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Pilot plant for bio-based aniline Leverkusen


Inauguration of first pilot plant for bio-based aniline

The world’s first pilot plant for bio-based aniline has been inaugurated at Covestro’s Leverkusen site. This allows for the first time the production of the basic chemical aniline, essential as a raw material for plastics, paints and medicines, entirely from plant biomass instead of crude oil or other fossil raw materials. In this two-step process an industrial sugar obtained from plants is converted through fermentation in an intermediate, which is used to produce aniline by means of chemical catalysis. CAT Catalytic Center has played an essential role in developing this second conversion step, which has now been transferred into the next technological level towards an industrial scale in the new pilot plant.

This groundbreaking event has been celebrated on February 13, 2024 at Covestro’s headquarters with a live panel discussion with the participation of the co-initiator of the CAT Catalytic Center, Prof. Walter Leitner (MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion and RWTH Aachen University), Mona Neubaur (NRW Minister for Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy) and Dr. Thorsten Dreier (CTO Covestro AG).


Further links

Press release Covestro AG

Bildquelle: https://www.covestro.com/press/worlds-first-pilot-plant-for-bio-based-aniline/

Christoph Gürtler (left), Walter Leitner


The initiators of the CAT Catalytic Center were nominated for the European Inventor Award 2021

CO2 technology among the top three inventions

  • Dr. Christoph Gürtler and Prof. Walter Leitner were nominated in the category Industry
  • CO2 as a raw material made economically viable
  • Technology is the basis for a variety of marketable products

The European Patent Office (EPO) has nominated the two initiators of the CAT Catalytic Center Dr. Christoph Gürtler (Covestro AG) and Prof. Walter Leitner (Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion and RWTH Aachen) for their role in the development of a new technology for the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) as finalists in the “Industry” category of the European Inventor Award 2021. The technology makes it possible to use the harmful climate gas CO2 as a valuable raw material for sustainable plastics. The process uses chemical catalysts to drive reactions between CO2 and a conventional raw material. In this process, so-called polymers are formed in a more sustainable and economically viable manner. The CO2 is firmly incorporated in this process.

Successful partnership between industry and science

“The successful partnership between basic research and industrial know-how has laid the foundation for this development,” says Leitner. “It is a rare stroke of luck for me as well as for the young scientists involved to be part of such a process.”

“This nomination is an important confirmation of our efforts to achieve more sustainable chemistry,” says Christoph Gürtler, who is responsible for the development of new processes and products at Covestro. “It is a great honor to be present at the award ceremony on behalf of the interdisciplinary team of product research, process development, marketing and the many other minds behind the invention.” The two nominees, Gürtler and Leitner, play a significant role in the development and market introduction of platform technology, which originates from the cooperation between application-oriented science and research-oriented industry. In 2007, Covestro and RWTH Aachen jointly founded the CAT Catalytic Center. The two researchers are regarded as the “architects” of this cooperation model, which combines freedom for creativity with targeted development.

Contributing to resource conservation and the circular economy

The use of CO2 makes an important contribution to the circular economy. By partially replacing conventional oil as a carbon source with the climate gas CO2, resources are saved. The carbon, in turn, is retained in the circulation without entering the atmosphere. At the same time, this technology, which is suggested by initial investigations, can also be used to produce plastics which can be recycled more easily. Researchers at the CAT Catalytic Center and the ITMC at RWTH Aachen are working together with interdisciplinary teams at Covestro to bring the vision of closed carbon circuits to success in further applications!

European level award

Launched in 2006, the European Patent Office’s Inventor Award honors outstanding European inventors and teams and is one of the most prestigious awards of its kind.The award ceremony will be held for the first time digitally on 17 June and will be broadcast live on the internet. Three teams are nominated in the Industry category.

Further links

Press release European Patent Office

Press release Covestro AG

Press release Max-Planck-Institute


Nominees for “Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2019”

CAT Catalytic Center Board members Prof. Walter Leitner (RWTH Aachen University and Max-Planck-Gesellschaft) and Dr. Christoph Gürtler (Covestro AG) together with Dr. Berit Stange (Covestro AG) have been selected as finalists for the prestigious “Deutscher Zukunftspreis” for their work on carbon dioxide as building block for synthesizing polymers.

Press release Covestro AG

Press release RWTH Aachen University

Bildquelle: www.deutscher-zukunftspreis.de

Das Thema CO2 im ZDF

Dr. rer. nat.  Christoph Gürtler, Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Walter Leitner und Dr. rer. nat. Berit Stange zu Gast beim ZDF

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