|Hof University strengthens and networks the Bavarian local heating sector|
With the beginning of 2022, the Institute for Water and Energy Management at Hof University (iwe) has launched a project focusing on regenerative local heating networks. The aim of the project team, which currently consists of four members, is to transfer knowledge and provide further training for all stakeholders, from manufacturers to operators, and to network and strengthen the Bavarian local heating sector. The project is funded by the European Social Fund with just over half a million euros.
In a local heating network, several buildings are connected via pipes to a central boiler house for heat supply. This supplies the consumers with the heat they need for hot water and heating. Today, this heat is generated from fossil fuels such as crude oil or natural gas. However, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the long term, regenerative energy sources in the form of wood pellets, wood chips or biogas are increasingly being used. This is much easier to implement in centrally supplied networks rather than in self-sufficient buildings. Nevertheless, potential customers in many places are still skeptical about giving up patronage of their own heating systems.
Strengthening the Bavarian local heating sector
In order to increase the acceptance of regenerative local heating networks among the population, among other things, a network is now to be established to strengthen the Bavarian local heating industry in the Free State. This is possible by networking existing and potential players as well as possible new specialists in the field of local heating technology. The focus is also on communicating innovative technologies from research and the individual experiences of the participants. "Fossil building heating systems are difficult to replace with fully renewable sources. Many homeowners are reluctant to convert to pellet furnaces. However, fully renewable heat pump systems as an alternative are complex and expensive. Area-wide decarbonization, i.e. a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, can be accelerated by regenerative heat networks, since many consumers can be supplied with heat simultaneously and without much effort in their own homes," says Dr.-Ing. Andy Gradel. Together with Prof. Dr.-Ing. Tobias Plessing, Anton Sack and Matthias Kreuzer, he is leading the project with the working title "ADerN" (Expansion and Digitalization of Efficient Renewable Local Heating Networks).
Further training of network participants
The project team, which initially consists of four members, is responsible for the organization of regular network events and the training of interested participants. Training topics here are primarily new technical solutions that increase the efficiency of local heating networks and enable the expansion of existing networks, such as heat storage or heat generation through the use of renewable energies. Presentations are also planned on digital network controls with intelligent control strategies for more efficient operation of local heating networks. Attracting customers through digitalized networks that allow connected parties in the building to view their consumption data in detail are also on the agenda. "Our events are also aimed at potential operators of networks that do not yet exist. This means administrations, municipalities, public utilities, civic energy cooperatives and heat-generating companies, especially in rural areas. However, we mainly want to reach and strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises in Bavaria with our project," says project member Anton Sack. The acquisition of the network participants takes place in the first project months. Interested parties are therefore welcome to contact the working group. For more specific topics, experts and companies will be called in to pass on their know-how at the various events.
Support from the European Social Fund
With a sum of 510,257 euros, the ADerN project (expansion and digitalization of efficient regenerative local heating networks) is supported by the European Social Fund (ESF), as part of the Union's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ESF is the European Union's most important funding instrument for combating unemployment and promoting employment. It is guided by the Europe 2020 strategy with its objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
|"Everything has its time!" - Chancellor Dagmar Pechstein leaves office|
Change in one of the most important personnel matters at Hof University of Applied Sciences: Dagmar Pechstein, the university's long-time chancellor, is ending her professional career and moving into semi-retirement. She has now been seen off by university president Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Lehmann and some close colleagues during a pandemic celebration in a small circle. Dagmar Pechstein held the office since 2003. A decision on a successor has not yet been made.
"To every thing there is a season, and to every purpose under heaven there is an hour" - with this thoughtful Bible verse from the Old Testament, Dagmar Pechstein began and ended her humorous and witty farewell speech. Visibly touched, but also full of anticipation for the coming life, she had previously looked back on her almost 19 years of work as the person responsible for finances, construction, personnel and real estate of the educational institution. At the celebration in the Hof "Klangmanufaktur", which was framed by singer Max Dollinger and pianist Wolfgang Skill, only 20 people from the closest circle were allowed to participate according to the applicable regulations under 2G rules.
