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Climate-friendly chemicals from carbon dioxide

The aim of the Rheticus research project is to produce valuable specialty chemicals from carbon dioxide and green electricity. Through this project, Evonik and Siemens Energy aim to contribute to a climate-neutral future.

Video: For a climate-friendly industry: Rheticus research project

At the project center in Marl, they are bringing together two processes involving a bioreactor and an electrolyzer to create artificial photosynthesis. “The innovative technology of Rheticus has the potential to help the energy transition succeed,” says Thomas Haas, the project leader at Evonik. “In the future this platform could be installed wherever a supply of carbon dioxide is available, for example at power plants or biogas systems.” Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research is providing a total of €6.3 million of funding for the various phases of the project, which was launched at the end of 2019. The pilot plant was put into operation in the fall of 2020. The two companies are contributing their core expertise to this facility: Siemens Energy is providing the world’s first CO electrolyzer, which uses electricity to convert carbon dioxide and water into carbon monoxide and hydrogen in the first step of the process. Inside the bioreactor from Evonik, special microorganisms transform the synthesis gas that has been generated into valuable chemicals. In test operations in Marl, the bacteria are generating butanol and hexanol for research purposes. These two products can be used as starting materials for special plastics or food supplements.