Business Unit Chemistry

Service Portfolio

We offer process engineering research and development services as well as products and processes including industrial property rights. We provide solutions for the increasing demands for affordable sustainability and innovation in chemistry, petro-chemistry and refinery. We have our own know-how in the areas of fine and specialty chemicals (organic acids, peptides, sugars, tensides), polymers (monomer syntheses, polymerization, polycondensation) as well as chemical mass products (alcohols, naphtha) and fuels (diesel, kerosene). Biomass, synthesis gas, and selected residues constitute the portfolio of raw materials from which we suggest process-specific solutions. Upstream and downstream processing as well as product formulations round out our expertise. We are points of contact for the whole value added and logistics chains, develop specific sustainability assessments and strategies and bundle internal and external competences to fit the customer's project.

Research and Development

  • Synthesis routes from fossil and biogenic raw materials and residues including consulting regarding the sustainable shift in raw materials
  • Optimization of process chains through integration of biotechnological and (thermo-/electro-)chemical-catalytic process steps
  • Development and optimization of scalable processes including upstream and downstream processing
  • Product development and formulation as well as production scale-up
  • Development and screening of catalysts all the way up to kg scale
  • Optimization of bioconversion steps with conversion of material by microorganisms, enzymes, or enzyme systems
  • Development, sizing, operation, provision as well as optimizations of laboratory and technical shop systems with capacities of up to 20 kg product per week
  • Analytics service: analyses in accordance with standard processes, special analytics, development of methods
  • Technological consulting: sustainability assessments, economic feasibility analyses, concept studies all the way to basic engineering, studies regarding the potential of utilizing alternative raw materials and residues, topic and trend scouting, strategic concepts for action, innovation road-maps

Markets and Industries

  • Chemical industry
  • Biotechnology
  • Process engineering plant construction

Projects from the Chemicals Business Unit


Bioethanol 2.0

Biobased plasticizers

The “Bioethanol 2.0” project has investigated the production of higher alcohols based on completely bio-based starting materials and used them to synthesize non-hazardous plasticizers. 



Bio-based surfactants

Cost-effective and sustainable, without competing with food production: Fraunhofer UMSICHT develops bio-based surfactants based on sugar and bio-ethanol for the production of detergents and cleaning agents.



Biodegradable geotextiles for bank protection

As part of the joint research project "Bioshoreline", new types of biodegradable geotextiles made from renewable raw materials are being developed for use in future-oriented, environmentally friendly bank protection on waterways.



Precious metal-free catalyst for methane oxidation

To develop a precious metal reduced or precious metal free catalyst for the oxidation of methane – this was the aim of the IMOKAT project. The focus was also on shaping it into a honeycomb catalyst for technical use.



CO2 technology to kill pathogens in food

CO2 technology to kill pathogenic microorganisms in foods with low water activity.



Bio-based, sprayable multifunctional oils

Petroleum-based multifunctional oils are widely used. The newly developed MultiBioSpray offers a bio-based alternative with equivalent product properties.



Fuels from waste gases

The Fraunhofer project "SyngasFerm" highlights new ways of recycling carbon-containing waste gases by producing fuels and specialty chemicals.