Birmingham - Fraunhofer Joint Research Platform Launch

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The purpose of the collaborative platform is due to the growing concerns of our global communities’ energy consumption. There is a need for clean, alternative sources of energy to meet these demands. There is also a persistent need to manage our resources better with more practical processing and exploitation of waste, with a greater focus on the production of energy and biofuels from waste.

The Birmingham Energy Institute and Fraunhofer UMSICHT will combine academic expertise with industrial capability to develop a Joint Research Platform that will deliver new approaches to energy and waste management. The beneficiaries will be the cities and our communities. This new collaboration will address the practical challenges that sit at the heart of the energy waste nexus, applying academic insight to accelerate innovation to the market place. 

The Birmingham Energy Institute is the focal point for the University of Birmingham, and its national and international partners to create change in the way we deliver, consume and think about energy. The Institute drives technology innovation and develops the thinking required to solve the challenges facing the global community as it seeks to develop sustainable energy solutions in transport, electricity and heat supply.

Fraunhofer UMSICHT’s expertise will enable the acceleration of innovation to market. The research institute, based in Sulzbach-Rosenberg and Oberhausen in Germany, develops concepts and processes for direct application. Integrated process monitoring for efficient, sustainable and economical solutions are central to Fraunhofer UMSICHT’s work.

The collaboration will initially focus on the new Thermo-Catalytic Reforming (TCR®) technology, developed by Professor Andreas Hornung, Chair in Bioenergy at the University of Birmingham, and Director of the Institute Branch, Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Fraunhofer UMSICHT. The demonstrator for TCR® is based at Tyseley Energy Park in the city of Birmingham - a central hub for Energy Innovation as part of the Energy Capital vision for the West Midlands. 

The collaboration will promote the exchange of research staff and students between two organisations to encourage knowledge exchange and facilitate the development of new science. It will also speed up renewable energy technology routes to market. 

In the future, the collaboration will look to progress a chain of commercial-scale thermo-catalytic reforming plants around the city of Birmingham. This concept, developed by Professor Andreas Hornung, has been called the “Thermal Belt”. If developed, the technology will have the potential to transform the way that we think about waste and energy, and start providing a solution to the growing demand for clean energy and fuels on a global scale. 

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