Appreciation by university president
At the beginning, university president and companion Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Lehmann paid detailed tribute to Dagmar Pechstein: "With her, our university is losing a thoroughly reliable and loyal person as well as an excellent lawyer. Dagmar Pechstein played a major role in shaping the university and its image today. Our cooperation could hardly have been better."
Dream of becoming a judge fell through because of love
After graduating from the Jean-Paul-Gymnasium in 1979, the Hofer native was drawn to study law at the Friedrich Alexander University in Erlangen. "I didn't even know that there was already such a thing as a university chancellor there, and I certainly wouldn't have known what he did," Dagmar Pechstein admitted with a laugh. After her two state law examinations in 1984 and 1988, however, her desire to become a judge in Hof initially failed - and that was due to love: With her husband Hans Pechstein, she had married a Hof lawyer, of all people, which ruled out employment as a judge in the same place. But then a neighbor drew Dagmar Pechstein's attention to the recently founded Civil Service College, today's Bavarian University of Applied Sciences for Public Administration. The young lawyer seized the opportunity and taught there from 1990 to 1992. Later, she went to the district administration office in Hof, where she was a government councilor with about 50 employees responsible for disaster control, firefighting and security.
Starting at the University of Applied Sciences for Public Administration
"After that, however, I quickly went back to the University of Applied Sciences for Public Administration, to the office of a certain Dr. Lehmann in the private law department," says Dagmar Pechstein about her first encounter with the later university president. There, she says today, she experienced a lot of joy in teaching and in working with students. After ten years, however, Dr. Lehmann changed and went to the young Hof University of Applied Sciences as university president. When he was finally looking for a new chancellor there, Prof. Dr. Lehmann's eye fell on his former colleague. But accepting the offer and applying was not easy for Dagmar Pechstein: "I wasn't exactly on fire. On the contrary, I was not sure whether I could do justice to the office and its requirements," confessed Dagmar Pechstein. With her husband's encouragement, however, she took the plunge and, after passing the selection process, became the first female chancellor of Hof University.
Enormous development experienced
Since then, she calculated, she has now witnessed far more than 200 meetings of the university management and has been able to accompany many changes. One of the first decisions in 2003 was the introduction of a smoking ban at the university - from which, however, the offices were exempt, Pechstein said with a smile. Overall, he says, the learning curve was difficult and it took more than a year for a bit of a routine to settle in. "A university is very complex, much more complex than a district office or a city hall, for example," says Dagmar Pechstein. Although the administration is hierarchically structured, teaching is free, and this tension automatically gives rise to points of friction, said the outgoing chancellor. Overall, however, everyone can be proud of the development of Hof University today. "In particular, the fact that we now have over 3800 students and over 1000 of them from the international sector is a fact that no one would have reckoned with when I started my job. The fact that we can now offer almost 50 bachelor's and master's degree programs is also outstanding," said the university chancellor. By way of comparison, Dagmar Pechstein presented figures from 2004: at that time, there were 1,600 students in just 9 degree programs at Hof, of which 750 students alone were in the then Department of Economics. The budget has grown from EUR 8 million to around EUR 40 million today.
A carefully chosen exit
Ultimately, however, she is now leaving at the right time and with a good feeling: "My departure is well chosen. Every organization has to adapt and change. This also applies to the classic job description of the university chancellor. Today, competence in digitalization and an entrepreneurial mindset are at least as necessary as legal knowledge," says Pechstein. In the end, what remained were many valuable encounters with people, but also festive highlights such as various building dedications or the university's 10th anniversary celebration, during which the Hof Symphony Orchestra performed "Carmina Burana" on campus. She would also forever remember the university's 25th anniversary or even a trip to India to visit Hof's university partners. "I am now happy to hand over the responsibility and wish the entire university family all the best for the future," Dagmar Pechstein concluded to long applause.
