News


December 2017

Photo: UFZ Photo: UFZ On 21 November 2017, the second plant for near-natural cleaning of contaminated groundwater has been launched. This is another milestone of the sustainable remediation of abandoned polluted areas in Leuna. The project stands for the successful implementation of a remediation process which was implemented and optimised by the UFZ during the last ten years.

Scientists have discovered and characterised bacteria which can degrade MTBE and benzene. They developed a procedure which uses the nature’s self-cleaning power to remediate the groundwater damage economically and ecologically.

Classic physicochemical treatment technologies often cause high treatment costs. In contrast to that the V-EcoTech-Filter plant (vertical filter system) is most of the time the more effective and more affordable alternative.

This was proofed over the past three years by the first high-duty plant in Leuna. There, up to 600 cubic meter groundwater are daily treated with low maintenance, control and energy effort. Based on the success of three years continuous operation, the second plant has been launched now. In the future, about 1000 cubic meter groundwater will be remediated economically and ecologically in Leuna every day. Other pilot plants are located for example in Rositz.

For further information please contact Dr. Manfred van Afferden, Department Centre for Environmental Biotechnology (UBZ) (manfred.afferden@ufz.de).

Photo: UFZ Photo: UFZ From 19th to the 28th of January 2018 you can visit us at the adventure farm of the International Green Week. We inform you about the resource “soil”. In hall 3.2 (stand 106) the Federal Ministry of Education and Research-funding initiative “BonaRes” presents together with the “platform for action for soil protection” what our soil is able to achieve.

“BonaRes” means “Soil as a sustainable resource for the bio economy”. Thereby, the sustainable use of the resource “soil” is to the fore. One aim of BonaRes is to extend the scientific knowledge of the soil-ecosystem. Furthermore, they want to improve the soil’s productivity and its other functions as well as develop new strategies for sustainable use and exploitation of soil.

We would be happy to meet you at the Green Week. For further information, go to www.bonares.de or contact Ute Wollschläger, Department Soil System Research (ute.wollschlaeger@ufz.de).

November 2017

Photo: UFZ Autostampler, Photo: UFZ In future, statements about groundwater regenerations and the influence of rainfall on it will be easier as the UFZ staff unit Press and Public Relations has announced. In arid countries as the Oman it is difficult to identify water reserves and their quality. Therefore, the UFZ in cooperation with the Technische Universität Darmstadt has developed a new device, called autosampler. Thereby measurements about groundwater will be more economic than in the past. Those measurements will be gathered by isotope analysis of rainfall and groundwater. The autosampler’s parts are available on the market. Furthermore, it was designed with few electronics and low-tech-construction. The new device is more robust and needs less service. 

It is now possible to supervise spacious and outlying areas with samples. The first practical test has been finished. The field test for the prototype is going on right now under real conditions in Oman. Dr. Jan Friesen and other scientists from the UFZ installed seven autosampler. Six are located in the semi-arid cloud-forests of the Dhofar mountains and the other one in the Rub al-Khali sand desert. The field test continues till the end of the year. 

Please contact Dr. Jan Friesen (jan.friesen@ufz.de; 0341 235 1082) for further information.

Autostampler, Foto: UFZ Scheme of Trap-Ox®-application: I) Formation of a sorption barrier by particle injection and II) oxidant injection for degradation of adsorbed contaminants
Trap-Ox® Fe-zeolites is a particle family of colloidal Fe-zeolites developed by UFZ and tailored for in situ trapping of organic contaminants like trichloroethene (TCE) or methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) by adsorption and subsequent degradation by catalytic oxidation. They show a high potential as novel particles for in situ remediation of groundwater. Fe-zeolites can also be used for treatment of industrial wastewater by fixed bed reactors.

In the international joint project NanoRem, UFZ scientists around Dr. Anett Georgi from the research department Environmental Engineering found out that Trap-Ox® Fe-zeolites form stable suspensions in water which can be injected into contaminated aquifers by simple techniques such as injection wells or direct push. After deposition on aquifer sediment they form a sorption zone which prevents further spreading of contaminants. In combination with intermittent injection of the oxidant hydrogen peroxide, Fe-zeolites are therefore able to trap and degrade new classes of pollutants, which were not accessible with other materials in the past.

