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Posted: January 30, 2009
Inno.CNT 'Innovationsallianz Carbon Nanotubes' launched in Germany
(Nanowerk News) At an opening ceremony held in Chempark Leverkusen on January 26, 2009, Thomas Rachel, Parliamentary State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), launched the Innovationsallianz Carbon Nanotubes (Inno.CNT).
This innovation alliance works intensively to promote the application and development of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), which are heralded as a key trend of the future in materials technology. The financial backing required for the project (approximately EUR 80 million in total) is provided in equal shares by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research and the around 80 partners involved in the alliance.
Over the next few years, the industrial sector aims to invest a further sum totalling around EUR 200 million in CNT development, thereby creating new jobs in Germany. In his welcoming address, Mr. Rachel emphasized the extraordinarily important role innovation plays in safeguarding not only Germany’s status as a business location, but also the jobs and prosperity of the population.
Using practice-oriented applications in the fields of energy and the environment, mobility and lightweight construction, the Innovationsallianz CNT (Inno.CNT) seeks to lay strong foundations for building up a lead market for carbon nanotubes in Germany.
Currently, carbon nanotubes are considered one of the most promising materials in the materials technology sector. They have the potential to create products and applications that offer new, far-reaching properties. The alliance brings together over 80 renowned partners from science and industry for the first time and focuses on pioneering areas of application in which materials modified with CNT will be a significant driver of progress. These include cutting-edge solar cells, powerful lithium ion batteries, ultra-light composites for saving energy and an innovative high-performance concrete.
“In supporting this initiative, we want to mobilize additional power for growth within industry and give a real boost to the competitiveness of the German economy in the crucial area of materials technology,” explained Thomas Rachel to the large audience at the ceremony. “The close links between fundamental research and tangible applications, combined with the overarching network that exists between the partners, make this innovation alliance a unique union of science, industry and politics,” commented Dr. Peter Krüger, who is responsible for coordinating the activities of the Inno.CNT.
In addition to Thomas Rachel, Dr. Wolfgang Plischke, the event’s host and the member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG responsible for innovation, also said a few words. “We at Bayer are pleased and proud to be a partner in the Inno.CNT. With this initiative, we are working together to get an entirely new, exciting and extremely promising technology up and running,” declared Plischke, underlining just how important the innovation alliance is for industry and society alike.
The Inno.CNT consists of 18 closely interlinked projects. In total, 14 projects focus on practical applications in the energy and environment, mobility and lightweight construction sectors. They are supported by three overarching technology projects that aim to develop solutions for the manufacture, functionalisation and dispersion of carbon nanotubes.
An additional crossover project is examining the issues of health and safety in the responsible handling of CNT. The initiative is due to last for a period of four years and work on some projects has already been under way since the second quarter of 2008. The partners involved include scientific institutes and numerous universities alongside highly-specialized SMEs and large industrial companies.