Covestro and RWTH Aachen University are working together on catalyst research

Collaboration between business and academia

When most people hear the word “catalyst,” they probably think of a car’s exhaust. Powerful chemicals with a catalytic effect can do much more. Over 85 percent of all chemical reactions are based on catalysis, so catalysis research is extremely important. A leading institute in this field is the CAT Catalytic Center in Aachen, which is run by Covestro jointly with RWTH Aachen University.
Hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen – the chemical industry works with the same building blocks all the time. It is merely the way they are combined that determines which one of countless materials are produced. Combining these elements is the task of catalysts – chemical “matchmakers” that trigger, control and accelerate reactions without being used up themselves and without causing undesirable side reactions.

The challenge is to customize catalysts for the various syntheses. CAT Catalytic Center, located on the campus of RWTH Aachen University, addresses this complex area. It has 25 employees and collaborates intensively with other institutes at the university.

The center, which is jointly financed by Covestro and RWTH Aachen University, was launched in February 2008. The partnership was extended for an additional five years in spring 2012.

This exemplary partnership between business and academia has resulted in sustainability projects such as “Dream Production,” a research initiative dedicated to using the climate gas CO2 as a raw material for polyurethane foams, replacing a portion of the petroleum currently used as a carbon source. A new type of catalyst is playing an essential role in this.

More information about the CAT Catalytic Center is available here.