News

Circulating water

Press release from 08.05.2024

Under the motto "Water reuse for a sustainable future", Fraunhofer UMSICHT is presenting various technologies for water recycling and wastewater treatment at this year's IFAT in Munich. The focus is on the improved separation of pollutants and greater resource and energy efficiency.

to the press release on the event

Coffee milk in the catering industry: Reusable or portion packaging

Press release from 03.05.2024

A new EU regulation provides for a ban on small individual packaging made from disposable plastic for coffee creamers. These consist of a polystyrene base film and an aluminum lid, both of which are usually incinerated after use. An alternative in the hospitality industry, e.g. in bakeries, cafés or in the travel sector, are reusable solutions. Fraunhofer UMSICHT carried out a life cycle assessment for the company frischli Milchwerke to investigate the advantages and disadvantages of reusable solutions such as ceramic jugs or thermos flasks compared to individual packaging.

to the press release on the life cycle assessment

"Sustainability as the Success Factor in Industries"

Press release from 12.04.2024

Nowadays, the topic of sustainability is becoming increasingly important not only against the backdrop of global challenges for industry, but also in order to increase one's own competitiveness.

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Evolution of synthetic rubber: bio-based raw materials and new types of rubber

Press release from 03.04.2024

Synthetic rubber is indispensable today, especially for car tires and technical rubber goods. Until now, the raw materials for its production have largely been obtained from fossil sources. Under the leadership of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP, four Fraunhofer Institutes are now developing alternative, biobased raw material sources for synthetic rubber, which will enable completely new types of rubber for car tires. The three-year project is being funded by Fraunhofer with 3.25 million euros and starts in April 2024.

to the press release on synthetic rubber

  • AI-based operator assistance system wins European Paper Recycling Award 2023

    Press release from 01.03.2024

    Increasing sustainability in the paper recycling cycle and counteracting the shortage of skilled workers: In the BMWK joint project "KIBAPap", the Fraunhofer IVV and its project partners are developing a self-learning assistance system for machine operators that makes a significant contribution to reducing resource requirements in the highly complex process of paper production from waste paper. In addition, it enables the sustainable safeguarding of experience in the company and thus offers an answer to the challenges of the shortage of skilled workers. On February 19, 2024, the "KIBAPap" research project was presented with the European Paper Recycling Award 2023 for innovative technologies and R&D in Brussels.

    to the press release on the award

  • Industrial areas become industrial hubs for the Circular Economy

    Press release from 15.02.2024

    In a functioning circular economy, different sectors must work together and symbioses between different technologies are a key prerequisite. To achieve this, systemic change is necessary. A consortium of 35 organizations from various countries in Europe is working on this in the Horizon Europe Innovation Action project entitled "Sustainable Circular Economy Transition: from Industrial Symbiosis to Hubs for Circularity (IS2H4C)" under the leadership of the University of Twente (NL). The four-year project aims to establish four industrial hubs: in the Netherlands, Turkey, the Basque Country and Germany. Fraunhofer UMSICHT is contributing its expertise in the field of methanol synthesis and the synthesis of dicarbamates from CO2 to the Turkish hub.

    to the press release on industrial hubs

    New glossary on reuse brings clarity to the jungle of terms in the Circular Economy

    Press release from 14.02.2024

    What is the difference between reuse and recycling? How should the German term Mehrweg be used and how does it differ from Einweg? For which evaluation are reuse rates more meaningful than recycling rates? Answers to these questions, raised not least by the PPWR (Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulation of the EU), and brief explanations of the terms used in the recycling of packaging are provided in the new "Mehrweg-Glossar/Glossary on Reuse", published in German and English. The Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT and the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML produced this on behalf of the Stiftung Initiative Mehrweg (Reusable Packaging Initiative Foundation) to bring clarity to the often blurred terminology surrounding reuse and the circular economy.

    to the press release on the glossary on reuse

    New position paper on transparent life cycle assessment of plastics recycling

    Press release from 06.02.2024

    Life cycle assessments are often used as a basis for decision-making when selecting environmentally friendly processes, input materials or services for plastics recycling. But what does a comparable and transparent ecological assessment that meets different requirements look like? Fraunhofer CCPE researchers have identified ten challenges and ten requirements in their position paper that increase comparability and transparency in the ecological assessment of plastics recycling.

    to the press release on the position paper

  • Recycling rubber waste

    Press release from 17.01.2024

    Elastomers can be found in many products and areas of application. In addition to their use in tires, many technical products such as seals, tubes, cable sheathing, gloves and much more are made from elastomers. Apart from used tires, which are collected and recycled separately, the recycling of elastomers is hardly possible in many cases, either economically or technically. New approaches and initial solutions for circular elastomers will be presented at our next Fraunhofer CCPE compact "Elastomers - Advanced technologies for recycling" on February 22, 2024 from 2 pm to 4 pm.

