University of Birmingham and Fraunhofer UMSICHT renew partnership

Press Release /

The University of Birmingham and Fraunhofer UMSICHT are renewing their partnership addressing the practical challenges of delivering green energy and renewable resources – looking to broaden their collaboration.

Signing of the cooperation agreement between the University of Birmingham and Fraunhofer UMSICHT. back row standing from left: Dr Bing Liu, Prof Martin Freer (both University of Birmingham), District Administrator Richard Reisinger, Prof Dr Matthias Franke, Prof Dr Manfred Renner (both Fraunhofer UMSICHT), Mayor Stefan Frank, MdL Dr Harald Schwartz, Lisa Trickett (Birmingham City Council), front row sitting: Prof Robin Mason (University of Birmingham), Stephanie Jung (Fraunhofer Gesellschaft)
The visitors from Birmingham, political representatives from the city, district and state parliament, employees from Fraunhofer UMSICHT and other partners in Sulzbach-Rosenberg town hall.
Tour of the technical centre at the Fraunhofer UMSICHT site in Sulzbach-Rosenberg, explanation of the technologies of thermo-catalytic reforming and chemical recycling of plastics.

Professor Robin Mason, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) at the University of Birmingham, and Professor Matthias Franke, Director of Fraunhofer UMSICHT Institute Branch Sulzbach-Rosenberg, today (26 Mar) confirmed a four-year extension to the original 2017 partnership agreement.

Since 2020, there have been 28 co-authored papers between the University of Birmingham and Fraunhofer UMSICHT – largely in energy, environmental science, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Engineering, and Agricultural and Biological Sciences. With the To-Syn-Fuel and FlexJet projects on biofuels from residual and waste materials, two joint research projects in the HORIZON 2020 programme were successfully processed.

The partnership’s scope has already grown from its original focus on energy and waste management, with future collaborative works involving carbon capture and utilisationrenewable energy, heat storage, hydrogen production and utilisation, critical elements and materials, and polymers recycling/chemical recycling.

Signing of the partnership in Sulzbach-Rosenberg town hall 

Speaking after the special signing ceremony at Sulzbach-Rosenberg town hall, Germany, Professor Robin Mason commented: »We are proud of the great work achieved by our partnership. As our global community consumes ever-increasing amounts of energy, collaborative research that helps to deliver green and sustainable energy becomes ever-more important. We look forward to aligning the University of Birmingham’s flair for research innovation with Fraunhofer UMSICHT’s applied research expertise to extend our partnership across a range of areas of shared interest that will help to change people’s lives for the better.«

Professor Matthias Franke commented: »Renewable energies, but also the transformation to sustainable, emission-free raw materials, especially carbon - these are the challenges facing the industry today. Our application-orientated research in the fields of carbon conversion, recycling, biofuels and CCU / CCUS dovetail perfectly with the cutting-edge research in Birmingham to meet these demands.«

The practical outcome of the partnership can be seen, for example, at Tyseley Energy Park, where the University of Birmingham is active as a development partner. A research plant based on Fraunhofer UMSICHT technology is operated there. It converts biogenic residues into liquid energy carriers and chemicals. 

Sulzbach-Rosenberg Mayor Stefan Frank commented: »The collaboration between Fraunhofer UMSICHT Sulzbach-Rosenberg and a global Top 100 university demonstrates that application-oriented research can be successful in rural areas. One reason for this is certainly that it is possible to demonstrate innovative technologies on a large-scale, which can sometimes be challenging to do in an urban environment.«

The University of Birmingham’s research links to Germany are strong and since 2018 has also had a partnership with Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM) - a senior scientific and technical federal institute with responsibility to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in Germany. The University and BAM share wide-ranging research interests relating to Energy, Additive Manufacturing, Chemistry & Materials, Life & Environmental Sciences, and Engineering.

Information on the University of Birmingham and Fraunhofer UMSICHT 

The University of Birmingham is one of the top 100 universities in the world. Its work brings people from all over the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teaching staff and more than 8,000 international students from over 150 countries. 

The Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT is part of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft based in Germany, the world's leading organization for applied research with more than 30,000 employees. Fraunhofer UMSICHT conducts research in the fields of circular economy, carbon management, green hydrogen and decentralized energy systems. It develops industrially feasible technologies, products and services and brings them to application. At three locations in Germany, Fraunhofer UMSICHT generates a turnover of over 57.8 million euros with 608 employees. 

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, based in Germany, is the world's leading organization for application-oriented research. With its focus on future-oriented key technologies and the utilization of results in business and industry, it plays a central role in the innovation process. As a trailblazer and driving force for innovative developments and scientific excellence, it helps to  in shaping our society and our future. Founded in 1949, the organization currently operates 76 institutes and research facilities in Germany. More than 30,000 employees, most of whom are trained in the natural sciences or engineering, work on the annual research volume of 2.9 billion euros. Contract research accounts for 2.5 billion euros of this total.

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