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Evonik, Siemens Launch CO2 Conversion Program

Friday, February 2, 2018

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As of January, Evonik Industries (Essen, Germany) and Siemens Corporate Technology (Berlin) have teamed up to work on a research project that converts carbon dioxide into specialty chemicals, using electricity from renewable sources and bacteria to power the endeavor.

The project, known as Rheticus, is slated to run for the next two years

Rheticus Development

Involving a team of 20 researchers total, some from each company, the project will use electrolysis powered by renewable energy to convert CO2 into CO, which will then be fed into a fermenter. From there, micro-organisms turn it into chemicals such as butanol and hexanol, which could be used as feedstocks for products.


Researchers from Evonik Industries (Essen, Germany) and Siemens Corporate Technology (Berlin) started collaborating this month to convert carbon dioxide into specialty chemicals, using electricity from renewable sources and bacteria to power the project.

“With the Rheticus platform, we want to demonstrate that artificial photosynthesis is feasible,” said Thomas Haas, a doctor who is responsible for the project in Evonik’s research department Creavis.

The first plant is set to go onstream by 2021 at the Evonik facility in Marl, Germany, and the next stage could see the creation of a facility that that has an annual production capacity of 20,000 tons per year.

According to Evonik, the new technology can reportedly serve as energy storage, and respond to power fluctuations while also stabilizing the grid. These plants can also scale to suit the needs of local chemical producers, and can also be installed anywhere there is a source of CO2, such as nearby power plants.

“Its modular nature and flexibility in terms of location, raw material sources and products manufactured make the new platform attractive for the specialty chemicals industry in particular,” said Haas.

Rheticus will receive 2.8 million euros ($3.48 million) in funding from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, as part of a nationwide endeavor to seek out new energy solutions.

“We are confident that other companies will use the platform and integrate it with their own modules to manufacture their chemical products,” noted Günter Schmid, head of technical projects at Siemens.


Tagged categories: EU; Europe; Evonik; Green chemistry; Program/Project Management; Research and development

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