Fraunhofer Innovation Platform for the Water-Energy-Food Nexus at Stellenbosch University

The "Fraunhofer Innovation Platform for the Water-Energy-Food Nexus at Stellenbosch University (FIP-WEF@SU)" is a cooperative project between Stellenbosch University and Fraunhofer IGB, in which the Fraunhofer Institutes IST, ISE and IOSB are also involved. In addition, the Fraunhofer SysWater Alliance is on board as an associated partner.

The aim of the innovation platform is to bring together know-how and technologies in the field of water treatment and water utilization and to develop solutions for South Africa and the sub-Saharan countries through joint research and development.

The challenge: Critical water supply in South Africa

© Fraunhofer
Alternative water sources such as treated wastewater will become increasingly important in future water management strategies.

The background of the research cooperation is the particular relevance and urgency of the topic of water concerns in southern Africa due to the geographical and climatic conditions in this region.

In order to meet this significant challenge, the project partners are pooling their competencies in the field of water research within the framework of the strategic cooperation. The SU Water Institute and Fraunhofer IGB are leading this effort.

Long-term cooperation with SU Water Institute

© Stellenbosch University
The contract for the new Fraunhofer Innovation Platform was signed in early February 2020 by Fraunhofer President Prof. Reimund Neugebauer (left) and Prof. Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector of Stellenbosch University.

The central position of the IGB within the innovation platform is also reflected in the filling of the management positions: IGB scientist Dr.-Ing. Ursula Schließmann takes over the post of Vice Director. As head of the SysWater Alliance office, she, together with her colleague Marc Beckett, prepared the establishment of the Fraunhofer Innovation Platform. Prof. Dr. Gideon Wolfaardt, the head of the SU Water Institute, was appointed director of the FIP-WEF@SU.

The cooperation agreement between the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the Water Institute of Stellenbosch University to establish the Fraunhofer Innovation Platform "Water-Energy-Food Nexus" was signed in early 2020.

This is intended to establish a long-term collaboration between the IGB and the university and builds on the preliminary work in the project "Energy efficient and sustainable water supply technologies for desalination and microbial control in food production for Africa – WASTEC".

© Fraunhofer

Fraunhofer Innovation Platforms

Fraunhofer Innovation Platforms are science spaces established together with local partners according to the Fraunhofer model. They are established with local university partners and promote the exchange of know-how and the transfer of technology from science to practice. To this end, they work closely with local industry, thus enabling the promotion of applied and demand-oriented research and development.

Fraunhofer ICON program

The Fraunhofer funding program ICON (International Cooperation and Networking) enables strategic cooperation with excellent foreign universities and non-university research institutions on a project basis.