Our press releases provide information concerning current topics relating to the Fraunhofer WKI. Images may only be used in conjunction with the press release. Any other usage must be agreed with the initiator. Please always state Fraunhofer WKI as the image source unless otherwise indicated. In the case of media coverage, we kindly request that you send us a specimen copy. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

Press releases

  • Exterior view of the ZELUBA® building.
    © Fraunhofer WKI | Manuela Lingnau

    The Fraunhofer WKI is expanding its research capacities: The “Center for Light and Environmentally-Friendly Structures ZELUBA®” has been built on the campus of the Technische Universität Braunschweig – in the immediate vicinity of the university's building institutes. At the beginning of June 2021, the researchers move into the new premises where they will develop sustainable lightweight construction solutions for the building industry – in a future-oriented building. The background to this has been formed by global challenges such as climate change, population growth and large transnational migration flows, which place new demands on the functionality and ecological footprint of buildings.

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  • Aerial view of the Fraunhofer WKI buildings on the main campus in Braunschweig.
    © Fraunhofer WKI | Stephan Thiele

    For 75 years, the Fraunhofer WKI, has been researching resource-saving and climate-friendly materials for a future worth living in. The researchers develop modern technologies in order to convert wood and other plant-based raw resources into chemical products and materials and consequently drive forward the bioeconomy. Possible applications range from lightweight components for vehicles, through environmentally-friendly insulating materials and hybrid material systems for the construction industry, and on to plant-based paints and adhesives.

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  • Press release / 2021

    Old bakery products as a basis for bioplastics and the chemical industry

    Braunschweig / April 15, 2021

    In the upper image, old rolls and cakes can be seen. The picture below shows various powdery, crumbly and aqueous solutions on two spoons and in two vessels, illustrating HMF in the various processing steps.
    © Fraunhofer WKI | Manuela Lingnau

    Plastics from unsold baked goods: Researchers have succeeded in extracting the basic chemical hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) from old bakery products. HMF provides a starting material that can replace, for example, formaldehyde in bio-based adhesives. Furthermore, HMF can be used to produce bio-based plastics. The Fraunhofer WKI and the University of Hohenheim were successful in preparing HMF for further processing on a semi-industrial scale.

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  • A car door is positioned behind mats made from flax and a glass jar containing resin.
    © Fraunhofer WKI | Federico Böhm

    In automobile racing, lightweight bodies made from plastic and carbon fibers have been standard for many years because they enable drivers to reach the finish line more quickly. In the future, lightweight-construction solutions could help reduce the energy consumption and emissions of everyday vehicles. The catch is that the production of carbon fibers is not only expensive but also consumes considerable amounts of energy and petroleum. In collaboration with Porsche Motorsport and Four Motors, researchers at the Fraunhofer WKI have succeeded in replacing the carbon fibers in a car door with natural fibers. This is already being installed in small series at Porsche. The project team is now taking the next step: Together with HOBUM Oleochemicals, they want to maximize the proportion of renewable raw materials in the door and other body parts - using bio-based plastics and paints.

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  • Graphic representation of the ceiling system module with six individual elements (boxes) placed next to one another.
    © Fraunhofer WKI | Steffen Sydow

    During BAU ONLINE 2021, the researchers from the Fraunhofer WKI will be presenting possibilities for incorporating renewable raw materials such as wood foam, balsa wood and flax fibers into future-oriented applications. By means of 3D models of a stand-up paddleboard and a ceiling system module, the researchers will demonstrate the versatility of the possibilities for replacing petrochemical raw materials or concrete with renewable resources.

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  • Graphic representation of the body of a stand-up paddleboard.
    © Fraunhofer WKI I Christoph Pöhler

    Researchers at the Fraunhofer WKI are developing a stand-up paddleboard with a lightweight sandwich element made from renewable raw materials. For the core, balsa wood from disused wind-energy rotor blades is being used - a sustainable solution for their high-quality recycling. The outer shell consists of bioplastics which are reinforced with regionally available flax fibers.

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  • Hall with a large test facility made from steel in which a wood-concrete composite element is clamped. This consists of two horizontal wooden beams, spaced approximately half a meter apart, with a concrete slab bonded onto them.
    © University of Kassel I Jens Frohnmüller

    By means of an innovative bonding technology, high-performance timber-concrete composite elements can be produced faster and more easily. As a result of the new joining technology, which was developed by researchers in a cooperative project involving the Fraunhofer WKI, the composite elements become more competitive in comparison to pure concrete elements. The utilization of the renewable raw material wood can therefore be increased in the construction industry.

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  • A viscous, honey-colored liquid is poured from a glass vessel into a metal container.
    © Fraunhofer WKI I Manuela Lingnau

    In collaboration with industrial partners, researchers from the Fraunhofer WKI are developing UV-curing materials for additive manufacturing with improved properties. The team thereby utilizes itaconic acid that has been biotechnologically extracted from renewable raw materials. The results of the project so far will be presented in a free virtual technology discussion hosted by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) on 11th November 2020. It will take place within the framework of the “Formnext Connect” trade fair.

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  • Press release / 2020

    Holistic research for more natural insulation materials in construction

    Braunschweig / September 30, 2020

    Within the graphic of a house, the following standards are shown: Sustainability evaluation, Moisture protection, Fire protection, Glimmer, Sound insulation, Emissions, Thermal insulation.
    © Fraunhofer WKI I Manuela Lingnau

    With natural insulation materials, buildings can be constructed with calculable safety. This is the outcome of an interdisciplinary research project with 12 research partners and widespread support from industry. Under the supervision of the Fraunhofer WKI, the researchers determined the characteristic material values which will enable extensive component tests, such as in sound insulation and fire protection, to be considerably reduced in the future. On the basis of the measurement of natural insulation materials, standards and building legislation can be adapted, enabling these insulation materials to be utilized more easily in the future.

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