    to the press release on CCPE compact

    Macauba food ingredients

    Press release from 17.01.2024

    To advance the sustainable production of vegetable oil, proteins, and fiber, the Fraunhofer IVV branch lab in Campinas, Brazil, is working to use the full fruits of the macauba palm tree. A new extraction method has been developed, making it possible to use not only the oil from the macauba fruits, but also the other secondary products of processing. Fraunhofer IVV developed this method up to the pilot scale and applied for a patent for it. The transition to commercial application came in the summer of 2023, with a spin-off from Fraunhofer IVV.

    to the press release on macauba

    Branch meeting on mechanical plastics recycling

    Press release from 11.01.2024

    Challenges in the mechanical recycling of polycarbonate, opportunities for circular design in the automotive industry or the question of whether there are enough recyclates of appropriate quality for all users - these and more will be the topics of the sixth Forum Plastic Recyclates on March 13 and 14, 2024 in Darmstadt. This event offers expert knowledge on topics such as additivation and stabilization, analysis of recyclates, masterbatches and compounds as well as applications. The conference program and online registration are now available. The new #LBFDeepDive format answers questions from an exclusive group of participants. 

    to the press release on the conference

  • Moving towards a climate-neutral future through closed material cycles

    Press release from 26.11.2023

    Avoiding waste, conserving resources, saving energy, reducing CO2 production: On the path towards climate neutrality and in times of energy crises, the circular economy is of particular importance. This is also reflected in the Europäische Woche der Abfallvermeidung (European waste-prevention week), which takes place annually in November in order to increase public awareness regarding the sustainable utilization of resources.

    to the press release on the European waste-prevention week

    Open source technologies for deforestation-free supply chains

    Press release from 20.11.2023

    The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) has launched the "Forestguard" pilot project to support deforestation-free supply chains as part of the Export Initiative for Environmental Protection (EXI). The Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML in Dortmund is working with the REWE Group and Schirmer Kaffee GmbH, among others, to develop an open source solution, initially for tracking the coffee supply chain. The solution combines blockchain technology with other technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and geographical information systems.

    to the press release on the project "ForestGuard"

  • EU project kick-off: "SUNGATE" – A novel technology platform for highly efficient carbon neutral production of solar fuels

    Press release from 31.10.2023

    In October 2023, the EU project "SUNGATE" commenced under the coordination of the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and in collaboration with 11 partners from research and industry. SUNGATE aims to engineer a novel, circular, sustainable and cost-efficient bio-hybrid technology to achieve the highly-efficient and scalable production of solar fuels in systems ranging from portable temporary installations to larger-scale solutions.

    to the press release on the EU project "SUNGATE"

    Dr. Guoxing Chen receives the FCPAE award as one of the “Top 10 Leading Chinese Talents in Science and Technology in Europe”

    Press release from 23.10.2023

    At the 14th European Forum of the FCPAE (Federation of Chinese Professional Associations in Europe) from 20 to 21 October 2023 in Brussels, Dr Guoxing Chen, scientist at Fraunhofer IWKS, was honoured with the “Top 10 Leading Chinese Talents in Science and Technology in Europe” Award 2023.

    to the press release on the award for Dr Guoxing Chen

    New study proves: Recycling makes a significant contribution to sustainable business

    Press release from 17.10.2023

    The Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT analyzed the environmental effects of recycling for Interzero in the new study "resources SAVED by recycling" for 2022. The result: Interzero and its customers save around 1 million tons of greenhouse gases and 8.7 million tons of primary resources. The consistent recycling of materials in a circular economy thus contributes considerably to climate protection and at the same time makes Germany and Europe fit for the future as a place to live and do business.

    to the press release on Interzero-study

    European Innovation Award EARTO 2023 for sustainable and cost-effective manufacturing process of aerogels

    Press release from 9.10.2023

    The Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT has revolutionized the production process of the high-performance insulation material aerogel. For this, the researchers received the first Innovation Award of the European Association for Research and Technology Organization EARTO in the “Impact Expected” category in Brussels on October 11, 2023. The non-profit association awards the prize to products and services with high social or economic benefits for the EU.

    to the press release on the EARTO award 2023

    Roadmap “Circular bioeconomy for Germany”

    Climate change, over-consumption of resources, international dependency on the supply of raw materials and an increasing  global population are major challenges for politics, industry and society. To address these ongoing crises, raw materials must undergo a similar transition to those in energy and agriculture. In addition, resilient systems must be established to ensure the security of supply in Germany. A key factor in this process is the circular bioeconomy, which is based on the circular economy and the use of renewable raw materials instead of non-renewables. Researchers at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are highlighting the scientific and technological potential of the bioeconomy in their roadmap “Circular bioeconomy for Germany”. The roadmap includes recommended actions to be taken at a political level to help accelerate the market ramp-up of bio-based products and technologies, and to address social and ecological challenges.

