Profile and Goals
The challenges faced by global agriculture due to growing population and climate change led to the creation of Fraunhofer AWAM - Smart Agriculture and Water Management Center, in Portugal, dedicated to applied research in this specific field of science and technology.
New high-tech approaches are needed to efficiently address e.g. the security of supply in terms of quantity and quality of food, the sustainability and environmental compatibility of farming, and the competitiveness of European farmers. Water availability is an important issue in this context which is closely connected to wastewater treatment and water recycling in all parts of society.
The main goal of Fraunhofer AWAM is the development and application of new process technologies on the basis of a comprehensive data analysis and modelling to close regional loops of nutrients, water and energy. Process technologies will include, but are not limited to, membrane technology, general process engineering, sensors and sensor grids and energy systems. To this end, research activities will be pursued in close cooperation with industrial partners in the following areas:
> Development, demonstration and application of technologies to facilitate efficiency in agriculture, forestry and water management (e.g. membrane-based separation and cleaning approaches for liquids and gases, process monitoring with novel sensor technology, or recycling of organic waste to reuse water, energy and nutrients;
> Integration of digitalisation and development of highly automated, partially self-regulating systems to meet the requirements of ‘smart agriculture’ and ’smart water management’, and their demonstration with prototypes and field experiments;
> Process development and application in line with concepts of environmental sustainability, taking into account ecosystem preservation and services, and a circular economy approach.
Fraunhofer Portugal undertakes applied research of direct utility to private and public enterprises and of wide benefit to society. As one of the research centers operating under the roof of Fraunhofer Portugal, Fraunhofer AWAM has been founded in 2019, and results of a partnership between the Fraunhofer Society (Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft), Fraunhofer Portugal, the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), the Universidade de Évora (UEvora) and the Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD).