“Solving some of society’s biggest food challenges at
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.
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.
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?
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.
The Innopark Sigmundshall
“For a world without hunger, it is essential that we offer sustainable solutions and innovative approaches to the issue of nutrition. We will only achieve this with innovations that are an important component of our Shaping 2030 corporate strategy.”
Burkhard Lohr, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors.
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.
“Our expertise in working with saline waters, setting up, controlling, and optimizing plants, handling certifications for the food and pharmaceutical industries, and the existing infrastructure at our sites quickly led to the conclusion that the production of macroalgae far from the ocean can be a forward-looking business.”
Dr. Stefanie Wegener, project lead K+S.
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 want to set the course to make a positive contribution to the expansion of sustainable agricultural production and the material and energetic use of renewable resources with the production of microalgae. With our many years of expertise in the food, feed and pharmaceutical sectors, we are in a position to successfully face the future with sustainable products such as those made from algae."
Dr. Stephanie Hielscher-Michael - Head of Laboratory at Werk Bernburg and Werk Braunschweig-Lüneburg.
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.
Innovation space new.food.systems.
"With NFS, a competent consortium from science and industry has been created, in which K+S is a reliable and competent industrial partner with its expertise and infrastructure. This is also reflected in the fact that K+S was elected and became a member of the steering committee of NFS for one year as an industry representative."
Jessica Berneburg-Wächter, R&I coordinator.
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.
We hope that the future use of this innovative technology in agricultural application advice will lead to a decisive competitive advantage. We are very much looking forward to the joint development of this exciting technology with Spacenus."
Alexa Hergenröther, Head of the Europe+ operating unit at K+S.
At the invitation of K+S, Dr. Bernd Althusmann, Lower Saxony's Minister of Economics, Labor, Transportation and Digitalization, as well as other stakeholders from politics, science and industry, and start-up companies met today at the K+S site in Sigmundshall near Hanover. At the same time, the event marked the starting signal for the Aurau of the new K+S Innopark in Sigmundshall.