Press releases, interviews and news

  • Decarbonization / 2024

    Contributing to the energy transition by making cooling supply systems more flexible

    Press release / April 16, 2024

    Kick-off für das Projekt FlexBlue
    © Fraunhofer UMSICHT

    By making cooling supply systems more flexible, CO2 emissions can be reduced by 22 to 39 percent and electricity procurement costs by 35 to 54 percent. Fraunhofer UMSICHT came to this conclusion in the "FlexKaelte" project. At the same time, the researchers found that there are still a number of obstacles and hurdles on the way to flexibilization – from concerns about possible losses in cooling quality and a lack of information regarding the achievable economic potential to the question of how cooperation between the various players can be structured. How these obstacles can be overcome is the focus of the follow-up project "FlexBlue", for which the institute has joined forces with a number of partners.

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  • Green Hydrogen / 2024

    "We need to test hydrogen technologies and put them into practice"

    Interview / April 04, 2024

    Dr.-Ing. Sebastian Stießel und Dr.-Ing. Esther Stahl sprachen im Interview über den Aufbau einer Wasserstoffwirtschaft.

    Green Hydrogen is one of Fraunhofer UMSICHT's key research topics. In this interview, Dr.-Ing. Esther Stahl and Dr.-Ing. Sebastian Stießel discuss the role of green hydrogen in making our economy climate neutral. They highlight both challenges and opportunities and explain how our scientists can support the development of a hydrogen economy – from the production, use and storage of green hydrogen to the evaluation of systems and locations where hydrogen is to be used.

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  • Circular Economy / 2024

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

    Press release / April 03, 2024

    Neuartige, biobasierte Kautschuktypen sollen künftig Autoreifen mit bisher unerreichten Eigenschaften ermöglichen.
    © Fraunhofer IAP, Foto: Till Budde

    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.

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  • Heat transition / 2024

    How municipalities design and successfully implement their heat planning across sectors

    Press release / March 21, 2024

    Kick-off zum Start des Verbundvorhabens »KommWPlanPlus – Forschungs- und Entwicklungscluster zur Verknüpfung von kommunaler Wärmeplanung mit der Umsetzungsplanung von integralen Maßnahmen im Quartier«.
    © Fraunhofer UMSICHT

    The "Heat Planning and Decarbonization of Heating Networks Act" came into force on January 1st, 2024. This requires Germany's municipalities to undertake a municipal heat planning by developing strategies for the conversion of their energy supply to renewable energies and unavoidable waste heat. The partners in the newly launched joint project "KommWPlanPlus" are focusing on how these plans can be designed across sectors and successfully implemented in practice.

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  • Life cycle assessment / 2024

    More environmentally friendly flame retardants for e-mobility and electronics

    Press release / March 20, 2024

    The demand for electronic devices is increasing worldwide. Each of them contains flame retardants - to prevent fires and ultimately save lives. Brominated flame retardants are widely used, but in addition to their fire-retardant function, some of them have harmful effects on the environment and health and cannot currently be recycled. Organophosphorus flame retardants are a possible alternative. However, comparative life cycle studies on this type of flame retardant are still lacking. The Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Energy and Safety Technology UMSICHT has now investigated the environmental impact of organophosphorus flame retardants compared to brominated flame retardants in plastic components such as charging plugs for electric cars or USB-C connectors for the first time in a comparative life cycle assessment commissioned by Clariant.

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  • Önline platform for heat transformation tools and measures
    © Shutterstock/Composing Fraunhofer UMSICHT

    In future, Germany's municipalities will be required to submit concepts and strategies for climate-neutral heating. This is the aim of the law on municipal heating planning planned for 2024. The aim is to transform the supply of space heating, hot water and process heat to a greenhouse gas-neutral system. In order to record heating demands, identify local potentials and develop a corresponding action plan, each municipality must take its own individual path. Best-practice examples and tools for drafting the heat transition provide orientation and assistance. This is where Fraunhofer UMSICHT and the municipal utility network Arbeitsgemeinschaft für sparsame Energie- und Wasserverwendung (ASEW) are working on a joint project: They want to evaluate and characterize existing tools and measures and make them available to heating market players via an online platform.

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  • IS2H4C / 2024

    Industrial areas become industrial hubs for the Circular Economy

    Press release / February 15, 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Project completion FlexKaelte / 2024

    Minimize CO2 emissions and save electricity costs by making refrigeration supply systems more flexible

    Press release / February 08, 2024

    © shutterstock/Composition: Fraunhofer UMSICHT

    Feeding and distributing decentralized, time-fluctuating renewable energies into our energy supply system is one of the challenges of the energy transition. In addition to the expansion of energy grids, this also requires the use of energy storage systems for load management. While the focus of research and practice has so far been on the flexibilization of heat supply systems, scientists at Fraunhofer UMSICHT have closed this gap and investigated the potential of cooling supply systems. The result: The economic and ecological benefits of making cooling supply systems more flexible go hand in hand.

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  • Fraunhofer CCPE / 2024

    New position paper on transparent life cycle assessment of plastics recycling

    Press release / February 06, 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.

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