Innovations for Industrial Sustainability

© Fraunhofer Chile Research

With the presence of around 100 researchers, academics and entrepreneurs, Fraunhofer Chile Research and CSIRO Chile hosted the seminar Sustainable Innovation: Challenges for business in the 21st Century. During the meeting were discussed initiatives of applied research that are currently under development to allow the industry to make more efficient use of its resources.

The purpose of the seminar was to open a conversation focused on building a more sustainable country through R&D, making more efficient use of resources along the entire production chain such as mining, aquaculture, food, forestry and agro-industry.

The Center for Systems Biotechnology at Fraunhofer Chile Research has a new business area of Industrial Biosustainability. "We are specifically focusing on sustainable innovation for energy generation from waste, waste management in aquaculture and for improving different production processes," stated Dr. Pilar Parada, Executive Director of the Center for Systems Biotechnology.

On the other hand, Dr. Orlando Jiménez, Executive Director of CSIRO Chile highlighted the "data driven solutions" offered by CSIRO, where Big Data can provide applied answers in areas such as aquaculture, water management, fire prevention and control, and mining".

International experience

The event was attended by Prof. Dr. Dirk Prüfer, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME) in Germany, where his research focuses mainly on the science of plant polymers.

In his presentation, Dr. Prüfer made reference to the investigation to extract rubber from the Russian Dandelion plant, which is being used by Continental to manufacture tires. "Tests have already been done and the resistance is the same as from the rubber plant, but using a much smaller cultivation area," he stated, and added that "these investigations in plant biopolymers open up a great opportunity for a sustainable bioeconomy".

Dr. Angus McFarlane, Director of Research in Mineral Resources at CSIRO Chile, was also attending the seminar. He explained that one of the current challenges is to turn mining into a sustainable activity. "In Tasmania there are examples where mining is not necessarily a destructive industry, since they reuse the land they move on the worksites, replanting trees to reduce the environmental impact. It is important to build up confidence with the community and work on the entire production chain to obtain overall results" he said.