Antje Klemichen is a researcher at TU Berlin, the Berlin University of Applied Sciences. After training as a ship mechanic in Hamburg, Antje Klemichen studied sustainable energy systems in mechanical engineering. For her Master’s thesis, she developed an advanced design methodology for implementing sustainable aspects in the product development process.
The maker movement’s sustainable shift
“I was inspired by the growing worldwide maker movement. More and more people are gaining access to technologies such as 3D printing and laser cutting and have started to create their own objects or repair defective products. But most of these makers are at an early creative stage, getting to know materials and processes; they aren’t tackling the big issue of sustainability yet. So with the ecoMAKER, a joint project of TU Berlin and FabLab, we want to raise awareness about sustainable production and resource-conserving design methods for individual projects. Our next step is to develop knowledge and concrete, need-based tools that we can scale and make available to the users of large makerspaces in Germany.”
A bright future for makerspaces
“Makerspaces have enormous potential to set their own sustainability standards and emancipate people from the conventional market. I will be very happy once we can walk the fine line between the process of trial-and-error, on one hand, and prototyping that avoids the waste of valuable resources, on the other. 3D printing done in a throwaway spirit is something that I believe will become a thing of the past. During design sprints, for instance, people notice that you can embed sustainability at the product level – even without any engineering knowledge!”
Advice for the new wave of changemakers
“There are so many different movements, from grassroots to government, that are calling for change. But change starts – and grows – with yourself! From becoming aware that you want to make a difference to discovering your motivation to tackle a specific issue, like reducing plastic waste! I would advise you to take it step by step and seize any opportunity you have to turn your idea into reality.”
More about changemaker Antje Klemichen
Antje Klemichen is a researcher at TU Berlin, the Berlin University of Applied Sciences. After training as a ship mechanic in Hamburg, Antje Klemichen studied sustainable energy systems in mechanical engineering at TU Berlin. For her Master’s thesis, she developed an advanced design methodology for implementing sustainable aspects in the product development process. Antje was also part of TU Berlin’s research project AIRtech – Advanced Innovative Repair Technologies, which aims to improve components through the use of advanced materials, manufacturing techniques, and design methods.