ACP staff Monika and David Zakoth showing quantum experiments at  the Hannover Messe 2024.

ACP showing quantum experiments at the Hannover Messe

Our University was present with many different innovative projects and alliances at the Hannover Messe 2024.
ACP staff Monika and David Zakoth showing quantum experiments at the Hannover Messe 2024.
Image: David Zakoth (FSU Jena)
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Published: | By: Axel Burchardt, updated by Christian Helgert

The innovative projects that Friedrich Schiller University Jena was presenting at the Hannover Messe from 22 to 26 April have one thing in common: they are intended to help shape a healthier, more climate- and resource-friendly world.

Quantum technology for everyone

As the primary contribution of Abbe Center of Photonics (ACP), the University of Jena represented in an exhibition hall dedicated to quantum technology. This future topic is on the threshold of numerous applications such as quantum computers, the quantum microscope or tap-proof communication through quantum cryptography. The University of Jena was represented by researchers from the Abbe Center of Photonics at the joint stand of the Association of German Engineers (VDI) with two projects: In the QP-TECH.EDU project, workshops are offered for non-university professional groups such as engineers, technicians and decision-makers in the private sector, in which real quantum experiments and technology can be tried out. The fairly new QuantumMiniLabs projectExternal link is aimed at a lay audience, particularly high school students. Here, the University of Jena is working to establish a broadly usable “open source ecosystem” to raise awareness of second-generation quantum technology.

Further contributions from our University were presented by our colleagues:

Dr. Dimitris Gkiatas showing quantum experiments at  the Hannover Messe 2024.
Dr. Dimitris Gkiatas showing quantum experiments at the Hannover Messe 2024.
Image: Johannes Kretzschmar

Conserving water

Ensuring that we will still have drinkable and usable water in the future is one of the most important tasks – alongside securing food and plant production and the supply of energy – if we are to have a viable world in the future. The Thuringian Water Innovation Cluster (ThWIC), initiated by the Friedrich Schiller University Jena together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technology and Systems IKTS and the Ernst Abbe University of Applied Sciences Jena, develops solutions for the sustainable use of water. ThWIC, which now comprises 28 university and non-university research institutions, companies and associations, combines cutting-edge research on central aspects of water use: novel analysis technology and purification processes, data science innovations and sociological research.

The cluster's innovations on show at the trade fair include a sensor that enables water quality to be analysed in real time without the use of toxic chemicals; new membrane technology that reliably remove pollutants from water; an interactive educational experience for the water industry and key figure-based forms of assessing water consumption.

Building new batteries with paper waste or polymers

Another project at the University of Jena demonstrates how targeted chemical functionalization can be used to save valuable resources in battery production and catalysis, among other things. In Hanover, for example, researchers will show how lignin, a natural component of plant cell walls and a waste product of the paper industry, can be used as a source of carbon materials.

Another approach to the battery of the future is the development of "organic batteries". The active materials used for this consist of organic compounds (polymers), which can potentially replace scarce inorganic electrode materials (e.g. lithium cobalt oxide). The resulting increased environmental compatibility, simpler processing methods and mechanical flexibility lead to a wide range of applications for organic batteries – from container-sized storage systems for solar and wind farms to small, flexible batteries for smart clothing or packaging. This year, the presentation is being organized for the first time in cooperation with the newly founded Helmholtz Institute for Polymers in Energy Applications (HIPOLE JenaExternal linkExternal linkExternal link).

Replacing plastics with modified natural materials

The new start-up project "in|stead", which the University of Jena is introducing in Hanover, is developing sustainable water-repellent surface coatings that do not require any plastics or toxic chemicals. The project aims, among other things, to use natural materials in completely new applications, make plastics superfluous in many areas, replace fossil raw materials and reduce the release of microplastics into the environment as well as carbon dioxide emissions – in short, to actively protect the environment.

In addition, another Jena exhibit shows how carbon dioxide already emitted can be absorbed from the atmosphere and converted into value-adding molecules. This measure to reduce global warming is demonstrated using composite materials consisting of a porous carbon and a polymer with a high affinity for CO2.

International Startup Campus

Friedrich Schiller University Jena and its partners from central Germany support spin-offs and start-ups – on an international scale – to ensure that innovative ideas end up in the real world instead of sitting on a shelf. The "International Startup CampusExternal linkExternal linkExternal link " of the universities of Jena, Leipzig and Halle-Wittenberg provides advisory services and sensitizes start-ups to growth opportunities and the consideration of international markets in the development of business models at an early stage. The "International Startup Campus" has already supported numerous start-up projects and start-ups in their internationalization and at the same time addresses international start-ups and companies as cooperation partners at the trade fair.