Environmental pollution and dwindling natural resources are among the major problems facing humanity today. The research at the Fraunhofer IGB contributes to addressing these challenges by developing and optimising processes in medicine, pharmacy, chemistry, energy and the environment. The institute's work is based on the cooperation of the different scientific fields represented at the Fraunhofer IGB, and encompasses topics such as molecular biotechnology, interfacial engineering and materials science, physical process engineering, environmental biotechnology and bioprocess engineering, and cell and tissue engineering. The Fraunhofer IGB offers comprehensive solutions from laboratory scale up to the construction of pilot plants.
Optimised processes for sustainable use of resources
A specific goal of the environmental business area at the Fraunhofer IGB is the development of technological solutions, which minimise the negative environmental impact of industrial processes, and pave the way for an ecologically and economically sustainable future. Among other things, the Fraunhofer IGB is developing processes and system components that help companies conserve raw materials, water, energy and other vital resources. It also investigates better ways to recycle and use renewable resources. An example of this work is the DEUS 21 decentralised urban infrastructure system concept. Thanks to DEUS 21, a new housing development in the town of Knittlingen was outfitted with a unique new municipal water management system, which is environmentally friendly, sustainable and cost-effective at the same time. Some research projects at the Fraunhofer IGB aim to make industrial cleaning processes more environmentally friendly or generate biomass from algae for biofuel production. Others recover substances from agro-industrial process water that can be reused as high-quality fertilisers. All products developed at the institute are evaluated in terms of the environmental impact they will have throughout their entire life cycle.
Interdisciplinary teams within the Fraunhofer IGB are important to its success, but project cooperation goes beyond the institute as well. The Fraunhofer IGB participates in the Fraunhofer Building Innovation, Energy, Cleaning Technology and Water Systems (SysWater) Alliances, the Fraunhofer Sustainability Network as well as in the national technology platform SusChem Deutschland, and is part of several international research networks, especially within Europe. The institute cooperates closely with several universities and conducts joint projects in Asia, Africa and South America.