Thermal Energy Systems

About the section

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.

Contact Information

Associate Professor Mads Pagh Nielsen
Direct phone: +45 9940 9259

Research Mission

The research mission for all the section’s topics is to secure and optimise the power system reliability and to ensure that the power quality follows the current standards and demands at all times in a sustainable manner. Systems range from stationary heat and power production to novel automative technologies. Due to this mission, the section currently participates in the following research programme:

Examples of research projects

  • Design and Control of Proton Exchange Membrane Based Residential CHP Systems
  • Modelling, Optimisation and Experimental Characterisation of Liquid and Gaseous Fuel Reforming Systems
  • Design of Polymer-Based Fuel Cell Systems for Hybrid Electric Vehicles
  • Characterisation Of Fuel Cells Based Upon PBI-based MEAs operated on Synthesis Gas Containing Carbon Monoxide
  • Development of 3kW Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Generator