Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT in Oberhausen

Currently numbering 60 institutes strong, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is the largest organization for application-oriented research in Europe. Fraunhofer UMSICHT in Oberhausen develops applied industrial processing technology for private- and public-sector clients.

The vision: Fraunhofer UMSICHT is a pioneer for technical innovations in environmental, materials, process and energy technology. It seeks to promote and support economic sustainability, environmentally friendly technologies and innovative behaviour. The aim: to improve the quality of people's lives while making the domestic economy more innovative at the same time.

This sustainability orientation is reflected in the eight business units at Fraunhofer UMSICHT: Renewable Resources, Process Technology, Biofuels, Materials and Interaction, Information Technology in Process Engineering, Energy and Recycling Materials, Energy Efficiency Technologies, and Resources Management.

One thing that's particularly important: the business units do not work in isolation. They work together instead, with an interdisciplinary approach that revolves around four areas of emphasis defined as important sources of impetus: 1) "Biorefinery – Products from Renewable Resources", 2) "matfunc – Particles, Materials and Membranes with Functionality", 3) "Modular Energy Technologies – Flexible Solutions for Sustainable Energy Systems" and 4) "Information Networks – Utilizing Dispersed Knowledge in Value-Added Chains".

Fraunhofer UMSICHT is heavily international in orientation and involved in a large number of projects in Europe and worldwide. For instance, as part of a network of six other countries, in the "AlGas"-project sustainable algae cultures are being developed for use in large-scale production of biofuels. The "COACH" project is already finished, here Fraunhofer UMSICHT worked with Eastern European partners to promote the conversion of biomass to energy in Central and Eastern Europe. And as part of ECOPlast, partners from five European countries are working to turn renewable resources into innovative biocomposites for use by carmakers.