Press release
K+S Brine Challenge

Winners of the crowdsourcing competition are from the USA and Australia

Kassel, 03.07.2019 
The K+S Brine Challenge focused on exploring innovative approaches and concepts to further significantly reduce the saline wastewater from the tailings piles. Ideas were submitted by scientists, companies, institutes, students as well as non-professionals from 16 countries.

The jury of external and K+S internal experts has now awarded EUR 20,000 each to the two best proposals out of a total of more than 40 ideas submitted. The two winners are:

  • Kevin Joback, engineer from Bedford (New Hampshire), USA
  • Thomas Baumgartl, scientist from Churchill (Victoria), Australia

Mr. Joback suggests to further reduce the brine formation by applying a special polymer. Mr. Baumgartl’s idea involves coating the tailings piles with water-repellent materials.

Mark Roberts, Chief Operating Officer of K+S: “The K+S Brine Challenge was a great success! Congratulations to the two winners and many thanks to all other participants! We are excited about the great response to our first crowdsourcing competition”.

For a long time now, K+S has been working on the long-term project of covering the tailings piles for example in the Werra potash region to reduce the saline wastewater produced by rainfall. K+S experts have already developed promising processes in recent years. Dr. Arne Schmeisky, Brine Challenge project manager, explains: “The two award-winning ideas do not involve any new covering techniques, but they do provide approaches for possibly improving our existing processes.” One of the two ideas will now be tested as part of the ongoing project for the thin-layer process developed by K+S to cover tailings piles at the Werra site. “The second proposal will initially be subjected to a more detailed technical and economic analysis to check its feasibility”, continued Schmeisky.

As part of the new Shaping 2030 corporate strategy, K+S has clearly committed itself to sustainability with ambitious goals, innovations and constructive dialogue with stakeholders. All these goals were combined in the Brine Challenge.

Serak Rezane, Head of Corporate Innovation: "In the future, we want to increasingly utilize these and other collaborative formats to further increase the innovative maturity of our company".

Note to editors

A summary of the K+S Brine Challenge including handing over the awards to the two winners can be seen in our YouTube-video. Printable press pictures and more information on the Brine Challenge can be found on our website.

About K+S

K+S is a customer-focused, independent minerals company for the Agriculture, Industry, Consumers, and Communities segments and wants to grow the EBITDA to € 3 billion by 2030. Our approximately 15,000 employees enable farmers to provide nutrition for the world, solutions that keep industries going, improve daily life for consumers and provide safety in winter. We continually meet the growing demand for mineral products from production sites in Europe, North and South America as well as a worldwide sales network. We strive for sustainability because we are deeply committed to our responsibilities to people, environment, communities, and economy in the regions in which we operate. Learn more about K+S at

Your contact for questions about the news

Michael Wudonig
Spokesman for corporate topics

Further Press Releases

Social Media

Follow us on