Professor Johannes Ganster from Fraunhofer IAP assumes chair at BTU Cottbus–Senftenberg

Press release /

Professor Johannes Ganster was appointed to "Biopolymers and Plastic Processing" at BTU Cottbus–Senftenberg. The head of the Biopolymers research division at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam–Golm assumes office on Friday, April 21 with an official inaugural lecture in Senftenberg entitled "Plastics and elastomers from renewable raw materials – vision, fantasy or reality?".

© Fraunhofer IAP

The public lecture at the Konrad Zuse Media Center will take place at 3 pm as part of the event entitled "Bioplastics in the Lausitz Region", at which the activities of BTU in the area of bioplastics research will be presented. It is part of the national cluster week. Brandenburg’s Plastics and Chemistry Cluster, the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP extend their invitation to the event.

Ganster’s lecture enables master’s students studying mechanical engineering to experience, in a practical way, the diverse range of possibilities offered by biobased materials. "I feel it’s important that future engineers be able to deal with materials on a practical level and are able to develop new applications. This requires knowledge about the biopolymeric materials as well as extensive expertise on processing behavior and, where applicable, biodegradability," explains Professor Ganster. As the head of the Biopolymers research division at the Fraunhofer IAP, he is able to very vividly give students an understanding of applied research through his many years of experience. Students can benefit greatly from the practical experience they acquire at the Fraunhofer Processing Pilot Plant for Biopolymers Schwarzheide, a department in Ganster’s research division. Here students learn about the most important processing methods for plastics on a pilot plant scale. Accessibility to the Fraunhofer IAP means students also receive insight into the applied research currently being conducted in this area. This sharpens the awareness of up-and-coming engineers for aspects of sustainability.

Within the framework of a cooperation, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft provides significant financial support for both the chair at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg and the Processing Pilot Plant for Biopolymers Schwarzheide. The pilot plant also actively contributes in the Competence Network for the Processing of Biopolymers which is funded by the Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR) at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.  

Engineering professor Jörg Steinbach, president of BTU Cottbus–Senftenberg explains: "In Professor Johannes Ganster we have been able to recruit an especially prominent scientist who is active in the areas of biopolymers and plastics processing. I am hopeful that his courses, which are practice-oriented and have close ties to research, will inspire even more young people to study mechanical engineering. This joint appointment with the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft will also enable us to further expand our research activities with respect to plastics and, in particular, bioplastics."

Johannes Ganster has been studying polymers since the start of his professional career. He studied physics at TU Dresden and received his doctorate in 1990 from the Academy of Sciences in Teltow-Seehof on X-ray structure analysis of polymers in connection with molecular modeling. He continued to conduct research on the latter during his time abroad at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland in 1994/95. There he created models of cellulose and its mechanical properties. Johannes Ganster has been working at the Fraunhofer IAP since 1990. He became head of the Material Development and Structure Characterization department in 2006 and of the Biopolymers research division in 2013. In this capacity he has spent the last ten years studying biobased plastics, polymeric compounds and composite materials with a focus on material development, polymer processing and structure characterization.


Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP

The Fraunhofer IAP in Potsdam-Golm, Germany, specializes in research and development of polymer applications. It supports companies and partners in custom development and optimization of innovative and sustainable materials, processing aids and procedures. In addition to the environmentally friendly, economical production and processing of polymers in the laboratory and pilot plant scale, the institute also offers the characterization of polymers. Synthetic petroleum-based polymers as well as biopolymers and biobased polymers from renewable raw materials are in the focus of the institute’s work. The applications are diverse, ranging from biotechnology, medicine, pharmacy and cosmetics to electronics and optics as well as applications in the packaging, environmental and wastewater engineering or the aerospace, automotive, paper, construction and coatings industries. | Director: Prof. Dr. Alexander Böker


Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus–Senftenberg

With around 8,000 students, BTU Cottbus–Senftenberg is the second-largest university - and the only technical university - in the State of Brandenburg. A total of 1,860 foreign students from more than 111 different nations study here – the majority from China, India, Poland and Nigeria.

Located in the heart of the Lausitz region, BTU combines excellent international research with future-oriented teaching. It offers a unique teaching concept found nowhere else in the country: courses of study that are offered as university, polytechnic or dual study programs.    

The university conducts research in partnership with other universities and non-university research institutions, with regional SMEs, and with major global corporations.

BTU has three campuses: the central campus in Cottbus, a campus in Cottbus-Sachsendorf and a campus in Senftenberg.

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