The Rhineland region is a region in transition – away from the climate-damaging use of lignite and towards sustainable value chains. Structural change is one of the central social challenges not only for the Rhineland lignite region but for the whole of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Forschungszentrum Jülich is actively helping to shape this process. With scientific excellence, it contributes to developing innovations and products, attracting new cooperation partners to the region, maintaining high-quality jobs and creating new ones. The region is to become a model for new economic activity in this way.
Funded by an emergency programme of the Federal Government, and together with regional partners from industry, science and civil society, the focus is on projects from Forschungszentrum Jülich’s three strategic areas of research – Bioeconomy, Energy and Information.
Forschungszentrum Jülich coordinates and networks the local actors. For more than ten years now, scientific expertise and modern infrastructures in important fields of the bioeconomy have been pooled in the Bioeconomy Science Center, which is the competence centre of Forschungszentrum Jülich as well as the universities of Bonn and Düsseldorf and of RWTH Aachen University.
The launch event for the Helmholtz Hydrogen Cluster (HC-H2) took place on 2 September 2021. The funding from the Federal Government and the North Rhine-Westphalian state government is an essential building block in developing the Rhineland region into a hydrogen model region with Europe-wide appeal.
Solar modules that are designed in such a way that plants for food and material use can grow on an area underneath: this is the concept of the Agri-/Horti-PV plant, which Forschungszentrum Jülich built together with partners in 2021. In this way, agricultural products and solar power can be generated on the same area.
The study “Bioökonomie: Potenziale im Rheinischen Revier – Industrie und Verwertung” (Bioeconomy: its Potential in the Rhineland Region – Industry and Utilization) shows that the regional diversity of industries is conducive to establishing bio-based, cross-industry value chains in the future.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is providing €38.5 million to further support the BioökonomieREVIER innovation labs. Forschungszentrum Jülich coordinates the innovation cluster, which is concerned with the topics of agriculture, integrated biotechnology and plastics technology.
With new funding, the iNEW project has been in its second phase since 2021. In this project, researchers at Jülich are working on replacing value chains based on natural gas to enable a chemical industry resilient to raw materials.
images: Forschungszentrum Jülich/Sascha Kreklau