Carbon Dioxide as a Raw Material
Professors Walter Leitner and Jürgen Klankermayer from the RWTH Institute of Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry are this year's recipients of the European Sustainable Chemistry Award, ESCA. The scientists were honored for their meaningful contributions to the field of catalytic transformation of carbon dioxide.© EuCheMS
Their research work shows carbon dioxide's potential as a raw material at the cross-section of chemistry and energy: "Access to important elements of the chemical industry are possible through the reaction of hydrogen with carbon dioxide, which is dangerous to the climate, with the help of renewable energy," explains Walter Leitner. The RWTH professors have already demonstrated the effective combination of both gases for the environmentally-friendly production processes of pharmaceutical products. In doing so, they have made a significant contribution to research the foundations of future processes, with which carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced and innovative added value can be simultaneously shaped.
Professor Leitner is Chair of Technical Chemistry and Petrochemistry. The focus of his research is catalysis research for the development of sustainable chemical processes – from molecular foundations to reaction-technical concepts. "Carbon dioxide plays an important role again and again as a reaction medium in an above critical state and as a possible raw material," he says.
Professor Klankermayer is Junior Professor at the Institute of Technical and Macromolecuar Chemistry. His research focuses lie in understanding the way catalysts work as well as the manufacture process of fuels and chemicals from biomass and thus the development of sustainable, industrial chemistry.
The ESCA recognizes researchers, who have made a significant contribution to the development of sustainable processes through the application of chemical technologies according to green chemistry principles. They promote innovations, that improve the production and use of chemical products and show, overall, that chemistry plays a central role in society.