The Young Academics Track 2021

Powered by DTU Skylab, Next Generation Water Action – Young Academics Track connects more than 90 university students from leading technical universities from Denmark, Kenya, Ghana, Mexico, South Korea, and India to the water solutions of the future.

Working in 21 teams on solving 5 real-life challenges, we equip the international students with the network, partnerships and tools to develop sustainable water solutions.

By bridging between the international innovative young minds and water experts, solutions are not only showcased locally in their home countries, but also worldwide by giving the solutions a global stage. 

Disclaimer: The solution pages found on this pages are user-generated and that neither DTU Skylab nor any of its partners can be held responsible for the content of these pages.


“The value of the initiative is to become exposed to innovative solutions from blue sky thinkers (red.: students) that are not limited to myopic mindsets that are ultimately inculcated when one spends years in a profession or organization”

Magash Naidoo, City Official eThekwini Municipality, Panelist of Academices Pitch Session

“We felt empowered and focused on our duty to save our world. (…) I think that the important thing is to support young people, since we are the ones who in a few years will be making the decisions”

Young Academic, Colombia

Cracking 5 Water Challenges

petitioned by global partners

See below:

Water Infrastructure in Ghana

Wastewater Treatment & Ressource Recovery

Wastewater Treatment & Ressource Recovery

City Scale Planning & Climate Adaption

Water Resources & Large Scale Water Management

Water Infrastructure in Ghana

Ghana, Low-cost data acquisition, AI, GIS

How might we use low-cost equipment to provide data input to AI-analysis for mapping and classification of water utility network changes in Ghana to mitigate loss of water through faults or damage to the network during construction?

Challenge partners

LE34 / Ghana Water Company Ltd: Team India

We have developed a solution not only to detect the leakages in the sewage pipelines, but also to optimize the sewage treatment, so you can easily and happily decrease 70% of your water waste and recycle it. Our solution is thereby based on remote monitoring and optimization of membrane bio reactor sewage treatment using Machine Learning.

LE34 / Ghana Water Company Ltd: Team Ghana

To control the immense water loss in Ghana’s water supply system in rural areas, we propose implementing a smart pipeline installation.

LE34 / Ghana Water Company Ltd: Team Denmark

PipeData application is visualization software that allows construction workers in Accra, Ghana to view 2D and 3D pipe maps at the construction site. Thus, the number of broken pipes is reduced and as a result, water is saved!

LE34 / Ghana Water Company Ltd: Team Kenya

The immense water loss in Ghana’s water supply system is due to a lack of knowledge of pipe locations. We therefore decided to come up with an application system that will show the location of these pipes. With our solution, a person only needs our app to be able to tell the presence or absence of a pipe in his or her location.

Wastewater Treatment & Resource Recovery

Zero liquid discharge (ZLD), Water recovery, Scarce Resources, Non-renewable resources

How might we recover scarce or non-renewable resources from effluents/brine streams to reduce environmental impact on water treatment processes?

Challenge partner

Grundfos: Team Ghana

There has been a drastic demand for phosphorus. Phosphorus deposits are entirely dependent on imports and are therefore vulnerable to market fluctuations. One of many measures for reducing dependency is the recovery of Phosphorus from often unexploited national Phosphorus sources. Our solution combines two waste products, aluminium foil and depulped coffee cherries, to recover phosphorus from municipal wastewater!

Grundfos – Team 2.IN

Worldwide about 42% of the land is affected by drought and in India, it’s more than 50%, of which 6% is exceptionally dry. At the same time, the rising population is directly proportional to the demand for crop production, which necessitates a massive amount of water. We therefore propose Lignin based Bio-absorbent Capsules as a green and sustainable solution to increase soil moisture retention potential and crop yield.

Grundfos: Team South Korea

Most of the wastewater treatment plants in South Korea are managed by the government. After several treatment processes, the treated water with qualified quality is discharged into surface water. We thought this discharged water from the wastewater treatment plant can go directly through further treatment processes and used for cosmetics products.

Grundfos: Team Denmark

Northern Care is a Waste to Resource company. Our focus is to turn sewage sludge ash into resources that can be used in the agricultural and construction sector.

Grundfos: Team Kenya

Protecting the environment and humanity from the toxicity of hexavalent chromium (Cr+6) in wastewater while recovering these non-renewable resources for reuse in the industry: a step to the circular economy.

Wastewater Treatment & Resource Recovery of Sewage Sludge

Korea, Anaerobic Digestion, Sludge, Dehydrant, Biogas

How can a city like Daegu move towards becoming NetZero by unlocking the full potential of sewage sludge through resource recovery or innovative circular reuse?