Picture: The outgoing chancellor Dagmar Pechstein (Source: Hof University of Applied Sciences);
|Ecological water purification in aquacultures - with less effort!|
Researchers at the Institute for Water and Energy Management (iwe) at Hof University want to reduce the amount of labor and materials used in the management of pond systems. This is to be achieved with the help of biodegradable, so-called "growth bodies" for water purification. These could soon replace conventional plastic purification elements and thus also reduce microplastics in water and fish. The research project has been running since April 2021.
Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food sectors, with annual production worth $250 billion. Growth bodies are an indispensable part of this: due to their large surface area on which bacteria settle, they help to convert toxic ammonium and nitrite into less harmful nitrate. At the same time, this saves water and protects the environment. But growth bodies are usually made of plastic or other petroleum-based plastics. "Recycling them is costly, and plastic in the world's oceans and waters poses a major challenge to humanity - plastic can eventually give rise to microplastics, which we ingest ourselves through our food and which in any case have a harmful effect on the environment and its organisms," explains Dr. Harvey Harbach, who is responsible for the aquaponics research area at Hof University of Applied Sciences.
Bioplastics instead of plastics
In general, therefore, the aim is to find substances that can replace conventional plastic. In the case of the growth bodies, the use of bioplastics is a suitable material. A team of researchers from the Institute for Water and Energy Management (iwe) at Hof University, led by project manager and idea generator Dr. Harvey Harbach, is working on precisely this: In collaboration with the Institute for Biopolymer Research (ibp), which is also based at Hof University, and a commercial enterprise from Franconia, completely biodegradable growth bodies for biological water treatment have been developed since the beginning of April 2021 under the project name "BioBioCarrier." The project, which will run until 2023, is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as part of the Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM).
Testing different materials
"The difficulties in the project lie in the correct selection of biopolymers and the associated degradability in water. The new growth body must not degrade too quickly in fresh water," explains project team member Ms. Christin Baumgart. By combining different polymers with each other, new properties are to be generated: "This means that the biodegradability in water can be adjusted." However, the results so far look promising. Accordingly, progress has already been made and solutions identified. However, a number of hurdles still have to be overcome before the product is ready for the market: "When selecting substances, care is taken to ensure that they are not harmful to health. Since the application is in aquaponics, the substances must also be suitable for the fish and plants. This means that great attention is paid here to the harmlessness of the substances, all should be biodegradable and even bio-based." In addition, the "biodegradability would also still need to be looked at in detail to make sure they decompose in the time frame given."
New development beckons
A key challenge in the project, but one that could represent a breakthrough within the industry concerned, could ultimately be provided by a new development currently being worked on in Hof: "In aquaponic systems, nutrients have to be added at regular intervals, without which plants cannot grow or can only grow poorly. Our idea is to combine the biodegradation of the product with the release of the substances needed by the plants. This would consequently reduce working time and improve profitability," says Dr. Harbach. And he continues: "There are currently no comparable products on the market. This would be a real innovation. We are working at full speed and expect further results soon."
Image: Growth bodies in aquaponics (source: Hof University of Applied Sciences).
|Refectory and cafeteria: new opening hours|
The gastronomy at the Campus Hof and the Campus Münchberg have reopened on January 10th, 2022. The following opening hours apply there for the time being.
and Friday from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Please wear an FFP2 mask on site and check the current hygiene concept of Studentenwerk Oberfranken here.
If there are any changes, we will inform you as soon as possible.
The gastronomy at the Campus Hof and the Campus Münchberg have reopened as of today, January 10th, 2022. The following opening hours apply there for the time being.
and Friday from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Please wear an FFP2 mask on site and check the current hygiene concept of Studentenwerk Oberfranken here.
