EUDP – the Danish Energy Technological Development and Demonstration Programme.

    More about the project

    Read about the project at UC-viden

    Project manager at VIA: 

    Søren E. Poulsen, Senior Associate Professor, PhD

    Biofilm in Drinking Water Systems

    In this project, researchers from VIA Energy & Environment will examine the composition and development of existing biofilm in drinking-water supply systems and examine how this affects the general quality of drinking water.

    The project will, in contrast to earlier projects, consider biofilm in drinking water systems as a strength rather than something that needs to be controlled. The purpose of the project is to investigate and understand the growth of biofilm in drinking-water supply systems on the basis of field and laboratory tests on biofilm. The tests will analyse biofilm based on a range of physical and chemical parameters as well as the bacteriological diversity. Through the project VIA's researchers will ensure increased knowledge about the growth and development of biofilm in drinking-water supply systems, e.g., by analysing, characterising and documenting the biofilm on different materials and determining the influence of various materials, flow and pipe diameters on the growth of biofilm and on the commissioning of pipe/tanks.

    The project will develop a guide on the commissioning of new pipes in the distribution grid and the choice of materials. In addition, the project aims to develop a sensor that can provide a measure of the growth potential for biofilm and the concentration of suspended bacteria. In the long term, knowledge from the project could result in reducing the time from commissioning to the actual commissioning of new and/or refurbished drinking-water supply systems (minimising the period).

    Project period: 2015-2017

    Project partners: VIA Energy & Environment, Aarhus Vand and Grundfos 

    Grant: The project is supported financially by The Foundation for Development of Technology in the Danish Water Sector (VTU-fonden)

    More about the project

    Read about the project at UC Viden

    Project manager at VIA: 

    Torben L. Skovhus, Assistant Professor, PhD 

    Drinking-water supply of the future

    The drinking-water supply of the future (FutureWater) is Denmark's largest development project on the subject. By 2015 the project’s partners must bring ideas to life for how future challenges for the Danish drinking water supply can be solved.

    Waterworks seen in an acoustic perspective

    We analyse how vibrations and sounds can be used to monitor operations of the Ringkøbing-Skjern Forsyning’s groundbreaking new waterworks: Aquatarium.


    We study biosensors as a new tool for controlling and optimising processes in future waterworks. Similarly, biosensors can, potentially, replace spot checks, where a pollution incident can easily be overlooked. 

    Funding: The Foundation for Development of Technology in the Danish Water Sector (in short called VTU-Fonden). 

    Project period: 2014-2015 

    More about the project:

    Project manager at VIA: 

    Loren Ramsay, Senior Associate Professor, MSc (chemical engineering)

    Resilience Lab Denmark

    The project aims to identify the need to develop new technologies that can slow down or reduce the impact of rising sea levels in Vejle. It could be in relation to a failing electricity supply that will affect the access of institutions, businesses and citizens to electricity, internet and clean drinking water. 

    Funding: Rockefeller Foundation. 

    Project period: 2014-2020 

    More about the project:

    Project’s website

    Read article: "Vejle is the spearhead of resistance"

    Project manager:
    Lotte Thøgersen, MSc. (geotechnics), PhD

  • Publications

    Read selected papers published by researchers from VIA

    Comprehensive analysis of the start-up period of a full-scale drinking water biofilter provides guidance for optimization

    The use of biofilters to produce drinking water from anaerobic groundwater is widespread in some European countries. A major disadvantage of biofilters is the long start-up period required for virgin filter medium to become fully functional. Although individual aspects of biofilter start-up have previously been investigated, no comprehensive study in full scale using inherent inoculation has previously been documented. A thorough investigation of a full-scale drinking water biofilter was carried out over 10 weeks of start-up using a holistic approach that documented the many spatial and temporal changes that take place. Traditional and advanced monitoring methods were used to analyze the physical, chemical and microbiological changes and their interrelation in water, filter media and backwash water. Results of this study provide guidance for optimization of the start-up to shorten the start-up period, to reduce the monitoring burden and to improve filter design.

    Read the article

    Characterisation of Ground Thermal and Thermo-Mechanical Behaviour for Shallow Geothermal Energy Applications

    An increasing use of the ground as a thermal reservoir is expected in the near future. Shallow geothermal energy systems have proved to be sustainable alternative solutions for buildings and infrastructure heating and cooling. Recently, novel solutions, including energy geostructures, where shallow geothermal systems are coupled with foundation heat exchangers, have also been developed. The performance of these systems mainly depends on the thermal and thermos-mechanical properties of the soil. 

    Therefore, several international researches including researchers at VIA Building, Energy & Environment, published a paper that covers the principal methods, such as laboratory and field procedures, to assess ground thermal and thermos-mechanical properties for shallow geothermal applications.

    Read about the project

    Read more publications from Energy & Enviroment at UC Viden

  • Researchers

    Contact the researchers

    Energy and environment:

    See an overview of the researchers

  • Partners

    Some of the research group’s partners:
    • Ringkøbing-Skjern Forsyning 
    • Horsens Vand 
    • Aarhus Vand 
    • Aarhus University 
    • Aalborg University 
    • Brædstrup Fjernvarmeværk 
    • Danish Technological Institute
    • Green Tech Center 
    • Resilience Lab Denmark 
    • Rambøll (Industrial PhD) 
    • Centrum Pæle (Industrial PhD) 
    • University of Southern Denmark
    • Municipalities in Jutland 
    • Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland 
    • Sichuan University (China).

Get inspired

picture of a waterwork

VIA have waterworks research funded

VIA University College and partners granted 135,000.00 euro to research how to reduce water waste in the water works

PhD projects

Conducting research on the consumption and optimisation of scarce resources, as well as the use of new materials.

Water-drinking from fountain

Drinking-water supply of the future

Denmark's largest development project in drinking-water supply will strengthen the supply of the future.
Flooded road

Vejle is the spearhead of resistance

The Rockefeller Foundation has appointed Vejle one of the "100 resilient cities".