Research Association for Sustainable Chemistry


  The goal of the new NRW research cluster SusChemSys (Sustainable Chemical Synthesis) is the sustainable synthesis of chemical products. Six academic partners and seven from the industry have come together to work towards this goal. The federal state of NRW is providing a large portion of the funding for the association’s project. Contributions from the involved universities and companies supplement this funding. The funding volume from the start of 2012 to April 2015, amounts to 5.4 million Euros. RWTH Aachen has assumed the coordination of this complex research association, which officially started during a kick-off event.

  Copyright: © Martin Lux Dr. Christian Terfloth (Jowat), Prof. Dr. Michael Röper (BASF), Prof. Walter Leitner, Sandra Hilbert (Ministerium Innovation, Wissenschaft und Forschung NRW), Hans-Jürgen Mittelstädt (Chemieverband NRW), Axel Borrenkott, Zeitungsverlag Aachen

Academics and Industry in Regional Association

SusChemSys aims at developing innovative methods and technologies for the sustainable synthesis of chemical products through the close collaboration of industry with universities and research centers in NRW. This collective pre-competitive research makes it possible to identify the application potential of new discoveries in fundamental research early on and to transfer it to application for highly efficient and environmentally friendly processes. The local proximity of the partners in NRW promotes the exchange and the synergetic interaction between industrial application and academic basic research. The associated graduate school also enables the interdisciplinary education and qualification of young scientists, whereby the promotion of female researchers holds particular weight.

Catalysis Holds Key Position

The sustainable synthesis of chemical products involves chemical change under maximum protection of the environment, with minimum use of energy and material resources at the industrial level. Fundamental scientific work from nature and engineering provide the basis for manufacturing products sustainably. Catalysis research holds a key position here: About 90 percent of all processes in the chemical industry take place through catalysis. It makes it possible to manufacture products in accordance with “Green Chemistry and Engineering” principles. This means reducing waste materials and avoiding serious (eco)toxic materials. During the synthesis of chemicals from alternative raw materials, less carbon dioxide is released, which represents a direct contribution to climate protection and expands the future resource base. Asymmetrical catalysis provides a further example. It is used during the production of drugs and pesticides or flavor and odor agents. Here, the production of substances with a biological one to one structure is important in order to guarantee medical compatibility.

Notable Partners from NRW

The scientific responsibilities of the new NRW cluster are broken down into three topic blocks with 36 individual projects, that are worked on by the six academic partners of SusChemSys. The association is made up of RWTH Aachen, Ruhr Universität Bochum, TU Dortmund, Westfälischen Wilhems-Universität Münster, the Universität zu Köln, and the Max Planck Institute for Carbon Research in Mülheim. The list of industry partners includes Bayer Material Science AG, Bayer Technology Services AG, Evonik Industries AG, Jowat AG, Henkel KGaA, Oxea GmbH, and Solvay S.A. Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer.nat. Walter Leitner, Institute of Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry, serves as coordinator of the joint project. He is speaker of the “Center for Molecular Transformations”, one of the project houses established under the Excellence Initiative, in which the substantial and administrative coordination of SusChemSys is located.

i.A. Sabine Busse