A little bit about the Research Centers in Germany…

Energy from biomass?

Yes, it is possible!

On the morning Monday of May 20th, EM42 fellows headed to the central station of Dresden, bound for the beautiful city of Leipzig. After a short trip and a small break, at 1 pm they arrived at the “German Centre for Biomass Research (DBFZ)”.

During the visit to DBFZ, they learned about the different processes to produce energy from biomass; and after a short explanation about the organization with international colleagues from China, Spain, Canada, Brazil, and Italy and the vision of sustainable resource basis, smart bioenergy – innovations for a sustainable future, they proceeded to visit its installations and laboratories that are divided into five departments: biogas, refinery, hydrothermal carbonization, heating technologies, and wood combustion.

Additionally, they had the opportunity to meet some of the researchers of the institution, as they explained to them; DBFZ with approximately 250 employees researches how to generate energy from biomass resources. In this regard, DBFZ works in joint collaboration with public and private institutions around the world.

Something that 30 years ago seemed impossible, now is a reality thanks to institutions like DBFZ that bet on studies based on the applied researches that develop practical solutions to current problems related to the integrated bioenergy provision.

The second day in Leipzig at 09:30am, EM42 fellows arrived at the “Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)”, they were welcomed by Mr. Andreas Staak who introduced the visitors the UFZ installations, along the day some researchers explained in more detail the projects that UFZ is developing; as is the case of the “Center for Advanced Water Research (CAWR)” presented by Prof. Olaf Kolditz and Mr. Lars Bilke from the Visualization Laboratory; whom explained some projects developed for Asia (China and Jordan) related to water sustainability, at that time, the 3D animation developed by UFZ for the spatial planning was one of the most incredible experience that the fellows tried that day.

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After the lunch at UFZ canteen, Prof. Martin Volk presented the topic “Assessing and governing synergies between food production, biodiversity, and ecosystem services”; Additionally the Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology and the Department of Ecological Modelling presented some of the projects that UFZ is developing related to food-waste-energy sustainable environment; and impacts of the new policy instruments, technologies and change processes on pastoral land use as a social-ecological modeling approach.

Finally, the fellows had the opportunity to enjoy the game “NomaSed” developed by the Department of Ecological Modelling in order to create awareness to the stakeholders about the land use in agriculture activities. Of course, there were winners in this game!

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Time was relative short those days, however, the fellows tried to spend time together with a big Vietnamese dinner in the beautiful city of Leipzig during their free time.

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See you soon beautiful Leipzig!

by Ms. Magaly Beltran (Bolivia) and Ms. Tam Thanh (Vietnam)

CIPSEM at the International Transport Forum

Having an exciting week in the beautiful Island of Vilm –BFN, CIPSEM (EM42) group was back to Dresden on 19th of May 2019. A bit tired after long travel and the expectation of the upcoming excursion to Leipzig was not too big at this point.However, then comes Sunday, a very good day to rest and get ready for travel to Leipzig arguably our second home in Germany. It was not so long when CIPSEM group arrived in Leipzig on Monday morning 20th of May 2019. The afternoon was a very intensive excursion to the German Biomass Research Center. Tuesday, the group convened for intensive classes at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research.

On the following three days from Wednesday 22nd to Friday 24th, the CIPSEM (EM42) group joined the International Transport Forum 2019 in Leipzig, Germany. The Annual Summit of the International Transport Forum is the premier global transport policy event started in 2008. More than 1000 participants from more than 70 countries including ministers from around the globe, heads of international organizations, civil society leaders, academia, business associations and the media come together to share policy perspectives and to discuss the future of transport. The summit addresses strategies, policies and challenges of all transport mods where participants can engage in intense discussion through variety of session formats. The 2019 ITF summit offered a rich of important programme from 22 to 24 of May. The policy discussions with ministers, networking opportunities, demonstrations, technical tours and an exciting exhibition were major parts of the program. Side events by ITF partners, evening receptions, cultural tours, cycling event and Gala dinner complemented the summit.

Each year, the international transport forum honors exceptional initiatives in the transport sector with its annual transport awards. The emphasis for the 2019 summit was transport connectivity for regional integration which explores how transport links work and how to improve connectivity. There were two awards-the transport achievement award and the young researcher of the year award.

