RWTH Institutes to Present Their Research in Bellevue Palace


Research institutions from RWTH Aachen present their innovative projects at the "Environment Week“ hosted by Federal President Joachim Gauck and the German Federal Environmental Foundation.


On the occasion of the fifth Week of the Environment, on June 6 and 7, 2016, about 200 institutions will present innovative sustainability projects to the broader public at Bellevue Palace, Berlin. The projects participating in the exhibition were selected out of 600 projects by a jury.

RWTH’s Institute of Textile Technology, ITA for short, will participate in the event with two projects: The topic of “Cost-Efficient, Stable Data Connections Using Polymer Optical Fibers” will be presented at a joint booth together with the Hochschule für Telekommunikation Leipzig and Perlon GmbH. The project “Novel Thermal Insulation Composite Systems Made of Three-Dimensionally Expanded Polystyrene Foam” will be presented jointly with project partner Teubert GmbH at the booth “The Future is Textile” by the Textil+Mode consortium.

  Mann berührt grün leuchtende Polymerfaser Copyright: © ITA Doctoral candidate Markus Beckers works with polymer optical fibers

Interconnectedness and Thermal Insulation

The first ITA project addresses the increasing demand for transmission of data across short distances. Polymer optical fibers can be used as a basis for cost-efficient, robust data transmission to interconnect devices in buildings, industrial facilities, and cars. An innovative approach makes it possible to combine efficient use of raw materials and production-integrated environmental protection, under exclusion of environmentally harmful substances such as fluoride or chloride.

Fields of application include data transmission, sensor technology, and lighting technology. Furthermore, against the backdrop of demographic change, medical technologies are gaining in significance which makes it possible for elderly people to stay in their own homes as long as possible.



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  Sketch of a house Copyright: © ITA A potental application of three-dimensionally expanded polystyrene foam

New technologies for novel thermal insulation composite systems as developed in the second project makes it possible for the first time to produce three-dimensional foam geometries using an innovative machine tool concept.

The device consists of a large number of positioning pins and a fiber-reinforced, flexible membrane. With the help of the moveable positioning pins, different 3D foam bodies can be manufactured in a cost-efficient way. These can be used as thermal insulation composite systems in old buildings.

  Researcher in the Lab Copyright: © CAT Catalytic Center Researcher in the Lab

Carbon Dioxide in Plastics Manufacturing

The CAT Catalytic Center, an institution jointly run by RWTH Aachen and the materials manufacturer Covestro GmbH, will present the project “CO2 to Replace Crude Oil in the Production of Plastics.” Thanks to a new process, the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide can be used as a raw material in the production of high-quality plastics. In this way it becomes possible to save scarce fossil resources such as crude oil, which so far have provided an important basis for synthetic materials.

In a research project supported by the federal government of Germany, CAT and Covestro have identified and further develop a suitable catalyzer which makes the new process possible. The catalyzer is decisive in making carbon dioxide react in an efficient manner. Currently, Covestro is establishing a first production facility for industrial production.

  Machine and swirling white fluid Copyright: © BECHEM Berufluid, a mineral oil-free and water-solvent lubricant coolant

The Mineral Oil-free Machine Tool

The project “MinEnerWe – The Mineral Oil-free, Energy-efficient Machine Tool,” which is jointly conducted by the RWTH Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering WZL, BKW Kälte-Wärme-Versorgungstechnik GmbH, and Carl Bechem GmbH, seeks to develop an innovative, combined hydraulic aggregate and closed coolant circuit for machine tools.

The aggregate is to increase the energy efficiency of machine tools and, as it is operated using a mineral oil-free fluid, also to helps save the finite resource mineral oil. The project aims at uniting the hydraulic aggregate and the closed coolant circuit of a machine tool. Currently, mineral oil is often used for the hydraulic aggregate due to its good lubrication characteristics, while the coolant circuit uses water due to its cooling properties.

An additional challenge is to develop a fluid which can combine both characteristics. Through this integration, both circuits could be served by a single pump, eliminating the need for an overall motor-pump unit. Via the enlarged volume of the common tanks, an energy-efficient concept for the cooling system could be employed. These characteristics result in significant energy savings and reduced spatial requirements.

  Overhead line Copyright: © 50Hertz compactLine 380 Kilovolts overhead line

Spatially-Optimized 380 Kilovolts Overhead Line

Under the general management of the transmission system operator 50Hertz, the RWTH Institute of Steel Structures and partners from research and industry are developing a space-saving 380 kilovolts alternating current overhead line called compactLine. The new design makes it possible to reduce the mast height from currently 50-60 meters to 32-36 meters; furthermore, the corridor width can be reduced from 72 meters to about 55-60 meters.

The Institute is developing a new tower in the form of a cylindrical or conical solid wall. With a planned diameter of two meters at its most narrow point, it will take up considerably less space than conventional towers. RWTH will be mainly responsible for optimizing the tower shaft design and the required segment connections. The project receives funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.