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Research Unit

Sustainable Ecotechnologies

The researchers of the RU Sustainable Ecotechnologies contribute, on the one hand, to the transformation of industrial production towards a sustainable circular economy based on renewable resources and, on the other hand, to the creation of a low-pollution, livable environment in cities and their rural surroundings.

  • In order to produce resource- and energy-efficiently, cycles must be closed.
  • The consumption of fossil organic and scarce inorganic raw materials must be reduced and fossil energy sources must be replaced by renewable energies.
  • Harmful substances must not enter the environment unhindered. Where this does happen, technologies must be available to eliminate them.
  • Urban infrastructure must adapt our cities to the conditions of a warmer climate.
These goals are reflected in the two research directions 'Sustainable Circular Economy' and 'Management of Environmental Quality'.

Sustainable Circular Economy – The focus here is on sustainable biotechnological production of energy sources (hydrogen, biogas, liquid fuels) and chemical building blocks for the polymer, chemical and pharmaceutical industries from renewable resources. Processes are used that require minimal land use. At the same time, biotechnological options are being developed to minimize anthropogenic emissions in the spirit of a circular bioeconomy.

This research direction creates and bundles the RU's biotechnological know-how and strives for technology maturity that allows transfer to business and industrial players. The integration of industrial partners mainly takes place via established networks and joint third-party funded projects (see e.g. RWTec). It will be systematically expanded with the help of the UFZ's Knowledge and Technology Transfer Department in order to ensure access to research and development results for companies.

Creating a climate-resilient, low-impact, and stressor-minimized human environment in rural and urban areas requires knowledge of the behavior of chemicals in natural and engineered systems as well as technologies for their removal. Climate-resilient, energy- and water-efficient cities require technologies that close local water cycles and improve microclimate while reducing the energy demand of urban infrastructures.

The development and implementation of such technologies requires the early involvement of practice partners from politics, administration and (municipal) companies. Successful examples (see e.g. Leipzig BlauGrün) serve as a model for future co-design processes along this research direction.

The research directions are organized in the integration platform (IP) 'Tapping nature's potential - TapNature' (IP TapNature) and contribute to Topics 7, 5 and 9 of the current research program 'Changing Earth: Sustaining our Future'.


Highlights from the Research Unit

CAPitalize Leaves
© Cosun Beet Company

Consortium of Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research GmbH – UFZ and Deutsches Biomasse Forschungszentrum – DBFZ will collaborate with Cosun Beet Company to further develop the Capraferm® process and realize project idea of turning waste to value by converting beet leaves into carboxylic acids.

In the photo: Heike Sträuber, Walter Stinner (DBFZ), Matthias Sauer (Cosun Beet Company), Flávio Baleeiro, Arne Gröngröft (DBFZ)

Further information

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