Sustainable Raw Materials and Energy Supply

26/11/2020

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Elisabeth Clausen

Head of Institute

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+49 241 80 95680

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RWTH launches real-world lab in collaboration with Nivelsteiner Sandwerke and Sandsteinbrüche GmbH

 

In October, RWTH and the companies Nivelsteiner Sandwerke and Sandsteinbrüche GmbH signed an agreement covering joint research on new technologies for a sustainable supply of raw materials and energy. With financial support from the ERS Prep Fund, the partners are establishing a real-world lab on the site of Nivelsteiner Sandwerke. The lab makes it possible to undertake research and development activities in a real mining environment.

The research lab enables the modular installation of machines and facilities for raw material extraction and processing on a semi-industrial scale. Operating the lab at an active extraction site makes it possible to develop new technologies for the autonomous, energy-efficient and CO2-neutral extraction of raw materials.

The collaboration between RWTH and Nivelsteiner Sandwerken provides an important basis for the research of new technologies, which is of particular benefit to small and medium enterprises in the raw materials supply sector.

Key research focuses include the deployment of AI, 5G data transmission, novel sensor technologies, and innovative process control technology for raw material extraction and preparation.

The first joint project is conducted in collaboration with the RWTH Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies (AMT), the Unit of Mineral Processing (AMR), and the Chair of Process Control Engineering.

Furthermore, AMR and AMT, in collaboration with the RWTH Institute of Environmental Engineering and the Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives, are involved in the "Herzogenrath Energy Park," where they are conducting a feasibility study for a CO2-neutral mine.

In five sub-projects, the project investigates how to achieve a climate-neutral supply with electricity and heat of the town of Herzogenrath. Among other innovative solutions, the project researches how to replace fossil fuels used in drying processes in the Nivelstein sand mine with renewable energy sources.