A new research institute of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cottbus, in the eastern German state of Brandenburg, officially began work on Monday in an effort to help industry move increasingly toward climate-neutral production in the coming years.
In the coming years, the Institute for Low-Carbon Industrial Processes will carry out research into how industrial processes can be designed to produce fewer greenhouse gases. It will also investigate and develop ways for existing plants to be adapted to decarbonization. The institute will focus on simulation and virtual design - mapping modified production processes or even plants on the computer.
Another focus is the development of high-temperature heat pumps that will one day replace energy supplies based on fossil fuels such as lignite. "We want to get into heat pump development as quickly as possible," said the institute's director, Uwe Riedel. One challenge, he said, is that industry needs heat in the 200 to 500 degree Celsius range. So far, there are no pumps that can do this. The new type of heat pumps could make a contribution to "green heating" in the future. In addition, jobs would be created in the region and young people would be trained, Riedel emphasized.
The federal government is providing around 10 million euros annually in funding for the new institute, while the state of Brandenburg will contribute 10 percent of the annual funding for the Cottbus site. The cross-state DLR Institute for Low-Carbon Industrial Processes, based in Cottbus and Görlitz/Zittau, in the eastern German state of Saxony, has been under construction since July 2019.
Structural change can only succeed with a strong research and science landscape and an innovative economy that creates good and well-paid jobs in the region, said Brandenburg's premier, Dietmar Woidke. Together with its industrial partners, the DLR institute could help develop a European model region for a climate-neutral economy.
In the future, the institute expects to employ 60 scientific staff. The whole project is an investment in the future and not a direct alternative for people currently working in mining or power plants, said Brandenburg's Economics Minister Jörg Steinbach.
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