Fraunhofer Chile Research focuses on sustainable energy projects

- The Fraunhofer Chile Research Foundation from now on will mainly focus on applied R&D in the area of solar energy. Therefore, it is contributing its recog-nized scientific experience in the field of renewable energies via its Center for Solar Energy Technologies CSET. - In August this year, Fraunhofer Chile Research Foundation announced the clo-sure of its Center for Systems Biotechnology (CSB), but intends to preserve the acquired knowledge and capacities for Chile by transferring former CSB capabili-ties to Universidad Andrés Bello, one of the country´s leading research institu-tions. This became reality on November 29, 2021.

With an agreement signed on November 29, 2021, between Fraunhofer Chile Research (FCR), and Universidad Andrés Bello (UNAB), the two parties aim to give continuity to the work carried out so far by the FCR Center for Systems Biotechnology CSB.

The transfer includes ongoing research projects in the areas of healthy food, sustainable agriculture, molecular biomonitoring and a professional, multidisciplinary team of 17 highly trained researchers.

CSB was the first international center of excellence in applied research in the country and was opened by Fraunhofer Chile Research, a legally independent Fraunhofer affiliate of the German Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, in 2010.

"The transfer validates and consolidates our commitment to research, empowers our team of researchers in key areas for the country and allows us to continue strengthening our mission and status as a university of excellence. Contributing to society by generating advanced knowledge. We are very pleased with the incorporation of the Center for Systems Biotechnology in our university," stated the rector of the Universidad Andrés Bello, Julio Castro.

The General Manager of Fraunhofer Chile Research, Prof. Dr. Frank Dinter, highlighted the spirit of collaboration between both institutions that led to this agreement. The University and Fraunhofer Chile Research have had successful relations since 2012. The agreement allows the transfer of projects, currently still under development at FCR CSB, within the three applied research areas of Agriculture, Food and Ingredients; Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems; and Industrial Sustainability. "We believe that this transfer allows us to give projection and sustainability to the activities of the Center that had great achievements and we are sure that this acquisition by Universidad Andrés Bello will allow them to open new opportunities for scientific and technological development", expressed Dr. Dinter.

The German Ambassador in Chile, Christian Hellbach, expressed his appreciation that despite the closure of Fraunhofer CSB within the Foundation Fraunhofer Chile Research, capacities of former FCR CSB can finally be incorporated into the Universidad Andrés Bello, which has been known for its work in the field of science and research. This will make it possible to preserve and further develop the knowledge and findings obtained in more than a decade of FCR CSB's operation in Chile.

"Once again we see the key role of Chile for German scientific cooperation in Latin America. Currently, there are more than 300 German and Chilean universities that maintain scientific and technological cooperation agreements. Today we are pleased to add one more, with a strong projection towards future topics, which are those that will have the greatest impact on the sustainable growth of both economies," said Ambassador Hellbach.

At the same time, in the sense of a consolidation of research fields and a new strategic focus on energy topics, Fraunhofer Chile Research will strengthen its engagement in the field of sustainable technologies.

»Chile not only is an excellent location to develop a sustainable energy future but also has the potential to become a successful exporter of renewable energy carriers«, remarks Dr. Johann Feckl, Chairman of the Fraunhofer Chile Research Board of Directors and Managing Director International Affairs and Internal Research Programs at Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. »The Chilean solar research center Fraunhofer CSET makes a valuable contribution in the development of solar technologies, from the initial phases up to market readiness.« Solar thermal, photovoltaic, storage and hydrogen technologies are the key technologies for future strategic research topics.

In this regard, the German Ambassador adds: "Climate change and energy transition are particularly prominent areas of cooperation for our countries and in which Chile plays a leading role in the region. With even more reason I hope that Fraunhofer Chile’s Center CSET can continue to make an important contribution to future topics such as green hydrogen and concentrate its research on the use of engineering for the development of innovative technology in the installation and management of pilot plants in solar thermal applications".

Fraunhofer Chile Research

Since its founding in 2009, the goal of Fraunhofer Chile Research is to support the transformation of the country through research and innovation. In doing so, it aims to break down boundaries between basic and applied science, accelerate technologies, link with entrepreneurs and build bridges between academic and industrial sectors in order to generate a productive ecosystem of new technologies that can be commercialized.

In this new period, the Fraunhofer Chile Research Foundation will mainly focus on applied R&D in solar energy, contributing its recognized scientific experience in the field of renewable energies via its Center for Solar Energy Technologies CSET. Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft will maintain the German-Chilean cooperation, contributing its commitment and world-renowned experience in sustainable energy projects.  Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft currently operates 75 institutes and applied research centers within Germany and cooperates with eight legally independent Fraunhofer affiliates worldwide, including Fraunhofer Chile Research. Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is the biggest institution for applied research in Europe.

Universidad Andrés Bello

With 33 years of experience and more than 50,000 students, Universidad Andrés Bello is considered one of the most important universities in the country. Recognized for its high academic quality standards, certified by the National Accreditation Commission, and at an international level, by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) of the United States.

UNAB also has a consolidated trajectory in research and innovation, achieving an outstanding presence in the most relevant international rankings in the world. Being among the only four Chilean institutions in the top one thousand worldwide in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, (Shanghai Ranking) 2021 and fifth place nationally in the International Research Ranking Scimago 2021.