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Bionic bio-fan

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Bionic bio-fan from Ziehl-Abegg: Better in every way

Significant CO2 saving in the manufacture, low noise development, reduced electricity consumption during operation, better load capacity, temerature restistance, long-term stability and mechanical properties

“We can save the environment thousands of tonnes of CO2 every year with these fans,” says Managing Director Peter Fenkl. His company, Ziehl-Abegg (Kuenzelsau), now presents a bionic bio-fan. The new fan consists of castor oil-based bio-polyamides. In addition to the CO2 saving, there are improvements in the load capacity, temperature resistance and long-term stability as well as the mechanical properties. Since the blade geometry incorporates knowledge from bionics, the fan is also quieter and more efficient – and therefore reduces electricity costs and noise emissions in operation.

This revolutionary design is used, for example, in refrigeration engineering (refrigeration chain for food to the supermarket), in heaters, heating pumps and for electrical cooling (computer centres, control cabinet cooling, inverter cooling). In keeping with its sustainable concept, the fan is 100 percent recyclable. Although the CO2-footprint is considerably minimised, it has benefits for appliance planners: The fan has greater chemical resistance and better low-temperature impact strength and withstands hot water and steam.

20 years ago "fair" coffee was just for bohemian types. Now more and more people are looking beyond the advertising claims at shipping distances and manufacturing processes. The bionic bio fan is similarly a pioneer in this sense even if the price is currently higher than for petroleum-based products. With equivalent performance data and dimensions to conventional fans there are no technical barriers. However the market needs attuning to this product and its positive environmental features.

In technical terms the bionic bio fan offers several benefits in addition to its environmental contribution: Unlike petroleum-based products it has very low water absorption and a considerably longer lifespan as well as better chemical resistance. “Ziehl-Abegg as a trendsetter in fan development therefore also wants to be a pioneer in the use of bio-polymers,” says Managing Director Fenkl.

1.    Bionics (less noise and less energy use)
2.    Biomaterial in the fan (CO2-reduction during manufacture)
3.    Bio-material reduces the weight of the fan
4.    Bio-material has a number of positive characteristics
5.    Wood is not a suitable substitute for fossil fuels

Lead Market Initiatives of the EU
The European Commission launched the Lead Market Initiatives (LMI) in 2007 and selected bio-based products as one of six target markets. The LMIs employ demand-orientated measures aimed at significantly increasing the potential and competitiveness of bio-based products.

Un-economical: The major obstacle for experts when questioned is the continued higher costs for bio-based products as compared to product alternatives so that the development of bio-technological production processes is generally un-economical.

Bio-based products have considerable potential for the reduction of production-related environmental impact, for improved health, as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuel-based raw materials and to ensure the international competitiveness of German and European industry through technology leadership. This potential however cannot be fully exploited at this point. Various obstacles stand in the way, e.g. absence of cost competitiveness to some extent, low acceptance in the processing industry, "time to market" dominance, biased regulations, relative favouring of energy- compared to material utilisation of biomasses. Tailoring support is made difficult because of the extreme heterogeneity of the products and the variety of potential application fields (including bio-chemicals, bio-lubricants and bio-plastics for packaging as well as for construction or the automotive industry).

High-tech-strategy of the German Government (2006)
The high-tech-strategy of the German Government is aimed at placing Germany at the forefront of the most important markets of the future. The plant as a supplier of raw material is one of 17 future-fields in which innovation strategies have been defined. In this context, by 2015 Germany aims to achieve pole position in Europe in plant biotechnology and plant engineering and to considerably expand the use of renewable and sustainable raw materials in the chemical industry.