Fraunhofer Field Office for Carbon Cycle Technologies established at TU Freiberg

Three men and a woman unveiling a tablet
On 11 June, Science Minister Dr. Eva-Maria Stange handed over the promise of start-up financing amounting to 4.6 million euros. This will create a joint research group on carbon cycle technologies with the Fraunhofer IMWS at the Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg.

"The new Freiberg branch is an example of the approach of taking a holistic look at the use of resources and implementing solutions with practical relevance in Freiberg. The cooperation with Fraunhofer will make it possible to increase the visibility of this research work internationally and to involve companies from Saxony and Germany that can benefit from the exploitation of these ideas. In this way, we generate added value in the region from science - building on and through the targeted expansion of local competencies," says Science Minister Dr. Stange.

At the same time, the Carbon Cycle Technologies branch strengthens the profile of the TU Bergakademie in the field of sustainable raw materials and energy management as well as the recycling of metallic and carbon resources. "We are the leading institute in Europe for research and development in the field of thermal-chemical conversion of primary and secondary carbon sources, in particular coal, natural gas and carbon-containing waste. This enables us to develop economic and sustainable solutions for pressing social issues," says Prof. Bernd Meyer, Director of the Institute of Energy Process Engineering and Chemical Engineering (IEC). In addition to the advantages for climate protection, he also has the problem of plastic waste in mind. Instead of polluting the landscape and the oceans, it could become a source of raw materials for the carbon cycle economy.

With new processes and technologies on an industrial scale, the researchers at the IEC of the TU Bergakademie and the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructures of Materials and Systems IMWS want to make it possible in future to use existing carbon sources as efficiently and as sparingly as possible in terms of CO2 emissions and resources. Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, green hydrogen or biomass are also to be included.

In the course of the four-year construction phase, which has now been approved, equipment investments for the analysis of carbon carriers and their conversion products as well as pilot-scale test facilities are also planned. There, the different feedstocks will be tested under industrial conditions in different conversion concepts.

Partners from German and Polish industry and science as well as representatives from associations and politics were also present at the festive presentation of the permit. The waste management, energy and plant engineering sectors were particularly interested. To coincide with the establishment of the Fraunhofer IMWS branch office in Freiberg, a contract was signed between the TU Bergakademie Freiberg and JSW, Poland's largest coking coal producer in Europe, for a five-year research fund for the development of new sustainable value chains to close the carbon cycle for coke production by-products. The president of JSW, Daniel Ozon, came to Freiberg personally for this purpose.