Covestro, RWTH extend collaboration in catalysis research

Covestro, RWTH extend collaboration in catalysis research

11:30 AM, 22nd December 2016
From left: RWTH Rector Professor Ernst Schmachtenberg; Dr Markus Steilemann, Professor Walter Leitner, head of the CAT Catalytic Center during the signed a new partnership agreement.
From left: RWTH Rector Professor Ernst Schmachtenberg; Dr Markus Steilemann, Professor Walter Leitner, head of the CAT Catalytic Center during the signed a new partnership agreement.

LEVERKUSEN/ AACHEN, GERMANY: Covestro and RWTH Aachen University signed an agreement to extend their partnership in catalysis research. Under the agreement, Covestro will contribute a total of €12 million over the next seven years to fund the CAT Catalytic Center in Aachen, operated jointly by the two partners.

The agreement was signed by Dr Markus Steilemann, chief innovation officer of Covestro and RWTH Rector Professor Ernst Schmachtenberg.

They had originally joined forces in 2007 to establish the facility. The centre currently has 25 employees engaged in basic research into innovative technologies, with a focus on fundamental, long-term issues in catalysis research. Scientific director of the centre since its inception has been Professor Walter Leitner, chair of technical chemistry and petrochemistry at RWTH.

The greatest achievements by the CAT Catalytic Center and Covestro to date have been in the utilisation of carbon dioxide as a new raw material in plastics production. The two partners developed a catalytic method and brought it relatively quickly to the point of market introduction.

Specifically, CO2 can now be used as a component for manufacturing polyurethane foam. This material is normally produced entirely from petroleum. Covestro this year opened a plant with an annual production capacity of 5,000 metric tonnes at its Dormagen site.

The researchers at RWTH and Covestro have received several joint awards in recognition of their successful partnership, the most recent being the Innovation Award from industry market information provider ICIS in the Category “Innovation with the best benefit for the environment and sustainability.”

“Our power to innovate is key to Covestro’s business success and thus its future. We, therefore, collaborate closely with the research community. The CAT Catalytic Center and its international experts have produced many research results that have been extremely useful to us and our customers,” said Steilemann.

“The CAT Catalytic Center is representative of the fruitful partnership between science-oriented industry and application-oriented basic research. We are therefore very pleased that this facility has secured funding for the next few years,” added Rector Schmachtenberg.

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