Biologist and engineers honored: environmental prize for ship propulsion and species protection

Status: 10/30/2022 3:36 p.m

An engineer duo and a biologist received the German Environmental Award this year. They were honored for the development of an innovative ship propulsion system and their commitment to species protection.

Two engineers from Hamburg and a biologist from Frankfurt am Main received the German Environmental Prize for the development of an energy-saving ship propulsion system and for its use in protecting species in national parks.

In front of around 900 guests, Friedrich Mewis and Dirk Lehmann as well as Christof Schenck were honored by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier during a ceremony in Magdeburg. The prize, which has been awarded since 1993, is endowed with 500,000 euros and, according to the German Federal Foundation for the Environment, is one of the most valuable awards of its kind in Europe.

“More than ever we need people to show us ways to preserve animals and plants and stop global warming,” said Steinmeier. “More than ever we need people who will make it possible for us to live and work in better harmony with nature in the future.”

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (left) congratulates Christof Schenck (second from right) on being awarded the German Environmental Prize.

Image: dpa

“We are in a dramatic crisis”

The engineers Mewis and Lehmann were honored for the development of their fuel-saving ship propulsion system. The duo developed an energy-saving nozzle for large ships. This is a device that is installed directly in front of the propeller and that, according to the inventors, is already being used in 1400 ships worldwide.

Schenck is the managing director of the Frankfurt Zoological Society. His commitment to protecting species worldwide was rewarded, for example in large wilderness areas in Africa and South America. “This price is also a responsibility. We are stuck in a dramatic crisis, unique in its temporal and spatial dimensions,” said the biologist.

Myriam Rapior and Kathrin Muus share the prize of 20,000 euros. The former federal youth director of the BUND nature conservation association and the representative of the Federation of German Rural Youth played a key role in the final report of the “Future Commission for Agriculture”, which was presented in July 2021, the jury judged.

Small group protests award

A small group from the Freie Bauern organization protested against the Future Commission and the award. The farmers came with tractors and symbolically awarded a “Real Environmental Prize” to an 18-year-old young farmer from East Friesland.

Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens), Saxony-Anhalt Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff (CDU) and the Physics Nobel Prize winner (1987) Georg Bednorz also took part in the ceremony in a Magdeburg hotel.

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