Fraunhofer Innovation Platform for the Water-Energy-Food Nexus: Cooperation agreement signed

Fraunhofer IGB News / February 14, 2020

The newly created "Fraunhofer Innovation Platform for the Water-Energy-Food Nexus at Stellenbosch University" (FIP-WEF@SU) is the result of many years of cooperation between the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the South African Stellenbosch University, most recently in the ICON project WASTEC. On Wednesday, February 12, 2020, Fraunhofer President Prof. Dr. Reimund Neugebauer and Prof. Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector Research, Innovation & Postgraduate Studies at Stellenbosch University, signed the corresponding cooperation agreement at a meeting in South Africa.

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Prof. Dr. Reimund Neugebauer and Prof. Eugene Cloete sign the cooperation agreement to establish the innovation platform.

Due to the geographical and climatic conditions in Southern Africa, the issue of water supply is of particular relevance and urgency there. For this reason, the South African University of Stellenbosch and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are pooling their expertise in the field of water research within the framework of a strategic cooperation. The unifying goal is to jointly find solutions for the efficient use and recycling of water. The cooperation between the SU Water Institute of the South African university and the Fraunhofer Alliance SysWasser, in which the Fraunhofer IGB plays a leading role, is a key aspect. IGB scientist Dr.-Ing. Ursula Schließmann heads the Alliance's office and has prepared the establishment of the Fraunhofer Innovation Platform. Together with her colleague Marc Beckett, she has written the corresponding business plan as well as elaborating the topics and preparing the financial plan.

Currently, researchers from the IGB and the university are already working together on the project "Energy efficient and sustainable water supply technologies for desalination and microbial control in food production for Africa - WASTEC". Since the beginning of 2019, research has been underway within this framework to find out how the know-how of the IGB and the technologies developed at the institute can be applied in the field of water treatment and water use in South Africa. In addition to the IGB, the Fraunhofer Institutes IST, ISE and IOSB are also involved. The overall project management lies with Fraunhofer IST. The project focuses on the problem of water scarcity. At the same time, however, a holistic approach is being pursued, which also includes the expansion of renewable energy systems and the issue of food security.

On February 12, 2020, Fraunhofer President Prof. Dr. Reimund Neugebauer and Prof. Eugene Cloete, Vice Rector for Research, Innovation & Postgraduate Studies at the University of Stellenbosch, signed a cooperation agreement to establish the Fraunhofer Innovation Platform "Water-Energy-Food Nexus". This brings the IGB a decisive step closer to its goal of establishing a long-term cooperation with the Water Institute of the University of Stellenbosch.

The central position of the IGB within the innovation platform is also reflected in the appointment of management positions. While the head of the SU Water Institute, Prof. Dr. Gideon Wolfaardt, has been appointed director, IGB scientist Dr.-Ing. Ursula Schließmann takes over the position of vice-director.