Summary:German Environmental Award 2004 for Entrepreneur Alfred H. Jung and Researcher Professor Antranikian

DBU honours the commitment and the development of innovative technologies for environmental protection - Honorary prize for life's work of Loki Schmidt
OsnabrĂŒck. This year's winners of the German Environmental Award are named: the with 500,000 Euro supremely endowed European environmental award goes to the North Rhine-Westphalian entrepreneur Alfred Heinrich Jung (49) and the Hamburg microbiologist Professor Garabed Antranikian (53). Thus the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt DBU acknowledges the achievements of two environmental pioneers. Alfred H. Jung, founder and head of the medium-sized company Jungtec, which is specialised on the manufacturing of gaskets, receives the award for an innovative technology leading both to an immense environmental relief and a reduction of health dangers. Professor Antranikian, head of the Institute for Technical Microbiology of the Technische UniversitĂ€t Hamburg-Harburg, looks into extreme habitats and is awarded for his work in the field of white biotechnology with which chemical processes can be altered in a way that the environment is considerably relieved. - The life's work of Professor Dr. Hannelore (Loki) Schmidt (85, Hamburg) is honoured with an honorary prize. Federal President Horst Köhler is to present the award on 31 October in Mainz.

Even most modern gaskets don't seal completely

For the manufacturing of numerous products like petrol, the use of health- and environment-damaging materials can not be avoided. Gaskets in production facilities serve to prevent an uncontrolled escape of chemical substances. However, even most modern gaskets don't seal completely, so that annually many million cubic meters of gas escape into the atmosphere - with serious consequences for environment and health.

Gaskets made by Jungtec lower emissions

Jungtec developed a technology, through which, compared to conventional gaskets, only a billionth of poisonous substances escape. More than 95% of these emissions, which are partially carcinogen or contribute to the global warming, can be avoided. "Besides the positive effect for environment and health, the technology is also profitable for the enterprises" said DBU secretary-general Dr.-Ing. E. h. Fritz Brickwedde. "The Jungtec gaskets are more favourable in the price-performance ratio, more durable and avoid product losses through creeping emissions."

Professor Antranikian - making industrial processes more ecological

With the aim of making industrial processes more ecological, Professor Antranikian searched for almost 25 years for micro-organisms who live under extreme conditions in exotic habitats. These organisms can therefore be used in rough industrial processes, in which strong heat, cold or acidity prevail. "Professor Antranikian realised early the extraordinary potential of these so named extremophile micro-organisms for the white biotechnology", mentioned Fritz Brickwedde. The white or industrial biotechnology relies on sustainable processes to avoid the cause of environmental strain as far as possible.

Enzymes replace environment-damaging procedures

The enzymes (biocatalysts) from micro-organisms replace or optimise conventional, usually more expensive, lengthier and environment-damaging procedures in many cases. They can be used in the chemistry and pharmaceuticals industry as well as in the areas of cosmetics, food and textile. Enzymes are the best known example of white biotechnology in detergents, that remove fat and dirt even better. At the same time, less washing-powder is needed and the temperature can be lowered. Washing at 40° C instead of 60° C could save 1.3 million tons of carbon dioxide per year - corresponding approximately to the carbon dioxide emission of 1.7 million families, going each over 4,000 kilometres on holidays with their car.

Protection of nature - a matter close to Loki Schmidt's heart

For Loki Schmidt, the protection of nature was a matter close to her heart. "With her charisma and campaigns in touch with the people, like for the 'flower of the year', she stood up for the awareness for nature conservation among the population", Brickwedde said. In 1976, she founded the committee for the protection of endangered plants, which works today on own properties as foundation for nature and plants. Her effort for the botanical gardens was exemplary. As one of the first, she underlined the necessity to save the genetic heritage of the flora and to keep seeds in a frozen condition.
The German Environmental Award 2004 goes to Professor Garabed Antranikian (left), entrepreneur Alfred Heinrich Jung (far right) and Professor Loki Schmidt.