SUCCESS STORY #5 – Fraunhofer IMM
Fraunhofer Institute for Microengineering and Microsystems (IMM) is a precious partner in the INCITE project: it plays a central role in the innovation process with its focus on developing key technologies vital for the future and enabling the commercial exploitation of this work.
To learn more about INCITE’s partner Fraunhofer IMM, Bioeconomy For Change conducted an interview with Patrick Löb, Deputy Head of Division Energy and Chemical Technology at Fraunhofer IMM.
Patrick Löb, Deputy Head of Division Energy and Chemical Technology at Fraunhofer IMM, explained that Fraunhofer IMM’s scientists are engaged in R&D in the three divisions of Chemistry, Energy and Diagnostics. With their system and technology-oriented innovations, they contribute to the competitiveness of their customers and partners. He specified that Fraunhofer IMM stands for responsible handling of new technologies and for sustainable development from which not only private and public enterprises benefit, but the society as a whole.
In the business unit CHEMISTRY, they are constantly improving chemical production processes in terms of product properties, efficiency, sustainability, and safety, explained Patrick Löb. The focus is on process intensification, which is the central strategy for increasing the efficiency and flexibility of processes in process engineering using innovative devices and technologies of micro-process engineering. Based on a scalable, modularly designed reactor family or by means of specific, often highly integrated designs, Fraunhofer IMM develops, designs, and manufactures flow reactors and mixers from laboratory to industrial scale. These are adapted to the respective process or application. Fraunhofer IMM covers not only single and multiphase processes but also non-catalytic and heterogeneously and homogeneously catalyzed reactions. Furthermore, in addition to organic chemistry in general, the research priorities comprise the synthesis of reactive intermediates, electro- and photochemistry as well as the production and characterization of nanoparticles with various properties and applications, specified Patrick Löb. By linking this with process analysis technologies and new plant concepts (for example chemical plant infrastructure in container format), Fraunhofer IMM creates a link to the chemical industry 4.0 and establishes decentralized and mobile production approaches.
On the question “What does innovation represent to the company?”, Patrick Löb responded the following: “Innovation means bringing novel technological developments forward into industrial implementation. Piloting and demonstration activities as in INCITE are central to facilitate the industrial use. In the example of INCITE, these developments are more sustainable and energy efficiency.”
Fraunhofer IMM participates in the INCITE project to bring a process developed on a lab scale to the next level, the pilot/demonstration scale, towards industrial uptake. Showing the scale-up of the reactor concept is as central element, explained Patrick Löb, but also its implementation in a corresponding subunit for operation and implementation in the overall plant at the industrial site. This important step will be taken this year. It allows the demonstration of an intensified process and has signal effects for other applications in chemical production.
Fraunhofer IMM is situated in Mainz, Germany, and has about 140 employees. It is part of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the world’s leading applied research organization. As a pioneer and catalyst for ground-breaking developments and scientific excellence, Fraunhofer shapes the society. Founded in 1949, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft currently operates 75 institutes and research institutions throughout Germany. Most of the 29,000 employees are qualified scientists and engineers, who have an annual research budget of 2.8 billion € at their disposal, of which 2.4 billion € are generated through contract research.