Furthermore, fixed bed reactors with Fe-zeolites offer an interesting alternative to common activated carbon adsorbers which usually are regenerated by thermal treatment off-site in special facilities. In contrast, Fe-zeolites offer comparable or even better adsorption properties for small organic molecules (e.g. typical groundwater contaminants like TCE or MTBE) and at the same time they can be regenerated on-site by flushing with hydrogen peroxide solution.

The trade mark was applied under the name "Trap-Ox®" as a product group. Partners are Intrapore GmbH, as nanoremediation specialist which is going to take over the commercialization in this field, and the zeolite producer Clariant. To this end, first pilot tests for validation in the field are planned.

Please contact Dr. Anett Georgi (anett.georgi@ufz.de) for further information.

Photo: Fotolia, Gorodenkoff Photo: Fotolia, Gorodenkoff Scientific institutions from Leipzig support together start-ups.

In the future, the self-management initiative Leipzig (SMILE) is still going to support scientific company founders in their aim of self-employment. The European Union and the Free State of Saxony support the mutual initiative of the University Leipzig, the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the “Deutsche Biomasseforschungszentrum” (DBFZ) with 1.4 Million Euro for the next three years.

Therewith, the SMILE-initiative will help students, graduates and scientific employees beyond institutions and disciplines. They offer them a learning environment to discover, extent and contribute their own potentials and skills, explains Prof. Dr. Utz Dornberger of the University Leipzig. SMILE examines together with the founders their ideas and develops them in an individual coaching. The coaching accompanies them in the whole process: from the business idea to the market entry. Dornberger runs the project together with Prof. Dr. Helge Löbler.

There are two main concerns of the cooperation-partner UFZ: in the framework of the human resources development’ concept, scientists shall develop the entrepreneurial thought and get enthusiastic about entrepreneurial activities. The UFZ has enhanced the Lean-Canvas Modell. Due to that, it is possible to consider complex scientific out-sourcing-ideas innovatively and holistically, to structure them and to implement them successfully. The Graduate School HIGRADE offers special courses to sensitise young scientists for outsourcings as carrier-option.

For further questions and information you can contact Milina Alber (Department Knowledge and Technology Transfer: milina.alber@ufz.de).

October 2017

Logo Projekt de-us.net UFZ-scientists of the project DE-US.net visited the conferences “Smart Cities Asia“ (October 2 and 3, in Kuala Lumpur) and “Smart Cities Week“ (October 2 till 7, in Washington). The „National Brownfields Training Conference – Brownfields 2017“ (December 4 till 9, in Pittsburgh) is coming soon.

The participation in the Scientific Networking Event „Smart Cities & Urban Development” in New York, the UFZ was successful. Furthermore the UFZ took part in Smart Cities Asia and Smart Cities Week. The idea was to entrench the network further. In December, the UFZ-scientists will visit also Smart the National Brownfields Training Conference. The process of the corporate network will be presented there and the setup of the network will be continued.

The role model of DE-US.net is Linkedin. DE-US.net is an expertise-network for experts and people who are interested in “Zukunftsstadt-Future City”. Its set-up is coordinated by the UFZ in the context of a project which is promoted by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The UFZ supports the transfer of ideas and the access to expert knowledge and markets in Germany and the US. The members interchange in the network to bring forth solutions for sustainable and better life in the city of the future or to participate in international tender in the context of consortiums. Therefore, webinars are executed on the new established internet platform and partnering-offers are published.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us: Dr. Stephan Bartke (stephan.bartke@ufz.de).

The project is promoted by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

http://www.smartcitiesasia.com/
http://smartcitiesweek.com/2017-Washington/
https://www.brownfields2017.org/

Foto: André Kehrer, Chemiepark Bitterfeld-Wolfen GmbH f.l.t.r.: Dr. Joachim Nöller (UFZ), Max Fuhr (chemistry-park Bitterfeld-Wolfen GmbH), Dr. Jürgen Ude (economics ministry Sachsen-Anhalt), Prof. Dr. Angela Kolb (representative of the Landtag) and Dr. Michael Polk (chemistry-park Bitterfeld-Wolfen GmbH); Photo: André Kehrer, Chemiepark Bitterfeld-Wolfen GmbH For the first time, on October 18 2017, the „Chemiepark-Forum” took place. It is a specialised fare for industrial-related service-companies. More than 60 companies have presented their service offers to the decision makers of the local chemistry factories. Due to that there is now a good foundation to network and to make new business connections.

