Friday - June 29, 2018

Council of the EU visits RWTH/Covestro Catalytic Center in Aachen

EU and Industry Counting on Sustainable Chemistry

Cutting-edge research needs a more innovation-friendly environment / Further research into the use of CO2 as a resource required
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Using cutting-edge research to make chemistry more sustainable: a delegation of the Council of the European Union led by Bulgaria visited the Catalysis Research Center CAT of RWTH Aachen University and Covestro.

Non-fossil energy sources and raw materials for chemical products are becoming more and more feasible. Thanks to intensive research by public and private laboratories, CO2 is replacing petroleum as a source for carbon in a joint effort to make the chemical industry more sustainable. The European Chemical Industry Council had invited a delegation of the Council of the EU led by Bulgaria to see for themselves and visit the CAT catalysis research center in Aachen. This organization is run by RWTH Aachen University and materials manufacturer Covestro. Various EU-subsidized research projects at the center are strengthening Europe’s position in the global competition for innovation leadership in CO2 utilization.

Innovation requires good conditions
“We have to support and expand the innovative capacity of European research institutions and businesses in the long run in order to ensure a leading position in the global competition,” Kalin Tomov, Head of Competitiveness Section at the Permanent Representation of Bulgaria to the EU, emphasized. The EU is currently working on a new research and innovation program called “Horizon Europe.” Its focus lies on strengthening Europe as an important place of research and promoting open collaboration between scientists and industrial enterprises. During the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, Member States were committed to optimize the circulation and access to research results for the benefit of society and industry.

“The basic conditions within Europe are crucial to achieving the scientific results we need to deliver in order to tap into new resources. I am convinced that for this purpose, science, industry, and the European Union should work together more closely in the future,” Professor Walter Leitner, Chair of Technical Chemistry at RWTH and Director at Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion, argued.

Research funding leads to sustainable products
The EU delegation was particularly interested in how carbon extracted from CO2 is already being used for sustainable product manufacturing. One major achievement of RWTH and Covestro is the introduction of a CO2-based material for mattresses.“We have shown that together with universities, we can unlock and tap into regenerative resources,” Dr. Hermann Bach, head of innovation management at Covestro explains. “But there is still a lot to do. To restructure the entire industry’s resources, we need continued support from the European Union. That is the only way to work together across multiple industry sectors and universities.”

One such example is the pan-European Carbon4PUR project: It investigates how industrial flue gas can be used to produce sustainable plastics through various steps. RWTH and Covestro are two of 14 partners of this EU-subsidized project.

About RWTH Aachen University:
The RWTH Aachen sees itself as an integrated interdisciplinary technical university and is the largest technical university in Germany. With 260 institutes in nine faculties, it is one of the leading European science and research institutions and one of the universities of excellence in the state. In the winter semester 2017/18, around 45,000 students were enrolled in more than 150 degree programs, including around 9,000 international students from more than 120 countries. The training at the RWTH Aachen is above all application-oriented. Therefore, the graduates are sought-after junior executives and executives in business.

About Covestro:
With 2017 sales of EUR 14.1 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16,200 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2017.

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This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available at The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.