European Network established

Presse Release / 19.10.2018

The creation of a European network to strengthen the carbon cycle economy is a key outcome of the German-Polish-Czech workshop "Integrated Technology Development for Effective and Sustainable Utilization of Domestic Carbon Carriers", which took place in Dresden yesterday. The initiative aims to use domestic raw materials in a climate-friendly manner and to support the competitiveness of the European chemical industry. Industry experts, politicians and leading scientists from the three countries also discussed new conversion technologies and the development of legal framework conditions.

Workshop Kohle Polen Tschechien
© Fraunhofer IMWS
Polish, Czech and German experts from industry, politics and science discussed an efficient and climate-friendly use of carbon resources in Dresden

“Domestic carbon deposits and reserves are a tremendously valuable resource. The effort to use them as efficiently and sustainably as possible unites industry, politics and research in Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland," says Prof. Ralf B. Wehrspohn, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS in Halle (Germany), at whose invitation the professionals came together. “Our aim is to jointly develop new uses for carbon resources. This supports successful structural change and preserves added value, jobs and know-how in the coal mining areas of Europe.” 

Following the successful start of the trilateral cooperation last year in Zabrze, Poland, the experts exchanged views in two sessions at the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU in Dresden. The main topic was the material use of coal and carbonaceous waste for a circular carbon economy. 

In a keynote speech, Wehrspohn highlighted the importance of green hydrogen, which is produced by means of electrolysis using renewable energies, for a sustainable carbon economy. Beforehand greetings had been read that Dr. Jadwiga Emilewicz, Polish Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology, and Prof. Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, sent to the workshop participants. 

"We investigated the current situation in our three countries and the future requirements for a sustainable carbon economy, such as value chains, but above all discussed and developed strategies for international cooperation. This was an important step in order to create viable solutions as quickly as possible - for the coal regions and for the climate," says Prof. Bernd Meyer, Head of the Business Unit “Chemical Conversion Processes” at the Fraunhofer IMWS and Head of the Institute of Energy Process Engineering and Chemical Engineering IEC of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg, with whom the conference was jointly organized. In a second keynote speech, he also presented the status of the CarbonDemonstration project in Leuna and the prospects of converting carbonaceous waste into synthesis gas. 

The experts from the three countries agreed to support a common European carbon cycle network. Partners from the energy, waste management and chemical industries, together with leading research institutes in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, are to develop technologies that take account of the future requirements for a harmonized regulatory framework in the European Union and contribute to strengthening the competitiveness of the chemical industry in Europe. The initiative "European Network towards a Circular Carbon Economy" (ENC2E) will be presented to the responsible representatives of the European Commission at the next meeting of the "Coal Regions in Transition" platform in Brussels. The responsible national ministries should be informed in advance about the breakthrough for a common strategy. 

The next workshop will take place in October 2019 in the Czech town of Litvinov. The hosts are then the lignite research institute VUHU in Most and Unipetrol A. S.