New professor carries out research into sustainable solutions for the environment

Marianne Thomsen has been appointed Professor of Industrial Ecology at the Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, as of 1 November 2016.

2016.11.16 | Christina Troelsen

Marianne Thomsen has been appointed Professor of Industrial Ecology at the Department of Environmental Science. (Private photo)

Professor Thomsen carries out research into developing waste and production systems and green growth technologies, all of which can help ensure a green transition in Denmark. In her work, Professor Thomsen focuses on developing new models and rethinking systems, technologies and infrastructures for the sustainable management of resources. Her research is carried out in close collaboration with service and production companies, and cutting across sectors.

The aim of her research into ecoindustrial systems is that biodegradable materials are circulated separately in a biological cycle, while other components are incorporated in a technical cycle. The long-term aim is that all substances are recirculated, thereby reducing materials consumption and minimising the impact on the climate and environment.

Professor Thomsen’s research has shown that ecoindustrial systems can contribute to solving challenges such as the increasing shortage of resources, deterioration of environmental quality, and climate change. An example is the cultivation of algae, which (re)use emissions from traditional production systems and thereby reduce greenhouse gases and nutrients in the aquatic environment.

As a researcher, Professor Thomsen advises the Danish authorities about ways to best ensure the transition from traditional production and waste systems to a sustainable society with circular material flows and without waste. Her research has contributed to advances such as an improvement of the national climate records for the wastewater sector. In general, Professor Thomsen’s research is important for players in the greentech and cleantech sectors because her models calculate how these industrial sectors can contribute to counteracting climate change and improving the environment.

Professor Thomsen has a BSc in Environmental Chemistry, and she completed her MSc in Organic Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen in 1997. She graduated with a PhD in Environmental Science and Risk Management from Roskilde University in 2001. She has worked as a researcher since 2001 at the former National Environmental Research Institute, which is now part of Aarhus University. Risk assessment of chemicals in circulation has been a consistent theme throughout Professor Thomsen’s career, and she has made considerable contributions to developing the interdisciplinary research field ecoindustrial system analysis.

Professor Thomsen is giving her inaugural lecture at 14.00 on Friday 17 March in the Niels Bohr Lecture Theatre, Risø, Frederiksborgvej 399.

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