    to the roadmap on circular bioeconomy for Germany

  • More sustainability in the polymer industry – Fraunhofer PAZ inaugurates expansion building

    Press release from 21.9.2023

    The new expansion building of the synthesis plant of the Fraunhofer Pilot Plant Center for Polymer Synthesis and Processing PAZ in Schkopau was ceremonially inaugurated on September 21, 2023. With an additional area of approximately 550 m2, the building provides space for new equipment and processes. Research and development work focuses on innovative synthetic rubbers and energy-efficient synthesis processes. The new building was financed with around 7 million euros from funds provided by the European Union (ERDF), the Ministry of Science, Energy, Climate Protection and the Environment of the state of Saxony-Anhalt and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

    to the press release on the new expansion building of the synthesis plant

  • Personal preferences, social relationships and available options determine our mobility behavior

    Press release from 21.8.2023

    The mobility transition requires an intelligent networking of all mobility options. Besides achieving better individual mobility with less traffic, it is critical to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles and mobility systems. Digitization and AI can play a decisive role in development, testing, validation and system networking. In KAMO (short for »Karlsruhe Mobility«), we address current and future challenges faced by individuals, companies, local authorities and the environment through knowledge transfer, practical examples and smart technologies.

    to the press release on the mobility transition

  • World Record Efficiency of 15.8 % Achieved for 1 cm² Organic Solar Cell

    Press release from 18.6.2023

    Organic photovoltaics (OPV) opens up new areas of application for solar energy thanks to its climate friendly and inexpensive production and its flexible and potentially transparent solar cells. To help this technology achieve a market breakthrough, research institutes worldwide are working to improve the efficiency and scalability of organic solar cells. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE and the Materials Research Center FMF at the University of Freiburg have now improved their own efficiency record, announced back in September 2020, for an organic solar cell with an area of one square centimeter. Now, with a new record efficiency of 15.8 percent, the research team at Fraunhofer ISE has again set the world record in this category.

    to the press release on organic solar cells

    New guide to the future of plastics

    Press release from 1.6.2023

    How does a future-proof, circular and sustainable plastics economy look like? The answer is a balance ranging from plastics reduction to a sustainable use of recyclable plastics. After all, the increasing demand for plastics in high-value applications such as food packaging, car parts or synthetic textiles requires a holistic change. With four strategic approaches, researchers from the German institute Fraunhofer UMSICHT and the Dutch institute TNO now provide insights into how this future scenario could look like in their recently published white paper "From #plasticfree to future-proof plastics". Both organizations also start a hands-on platform for plastics in a circular economy: European Circular Plastics Platform – CPP aimed at removing existing barriers and sharing of promising solutions.

    to the press release on a sustainable plastics economy

    Reducing climate-damaging emissions with lightweight drive shafts

    Press release from 1.6.2023

    Lightweight design is essential for sustainable mobility. Drive shafts made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP) with a thermosetting matrix, for example, can reduce climate-damaging emissions. Nevertheless, the lightweight design and resource-saving potential of these shafts has not been completely realized yet. Together with partners, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP are developing a new, very lightweight drive and side shaft system for cars and trucks whose matrix consists of thermoplastic materials. These materials can be recycled and have an additional weight advantage.

    to the press release on lightweight drive shafts

  • CIRCONOMY® Hubs bring circular economy into practice

    Press release from 16.05.2023

    CIRCONOMY® Hubs
    © Fraunhofer UMSICHT
    CIRCONOMY® Hubs bring circular economy into practice.

    In order to implement sustainable production, sustainable consumption and circular economy in practice, both systemic and technical solutions are required. According to an idea of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, these solutions are to be created in so-called CIRCONOMY® Hubs. These are Germany-wide networks that bring together partners from science, industry, associations and society to focus on a specific area. Two of these networks have already started their work: the hubs "Material Cycles in the Construction Sector" and "Circular Carbon Technologies CCT".

    to the press release on CIRCONOMY® Hubs

    Fraunhofer IWKS contributes to the CIRCONOMY® initiative with technology development and consulting services

    Interview from 10.05.2023

    Dr. Emanuel Ionescu is deputy institute director of the Fraunhofer IWKS.

    What is the circular economy? How can CIRCONOMY® Hubs contribute to it? What is next for the initiative? And what added value does the work being done in CIRCONOMY® Hubs bring? In “Four questions to...”, we regularly interview participants in the CIRCONOMY® initiative. This time with Dr. Andrea Gassmann, Dr. Gert Homm and Dr. Emanuel Ionescu from the Fraunhofer IWKS.

    to the interview on circular economy

  • "The circular economy means rethinking value chains"

    Interview from 16.3.2023

    Dr. Daniela Pufky-Heinrich manages the division "Economics of Technology and Management" and the Center for Economics of Materials CEM Halle (Saale) at the Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy IMW.