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Dr. Rafael Pereira wins the 2019 Young Researcher Award

Transport connectivity is a major contributor to economic development, social inclusion and increasing potential for growth by connecting people to opportunities and business markets. Improved connectivity also leads to better access to employment, education, health and public services. The 2030 agenda for sustainable development by United Nations (2015) “transforming our world” defines the goals to achieve sustainable development in three dimensions; economic, social and environmental-a better transport connectivity holds key for achieving these goals by acting as a catalyst for integration between communities, cities, regions and countries contributing to peace and stability. Connectivity is also vital for reducing trade costs and boosting economic growth. So far, the progress towards sustainable development is impressive however, there remain significant discrepancies in levels of progress between and within regions. Improved transport connectivity can help to reduce the gap and necessary actions need to be implemented to improve transport connectivity in all dimensions; physical, digital, modal, operational, individual, institutional. Therefore the ministers responsible for transport in the member countries of ITF assembled in Leipzig under presidency of Korea to pursue mutual understanding and frame response to challenges. Finally the minsters agreed on the following key issues:

  • Improving connectivity of transport infrastructure and operations
  • Enhancing development of sustainable transport
  • Improving governance to enhance connectivity

The 2020 ITF summit will be hosted by Ireland from 27 to 29 May in Leipzig with the theme of transport innovation for sustainable development. A final word from the CIPSEM participants: “Thank you Leipzig, and thank you Korea.”

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by Nyein Nyein (Myanmar) and Fiseha Bekele Teshome (Ethiopia)

Schönes Wochenende, Leipzig!

As the popular saying goes, “A weekend wasted isn’t a wasted weekend”. That is why some of the CIPSEM Environmental Management 2019 participants did not waste time spending the weekend in Leipzig on 10 March 2019 to watch football and tour around the city. After all, the CIPSEM post-graduate school is not all about studying but getting integrated in the German culture.

Leipzig, also commonly called as “Hypezig” due to its hip urban atmosphere and dynamic lifestyle, is roughly an hour and a half away from the city of Dresden. The beautiful city of Leipzig is famous for many things; notably as the place where renowned composer and musician Johann Sebastian Bach worked, lived, and died, and also where German Chancellor Angela Merkel spent college.

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Leipzig University Alumnus and CIPSEM EM-42 participant Jun Piong (Philippines) toured his co-participants around the city and visited the popular tourist spots such as the Thomaskirche where the remains of J.S. Bach lie, the old town hall in Marktplatz, the dler Passage that houses some of the high-end shops, the Nikolaikirche where Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was baptized and where the Monday Demonstration (and the peaceful revolution in East Germany) started, and the Augustusplatz where the Gewandhaus concert hall, Opera House and Germany’s modern-looking yet second oldest Universität Leipzig can be found. Half of the group continued the tour while the other half went on to watch the football match between RB Leipzig and FC Augsburg, which ended in 0-0 score (entertaining nevertheless).

Of course the experience is not complete without gastronomy. An early beer over breakfast at the students’favorite hangout Spizz Bar and Restaurant, another beer over lunch at young Goethe’s favorite Auerbachskeller, and another set of beer over dinner at the students’ club Moritzbastei capped the whole journey. Did I mention the beer repeatedly? When you are in Germany, you will know why.

Here are some of the impressions from the participants about their experience:

“International city that we discovered and should discover again. The pleasure of traveling is multiplied when you are with friends. Leipzig, city of culture, eccentric people and crazy meetings.” – Hasmik jan, Armenia

“Watching Bundesliga in RB Arena was an adventure for me. It was my second time watching football live in a European stadium after 2005.” – Kamal, Nepal

“Leipzig is such an interesting city, beautifully full of art, international community, and history. Our weekend trip to Leipzig proved me once more that traveling with friends will push you to get a full experience; from trying out new things while discovering the city to laughing all the way back to Dresden.” – Rocio, Mexico

“For me, the most impressive thing in Leipzig was the monument to the battle of the nations. It was really incredible! The other one is the Cat Cafe that is not far from the university. There you could not only eat something but also get to play with cats!” – Sasha, Ukraine

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For future CIPSEM participants: if you find this article, tell us your about travel experience, too, by posting a comment.