The UFZ informed about its research activities during the last 25 years and its focus in the future. Furthermore, it presented its successes in knowledge and technology transfer in the fields of the biotechnology and remediation research.

One highlight was the visit of state secretary Dr. Jürgen Ude (economics ministry Sachsen-Anhalt), Prof. Dr. Angela Kolb (representative of the Landtag, SPD, Sachsen-Anhalt), manager Dr. Michael Polk and Max Fuhr (both chemistry-park Bitterfeld-Wolfen GmbH). Thereby Dr. Joachim Nöller could underline the UFZ’s special relationship to the chemistry-park Bitterfeld. Using the example of the big filtration-facility in Leuna, it is possible to show how research findings can be transferred to practical utilisation. The facility is capable of clearing 550 m³ of contaminated groundwater per day in an economical way.

Furthermore, they discussed about the prospective technology area “sustainable production methods for chemicals”. The aspects of a modern circular economy have been priority and they have already led to new contacts with local companies in the chemistry-park. In collaboration with the chemistry-park Bitterfeld-Wolfen GmbH those contacts will be consequently expanded.

In the case of questions about the knowledge- and technology transfer at UFZ, please contact us: wtt@ufz.de.

September 2017

The level of success of spin-offs from research institutes depends not only on excellent specialised expert knowledge, but also on good business and social skills (management and leadership skills). Scientists bring, without doubt, the required specialist knowledge on account of long and intensive research in relevant fields. Business skills can be easily acquired by attending seminars, workshops and other training programs offered (e.g. by SMILE* at the UFZ). The social aspect, on the other hand, remains the biggest challenge for scientists. Many do not in the first place even recognise their social proficiencies; others overestimate or underestimate them.

To get to the root of this problem, a pilot project was launched at the UFZ. The scientifically recognized potential analysis instrument - DNLA Management (Discovery of Natural Latent Abilities) - was implemented to determine the potential of founder personalities at the UFZ. Six scientists, from different research areas at different educational levels had the opportunity to test this tool. First findings on the effectiveness of the DNLA instrument in the management of spin-off initiatives at the UFZ were thus obtained.

After an online appraisal of the test persons, a personal competence profile for each scientist was created. This served as a basis for an evaluation talk with the scientist. Based on the individual strengths and weaknesses that emerged, a personal development plan was developed for each scientist and concrete measures for improvement were proposed. The progress of the test persons will be examined around 6 to 12 months after the evaluation session via a yearly improvement check to determine whether the development plan has been successful and necessary competences developed or if further action is required.

The participant feedback on the use and effectiveness of the DNLA instrument was without exception positive.

Photo: Julia Zimmerhäkel, UiZ Challenges in a circular economy: business talk of Cluster Team Environment highlights innovations and barriers

On the 23rd of August 2017, the 4th business talk of the Cluster Team Environment (NEU e.V.) brought together about 30 participants from industry, research, public administration and associations in order to discuss the challenges the recycling sector faces, and how research results and new business models can contribute to a more sustainable use of raw materials.

Each of the four presentations was complemented by intensive discussions. One recurring topic was how different legal frameworks for primary and secondary raw materials make life – and innovations – very difficult for numerous actors in different areas. Some participants made immediate use of the Cluster team as a platform to find new contacts and thus, potentially, opportunities to contribute to the public discussion and development of frameworks.

The next business talk of Cluster Team Environment will take place in the second half of April 2018 and will focus on soil and groundwater remediation.

As a working group of the city of Leipzig’s Network Energy and Environment (NEU e.V.), the Cluster Team Environment focusses on companies in the field of environmental technologies which are or wish to become active in Leipzig and the region. The cluster team is led by UFZ and aims to connect the abovementioned companies and to promote exchange with academia and local authorities.

In case of any questions or interest in future cluster team events, please contact: Karen Görner (karen.goerner@ufz.de, Tel. 0341/ 235-4784)

August 2017

Grafik: Susan Walter, UFZ New online brochure outcome 2016 – technology transfer at the UFZ

The UFZ carries out excellent research within a wide range of topics related to the environment. It generates sound knowledge and technological solutions to manage our natural resources in a way that society and environment can benefit from it.

