Marvel GmbH, based in Bad Teinach, has set itself the goal of combining innovative materials with sophisticated design and where safety, fire protection and acoustic properties go hand in hand with attractiveness, high-quality design and sustainability. The company uses its own innovative biomaterial called “Marvel Bioresin”.
Migrating animals such as migratory birds are an integral part of ecosystems. However around 10 billion migratory birds die every year and their habitats are increasingly being threatened by humans. Prof. Dr. Martin Wikelski director of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell and the Department of Ornithology at the University of Konstanz tracks animal migrations using a sophisticated transmission technology. The findings from his research will contribute to animal protection and thus also to biodiversity conservation.
A group of researchers at the University of Konstanz led by Prof. Dr. Peter Kroth is working on an organism that is an extraordinarily successful survivor. Its chemical, biological and biochemical properties can be put to many different uses and it has the potential to be used in the healthcare market and industry to an even greater and more effective extent in the future. We are referring to diatoms.
American scientists from the J. Craig Venter Institute JCVI have recently visited the Institute of Limnology at the University of Constance at Lake Constance. The visit was part of the Sorcerer II Expedition which is a unique global mission to sample and discover the diversity of microorganisms and their role in global substance flows.
The Baden-Württemberg construction sector is currently experiencing a similar boom to the one that occurred in 1996. Between January 2016 and January 2017, low interest rates and uninterrupted demand for housing has led to an increase in orders of almost 10%1. A shift from conventional building materials to biobased building materials and products would likely also support the transition to a bioeconomy in this economic sector. The Institute for Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart could help make this transition possible.
Technologies that can help identify pollutants in the wastewater treated in sewage plants are urgently needed. LimCo International GmbH might have a solution. The Konstanz-based company has developed a fully-automated early warning system for monitoring the quality of water and sediment in sewage plants and waterworks.
LimCo International has developed the Multispecies Freshwater Biomonitor a unique continuous early warning system that enables the fully automated detection of water contamination. The companys GamTox toxicity test can be used to assess the ecological situation of flowing waters.
The Schwäbische Alb or Swabian Alb in southern Germany is one of three locations in Germany where, since 2008, huge numbers of scientists have been exploring the relationship between species diversity, land use and their role for ecosystems processes. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding these huge open-air laboratories, also known as biodiversity exploratories, from 2006 to 2017.
The Tara Oceans Expedition has now come to an end after a 115,000 km round-the-world voyage lasting two and a half years. Under the scientific leadership of Dr. Eric Karsenti from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, the expedition has collected a unique quantity and diversity of samples and data about marine plankton. The purpose of this international project is to carry out morphogenomic analyses and obtain detailed insights into the interaction and evolution of marine plankton from the perspective of climate change and to develop dynamic models for the coevolution of these ecosystems and the hydroclimate.
Using renewable and recycled raw materials, minimising the use of water and energy during construction works and subsequent operation of a building, conserving resources and protecting the environment while maintaining biodiversity are all important components of sustainable building construction.
It is estimated that millions of birds die each year as the result of collisions with windows and other reflecting and transparent glass panes. Dr. Roland Kolbe, a researcher from the Baden-Württemberg city of Eningen unter Achalm has addressed this problem with the development of two products to prevent such collisions. The products are based on the differences in the physiology of vision between birds and human beings. Both products alert birds to the presence of glass obstacles without restricting people’s ability to see through the glass, making them excellent alternatives to the commonly used, but rather ineffective, black bird-of-prey silhouettes.
The biologist Prof. Dr. Marian Kazda from Ulm has worked on biogas research for many years. However, he occupies a particular niche in that he approaches the topic from the point of view of a problem-oriented ecologist. The 55-year-old is head of the Institute of Systematic Botany and Ecology at the University of Ulm and his specific field of research is plant ecology. It was his work on wetlands that first got him interested in biogas research.
Wood from local forests is an important resource for the bioeconomy. However at present, a large amount of wood is used as fuel for energy production. Greater forest diversity and new wood-based materials have the potential to make the timber industry more sustainable. The bioeconomy can contribute to this by promoting the utilisation of deciduous trees.
