The Audi Environmental Foundation and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have recognized the master’s degree theses of two young scientists with the “Sustainable Resource Management Award.” The SRM Award brings prize money of 1,500 euros and has been awarded to TUM graduates of the Sustainable Resource Management course of study for the seventh time. It particularly recognizes environmentally friendly and sustainable ideas. Prizewinner Daniela Angelova developed concepts for future-oriented urban development and Diana Young developed approaches for more efficient biogas plants.
Daniela Angelova (28) worked on urban living environments with the example of Bahir Dar in Ethiopia. She examined land use in and around the African provincial capital and analyzed socio-economic factors. She found that in the past 30 years, built-up areas had grown in Bahir Dar at the expense of arable land, grassland, fallow land, and the nearby alluvial forests of the Blue Nile. This has resulted in damage to the ecosystem. Angelova identified factors such as population growth and proximity to hospitals, schools and other public facilities as drivers of urban growth. “The Audi Environmental Foundation has supported projects for the reforestation of oak forests since 2009. We are now interested in what influence the proximity of forests to the city can have,” stated Recknagel.
The second winner of the SRM Award, Diana Young, investigated fungus in biogas plants. She then developed scenarios of how supporting such fungus could lead to the more efficient and sustainable production of biogas. Young also analyzed temperature, oxygen content and pH values in the plants and used the results to develop hypotheses for improved processes. Follow-up studies could continue this work. “Biogas is regarded as an important, sustainable energy source because its production can make use of renewable materials, dispose of waste and recycle food. In Germany alone, there are thousands of plants that could profit from the results,” stated Philipp Benz of the TUM professorship for wood-bio processes.
“The theses of both scientists demonstrate impressively that the careful use of resources can have a major impact. They also provide answers to important questions of our time,” said Rüdiger Recknagel, Chief Executive of the Audi Environmental Foundation. The Foundation promotes technologies for the sustainable and environmentally compatible use of natural resources and supports research and development.