If there are any changes, we will inform you as soon as possible.
|University magazine Campuls now available in English|
We are happy to announce that our university magazine Campuls is now also available in English. You will find interesting articles on our research projects, international collaborations and life on campus.
Please have a look at:
|Sustainable textile studies: Hof University of Applied Sciences cooperates with Bangladesh|
Under the umbrella of the German Society for Industrial Cooperation (GIZ), Hof University has launched a remarkable international project together with the Bangladesh University of Textiles (BUTEX). During the two-year period, among other things, academic education in Bangladesh is to be raised to Bachelor level and developed towards sustainable textile production. For the future, further perspectives of cooperation between Upper Franconia and the educational institutions in Southeast Asia could arise.
Hof University has an excellent reputation in Asia with regard to its competence in the textile sector. In particular, lecturers and students of the Innovative Textiles and Sustainable Textiles degree programs in Münchberg are always sought-after discussion partners when it comes to developing classic textile manufacturing towards sustainable and ecological production. "This is also the order of the day in Asian manufacturing countries; after all, ecological products are increasingly in demand both from intermediaries and from Western consumers themselves," says Dr. Michael Rauch, professor of textile finishing process engineering and head of the Sustainable Textiles Master's program. With the "HELD" project ("Higher Education and Leadership Development for Sustainable Textiles in Bangladesh"), the already strong cooperation is now being intensified even further.
Double degree program as goal
"We would like to enrich the education of the cooperation partner BUTEX with its total of seven affiliated textile colleges with our know-how and provide further starting points for sustainability," says Prof. Dr. Rauch. In addition, he said, there are plans to set up a Master's program at BUTEX in Bangladesh analogous to the Master's program in "Sustainable Textiles" at Hof University. "This could possibly also be done as a double degree program," explains Prof. Dr. Rauch. Such double degree programs enable students to spend a fixed number of semesters abroad and have their additional degrees earned there mutually recognized.
Continuous textile study program in Münchberg
Following the project, a cooperative doctoral program (Hof University of Applied Sciences - BUTEX) is to be introduced in the medium to long term, enabling students from both universities to earn a doctorate. "Thus, in the future, Hof University could offer a continuous study program in the field of textiles - consisting of the Bachelor's program in Innovative Textiles, the Master's program in Sustainable Textiles and a new doctoral program," concludes Prof. Dr. Michael Rauch.
The funding amount of the HELD project is approximately € 380,000 over 2 years. The sponsoring GIZ acts on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Picture: Prof. Dr. Michael Rauch
|Hof University featured in Higher Education Review magazine|
The Indian-based Higher Education Review magazine features a detailed article about Hof University in their curent edition International College of the Year - 2021. Hof University President Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Lehmann speaks about our special connection to India, our practice-oriented teaching approach and the numerous personal support services provided to international students.
For the full article, please download the Higher Education Review on Hof University (12-2021).
|DAAD Award and scholarship ceremony for international students|
Hof University has honored several excellent international students. Firstly, Mr. Francis Opoku-Amoako received the "DAAD Award for International Students". This award is provided by DAAD and is funded by the Federal Foreign Office.
In addition, 10 students from the Master's programs General Management, Operational Excellence and Software Engineering for Industrial Applications received a scholarship from funds of Hof University Graduate School.
Another 9 scholarships were awarded to students within the DAAD STIBET program and 16 scholarships from funds of the Bavarian State Ministry for Science and Culture.
Congratulations to the award winner and all scholarship holders!
Mr. Opoku-Amoako is now a graduate of the master program Software Engineering for Industrial Applications. In addition to his excellent academic achievements and his support in the integration of new students as a tutor, he is involved in social projects in his home country Ghana. For example, he is involved with "ISH Concepts" to prevent alcohol abuse among his fellow countrymen. As Mr. Opoku-Amoako has already taken up a job in Munich, he was unable to attend on site and was connected via video. The president Prof. Dr. Dr. H.c. Jürgen Lehmann therefore symbolically handed over the certificate.