And oh, group travel is more fun. And the Schönes Wochende Ticket serves a discounted price for up to five persons and allows the group to free transport privileges and travel flexibility – that is perfect for a weekend getaway.

by Jun Piong (Philippines) et al. 

Leipzig!

Authors: Ramoudane Orou Sannou (Benin) and Maksym Makukha (Ukraine)

On the sunny Wednesday of July 04th, nineteen out of 21 EM41 participants were preparing for the last excursion of the course program. This excursion planned to last from Wednesday to Friday took place in Leipzig which is about 100km from Dresden. Leipzig is a beautiful historical German city with the 2nd oldest university in Germany and has been home to many world renowned celebrities such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and... The city differs from Dresden in its cultural diversity, marked by a strong foreign presence. As proof, the presence of a Georgian restaurant – “Chito Gvrito” – where EM41 participants gathered for their 1st dinner.

About what we learned…

The first point of visit for the excursion was the Helmhotlz Centre for Environmental Research which is famous for its cutting-edge research in the field of environment. Being already a huge facility, the Helmhotlz Centre for Environmental Research  is part of Helmhotlz research organization which is also one of the three largest German research associations. The first stage at the Helmholtz centre has been a presentation about constructed wetlands followed by field visit. Constructed wetlands are low tech but highly productive technology that could help – and actually, already do – rural communities all around the world to treat waste water.

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Secondly, we had interesting presentations about the ongoing projects of the centre in the Middle East. These projects deal with spatial planning of water treatment, that also includes components on participation of various stakeholders and children education. We had an impressive 3D visualization that brings us deeper into the very advanced 3D models being used by the centre for spatial planning. Later we had other presentations on different research topics of the centre such as chemicals in our environment, urban planning, and the interesting topic of land use (TALE project).

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Party again!

During the night of the 2nd excursion day, CIPSEM invited us for dinner in a place that was first kept secret from us. In fact, the dinner took place at the MoritzBastei restaurant near to Leipzig University. “The Moritzbastei is the only remaining part of the ancient town fortifications of Leipzig. Today it is widely known as a cultural centre. From 1974 the Moritzbastei was rebuilt under the supervision of the University of Leipzig. More than 30,000 students were engaged in the reconstruction of the bastion, among them the current Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel (Yes-Yes, she has also studied there!) – (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moritzbastei).

Biomass, new fuel???

The last excursion day was dedicated to visiting the German Center for Biomass Research also located in Leipzig, two tram stop from the Helmholtz centre. This institution explores usage of biomass for energy supply mainly by combustion. It aims at producing biogas and biofuels for transport. Of course biomass cannot substitute all our demand for energy mainly because we also need land to produce our food. But a good option could be to use lands that are not suitable for food production to grow biomass for energy production. This lab also explores ways  for producing liquid fuels such as biodiesel or biokerosene to meet our needs for environmentally friendly fuel in the future.

 

The EM41 last excursion ended being about what should be called the “fuel of the future!” And that was the END!

Good bye, Leipzig!

Culture, history and (cleaner) production

There is one of the largest remaining continuous floodplain forests in central Europe – and that’s surprisingly within an urban setting – the city also hosts the second oldest university of Germany (funded in 1409) and was domain to world famous artists like Johann Sebastian Bach and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, where the ladder was not only a student of the university, but also called the city his “Little Paris” … Leipzig.

The SC-73 course visited the city to get some insights in recent German history in the Forum for Contemporary History in the exhibition “Division and Unity, Dictatorship and Resistance”.

In the afternoon the group had a look into large scale car manufacturing at the BMW production site in Leipzig and according sustainability measures.

