Axel William Larsen

Helix Lab Fellow, Class of Spring 2022
Axel William Larsen

MSc study:

MSc in Chemistry



Aalborg University (AAU)



Novo Nordisk A/S


Project title:

Sustainable Water Effluent Reuse from Solvent recovery

Project description:

At Novo Nordisk, one of the main base solvents used in the API core production is ethanol (EtOH). Due to the quantities of EtOH used, it is economically evident that the EtOH is recovered for re-use. This is performed using an equilibrium-based process, distillation. Extending the limits of the process is the re-use, sustainably, of the process effluents. The process consists of two main effluents, of which one is re-used to produce a higher value product. However, the remaining effluent should be investigated. Why? This affluent, high in mass flowrate, consists mainly of water with some heavy impurities. The current state is, the effluent is first waste-water-treated on-site then second, recycled to the Kalundborg Commune Water Supply Department (KCWSD). In tandem, purified water from KCWSD is sourced and then further purified within NN for use in the API process. Therefore, can the effluent be cleaned to an extent that it can be purified within NN to meet the required specifications?


What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?

The desire to be part of something new with high potential and strong support for my project.


What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?

Being able to have an important role in providing feedback as to how the Helix Lab will develop and networking with other fellows and employees in major companies.


What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?

Invaluable experience working in a professional research lab outside the university environment and potential job opportunities and strong networking in Kalundborg.