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Structural Change

News from the Regions of Structural Change | May 2022

New lithium factory for Bitterfeld-Wolfen Chemical Park

American-Dutch metal group Advanced Metallurgical (AMG) has announced plans to invest more than EUR 100 million in a new lithium refinery plant. Annual production of 20,000 metric tons should start in the fall of 2023 at the plant in the Bitterfeld-Wolfen Chemical Park. Subject to demand levels, production capacity could increase fivefold. According to AMG, the lithium produced will be of a high quality suitable for battery production. The city of Bitterfeld believes that the development will help attract other companies to the region.

Leibniz awards Röchling Prize to Syrian researcher for new carbon fiber process

A new process for the production of high-quality carbon fibers from wood industry lignin waste has been awarded the Röchling Prize. The Leibniz Institute for Polymer Research (IPF) made the award to Dr. Muhannad Al Aiti for his work that should make it possible to produce highly resilient carbon for car components and wind turbines from wood residues instead of petroleum. According to IPF, the work creates a fundamental understanding of the structure and morphology formation in lignin-based carbon fibers that puts an ecological and cost-effective technology alternative within reach. Dr. Muhannad Al Aiti, who comes from Syria, conducted his research and doctoral work at the Institute of Lightweight Engineering and Polymer Technology (ILK) at TU Dresden.

Potsdam special effects company wins second Oscar for Dune

In March, Potsdam-based Nefzer Special Effects won the Oscar in the visual effects category for the film “Dune.” The award is the second Oscar won by Gerd Nefzer, who received the same prize in 2018 for his work on “Blade Runner 2049.” Working on location in the desert in Jordan and in studios in Budapest,  with a 50-strong crew, Nefzer was responsible for creating the stunning special effects in the science fiction epic. The company, based on the premises of Studio Babelsberg, was founded in the 1960s by Karl Nefzer as a gunsmith’s shop before becoming a special effects firm led by his son Uli Nefzer.

BASF and enviaM to build solar park in Schwarzheide

BASF and enviaM have signed a cooperation agreement for the joint construction of a 24-hectare solar park near the BASF plant site in Schwarzheide. Around 52 thousand photovoltaic modules will provide green electricity to BASF’s production site in Lusatia. With a total installed capacity of 24 MWp and expected electricity production of 25 GWh annually, the plant will be the first major solar power plant in which BASF is directly involved. The chemicals group has set itself the goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

Work begins on EUR 72 million logistics site in Bitterfeld-Wolfen

Construction has begun on a new 82 thousand sqm logistics center in Bitterfeld-Wolfen. Two facilities will be built on the 200 thousand sqm site acquired by Hamburg-based real estate company Garbe in 2021. The first 48 thousand sqm building has already been leased – with an option to expand – to a medium-sized online retailer from Germany and is scheduled for completion in February 2023. The second property – 34 thousand sqm in size – is expected to be suitable for multiple tenants. According to Garbe, “Bitterfeld-Wolfen is an up-and-coming location in the Leipzig-Halle logistics region that offers excellent growth prospects.”

CATL ramps up production at EUR 1.8 billion Thuringia site

Chinese battery manufacturer CATL is set to ramp up production at its new plant in Arnstadt in the second half of the year. The battery giant has received an operating permit from the state of Thuringia for the first plant expansion stage. The site will have an initial capacity of eight gigawatt hours, corresponding to annual battery capacity for around 120 thousand electric vehicles. The company plans to take on 1,500 employees by the end of the year, with a 500-strong workforce from the region already in place. The Chinese battery company is investing in the region of EUR 1.8 billion at the new complex, creating one of the largest battery cell factories in Europe.

New Lusatia Science Park to create network of excellence

A new scientific network of excellence is to be created at a 420-hectare site on the outskirts of the city of Cottbus. Under the leadership of the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, an innovation landscape with international appeal is to be created at the Cottbus site over the next few years – combining excellent basic and applied research with innovative spin-offs and numerous company settlements. The BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg aims to sustainably bundle top-level research and transfer at an international level on order to develop an interdisciplinary innovation network as well as an excellent science and technology location. The BTU, together with the Ministry of Science, Research and Culture of the State of Brandenburg, has sought strong partners including the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Leibniz Association as well as companies including LEAG, BASF Schwarzheide, Deutsche Bahn, and Rolls-Royce.

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