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LEWA Green Technologies Day highlights alternative sources of energy

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The ability to create utility and added value for customers requires a keen nose for trends and an insider’s sensibility. LEWA pumps + systems invest in the know-how and expertise that allows them to define as a service solution manufacturer and a system provider. As a part of the Green Technologies Day series, LEWA invited experts for an exchange of ideas. Petrenee are distributors of LEWA products.

LEWA have implemented this approach as a part of their new Green Technologies Day series of events in the end of 2008. The launch event, under the motto ‘Biofuels – a source of oil for the 21st century’ highlighted current research activities, presented modern technology in use and served above all as a forum for exchanging experiences and knowledge.

The reason LEWA takes the topic of bio fuels seriously is no secret. By 2050, worldwide energy consumption is expected to double. Researchers and industry experts agree that crude oil and natural gas will not be able to meet this increased demand. And there is no dispute that fossil oil and gas in general will not be available for much longer. Even the International Energy Agency (IEA), which certainly cannot be accused of arguing against oil interests, has begun talking about depleted resources and the end of the era of cheap oil.

As a result, renewable and alternative sources of energy must be developed and exploited. The following topics were discussed on the Green Technologies Day:

  • Development of biofuels – a guideline for the 3rd generation (Josef Lichtscheidl, OMV AG, Austria)
  • Synthetic fuels – high-quality fuels from biomass (Nicolaus Dahmen, Karlsruhe Research Centre, Germany)
  • Hydrogen and fuel cells – strong partners for regenerative primary energies (Johannes Töpler, Chairman of the German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, Germany)
  • LEWA as a partner for innovative solutions in biochemical engineering (Andreas Höhler, CTO, LEWA)
  • Microalgae – raw material for recyclables and energy (Walter Trösch, Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB, Germany)

According to Andreas Höhler, CTO, LEWA, they want to be a part of the development process in all of these areas from the outset, so that they can recognise and call attention to potential critical issues early on. For more than 50 years, LEWA have represented the technical benchmark in metering and process technology worldwide.

Among all energy sources, only biomass offers a C source. The goal should not, therefore, be to want to extract energy from biomass, but rather to make it available as a C source to chemistry, for example.

According to Johannes Töpler, German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, the future primary energy system will be dominated by electricity, and he foresees a transition from a fuel-based energy system to an electricity-based energy system. Hydrogen will function as an important medium for storing electricity and will become a strong partner for renewable energy in the transport sector. Important aspects here are that hydrogen can be manufactured from all energy sources, it is a reservoir for renewable energy, and it enables the use of efficient fuel cells.

The alternative of using micro algae as a raw material for recyclables and energy presented by Walter Trösch of Fraunhofer IGB, was met with great interest. Particularly persuasive is the fact that algae can be cultivated without competing with agricultural production (ideally in the sea, eliminating the struggle with food production), and it consumes CO2 rather than producing it.

The event showed LEWA once again an understanding of the direction in which the markets and technologies are likely to develop. This is important for everyone, LEWA want to know and understand the customers’ future business models as well as their current ones.

The seriousness with which LEWA approach the protection of resources, energy-conscious behaviour and environmentally sound production can be seen within the company as well. For example, LEWA participate in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg’s ECOfit operational environmental programme. As part of this programme, the individual points of waste management, maintenance of air purity, use of water and energy savings are reviewed and evaluated. Within the scope of continuous improvement of environment-related performance, ECOfit also create the basis within the company for achieving certification in accordance with EMAS or ISO 14001 at a later date.

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