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At HANNOVER MESSE 2022, Kaiserslautern University of Applied Sciences will be addressing, among other things, a conflict that is set to become even more explosive as we increasingly move away from fossil fuels. It is about the so-called plate or tank problem, as food production on the one hand and energy as well as recyclable material production on the other hand are increasingly competing with each other. One of the major challenges of the future will therefore be to sustainably meet the growing demand for food, energy and valuable materials while using as little agricultural land, energy and water as possible.

New approaches to this challenge are currently being developed by an interdisciplinary team in variously funded joint research projects (EFRE, BMBF, DFG, Ministry of Science RLP, industry partners, ZIM). For example, the researchers are focusing on the ecology and physiology of terrestrial microorganisms in order to develop new production techniques and process methods based on them. The scientists' goal is to develop a completely new platform technology that implements energy- and resource-efficient process technologies and realizes a specific emerse, i.e. airborne, production environment for terrestrial microorganisms. Currently, terrestrial microalgae are used as test organisms, producing active and valuable substances as well as food supplements in an emersed photo bioreactor (ePBR). Other processes refine and functionalize the valuable substances, for example, into protein-polymer hybrid materials with new properties.