Improving the research and knowledge transfer as a means to improve energy efficiency in production - the German approach Effizienzfabrik
As a means to promote the development of innovative energy- and resource-efficient production technologies, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) launched a programme1 funding over 31 joint research projects with more than 65 m Euros in 2009. Each of the funded projects aims to develop new, holistic solutions for industrial production which can substantially improve energy efficiency. The purpose of these solutions is to ensure and foster the competitiveness as well as the technological top position of German industry. However, in order to reap the fruits of these efficient solutions, it is necessary that they are spread and adopted by industry. As a flanking measure to the 31 research projects, the BMBF and the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) therefore launched a joint initiative called the Effizienzfabrik, the Innovation Platform for Resource Efficiency in Production. The initiative has three objectives: (1) to disseminate information about recent trends and developments in research on energy- and resource-efficient production technologies, (2) to facilitate the dissemination of the project results by publications, events and web-based tools and finally, (3) to create a living network of stakeholders from industry, academia and the public. In this paper, we discuss the approaches developed for and implemented in the Effizienzfabrik. This includes a presentation of the methodological background, a review of the various tools and services provided to the public and a discussion of lessons learned during the Effizienzfabrik initiative. This information may serve as a basis for launching similar programmes in other countries or contexts.