Emil Madsen

Helix Lab Fellow, Class of Spring 2022
Emil Madsen

MSc study:

MSc in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering



Technical University of Denmark (DTU)



Novozymes A/S


Project title:

Real-time IoT Fermentation Sensors

Project description:

A wide range of industrial enzymes and microorganisms are produced by fermentation technology. Besides the physical conditions as temperature, pH, stirring etc., many different factors contribute to the outcome of a fermentation. Some factors are related directly to the fermentation media such as level of nutrients and carbon source; others are related to the biological process, e.g., accumulation of metabolic components and product formation. In order to understand and improve the complex parameters, there is a need for a continuous and accurate measuring of parameters using at-line sensor technology, instead of traditional sampling and subsequent analysis, typically with long response time. This project aims to investigate current sensor technologies commercially available, what can actually be measured, and what are the possibilities with modern sensor technology in fermentation today.


What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?

I have always wanted to do my master’s thesis in collaboration with the industry and preferably one of the big companies such as Novozymes or Novo Nordisk. I also wanted to do a project related to manufacturing and production and I knew that Kalundborg was then the place to go. When I was first presented to the Helix Lab initiative I thought this was the perfect match, and I am glad that one of the offered projects was within my area of interest.


What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?
The most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow is the close collaboration with the industry. Novozymes is located just across the road from Helix Lab so you always have the industry in mind even when you are just doing literature search and writing on the report. In that way, you are always reminded of why you are doing the project and that is desired by the industry to get the knowledge and data that you create. What you are doing actually matters to the industry and can be put to use immediately.


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

I have for a long time wanted to come to Kalundborg to work with the industry. After my project at Helix Lab I hope to be able to stay in Kalundborg working with either Novozymes or Novo Nordisk or one of the other companies located here.