The chemical industry is essential for a wide range of industrial value chains, and is one of the most important drivers of new product developments and innovations. Global challenges in the areas of climate protection, energy and resource efficiency − coupled with political and societal demands for green, sustainable chemistry − have led the chemical industry to set ambitious goals for defossilizing its production processes and establishing circular, greenhouse-gas-neutral material and energy conversion. This transformation calls for major research and development efforts.
The nine Fraunhofer institutes cooperating in the lighthouse project "ShaPID” aim to provide targeted support to the chemical industry in these efforts by pooling their applied research to achieve challenging sustainability goals and, at the same time, intensifying their R&D ties with one of the most innovative industrial sectors.
The lighthouse project aims to demonstrate that sustainable, green chemistry can be achieved through practical technological innovations in process intensification and digitalization. To this end, new technology developments in four complementary areas are being pursued on the basis of the internationally recognized "12 Principles of Green Chemistry":
The application of these new methodologies and technologies will be demonstrated in practice on a technical scale using three reference processes that address different aspects of chemistry with high R&D intensity and high added value:
1. "green plastics" (from CO2 and biogenic raw materials to new polymers)
2. "green monomers" (energy-efficient syntheses of monomers from non-fossil raw materials) and
3. "efficient building blocks" (use of highly reactive molecules for atom-efficient synthesis).
All processes follow the path from green raw materials to green process engineering and green products. Process developments are closely accompanied by life cycle assessments (LCA) and system analyses as well as REACh assessments and (eco)toxicity predictions.
The overarching strategic goal of the lighthouse project "ShaPID" is to establish Fraunhofer as a systemic research partner for green sustainable chemistry and to offer tech transfer services for methods and technologies of process intensification and digitalization from a single source. In this way, companies in the chemical industry and related sectors can receive targeted support in the realization of green and efficient chemical processes.