2014: a good year for resource recovery research

Director of studies for third-cycle education within resource recovery Tomas Wahnström and research group leader Professor Mohammad Taherzadeh can look back on 2014 as an excellent year for resource recovery research. Since research into resource recovery began ten years ago, the field has undergone stable development.

“I’m delighted,” says Tomas. “We’ve succeeded in establishing third-cycle education within resource recovery. We have around 20 active research students, with more set to join us. We also have a number of new assistant supervisors who work together with the principal supervisors and who can thereby gain further qualifications. I’m particularly pleased that the transfer of the former third-cycle education linked to other educational institutions across to the school of research for resource recovery at the University of Borås is now complete.”

The university’s first thesis defences

Before the university was granted its own researcher rights in resource recovery in 2010, 18 doctoral students were enrolled at Chalmers University of Technology or other educational institutions but carried out their research projects at the University of Borås. This education has gradually been transferred across to the University of Borås, and from 2015 onwards the university will only have its own doctoral students. Of 23 doctoral students of its own, three have already defended their theses.

Six new doctoral students were admitted in 2014, with five specialising in bioengineering and one in thermal processes. Three doctoral students have defended their theses as University of Borås students, with five more having defended their theses at Chalmers. In all, there have been more than 20 active doctoral projects under way during the year.

The number of principal supervisors and assistant supervisors has increased. The number of publications has also increased, as has external funding, which is sign that the research carried out is of a very high quality.

Five or six thesis defences are anticipated during 2015, and it is hoped that as many new doctoral students will be admitted for third-cycle education.

Aiming to double in size

“Our current aim is to reach a level of 20-30 doctoral students,” says Professor Taherzadeh. “However, we hope to double the number of research students between now and 2020.”
Innovation and new approaches are an important aspect of resource recovery. Professor Taherzadeh hopes to see some of the research projects carried out becoming commercialisable, i.e. generating products that are launched on the market, within the near future.

“We currently have a couple of projects that have reached TRL (technology readiness level – a term used within research-intensive operations to confirm which activities are needed in order to implement the research findings in new products/processes) and are approaching completion, including a project relating to a fungus that can be used for ethanol production as well as for fish and animal feeds, and a project dealing with textile reactors.”

Theses defended at the University of Borås in 2014

  • Solmaz Aslanzadeh: Pretreatment of cellulosic waste and high rate biogas production 
  • Mofoluwake Moronfade Ishola: Novel Applications of Membrane Bioreactors in Lignocellulosic Ethanol Production: Simultaneous Saccharification, Filtration and Fermentation (SSFF)
  • Rachma Wikandari: Effect of fruit flavours on anaerobic digestion: inhibitions and solutions

Find out more about resource recovery research

Text: Solveig Klug
Photo: Jerker Andersson