BMUB and BDI honour innovations for environmental protection and climate action
The Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) and the Federation of German Industries (BDI) have presented seven Innovation Awards for Climate and the Environment. The award recognises outstanding environmental innovations of German companies and research institutes. This year’s winning projects include climate-friendly cooling systems for retail trade, new raw materials for paper production, leather tanning agents and renewable energies. Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary at the Environment Ministry, and Holger Lösch, Deputy Director-General of the BDI, presented the awards to six winners in five categories. A seventh project received the special award "innovation and biological diversity".
Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks commented: "Constructive cooperation between industry, the research community and the public sector helps us tap the climate potential of medium-sized companies. The German Innovation Award for Climate and the Environment, which we present every two years, is intended to encourage and support businesses in showcasing their most innovative solutions. This is good for the future of Germany, its industry and our research institutions."
"Innovations are the foundation for the industry of tomorrow. This is the only way for companies to succeed in international competition and effectively protect the environment and climate”, said BDI Deputy Director-General Holger Lösch. The manufacturing sector wants to live up to its reputation as a reliable problem solver, including on climate and environmental protection. Lösch emphasised: “The Innovation Award for Climate and the Environment underlines that environmental protection and climate action need innovations from industry."
The prestigious Innovation Award (IKU) is a joint award of the BMUB and BDI and was presented for the sixth time this year. The winners are selected by a high-level panel of judges chaired by Prof. Ottmar Edenhofer (Director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change). The decision of the jury is based on a scientific assessment carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI). The award is funded from the Federal Environment Ministry’s National Climate Initiative.
The prize money is 25,000 euros in each category and 3,000 euros for the special award "innovation and biological diversity”. This year, two companies are sharing the award in the category “climate and environmental technology transfer to developing countries, emerging economies and Eastern European countries".
Winners of the Innovation Award 2017
Viessmann Kühlsysteme GmbH from Hof/Saale won the award in the category "process innovation for climate action" for its ESyCool green system. The system helps food retailers save electricity by using small, hermetically sealed heat pumps with the fluorine-free cooling agent R290 (propane) to manage all energy flows for cooling refrigerators and the building heating system.
Creapaper GmbH from Hennef succeeded in conditioning grass fibres as a raw material for paper production using a purely mechanical process without chemical additives, thus making paper more environmentally friendly. The company received the award in the category “product innovation for climate action”.
Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG from Albstadt won the award in the category "environmentally friendly technologies" for its spinitsystems technology which replaces three conventional machines in the spinning and knitting process for textile manufacturing with a single one, thus saving energy and raw materials.
LANXESS AG, a specialty chemicals company based in Cologne, in cooperation with its project partners INVITE GmbH and HELLER-LEDER GmbH & Co. KG, developed a new manufacturing process for retanning agents from leather production residues in a modular system that can be used on-site in tanneries. Fossil resources are replaced with by-products from the leather industry and renewable raw materials, and large amounts of energy are saved that were previously used for spray drying and transports. The company received the award in the category "environmentally friendly products".
There are two award winners in the category "climate and environmental technology transfer to developing countries, emerging economies and Eastern European countries".
MicroEnergy International GmbH from Berlin developed the idea of swarm electrification, which it implements in Bangladesh together with its subsidiary ME SOLshare Ltd. The idea is to link existing solar panels of neighbouring households with the help of an intelligent controller (SOLbox), creating a decentralised electricity grid. The system allows the solar electricity produced to be used more fully and traded between households.
The Renewables Academy AG (RENAC) from Berlin strengthens green energy and climate markets through capacity building in the financial sector in emerging economies. Their approach to sharing knowledge on renewable energies and energy efficiency and on international financing instruments stimulates investment in these fields.
In addition to the awards in the five "traditional" IKU categories, the jury awarded a special prize for "innovation and biological diversity". With this award, the BMUB and BDI are honouring innovations which promote climate action and environmental protection by improving biodiversity. The special prize was awarded to the association Christliche Fachkräfte International (CFI) e. V. from Stuttgart. Together with its partner Ndejje University, the association uses corncobs as waste biomass for briquette production in Uganda. The manufacturing process reduces deforestation and improves biodiversity, health and energy efficiency in the country.