Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences continues to expand its expertise in digital manufacturing technology, underscoring its leading role in teaching and research in this field with its newest project: Green FabLab. Developed and implemented by Rhine-Waal University’s Faculty of Communication and Environment, this project is supported by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia to the tune of 390,000 EUR from the European Union’s Regional Development Fund (ERDF 2014-2020) over the next three years. The Green FabLab project lays the groundwork for a new digital fabrication workshop dedicated primarily to environmental issues and resource management. Similar to its FabLab Kamp-Lintfort, which opened in 2015, Green FabLab will allow Rhine-Waal University to expand its contributions to the region’s competitiveness to other areas, chiefly environmental technology.
Green FabLab is not only a practical place of learning and outreach for young pupils throughout the region, but also a place for Rhine-Waal students to put classroom theory into practice and develop their own innovative ideas and solutions. But Green FabLab is also for the public. It is a forum for any and every person interested in the environment and resource management and developing sustainable solutions.
In Green FabLab, the focus is on the challenges and needs of small and medium-sized enterprises in the Lower Rhine region, in particular the need for a robust and sustainable workforce of graduates from the so-called STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). As a result, regional companies are also invited to take part in Green FabLab workshops intended to formulate the challenges they face in the areas of sustainability and the production of green products and systems. Beyond its potential to spark great interest in the field of digital fabrication in students, Green FabLab also employs an educational concept with immense value for industry: problem-oriented learning. The self-developed and self-engineered solutions made possible by Green FabLab are the first step in motivating future engineers and researchers to pursue a career in environmental technology and the search for sustainable, resource-efficient solutions to the manifold environmental challenges of the future.
With Green FabLab, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences intends to establish a forum to encourage more collaboration and exchange with regional companies. Together we can ensure that our region remains innovative and competitive.
A brand new facility is being constructed for Green FabLab, with an indoor area of 400 m2 (4,305 ft2) and an outdoor area of 2,650 m2 (28,524 ft2). Completion is scheduled for January 2020. This new home is located on the grounds of the decommissioned Bergwerk West coal mine, which will also serve as the main event area for the Landesgartenschau Kamp-Lintfort 2020 from April to October 2020. As an active partner of the Landesgartenschau 2020, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences will be hosting various events in Green FabLab throughout the six-month event, inviting visitors to roll up their sleeves and get creative in environmental experiments and project workshops.