Challenge partners

Daegu City & Environmental Corp.: Team Mexico

BG+ is a simple absorption column designed to reduce the Hydrogen Sulfide in Biogas while also completely purging the Iron Chloride from the sludge. With this small device installed into the Sludge Treatment facility, we estimate that approximately 26% of the Hydrogen Sulfide can be eliminated from the biogas before entering the desulfurizer, significantly reducing operating costs and the desulfurizer’s workload.

Daegu City & Environmental Corp.: Team South Korea

Currently, FeCl3 are used to dehydrate sludge from anaerobic digestion. FeCl3 is combined with SO42- and S ions in Sludge to form FeS Fe2S3, which exists in solid form in the sludge.The use of FeCl3 reduces odor by suppressing the generation of H2S in the form of a gas.

Daegu City & Environmental Corp.: Team Denmark

Welcome to SludgeX, a startup team of bright master’s students from around the world with the goal of optimizing the sustainability of wastewater treatment plants around the world! Our short 3 minute video will introduce you to our vision, then you can read details about how we envision the start of our journey towards changing the way we think about how sludge can be managed in a sustainable future.

City Scale Planning and Operations & Climate Adaption

Rio de Janeiro, Climate Adaption, Campaigns, Access to data, Strategy & Action Plan

How to adapt to a changing climate in cities like Rio de Janeiro with a huge informal sector and increasing population when our data set is not sufficient enough to make a risk assessment?

Challenge partner

Rambøll: Team India

Ekatvam is an early-stage social start-up focusing on ensuring participatory water management that is sustainable in nature through a multi-stakeholder platform called MIDAS. Currently, it is incubated at Digital Impact Square, TCS Foundation initiative in Nashik, Maharashtra

Rambøll: Team Denmark

We are ReTeto, an early stage start-up that offers a new sustainable roofing alternative, providing the favelas in Rio de Janeiro with long-lasting roofing solutions, while reducing the plastic waste otherwise ending up in the ocean.

Rambøll: Team Ghana

With respect to flooding and natural wetland conversion issues in Accra, constructed wetlands was identified as a major tool to help reduce stormwater runoff intensity, hence reducing flooding impacts. These systems will be placed around flood-prone areas and in-between low lying and high lying areas in Accra, Ghana. Constructed wetlands are a sustainable means of treating stormwater and have proven to be more economical and energy-efficient than traditional centralized treatment systems.

Rambøll: Team Kenya

Floodizens; meaning citizens for flood fights, is an application that will integrate a robust citizen science based early warning system and a decision support tool. The citizens will help in data collection through photos into the app showing rainfall and temperature from weather stations, blocked sewer/storm sewer system points before and during a flood, where and extension of the flood during a flood incidence.

Water Resources & Large Scale Water Management

India, Digital Water Management, Cost Effectiveness, Detection, Surveillance, IoT

How can we solve the critical challenges faced by India in managing its water resources through inclusive digital water management solutions that are cost effective and easily deployable?

Challenge partner

NITI Aayog & Atal Innovation Mission: Team India 2

Sustainability of any form of life on the earth is linked to water. The availability of fresh water is crucial in the survival of humanity. Therefore, it is vital to assess the available water resources and determine the water budget. This is why we are developing a systematic and real-time monitoring system of quality and quantity of surface water using geospatial technology.

NITI Aayog & Atal Innovation Mission: Team India 3

The novel approach of research for the decontamination of waste-water finds a pioneering success which resulted a promising option for the preservation of aquatic life even in this era of mega industrialization, simply by rapid detoxification of heavily contaminated waste-water even the production unit exhaust effluents.

NITI Aayog & Atal Innovation Mission: Team India 1

Efficient water monitoring tools provide ways to detect pollution before it happens – yet common sensor technologies are not portable nor user friendly. We propose the detection of emerging pollutants by using colorimetric affordable test strips using a simple and spot in dip- check method. The fabricated strips enable the detection by simply dipping the probe in test water and observing naked eye color change – which can then be further analyzed by a simple mobile app.

NITI Aayog & Atal Innovation Mission: Team South Korea

Development of cost-effective and inclusive digital water management solutions, driven by monitoring and remote sensed data. This solution includes crowd sourcing, that can aid Indian water mission with water conservation and the reduction of non-revenue water.

NITI Aayog & Atal Innovation Mission: Team Denmark

At Peater, we develop an autonomous, self-sustaining
IoT monitoring system specifically designed for peatlands. Our sensor network continuously monitors the health of peatlands on several attributes and transmits the data back to the farmer. Thus, the farmer can get a real-time insight of the wellbeing of their peatlands, and be notified when risk of wildfire or drought is detected. Peater saves nature’s most vital CO2 capture tool before it’s too Late!