Driving Lightweight Technology: An interview with WERNER LOSCHEIDER from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
For our latest issue of the ELCA newsletter, we spoke with Werner Loscheider from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action to discuss lightweighting, current challenges and opportunities to remain relevant in the ever changing industry.
What advice would you give to other countries to improve their positioning in the field of lightweight technology?
The key point is to understand this transformative technology as a philosophy leading to decreasing material and energy consumption. Lightweighting is not limited to a specific material or technology. This diversity is a great asset since it allows us to approach the many facets of lightweighting in a holistic way.
Since conception, what major changes, if any, does the Lightweight Strategy have to adopt to maintain its relevance?
Our Lightweighting Strategy was recently revisited. Although the big picture hasn’t changed, every step forward is accompanied by quiet and carefully executed adjustments. For example, a better balance has been struck between the three cornerstones of sustainability – the environment, a resilient economy and social aspects.
How did you ensure the engagement of German stakeholders in your initiative?
To ensure we have representative participation, we approached all of Germany’s federal states and a wide range of industrial sectors. All the stakeholders need to network if the initiative is to keep bearing fruit. Backing this with additional R&D funding increases the success.
What have been the greatest obstacles you found during the implementation of your initiative? How did BMWK address these obstacles?
Big challenges are communicating the lightweighting philosophy, raising awareness of its concepts, bringing together many different perspectives and overcoming biases– lightweighting is way more than just composites. Of course, certain lightweighting materials face challenges in terms of circularity and we have to work hard to tackle this aspect.
Lightweighting is not limited to a specific material or technology. This diversity is a great asset since it allows us to approach the many facets of lightweighting in a holistic way.
What benefits do you think other regions and countries could gain by joining the ELN?
Others can benefit from the exchange of experiences and the strong partnership. The lightweighting community also benefits from the activities and open collaborations. To keep up the momentum and gain a critical mass, ELN still needs additional partners willing to shape this strong partnership.
What are the long-term goals of the ELN? Are there any outcomes or achievements that the ELN is aiming for in the future, beyond its current recommendations and initiatives?
The long-term goals of the ELN are developing a European lightweight strategy, starting from a research and development agenda and establishing transnational research funding. Furthermore, a lightweighting hub should be established in Brussels, and using Lightweighting Satellite Accounting is important in order to measure the economic impact.
Could you provide examples of successful lightweight material applications or projects that have been supported or facilitated by the ELN?
Examples are the LIGHTer PhD network and various delegation visits. M-ERA.NET and EUREKA calls were announced and will continue. Additionally, efforts for a lightweighting satellite account are ongoing and lightweighting has been anchored in the draft of the eco-design directive.
Many thanks to WERNER LOSCHEIDER from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action for his contributions and insights, take a look at their official page here.
View issue 4 of our newsletter that features this interview plus more!
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