Apart from our technical competence and specialized expertise, a hallmark of the quality of our R&D activities is our focus on sustainability. Thus, for example, we replace flows of raw materials by recycling, upgrading or overhauling processes for the efficient use of regenerative energy and find ways to improve the efficiency of energy use. This also leads to improved economic efficiency of processes, meaning that our approach satisfies both ecological and economic demands at the same time. One example of this is the development of a process to store heat from waste heat or solar heat without losses during the time of storage. The intention is to be able to provide heat energy for industrial use at any time and, thanks to the high energy density, at any location; thus the supply is not directly linked to when and where the energy has been generated. Potential applications are drying processes in production, supplying heat to buildings, or the concentration or thickening of highly contaminated process wastewater with vacuum vaporization.
The Physical Process Technology Department is staffed by scientists from various disciplines – such as process engineering, chemical engineering, food chemistry, mechanical and electrical engineering – who work together in multi-disciplinary project teams. Projects may also involve collaboration with specialists from other Fraunhofer IGB departments, such as microbiologists and bioengineers, or from other Fraunhofer Institutes, leveraging synergies in expertise to address specific issues.