Automated steering systems, data-driven targeted application of fertilisers and pesticides, field robots and drones, soil analysis sensors, autonomous driving - digitisation is advancing in agriculture as elsewhere. The question asked by farmers and by society in general is whether the increasing adoption of digital technologies in agriculture is a curse or a blessing.
Sustainably cultivating arable land, ensuring good harvests, milking cows, paperwork - farmers are barely coping with their heavy daily workload. High-tech agricultural machinery and automated solutions help save time and resources. By contributing to shaping progress, agricultural businesses of all sizes can gain economic and ecological benefits.
When an oil spill occurs, chemical dispersants are routinely applied to the surface of the oil-contaminated seawater or into deeper water regions. Dr. Sara Kleindienst, a molecular ecologist from the Centre for Applied Geoscience at the University of Tübingen, has now shown that chemical dispersants do not stimulate oil biodegradation. In cooperation with an international team of researchers, Kleindienst simulated the Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico and obtained unexpected results on the degradation of harmful substances following oil spills.
Agroforestry systems can provide effective protection against soil erosion caused by wind and water. They can also contribute to stabilising and improving the yield of annual plants. In addition, strips in fields planted with shrubs and trees form living spaces and areas to which plants and animals can retreat. In the AUFWERTEN innovation group, the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO is working with other German research institutions and organisations to set up agroforestry systems in Germany.
One billion people worldwide rely on forests as living spaces. Illegal and legal deforestation endangers people’s livelihoods as well as social and economic structures. It also has a detrimental effect on the global climate. Prof. Dr. Daniela Kleinschmit, Professor for Forest and Environmental Policy at the University of Freiburg, discusses the causes and consequences of deforestation. She is co-editor of an international report on illegal logging and timber trading which was written on the initiative of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO).
New studies reveal that rivers are major contributors to marine ecosystem pollution. A study commissioned by environmental authorities in BW and four other German states analysed samples from 25 rivers to gain an idea of the occurrence of microplastics in German inland waters. In addition, Dr. Natalie Orlowski from the University of Freiburg is analysing microplastics pollution in the Dreisam River.
The European Union's Horizon 2020 project MAGIC has reached a milestone by uploading a beta version of its Decision Support System for farmers and end users, showing marginal land and an overview of industrial crops suitable to be grown on this land.
Trees of the genus Symplocos in the Indonesian mountain rainforest store so much aluminium in their leaves that it can be used for dyeing textiles. A research project at the University of Ulm aims to preserve the traditional dyeing methods of Indonesian weavers, protect these rare trees and increase our knowledge of aluminium-accumulating plants.
Accidental oil spills such as those following oil disasters need to be cleaned up as quickly as possible. Researchers from the KIT in Karlsruhe have now developed an environmentally friendly process that can eliminate oil spills effectively. Nanofur is a material that imitates the fine hairs of aquatic ferns and is capable of absorbing large amounts of oil within a relatively short time.
Action plans prove all the more resilient for being well supported by facts and figures and based on thorough ethical thinking. This equally applies to the utilisation of biomass. Researchers involved in an interdisciplinary research project at the Universities of Stuttgart and Tübingen have therefore developed indicators to help improve the utilisation of biomass in the future. The findings are based on investigations of the utilisation pathways from agricultural raw material to the end of the life of products produced from the raw material.
A meta-analysis of 30 life cycle assessments by the nova-Institute for innovation and ecology on behalf of the Proganic company shows unambiguously positive results for the widespread bio-based plastics PLA and PHA/PHB.
The German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) has led to a considerable increase in the use of biogas in Germany. However, increasing biogas production must make ecological sense and not generate conflict with the sustainability objectives of environmental conservation schemes. There must therefore be a careful consideration of the overall conditions. An analysis of the ecological impact of the generation and use of biogas in Germany taking into account legal and economic aspects was coordinated by ifeu - Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Heidelberg and recommendations were given to policy makers.