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2015|16 Annual Report Fraunhofer IGB

BIO, ELECTRO, AND CHEMOCATALYSIS BIOCAT, STRAUBING BRANCH The focus of Fraunhofer IGB’s Straubing branch “Bio, Electro, and Chemocatalysis BioCat” is on the development of new chemical catalysts and biocatalysts and their application in technical-synthetic and electrochemical processes. Based on substrates such as biomass, CO2 and waste streams, the entire spectrum of catalysis is used to develop new sustainable and resource-efficient chemical products ere, homogeneous and heterogeneous chemical catalysis, enzymatic and whole cell catalysis, electrocatalysis, and especially their combinations are utilized. In the case of using plant biomass, the goal is to achieve the substantial use of the material variety of biobased molecules and to exploit the potential of chemicals and bioca- talysis so as to achieve a considerate transformation while ob- taining important functionalities. Successful examples of our work include the transformation of terpenes (residual material of wood processing) to biosurfactants, biobased epoxides or monomers, especially impact-resistant, cold-stable polyam- ides Other recycled material flows are vegetable oils and fatty acids, lignin and nitrogenous sugar, which are, for example, converted to functionalized carboxylic acids, conductive poly- mers, and monomers for polyesters and hydrocolloids. Furthermore, BioCat transfers the expertise of chemical ca- talysis onto mineral residues to also develop these as a source of secondary raw materials. Even with inorganic residues, the variety of the mostly complex mixtures of different ele- ments constitute an access to new products, where BioCat in this instance, has in view the production of new catalysts and the provision of raw materials for the German industry. The combination of chemistry and biotechnology also offers BioCat the opportunity to develop new energy- and resource- efficient processes in this field The group has also developed new methods of managing electrical energy by binding and converting CO2 in the storage of chemical energy. These products and the corresponding methods are first provided to companies for the production of bulk and fine chemicals econd, they can be used to store energy in fuels, such as in the form of longer-chain hydrocar- bons, and can therefore make a contribution to the success of the energy turnaround. Here, the goal is the best possible uti- li ation converting raw material to the biobased final product The BioCat branch unites biotechnologists, molecular biolo- gists, and chemists who, in addition to their respective exper- tise in biotechnology and chemistry, have in-depth knowledge in the fields of biogenic raw materials, natural materials, and residual streams. By combining these different disciplines, it is possible to offer – apart from professional advice – develop- ment work in the areas of (i) new catalysts or catalyst optimi- zation and existing processes, (ii) new materials, and (iii) new reactions which is carried out hand-in-hand with clients. The development work is supported primarily by existing analytical methods such as GC-MS, LC-MS, NMR, and electroanalysis. Thanks to the closely linked expertise in chemical catalysis and biocatalysis, BioCat has already successfully evaluated established processes in the chemical industry and outlined cost-effective and resource-efficient alternatives for the client The scarcity of fossil resources and the aspired reduction of CO2 emissions due to climate change represent a huge scientific challenge for society and science ince the biomass resource for a change of chemical raw materials is limited, we rely, apart from wastes and residues, mainly on CO2 as an essential carbon source – and thus combine the need for 50 COMPETENCES