The transfer of knowledge and technologies into society and business is an integral part of our activities and mission at the UFZ. The selected examples in this brochure will give you a first insight into our broad field of technology transfer. It comprises:

  • the UFZ Technology Transfer Award 2016
  • Top Stories
  • innovative minds at the UFZ
  • monthly updates on our transfer activities
  • Technology Platforms at UFZ
The brochure Outcome 2016 can be found on the Knowledge and Technology Transfer pages of the UFZ website under the rubric ‘Downloads’.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us: Dr. Joachim Nöller (joachim.noeller@ufz.de, Tel. 0341/ 235-1033)

Radiowellen Technologie Feldstandort, Foto: F. Holzer, C. Hoyer (UFZ HTWK) "One of the big problems after each flood are the damp walls in the affected homes and businesses. Usually, the heating fans run for months. Our new method could be remedial."- Dr. Ulf Roland, Department of Technical Environmental Chemistry at the UFZ, reported in a radio contribution to MDR Sachsen – the Saxon radio on the masonry drying with the radio wave technology developed at the UFZ. Partners in the project are tHTWK Leipzig, Innovative Surface Technologies GmbH and the Otto Richter GmbH.

With the radio wave technology, moist building elements can be dried quickly and efficiently. High penetration depth, uniform heating of large formations in a cubic metre scale, energy-efficient heat input as well as a high degree of flexibility with regard to the heating rate, the final temperature and the materials to be heated are typical characteristics of the direct energy input by radio waves.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us: Dr. Ulf Trommler (ulf.trommler@ufz.de, Tel. 0341/ 235-4673)

July 2017

Participants INCOVER Stakeholder workshop/ Photo: Mi-Yong Lee, UFZ Chances for value-added products from wastewater discussed at 1st INCOVER Stakeholder wokshop

The European Commission-funded project INCOVER aims to turn biogenic waste and wastewater into valuable products. The 18-partner consortium has already been working on case studies in Spain and Germany for one year and looked into different use concepts.

This first stakeholder workshop was designed to provide researchers with feedback on their approaches and interim results, and also bring external ideas, especially from industrial sectors that may be of interest, into the further development of the work.

The focus of this workshop was on a case study implemented at the UFZ, which uses carbon-rich waste and wastewater from the food industry for the biotechnological production of organic acids, such as citric acid. The remaining process residues are partly energetically used (biogas) and, on the other, are converted to fertilizer by hydrothermal carbonization.

Discussions were lively and gave the researchers valuable cues for future tests and possible cooperation partners.

A second stakeholder workshop will follow in due course.

Titel Präsentationsfolie / UFZ A Scenario Analysis for a Wood-based Bioeconomy

One of the focus areas of our work at the UFZ is research on transformation processes within the whole economic system. These transformation processes are triggered off by the ecological need to avoid mainly the use of fossil fuels in the future. This is possible by the use of renewable resources and efficient production and consumption structures.

The bio-based economy is expected to play an increasingly important role worldwide. Within the BioEconomy Excellence Cluster, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), partners from science and industry (the timber and forestry sectors, the chemical industry, the plastics industry and the plant construction sector) in Central Germany are working closely together on researching the material and energy-related use of non-food biomass, wood in particular.

The Working Group “Law and Governance for Bioeconomy” recently presented the results of a scenario analysis in a brochure titled “Possible Futures towards a Wood-Based Bioeconomy: A Scenario Analysis for Germany”. Based on expert opinions, it illustrates potential future developments in wood-based bioeconomy in Germany and shows key influencing factors, thus making it significant for strategy development not only for the BioEconomy Excellence Cluster but also for future bioeconomy policy.

A comprehensive version of the scenario analysis is available as a scientific paper in the journal “Sustainability”:
HAGEMANN , N./GAWEL, E./PURKUS, A./PANNICKE, N./HAUCK, J.: Possible Futures Towards a Wood-
Based Bioeconomy – A Scenario Analysis for Germany, in: Sustainability, Vol. 8 (2016), Issue 1, 98.

The article is available as open access and can be directly downloaded:
http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/8/1/98/pdf