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No. 003/12 | Berlin, 17.01.2012

Federal Environment Ministry and the Federation of German Industries present innovation awards for climate and environment 2011

Competition sends important signal

For the third time, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Federation of German Industries (BD) have jointly awarded a prize for outstanding innovations in the field of climate and environmental protection. The jury, composed of renowned members such as Prof. Klaus Töpfer, selected four winners from the many entries from industry and research for the German innovation award for climate and environment 2011 (IKU). Scientific evaluation of the applications was conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI in Karlsruhe.

Due to climate change and the dramatic consumption of finite resources, the interactions between economy and ecology have become an integral part of the process for building a sustainable economy. Since 2009, the German innovation award for climate and environment has promoted ideas and innovations 'made in Germany' which contribute to combating climate change and protecting the environment while at the same time strengthening Germany's competitive edge.

"We will remain competitive if we learn how to combine economic growth with environmental protection and sound resource management. The outstanding ideas of the winners are proof that economy and ecology are compatible," said Federal Environment Minister Röttgen. "German industry offers excellent technological developments for combating climate change and protecting the environment. The award winners are role models, and their innovations are worthy of our attention and support," added BDI Director General Markus Kerben.

As in the years before, a large number of applications were submitted by companies and research facilities in 2011. The IKU 2011, supported through the BMU's Climate Initiative, was awarded in four categories, with the winners each receiving 25,000 euros.

The award for process innovations for combating climate change went to the team Fels-Werke GmbH and Ecoloop GmbH from Goslar. They developed a process named Ecoloop with which pure synthetic gas is produced from pollutant-contaminated waste and biomass with the aid of lime. In future, Ecoloop facilities can supplement various industrial processes, reducing the consumption of fossil resources and lowering CO2 emissions.

The Celitement GmbH in Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen near Karlsruhe received the award for product and services innovations for their development of climate-friendly cement. The construction sector cannot do without the 'glue' in concrete – more than three billion tonnes of cement are produced every year. The idea: Celitement can be produced at temperature as low as 200°C. Compared to conventional cement production, the production of Celitement requires only half the energy, produces half the CO2 emissions and uses up to two thirds less lime stone.

The award in the category environmentally friendly technologies went to Freudenberg Sealing Technologies in Weinheim for their environmentally sound process for welding metal components of modern sealing products. Compared to conventional processes, the new installation for narrow band-forming-laser welding (SUL) technology saves an average 73 percent of steel - that is around 1800 tonnes per year. This also means around 2700 tonnes less CO2 emissions.

The award for technology transfer was presented to Ingenieure ohne Grenzen e.V. in Berlin. The expert group on renewable energies developed small biogas installations "BiogaST" for the rural population in Tanzania. These installations will generate enough energy to cook two meals a day and provide lighting in the evening. Raw material for the mini installations are the crop residues of the banana plants typical for that region. The installation is designed in such a way that it can be financed, built and operated by the local population.

The winning projects are impressive examples of how combating climate change and economic success are not mutually exclusive. A short study presented by Federal Environment Minister Röttgen on the occasion of the IKU awards underlined this as well. This study, drawn up by the gws Osnabrück and IFEU Heidelberg, analyses the economic impact of energy efficiency and renewable energies. The study came to the conclusion that both increased energy efficiency and the expansion of renewable energies have positive economic effects and lead to more jobs, increased energy security and new opportunities for export.

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