„We need even more courageous pioneers to master the challenges of the millennium”

Deutscher Umweltpreis awarded for the eleventh time - presented by Federal President Rau today
Osnabrueck. Europe’s best-endowed environmental award, the Deutscher Umweltpreis, worth € 500,000, was awarded for the eleventh time today. Federal President Johannes Rau presented it to the Head of the Biomechanics Department at the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Professor Dr. Claus Mattheck (55), and to the Founder and Manager of HJS Fahrzeugtechnik, Hermann Josef Schulte (56, Menden). He underlined, that environmental protection had to remain a permanent topic also on the political agenda: "We believed too long that there is a contrast between ecology and economy, but environmental protection creates jobs and does not destroy them.” With the award, the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) appreciates the pioneering achievement of Professor Mattheck, who nationally and internationally translated the language of nature into technical products and committed himself to the tree protection. The entrepreneur Schulte is awarded for the research and development of non-polluting exhaust technologies in vehicle construction, specifically for the development of a particle filter for diesel engines.

"A committed, restlessly and future-oriented entrepreneurial head"

Dr. Christoph Zschocke, Vice President of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Selbständiger Unternehmer (ASU) and member of the jury "Deutscher Umweltpreis” underlined in his eulogy that the award winner Hermann Josef Schulte was honoured as "a committed, restlessly and future-oriented entrepreneurial head, who has been for more than two decades an example for the fertile, but not always as feasible defined synthesis of economics and ecology". Mr Schulte showed, "that environmental protection is an original entrepreneurial task". He had worked out - and thereby being virtually innovative and courageous - a business success in economic and ecological sense. He was the outstanding embodiment of the dynamic entrepreneur, who ensured as a pioneer that previous marketable products become suppressed by more innovative ones in the competition. Mr Zschocke: "This works similarly like in the evolution: New structures arise, old ones are destroyed - in the positive sense."

HJS was as pioneer in supplying re-fitting concepts for 3-way-catalytic-converters

In 1976, Mr Schulte advanced from an employed business manager to a "real risk entrepreneur". Already few years after its founding, HJS Fahrzeugtechnik was as pioneer in supplying re-fitting concepts for 3-way-catalytic-converters, and developed filter systems for the car industry in national and international markets. The particle filter for diesel engines was a pioneering achievement, "that doesn't consist alone of saving resources through material innovations, but also protects people’s health and helps ecological systems - like the carbon dioxide-low diesel engine - on the road to success.”

Facilitator and interpreter between the systems

According to Dr. Zschocke, Professor Mattheck was awarded for decades of commitment as a scientist and was, like few others, devoted to the interdisciplinary dialogue. He "poached in many foreign sciences and connected their nature and problems, even: melted them together.” He appeared above all as facilitator and interpreter between the systems. His outstanding results, in which he connected physics with biology, were reasons for awarding him.

"He was an untiring pioneer of bionics"

For more than 15 years, he was an untiring pioneer of bionics, connecting biology and technology. Dr. Zschocke praised Claus Mattheck’s special ability to explain the transition of biological processes into technical products in a comprehensible form and to spread it world-wide: "You managed in a fascinating manner the transfer of developments in natural systems, that were created under the enormous pressure of the evolution over millions of years, into technical applications.”

"We need visions" and, above all, pioneers with entrepreneurial spirit

Christoph Zschocke emphasised that "we need visions" and, above all, pioneers with entrepreneurial spirit, that dared to convert their innovative ideas into practical solutions, "even if many shake their head initially and say: these idiots are dreaming.” This year's award winners were pioneers, who impressed through restlessness and commitment in realisation of practical solutions. Both are narrowly connected with the idea of sustainability, that unifies ecological, economic and social demands. The scale of their achievements possibly could not be appreciated at all today. Dr. Zschocke: "Through both of you happened incredibly much. You made and make a great contribution for the development of our society in order to save the future for us and following generations with sustainable development and innovations. We need even more such courageous pioneers in order to master the challenges of the millennium.”
Pleasure after the awarding ceremony of the Deutscher Umweltpreis (from left): Professor Claus Mattheck, Federal President Johannes Rau, Hermann Josef Schulte, DBU Secretary General Dr Fritz Brickwedde.