DECHEMA Research/ACHEMA The DECHEMA Research Institute — Founded On Tradition, Working For The Future

Author / Editor: DR. KATHRIN RÜBBERDT / Dominik Stephan

Most people entering Frankfurt by car from the autobahn heading for the city center or the fair grounds take notice of an unusual sight: The impressive ammonia reactor in front of the DECHEMA Research Institute. Fewer people, however, are aware of what is going on in the blue-tiled building behind the corroded column: At the DECHEMA Research Institute, chemists, engineers, and biotechnologists work on the development of sustainable technologies for future generations.

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The impressive ammonia reactor in front of the DECHEMA Research Institute (Pictures: DECHEMA)
The impressive ammonia reactor in front of the DECHEMA Research Institute (Pictures: DECHEMA)

The success of the DECHEMA Research Institute is based on a unique portfolio of core competencies that have been developed and advanced over five decades: The DECHEMA Research Institute was founded in 1961. Today, about 80 researchers and technicians work in fields such as energy storage, industrial biotechnology, fuel cells, or materials for modern applications. “Our work is rooted in our expertise in a range of relevant disciplines: materials science, chemical technology and biotechnology”, explains Professor Michael Schütze, Head of the Institute and worldwide renowned corrosion re-searcher. These competencies are intelligently and flexibly combined to create synergies that are tailored to address today’s technological questions. Interdisciplinary cooperation is organized within four research clusters: Energy transformation and storage, integrated chemical-biotechnological production, recycling of inorganic resources, and innovative concepts for corrosion prevention.

Research at the DECHEMA – Flexibility is Trump

Many of the institute’s research projects are part of the federal program “joint industrial research” (Industrielle Gemeinschaftsforschung IGF). This scheme is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Economy and enables small and medium-sized enterprises to engage in pre-competitive research projects whose results are made public. The range of projects indicates the flexibility of the institute: The biochemical engineering group focuses on the production of terpenoids that are used as flavour and fragrance compounds, in pharma, cosmetics, and other applications. Last year, a biotechnological process for the production of perillic acid from limonene was adopted for commercialisation by German biotechnology company BRAIN.