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Terratec – 2017 and the Circular Economy: The Journey of many Colours

By Kabiito Bendicto

Life is a journey, right? But you cannot make it alone! On the 6th, March 2017 was yet another day for a journey to Leipzig and indeed, ‘I was’ because ‘we were’. Team CIPSEM -2017 hit the road to Leipzig, ably led by Dr. Andre Lindner with Mr. Bernd Kaute behind the steering wheel to the exhibition grounds (Leipziger Messe) for Terratec-2017. There, in the huge glass-domed exhibition hall was innovators and pioneers displaying and educating the public about their efforts towards making ‘closed-loop economy’ a reality. And thank God, we were welcome!
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Our journey to Terratec 2017 on 6th March, 2017 was directly related to the classes and excursions we had had with Dr. Dietmar Lohmann in January and February, 2017, in which we had interesting discussions about the anthropological footprint on nature and the need to do something about it–may be  the ‘cradle to cradle approach’!!?? By extension though, this journey can be situated in the larger context of the emerging conceptual discourse of the ‘circular economy’, which ought to provide a foundation for fast-pacing state-of-the art environmental management approaches in Germany. This is currently at the heart of the Dresden University of Technology and many other Germany academic and professional institutions such as Interessengemeinschaft KURIS. This development is being championed by the Institute of Environmental Management and Circular Economy under the Material Fluxes and Circular Economy Initiative, and other governmental, individual and corporate establishments.

By both necessity and design we had Dr. Lohmann Dietmar for our classes about waste management. A passionate educationalist deeply enthusiastic about ‘wealth management’ (sorry, ‘waste management’); for he believes, after all, that ‘waste is wealth’.  He stands squarely opposed to the old ‘cradle to grave’ economic system, thus an ardent supporter of the ‘cradle to cradle’ economic vision, widely popularized in the publications of Micheal Braungart and William McDonough since 2002. This need for change is enhanced by the approaching resource scarcity and the human ingenuity and willingness to get on top of the faults of the old economy system that fast turns resources into waste. May be Erol Ozan was right in his assertion that “some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.” Now that we got lost, we hope here we arrive at the ‘right’ path; ‘the closed-loop economy’.

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The exhibition brought together 129 exhibitors between 5-7 March, 2017, who  included; Green Ventures, Energy World, the Saxony Federal Ministry of Environment, BAUER Resources GmbH , MTM Plastics –the Upcyclers, Multipet- Multiport Kunststoffe, Reluma International GmbH, Purus Plastics, Baufeld, Gutezeichen Kompost, Interessengemeinschaft KURIS, Veolia, Dresden University of Technology, Hochschule Nordhausen University of Applied Sciences, International Solid waste Association, and the list goes on… The 129 exhibitors were displaying technologies and techniques applicable to solid waste management, biomass decomposition and biogas generation, waste water treatment, wood, plastic, electronic and oil recycling, among others. Resource efficiency and renewable energy-related innovations were at display too, alongside water treatment and purification technologies all under one roof. The audience was both local and international, with provisions (in the upper chamber of the facility) for international networking and information sourcing. With the guidance of Dr. Lohmann, we visited quite a member of stales for brief inputs; including one presided over by a CIPSEM alumnus Dr. Uwe Schlenker of BAUER Resources GmbH.

Interestingly, this exhibition was regarded not just as small,but as ‘very small’ by ‘Germany measures’; especially in Leipzig, historically known as a city for trade fairs. By 1610, Leipzig was being referred to as “the famous trade fair city” by Friedrich Taumann.  Christian August Clodius in 1779 wrote about it as “the city where so many capable strangers arrived with a walking staff in their hand, and through talent, hard work and God’s blessings, acquired a ton of gold”. For big spenders, there awaits the mighty IFAT in Munich in May 2018.Iit is expected to be a mega ‘closed-loop economy’ exhibition.  Our reporter expects it to be really big, given his 2016 experience. The same kind attracted 3096 exhibitors in 2016, exhibiting in fields of water supply, waste water management and waste management, with a total of 137,000 visitors (only!). Bye for now, see you in Munich.

Visit at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and Hainich National Park

For the last excursion of the EM38 course, the group headed once more to Leipzig. This time a visit at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) was scheduled. The iDiv research centre is a joint institution between the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and Leipzig University. The research center was established in 2012 and conducts top-level research in biodiversity sciences with special focus on environmental change, sustainable development and bioresource management.

On the second day the group headed to Thuringia to visit the Hainich National Park. The park is part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany’ and includes the largest unexploited area of broadleaf forest (50 km²) in Germany.

(Photos: A. Lindner, T. Karp)