SensAbility Conference “The Future in Our Hands”

The student-run event impresses with prominent speakers, a pitch battle, and a technology exhibition

The students behind SensAbility – The WHU Impact Summit know that their generation is in an era of transition. This year’s conference, “The Future in Our Hands,” provided a space for academics, students, and young professionals alike to discuss their plans for future developments. The two-day event, which began on March 15, 2024, at the Stadthalle Vallendar, was aimed at anyone who wants to harness the economy to find hands-on solutions to the most pressing sustainability issues of our time. 

Stefanie Hauer (investor for environmentally friendly companies), Dr. Eckhart von Hirschhausen (Healthy Planet – Healthy People Foundation), Mario Schmidt (ecoLocked) and many others provided insights into a variety of sustainability topics—from environmentally friendly energy solutions to cutting-edge technologies that can be used to produce food sustainably.

In his presentation, Dr. Eckhart von Hirschhausen made particular note of the challenges our planet is facing: heat, air pollution, climate change, disease, and rising sea levels, just to name a few. “We know the expression ‘rock solid.’ But that rock is no longer solid. It is only being held together because the water inside of it is frozen. If the rock thaws, we will no longer be safe anywhere,” said von Hirschhausen, underscoring the urgency of the situation. 

He was joined by numerous other experts at the conference, an event regarded as an important platform for the exchange of sustainability topics. In a panel discussion with Stefanie Hauer, Dr. Eckhart von Hirschhausen, and Peter Schniering (founder of the Future Cleantech Architects think tank), one thing was clear: The world needs a new way of thinking in order to guarantee more sustainability. “We need a change in culture and mindset,” warned Schniering. 

Other speakers focused on renewable energies and the goal of becoming climate-neutral in the near future. Dr. Alexander Becker, CEO of steel producer Georgsmarienhütte Unternehmensgruppe, explained the use of sustainable energy: “There are a number of sustainable paths that we are already taking and would like to continue to explore in the future. We are talking about the supply of green hydrogen, investments in electrification and hydrogen solutions, the use of waste heat, increasing the proportion of green electricity through solar and wind energy, and a replacement for fossil fuel.”

In addition to exclusive workshops and networking opportunities, the conference offered a pitch battle for innovative ideas and a vegetarian barbecue. A technology exhibition with products from 3D printers and furniture made from recycled materials also amazed visitors.