    What is the circular economy? How can CIRCONOMY® Hubs contribute to it? What is next for the initiative? And what added value does the work being done in CIRCONOMY® Hubs bring? In “Four questions to...”, we regularly interview participants in the CIRCONOMY® initiative. This time with Dr. Daniela Pufky-Heinrich from the Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy IMW.

    to the interview on circular economy

    "The structure of the CIRCONOMY® Hubs facilitates the development of ecologically and economically viable solutions for the circular economy"

    Interview from 2.3.2023

    Karl-Anders Weiß from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE.

    What is the circular economy? How can CIRCONOMY® Hubs contribute to it? What is next for the initiative? And what added value does the work being done in CIRCONOMY® Hubs bring? In “Four questions to...”, we regularly interview participants in the CIRCONOMY® initiative. This time with Karl-Anders Weiß from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE.

    to the interview on circular economy

  • "The transition to a circular economy is essential for the sustainable orientation of the European and global economic system"

    Interview from 1.2.2023

    Katharina Reh is head of department recycling management at Fraunhofer UMSICHT in Sulzbach-Rosenberg.

    What is the circular economy? How can CIRCONOMY® Hubs contribute to it? What is next for the initiative? And what added value does the work being done in CIRCONOMY® Hubs bring? In “Four questions to...”, we regularly interview participants in the CIRCONOMY® initiative. This time with Katharina Reh, head of department recycling management at Fraunhofer UMSICHT in Sulzbach-Rosenberg.

    to the interview on circular economy

  • "The circular economy is an outcome of the desire to preserve livelihoods, achieve climate goals and increase economic power"

    Interview from 08.11.2022

    Prof. Dr. Philip Leistner
    Prof. Dr. Philip Leistner heads the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP.

    What is the circular economy? How can CIRCONOMY® Hubs contribute to it? What is next for the initiative? And what added value does the work being done in CIRCONOMY® Hubs bring? In “Four questions to...”, we regularly interview participants in the CIRCONOMY® initiative. This time with Prof. Dr. Philip Leistner, Head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP.

    to the interview on circular economy

  • "A CIRCONOMY® Hub offers a completely new way of collaborating"

    Interview from 28.09.2022

    Dr. Christian Schütz, Fraunhofer LBF, project coordinator plastics.

    What is the circular economy? How can CIRCONOMY® Hubs contribute to it? What is next for the initiative? And what added value does the work being done in CIRCONOMY® Hubs bring? In “Four questions to...”, we regularly interview participants in the CIRCONOMY® initiative. This time with Dr. Christian Schütz from the Fraunhofer LBF. 

    to the interview on circular economy

    "CIRCONOMY® Hubs are a response to the realization that transitioning towards the circular economy cannot be achieved by market participants acting alone"

    Interview from 01.09.2022

    Dr. Anett Hauser, Head of central office Fraunhofer Group for Energy Technologies and Climate Protection.

    What is the circular economy? How can CIRCONOMY® Hubs contribute to it? What is next for the initiative? And what added value does the work being done in CIRCONOMY® Hubs bring? In “Four questions to...”, we regularly interview participants in the CIRCONOMY® initiative. This time with Dr. Anett Hauser, Head of central office Fraunhofer Group for Energy Technologies and Climate Protection.

    to the interview on circular economy

  • "The vision of the Fraunhofer Bioeconomy Strategic Research Field is to facilitate the circular economy through innovative processes, materials and products based on biological resources"

    Interview from 21.07.2022

    Dr. Anna-Katharina Stumpf, Central office Fraunhofer Strategic Research Field Bioeconomy.

    What is the circular economy? How can CIRCONOMY® Hubs contribute to it? What is next for the initiative? And what added value does the work being done in CIRCONOMY® Hubs bring? In “Four questions to...”, we regularly interview participants in the CIRCONOMY® initiative. This time with Dr. Anna-Katharina Stumpf, head of the Fraunhofer Bioeconomy Strategic Research Field central office.

    to the interview on circular economy

    "CIRCONOMY® hubs are designed to bring circular business forward"

    Interview from 07.07.2022

    Dr. Hartmut Pflaum is project manager of the CIRCONOMY® initiative.

    Putting sustainable production, sustainable consumption and the circular economy into practice requires systemic and technical solutions. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft proposes to achieve this via a Germany-wide network of CIRCONOMY® Hubs. In this interview, Dr. Hartmut Pflaum explains the thought process behind this idea and the various ways these hubs can be implemented. He is the project manager of the CIRCONOMY® initiative.

    to the interview on CIRCONOMY®-Hubs