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Network structures and research activities 

Due to the fragmented company structure, networks, associations etc. play a central role in the development of the Thuringia location since there is often a lack of capital for investments, e.g. for research activities, and the companies depend on working co-operation structures. In general, the networking structures in the field of Green Tech in Thuringia are relatively new, i.e. the major part was established in the last 10 years. 

It has become evident that a cross-lead-market, useful networking, however, may become the key to success since - this way - the strengths of the lead market Circular economy can be transferred to other fields such as Raw material and material efficiency. In the lead market Energy efficiency in particular, there are network structures that interlink science and business. Among other things, this is due to the broadly diversified implementation and application possibilities of the technologies of this lead market. In the lead markets Raw material and material efficiency and Circular economy, however, initiatives already exist in order to develop the sectors from Thuringia.

The research landscape of the Federal State of Thuringia in the field of Green Tech is characterised by numerous universities and research institutions, which partly present themselves as being very application-oriented and close to business. There are nine state-owned universities; especially the Ilmenau University of Technology, the Friedrich SchillerUniversity Jena, the Bauhaus University Weimar and the Universities of Applied Sciences Erfurt, Jena, Schmalkalden and Nordhausen should be mentioned here. The non-university research institutions include some institutes of the Fraunhofer or Max Planck Society as well as the Leibnitz Association. Furthermore, there are various local research institutes and companies, which contribute to the Thuringia location of science. 

In general, the research offers a wide range of topics, but some clear priorities can be identified. Regardless of the lead market, the field of Environmental and climate monitoring plays an essential role since only on the basis of high-quality analyses can it be determined which topics will dominate the field of clean technologies in the future. In this field, Thuringia can rely on several actors. The main characteristic is that the lead market “Environmentally friendly energies and energy storage”, which is not investigated within the scope of this study on potential, plays an essential role in the Thuringian research landscape. Here, the solar sector should be mentioned in particular. It significantly benefits from strong research in the other lead markets, such as the Raw material and material efficiency. There, many developments might be directly applied permanently in the field of the Renewable energies and especially in photovoltaics. 

The Thuringian Innovation Centre Mobility (ThIMo) at the Ilmenau University of Technology accompanies and supports the change towards sustainable mobility by industry-driven research. In a close partnership of industry and science, the entire innovation chain from basic research to applied research up to the scientific services is covered in the Thuringian Innovation Centre Mobility. Examples of other research institutions include the Thuringian Renewable Energies Network and the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTSHermsdorf.

Selected projects in the field of Cleantech:

Award winner (Thuringian Energy Efficiency Award 2014) KTB Transformatorenbau GmbH 

Project description:

In order to make the energy efficiency measures sustainable, an energy monitoring software solution was installed in the company. Using this software, the energy demand is permanently monitored, and analysed on a daily basis as well as in the medium and long term. Based on this, specific energy-efficient and cost-saving energy efficiency measures were developed and the production processes and procedures were optimised in the company.

Foundation Leuchtenburg:

The content of the project was the construction of a biomass combustion plant with pellets. The seven castle areas were connected to the local heating network of the technical centre. During the new construction of the visitor centre, glued laminated timber was used due to its special climatic effects and insulating properties. Thus, the heating demand can be kept at a very low level in winter. This thermal insulation composite system was used as outer insulation for all three new buildings. Furthermore, an inner insulation was used during the renovation of the old buildings and the historic and partly highly permeable windows in the gatehouse were replaced. Regarding the equipment of the exhibits, LED and low-energy lights were used.