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Continental and INAM drive sustainable material development for the industrial and automotive sector

November 3, 2021   Maryam Farag

From left to right: Dr. Daniel Biensfeld (Head of Innovation Field Sustainable Materials), Ran Escher (Partnership Management) and Dr. Steffen Wietzke (Head of Innovation Field Thermoplastics).
Photo: Continental.

Continental has joined forces with the Berlin-based Innovation Network for Advanced Materials (INAM) to launch the Continental Challenge for start-ups and university institutes.

Continental hopes to generate new ideas for the production and recycling of rubber and plastic products.

“By collaborating with young start-ups and university institutes, we hope to give a boost to the world of materials, both for the production and recycling of our products,” describes Ran Escher, responsible at Continental for industry-related partner management. “The start-up scene worldwide is creative, innovative and agile, and exciting ideas from basic research are often emerging at universities,” said Dr. Daniel Biensfeld, who supervises the competition participants from Continental’s side.”But what they often lack is the process know-how and technical equipment to translate their good ideas into a production environment and develop them into a marketable product.”

This cooperation started back in spring 2021 with the first Continental Challenge, which looked for solutions for fluid management in vehicles, including cooling and air-conditioning lines in electric cars. Continental experts are now continuing to work with the four selected finalists on concepts for emission-free mobility.

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The second challenge, which was launched in mid-October, now focuses on new energy-efficient recycling processes for breaking down polymer composites back into their individual components, such as monomers. The goal is to be able to completely reuse these recycled raw materials.

“We are extremely excited to run this second innovation challenge with Continental to support them in their effort to make their products future-ready. Advanced and innovative materials can provide break-through solutions to the sustainability challenges of our times – but are currently often considered only secondary to digital innovations,” said Oliver Hasse, Managing Director, INAM.