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2015|16 Annual Report Fraunhofer IGB - CHEMISTRY

CHEMISTRY The chemical industry is one of the most important and research-intensive economic sectors in Germany. Many innovations in other sectors, such as in the automotive, electrical and elec- tronic, construction and packaging industries, would not be possible without the contributions of chemistry. Resource- and energy-intensive processes characterize the chemical industry. The dependence on the import of raw materials, the limited availability of fossil resources world- wide – even in competition with energy use – and the need to consider the impact on both the climate and the environment mean that at the foreground of our work are also initiatives to make the use of fossil resources more efficient or create substitutes for them Biobased chemicals and materials – Our activities are aimed at the development of bio- technological (fermentative or biocatalytic) processes for the production of chemicals and fuels from renewable resources, biogenic residues or microalgae, and the coupling of these with chemical processes. The Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP in Leuna offers new ways of transferring the use of renewable raw materials to an industrial scale. Process intensification and integration – Substance separation is a key step in many sec- tors of the chemical industry, since both raw materials and synthesis or fermentation products are often present as mixtures. Our focus is on the development of methods for upstream and downstream processing for a more efficient use of raw materials and energy, with the effective separation of material flows occurring by means of membranes or other separation techni ues The integrated recirculation of material flows and the recovery of valuable materials recycling as part of a sustainable waste management represent here the current fields of action n increase in efficiency through better conversion rates is achieved, for e ample, through an intensive energy input using microwaves. Functional surfaces and materials – By the decoupling of volume and surface properties of materials through interfacial process engineering, e.g. in the form of customized coatings, which are, in turn, procedurally geared towards efficient use of resources, new possibilities result as to the base materials of workpieces and thus for new products based on a selection of sustainable raw materials. We also examine chemicals for their potential risk (e.g. within the scope of REACH). The diversity of our research and development work shows how we are meeting the challenges of these new approaches. This may involve cooperation with other institutes of the Fraunhofer Group for Materials and Components – MATERIALS, or with the Fraunhofer Nanotechnology, Photocatalysis, Polymer Surfaces POLO® and Cleaning Technology Alliances. 87