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Innopark Sigmundshall

“Solving some of society’s biggest food challenges at
the root”

Vision and Mission

Using the past for tomorrow's innovations

A growing world population needs smart, new approaches to feed humanity in the future while at the same time, protecting the resources of our planet. With Innopark Sigmundshall, we are creating a foundation with which we can cultivate the spirit of innovation.

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With the Innopark Sigmundshall (near Hannover), we offer partners from industry, research and the start-up scene a home where they can work together on the global challenges of our time in the fields of agriculture, nutrition and health.

Why "at the root"? Because the problems and challenges we already see in the food and value chain today start with the "emergence" of food.

Why us?

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With our roots in mining, we mine mineral products that are extracted underground, refined above ground, and used as mineral plant nutrients for soil and leaf fertilization in addition to other applications. In agriculture, our products and our agronomic knowledge help to supply plant crops with plant nutrients in line with needs.

What do we offer?

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With the Innopark Sigmundshall, we can offer infrastructure and space potential for further developing technologies tested on a laboratory scale in above-ground facilities and adapting them to industrial production, for example.

There is also potential space available underground. There are stable ambient temperatures underground which can provide ideal growth conditions for the production of organisms. In addition, there is an extensive workshop and analytical infrastructure with additional access to a broad network of regional and national partners who can provide support in prototype construction. With these services and competencies at Innopark Sigmundshall, we see ourselves both as an education partner and enabler and as a direct innovation partner.

Our maxim: bundle and bring together competencies

We are convinced that the challenges of tomorrow's food supply can only be successfully met by a close cooperation between all participants in the value chain. Stand-alone solutions do not help! With partners from industry, research and the start-up scene, we want to establish connections and bring partners together through Innopark Sigmundshall. Our goal is collaborative work on future topics. We want to rethink agriculture and nutrition and thereby help shape social change with the aim of understanding the most important fields of innovation and transforming them into business models.

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Pilot projects

Our pilot projects and initiatives at Innopark Sigmundshall

In a pilot project, we have been cultivating macroalgae at Innopark Sigmundshall since 2018. Macroalgae can be used to produce valuable ingredients such as proteins, lipids/fatty acids, polysaccharides, and pigments in a customized manner and independently of agricultural land. Their unconventional production in controlled, closed systems, such as indoor or vertical farming or aquaculture systems, can be part of land and resource-saving concepts in which special qualities are produced.

We have been operating our own photo-bioreactor system on a pilot scale at the Innopark Sigmundshall since November 2019. Its biomass can be used to produce active and valuable substances for the pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and food industries, as well as fuels and a large number of carbon compounds that are currently still obtained from crude oil.

We are a partner of the new.food.systems innovation space funded by the German government.

The new.food.systems. is coordinated by the Max Rubner Institute (MRI) in close cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging (IVV), and brings together more than 50 partners from science, industry and society.

The aim of the new.food.system is to contribute to the future sustainable nutrition and health of people.

Within the innovation area, K+S focuses on the Controlled Environment Cultivation (CEC) innovation field. The focus here is on the cultivation of organisms such as plants and algae in closed and therefore controllable systems. CEC offers the possibility of producing new plant products in premium qualities independent of weather conditions and with several harvests per year almost without the use of pesticides, and this with recovery of water and nutrients from residual and waste materials. New protein sources for food and feed production and for the extraction of other premium ingredients such as special fatty acids, carotenoids and other colorants, as well as aroma components and dietary fiber are also being developed here.

Detect the nutrient deficiency of a plant early on with the smartphone and thereby preventing crop failures: This is to be made possible with the Agricultural Nutrient Assistant (ANA) from Spacenus and support farmers in fertilizing plants according to their needs. K+S and Spacenus, a start-up company based in Darmstadt, have agreed to cooperate closely in the development of this digital technology in the field of precision farming.

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Partners and network
Contacts

Questions about Innopark Sigmundshall?

K+S Minerals and Agriculture GmbH
Jan-Michael Dierkes
Acceleration Cluster & Innopark Sigmundshall
K+S Minerals and Agriculture GmbH
Dr. Torsten Burghardt
Acceleration Cluster & Innopark Sigmundshall
More topics

Find out more about interesting topics and projects of K+S