What made CO2PENHAGEN unique?


CO2PENHAGEN was the world’s first arts and music festival to run entirely on energy from renewable sources produced locally on the festival site. In the end, it was not just carbon neutral but actually contributed green energy to the Danish national grid.

As well as generating its own energy sustainably, CO2PENHAGEN made innovative use of the newest green technologies to create fun and unique experiences for festival-guests, proving that environmental awareness and great design go well together.

CO2PENHAGEN was the result of a collaboration between businesses, Danish and international artists and students from the Technical University of Denmark.


COP15 article, Marie Sauer-Johansen 15/09/2009;


New technologies power the world’s first completely CO2 neutral music festival.

The Technical University of Denmark houses CO2PENHAGEN, the first festival in the world to rely completely on sustainable energy produced on location.

“We want to demonstrate green technologies in new ways. The technologies we need already exist – not only are we CO2-neutral, we actually produce more energy than we need” says journalist Katrine Vejby, who has organised the festival in collaboration with the university.

A program packed with famous Danish bands has attracted crowds of music-lovers to the usually deserted parking lots at the university on the outskirts of Copenhagen, where the festival kicked off on September 5 – 6.

65 pct. of the energy used is provided by a ‘Stirling engine’ running on organic matter. The rest is provided by a gasifier  and two generators running on second-generation bio-ethanol and rapeseed oil. Solar cells and bicycles are also used.

“Our definition of sustainability is to be self-sufficient, so we don’t have to buy carbon-offsets,” explains Ms. Vejby.
She points to two university students who are busy demonstrating bioethanol production.

“We want to show the technologies in one of the environments where they are invented. By putting them into a concrete function, we show that they work as well as the technologies we already know,” says Ms. Vejby. Her voice is almost drowned by the enthusiastic shouts from two teams competing to produce the most power on exercise bikes. The stage is lit up by blue LED-lights, and the DJ spinning the records to speed up the two teams is one of Danish music’s grand old men, master Fatman.

“The amount of interest in the festival has been overwhelming – so many bands and organizations have wanted to be part of this”, says Ms. Vejby, her eyes shining with excitement.

And there is a lot to be excited about: At the end of the festival, the CO2-neutral Stirling engine had produced 1 Megawatt hour more than what was used, and most tickets were sold, despite rain on the first day.

“We hope to inspire other festivals, and that we will be able to do this again,” concludes Ms. Vejby.



UN Climate Change Panel scientsts are telling all to act now if we are to halt the consequences of climate change in time. In 2050, the world’s population will reach 9 billion people. At present, we are 6½ billion. All future 9 billion people will share our dream of living in material wealth. Homes and cars mean an increase in energy consumption. It is difficult to spot a downside to developing energy efficient forms of transportation and production. The worst that could happen is a reduction in air pollution following the planet’s resources being exploited more efficiently.

I see the climate as a driver for something we inevitably have to do something about.

This is why everyone needs to share the responsibility and contribute to good ideas coming to life. Good ideas have to blossom. Like CO2PENHAGEN, the world’s first CO2-neutral festival. This excellent example of an innovative solution has emerged because creative and progressive people have had the courage to cross boundaries. It is the sort of thing that inspires me.


Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action. Former Danish Minister for Climate and Energy.


Who are we?



Nina Louise Jensen is a Copenhagen based trained Architect (MA) from the Danish Royal Academy. She has worked extensively as a project manager and event organizer, and is one of the co-founders of CO2PENHAGEN Festival.

Moreover, Nina has worked with temporary architecture and event development at Roskilde Festival, and she has contributed to and edited a book about temporary architecture at Roskilde Festival.

In 2010-11 she co-created and designed the Swedish festival, FUTUREPERFECT– a Scandinavian festival for new sustainable living, bringing world-class leaders to frame sustainability content.

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Katrine Vejby, radio journalist and co-founder of the world’s first Carbon Neutral festival. At the age of 19, Katrine moved to Britain and began a 10 years career as a radio producer for the BBC World Service. First on youth and music programmes, and later on as a BBC staffproducer for 7 years, doing radio documentaries.

In 2007 she returned to Denmark. She developed “Nyhedsministeriet”, a daily news magazine programme for TV2 Radio (Danish national radio). Katrine also worked as the editor of Nyhedsministeriet, which went on to win the “Radiodays” award for best news programme in Denmark.

Katrine is currently setting up a Marketing and PR platform for the Danish water technology industry. She will soon complete a book on the CO2PENHAGEN festival about green communication and green events.

In November 2011 she is curating an exhibition on the CO2PENHAGEN festival at the Customs House in Sydney.

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