We wish the award winner and all scholarship holders a successful study and a good start into their professional life.
|Master's students develop 3D hybrid printer|
Support for founders is a top priority at Hof University and the Einstein1 Digital Startup Center, and is now yielding visible successes. Dr. Andy Gradel, founder and managing director of BtX energy GmbH, was recently awarded the Rainer Markgraf Prize. Gradel is a senior engineer at the Institute for Water and Energy Management at Hof University and is involved in sustainable and innovative energy solutions. Johannes Garbarek, founder and CEO of ahearo GmbH, launched Germany's first digital audio kiosk at the end of November and was thus nominated for the German Founder's Prize. SmartZavod is another ambitious, international team of founders from Hof University that is working on the development of a fully automated hybrid printer and has already received a prestigious founder's prize for its work.
Oleksii Solntsev (25) and Anton Yakhno (26) are Master's students in mechanical engineering at Hof University. They have been working on the development of a multifunctional 3D printer for half a year. They built the first prototype as part of the Kickstart funding program of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which provides Hof students with start-up funding of 7,500 euros for their start-up project. With their business idea, the two founders of SmartZavod (Ukrainian for smart factory) also won over the jury of the Ukrainian Startup Fund founder prize in their home country of Kiev, which is endowed with the equivalent of over 20,000 euros, and thus collected additional money for further development.
3D printing is a technology of the future, and its use has been growing rapidly for years, particularly in the production of one-off items and spare parts - such as prostheses in medicine, models, small series and prototypes. It is an additive manufacturing process in which material, usually synthetic resins, plastics, ceramics, specially prepared metals or even carbon and graphite materials, are applied layer by layer to create three-dimensional workpieces. The advantages over conventional production processes lie primarily in faster and cheaper production, because the complex upstream production of molds for the casting process is eliminated. However, many of the 3D printers available on the market are purely stand-alone solutions. This means that if different materials are to be processed or if, for example, milling or laser work is to be carried out in addition to printing, several devices are generally required. The SmartZavod team wants to solve this problem with a fully automated and multifunctional hybrid printer. This would significantly streamline and speed up the development and production process of new workpieces. "Our printer should be able to process up to 30 different materials, have eight tool heads that can be changed fully automatically. This would enable printing, milling and laser cutting in a single device," says Anton Yakhno. "We can completely control the manufacturing process via a web application from anywhere in the world without the need for an operator to intervene manually," adds co-founder Oleksii Solntsev. "If we succeed, we would be the first in the world to enable this diversity in a single device."
Hof University offers excellent ecosystem for founders
At Hof University, they are pleased to see so much innovative and founding spirit. "Oleksii and Anton are hitting a nerve with their development. Additive manufacturing is increasingly taking on an essential role in industrial production, and hybrid processes are highly attractive in this context," says Dr.-Ing. Anke Müller, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Hof University. Together with Prof. Dr. Michael Seidel, she brought the Startuplab project to Hof last year, and with it 1.2 million euros for the promotion of founders at the university. "We have expanded the startup ecosystem step by step in recent years, first with the establishment of the Digital Startup Center and last year with Startuplab, which supports potential startups at a very early stage, in finding ideas and developing initial demonstrators. We are of course pleased that our commitment is now bearing fruit, says Seidel, who is a professor of entrepreneurship and startup advisor at Hof University. "Those who study at Hof find an exceptionally good environment for starting their own business."
|New protection and hygiene concept for winter semester 2021/22|
On September 23, 2021, Hof University's new Protection and Hygiene Concept went into effect. Among other things, it addresses which regulations must be observed on campus and which measures come into effect for classes. Find new informations on the 3G self-commitment-declaration and the antigen testing center for students at Campus Hof.
Please note that since November 8, it is mandatory to wear a FFP2 facemask inside all our building.
If you have any questions, please contact our team on email@example.com
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