The Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) are pleased to announce that they have chosen Per Henrik Nielsen to be the 2020 WEFTEC Master Lecturer.

Nielsen is Project Director of Special Projects at VCS Denmark (Odense, Denmark), which is the oldest and one of the largest water utility in Denmark. At his utility, Nielsen is responsible for the planning and implementation of system-wide optimization projects and applied research efforts aimed at the development of new approaches for the sustainable management of the entire water cycle.

Each year, WEF and AEESP select a prestigious researcher to deliver the Master Lecture. The focus of the lecture alternates each year between academic and practitioner achievements. 

For 2020, WEF and AEESP chose Nielsen for his significant contributions to the water sector from the practitioner view. He will offer his expertise and thoughts on how to translate large-scale goals into effective utility-scale actions.

The title of his lecture will be, “A Utility’s Journey in the Development and Implementation of Innovation Programs in Alignment with United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.”


Nielsen’s Work

Nielsen targets his efforts at positioning his utility for the future, studying needs for system centralization and decentralization, adopting the water resource recovery paradigm, increasing resiliency, and identifying technology gaps and developing corresponding applied research efforts.

Nielsen served as the director for VCS’ Beyond Energy Neutrality program, a series of projects at the 410,000 population equivalent Ejby Molle Water Resource Recovery Facility in Odense. This program aimed to fulfill the utility’s goal of achieving energy independence and carbon neutrality; the utility achieved its goal in less than 5 years while meeting stringent treated effluent nutrient limits.

Currently, this facility produces more than 180% of the electrical energy and heat energy it requires. A key contributor to this outcome was the incorporation of an advanced deammonification process at this facility, making it the first in Scandinavia to target effluent total nitrogen goals of less than 5 mg/L, while also allowing carbon redirection to further improve the energy profile of the facility.


His Outreach

Nielsen also seeks to share his expertise, encourage interaction, and learn from others. He was instrumental in making VCS the first Danish Water Research Foundation Subscriber in 2014 and from the beginning has been seeking active involvement in the Foundation’s activities, currently serving on their prestigious Research Council.

Nielsen also represents VCS in 3VAND, an association of three of the most important Danish water utilities aimed at identifying and implementing an applied research agenda for the future. He also helps coordinate and actively participates in VCS efforts of providing assistance to water utilities around the world to strengthen their technical and institutional capabilities.

Prior to joining VCS in 2006, Nielsen worked in the consulting engineering, in the design-build contracting, and in the equipment supplier sectors of the water sector. He is a member of the Society of Danish Engineers, the WEF, and the International Water Association.

Per Henrik Nielsen - WEFTEC 2020 Master Lecturer.jpg

Per Henrik Nielsen, VCS Denmark

Master Lecture: A Utility’s Journey in the Development and Implementation of Innovation Programs in Alignment with United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

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