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Süd-Chemie AG and TUM form € 20 million catalysis research alliance

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Süd-Chemie AG and Technische Universitaet München (TUM) have formed a strategic alliance for catalysis research. In addition to basic research in the field of catalysis, the cooperation will be developing catalysts as a key technology to safeguard the rising global demand for energy and base chemicals on a long term basis. Süd-Chemie is to sponsor this research work with up to € 2 million/y. The cooperation is based on a master agreement concluded for an initial term of 10 years, which, if successful, is to be extended beyond this period. The Munich Catalyst Alliance’s activities are due to start before the end of 2010. TUM scientists will be working together with researchers from Süd-Chemie on central issues involving both basic and applied research in the field of chemical catalysis.

In addition to developing catalysts and preparation methods, research will focus on identifying new ways of manufacturing basic chemicals, one of the key topics being the inert gas CO2. Among other things, the possibilities for efficiently separating CO2 from power plant processes and reusing it in chemical production cycles are to be explored, for instance as a synthesis module in the manufacture of energy sources or other base chemicals. Attention will also centre on new ways of creating high grade intermediate products for plastics (olefins) without using oil.

Catalysts make it possible for most chemical products to be manufactured using low energy and resource sparing processes. They also play an essential role in promoting the targeted replacement of oil as a primary resource for the chemical industry by assisting in the manufacture of chemical products based on alternative resources, such as natural gas, coal or renewable raw materials.

The cooperation will play an important role in the TUM’s overall strategy of bundling university research activities in the field of chemical catalysis. The research alliance is to be integrated into a new central institute, the Catalysis Research Centre (CRC). From 2012, it will be housed in the new CRC building currently under construction. The CRC bundles the TUM’s broad scientific spectrum in the field of catalysis research with focus on industry related research.

The TUM’s president, Professor Wolfgang A. Hermann, says that ‘in view of the limited fossil resources and a continuing rise in the global consumption of energy and base chemicals, the goal is to develop key catalytic technologies on a sustainable basis.’

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