Ressource Flows in the Environment

Society is facing major challenges as regards the development of resource management systems that support the supply of energy, food, animal feed and other products in a sustainable way. At the same time, there is increasing scarcity of quality and future amount of key resources and available land use areas.

The Department of Environmental Science (ENVS) develops interdisciplinary sustainability assessment modeling tools to elucidate hotspots in existing resource management and technology systems that will enable:

• analyzing alternative scenarios for resource flows exchanged between human systems and the natural environment,

• assess the consequences of “vrying” ? chemical qualities of resource flows and their impacts on natural ecosystems within the soil, air and water compartment as well as the services they provide ( e.g. food)

• To analyze the effect of existing and potential regulatory tools in supporting the development of a climate friendly and environmentally sustainable circular economy

The results of this ongoing sustainability science at ENVS are used to ensure a continued high quality of the environment, e.g. by separation and recycling of nutrients, metals, plastic and glass, to sustain the ecosystem health and services on which society relies.

Modelling risk reduction scenarios, reduced resource consumption and health promotion resource flows across the sectors are important to enter the era of environmentally sustainable economic growth. Focus areas are:

1. Ecosystem services, future land use and resource efficiency

2. Use of landbased emissions as a resource for blue growth (e.g. offshore macroalgae and mussel production)

3. Utilization and recycling of resources in wastewater and waste from e.g. agricultural production and households

4. Impacts of circular resource flow on air, water and soil quality, the climate balance and biodiversity.


Examples of activities



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  • GreenSpeed spildevandsrensning (2015-2017), finansieret af Vandteknologifonden
  • Analyser af potential for ressourceudnyttelse i vand- og spildevandsforsyningen, finansieret af Naturstyrelsen
  • De Nationale Emissionsopgørelser, finansieret af miljøstyrelsen


  • Biocover (2015-2017), finansieret af Miljøstyrelsen


  • Lee, J, Pedersen, AB & Thomsen, M 2014, Are the resource strategies for sustainable development sustainable?: Downside of a zero waste society with circular resource flows. Environmental Technology & Innovation, vol 1-2, s. 46-54., 10.1016/j.eti.2014.10.002
  • Hansen, Line Block; Källstrøm, Marianne Nygaard; Jørgensen, Sisse Liv; Hasler, Berit. Vådområders omkostningseffektivitet : En erfaringsopsamling og analyse af omkostningerne ved at gennemføre vådområdeprojekter under vandmiljøplanerne VMPI og VMPII.  Danmarks Miljøundersøgelser, Aarhus Universitet, 2011. 63 s. (Faglig rapport fra DMU; Nr. 835).
  • Pizzol, M, C.R. Smart, J & Thomsen, M 2014, External costs of cadmium emissions to soil: a drawback of phosphorus fertilizers. Journal of Cleaner Production, vol 84, s. 475-483., 10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.12.080.
  • Clausen, Bellis; Holm, Heidi; Lerche, Dorte Bjerre; Thomsen, Marianne. Bliver småt elektronikaffald håndteret korrekt? Miljø og Sundhed, Vol. 18, Nr. 3, 01.12.2012, s. 21-27.
  • Hutchings, NJ, Nielsen, O-K, Dalgaard, T, Mikkelsen, MH, Børgesen, CD, Thomsen, M, Ellermann, T, Højbjerg, AL, Mogensen, L & Winther, M 2014, A nitrogen budget for Denmark; developments between 1990 and 2010, and prospects for the future. Environmental Research Letters, vol 9, nr. 11, 115012., 10.1088/1748-9326/9/11/115012