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Center for Molecular Transformations

CMT is currently involved in the following large scale interdisciplinary research projects, which are either at the final evaluation stage or ongoing projects that have already been approved:

ACalNet, the Aachen-California Network of Academic Exchange, is a Thematic Networks supported by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). The program is financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). ACalNet was established in 2013, and recently prolonged until the end of 2018.

The network’s main objective is the exchange of students and researchers between the partners – RWTH Aachen University and three campuses of the University of California (Berkeley, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles) – as well as associated institutions in Aachen and California. In this way, joint research projects and collaborations are identified and implemented. In the long term, a sustainable network interconnecting the partners in the two continents is envisioned.

The Bioeconomy Science Center (BioSC) boosts research on food & feed, chemical utilization of biomass, energetic utilization of biomass and bio-based materials. The novel developed methods will be confirmed and the economic and ecologic implications considered - parallel to the ongoing research. The science center is a first answer to the challenge of a future "knowledge based bioeconomy" (KBBE).

The NRW strategy project BioSC is funded by the Federal State Government of North-Rhine Westphalia. Several funding tools were developed to promote research on the above mentioned topics between the partners and disciplines. Partners in BioSC the RWTH Aachen, the HHU Düsseldorf, the University of Bonn as well as the Research Center Jülich.

Carbon2Chem® is a large scale project funded by the Federal Ministry of Research and Education and aims at using emissions from steel production as raw material for chemicals. Surplus energy from renewable sources shall be used in the process. With this, the project shall be an essential contribution to climate protection as well as energy transition.

The project involves partners from the chemical, energy and steel industries, creating an entirely new collaboration between key national industries. The coordinators expect it to take 15 years until the concept will be applicable on an industrial scale.

GreenSolRes is a Horizon 2020-BBI-PPP project with a two-year duration. Its aim is to demonstrate the competitiveness of the levulinic acid (LVA) value chain in terms of costs, environmental impact and technical performance. The final project target is to have the optimized process design of all process components in full scale ready, enabling commercialisation of the process after the project.

The project consortium consists of four industrial (GFBiochemicals, Henkel, SYNCOM, Hybrid Catalysis) and two academic partners (RWTH Aachen University, LIKAT). Furthermore, one research and technology organization based in Italy, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium is part of the consortium (VITO).

Power-to-X (P2X) is one of the large Kopernikus projects funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in which several partners from all over Germany investigate the future of the energy turnaround. A total of 17 research institutions (64 research groups), 26 companies in industry, and three civil society organizations are involved in the P2X project.

Different ways for restoring the power from renewable energies are the research subject of P2X. “X” in “Power-to-X” can be “liquid”, “gas”, or “chemicals”. All these possibilities shall be evaluated to find the most suitable technology for the future or the best combination. Main topics in P2X are hydrogen electrolysis as well as process routes for Power-to-Liquid and Power-to-Chemicals.

SusChemSys 2.0 is an interdisciplinary network at the interface between chemistry and process engineering for doctoral researchers. These stem from the seven academic partners: Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, RWTH Aachen University, Technische Universität Dortmund, Universität Bielefeld and Universität zu Köln. The thematic focus is on sustainability, electrochemical synthesis, process development and usage of alternativ carbon sources.

The doctoral students participate in a spanning program of meetings, industry visits and soft skill trainings. They especially profit from the regular communication with colleagues from other disciplines and institutes as well as with the partners from industry.

SINCHEM in an Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctoral Program in Sustainable Industrial Chemistry. In autumn 2017, the 5th cohort of SINCHEM students started their doctoral projects. They have to do a three-year doctorate with two mandatory mobility periods and receive a joint doctorate from two partner universities. The project topics focus on the development of innovative catalysts and catalytic processes., novel green solvents, renewable energy and raw materials as well as micro-reactors and membranes.

The Doctoral Program is offered by a consortium of 26 partner institutions. The main partners are Bologna University, University of Messina, University of Nottingham, École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Montpellier, RWTH Aachen University, Université de Lyon, and Politecnico di Torino. Strong industrial links to major companies in the field are a key part of the consortium (19 associated members).