BASF and the University of Heidelberg extend cooperation at Catalysis Research Lab : Biofuels Digest


In Germany, BASF and the University of Heidelberg will jointly continue operating their Catalysis Research Laboratory (CaRLa) where researchers work on issues relating to homogeneous catalysis for a further three years. The current research work focuses primarily on efficient and resource-conserving synthesis methods, including methods using carbon dioxide (CO2) or renewable resources as starting materials.

One example is the production of sodium acrylate from ethylene and CO2. Sodium acrylate is an important starting material for superabsorbents, which are used in diapers and other hygiene products. If this new process proves to be stable and energetically beneficial on a larger scale, CO2 would replace around 30% of the fossil feedstock in the superabsorber compared to the current production method.

The partners signed the appropriate contract to extend the research cooperation until 2022. Eight projects started by CaRLa have been transferred in the meantime to BASF’s research units to further develop them specifically for industrial applications since 2015.

To date, more than 80 researchers from 22 different countries have worked at CaRLa. Their work is reflected in 82 scientific papers published in renowned journals. Furthermore, CaRLa has submitted 28 patent applications. Clearly, CaRLa stands for a successful cooperation of academic and industrial research.

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