Lead project ShaPID

From process intensification to digitalization: Nine Fraunhofer Institutes develop new technologies for green chemistry

Press release /

Defossilizing production chains and establishing circular, greenhouse gas-neutral material and energy conversion – the chemical industry has set itself ambitious goals in terms of sustainability. As of now, nine institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are providing support in this process: In the lead project ShaPID, they want to bundle their research activities for achieving the sustainability goals and at the same time strengthen their relationships with the industry.

Leitprojekt ShaPiD
Im Fraunhofer-Leitprojekt ShaPID entstehen neue Technologien und Methoden für eine nachhaltige chemische Industrie.

"Specifically, we want to show that sustainable, green chemistry is possible through practical technological innovations," explains Prof. Ulf-Peter Apfel from Fraunhofer UMSICHT, one of the participating institutes. "Based on the internationally recognized ‘12 Principles of Green Chemistry’, we want to jointly develop new methods and technologies." The researchers are focusing on four complementary areas: (1) synthesis, reaction and catalysis technology, (2) continuous process and process engineering, (3) modeling, simulation and process optimization, and (4) digitalization and automation.

From green raw material to green product

The application of the new technologies and methods will be demonstrated on a technical scale using three reference processes that address different product areas in chemistry: "Green Plastics" will focus on the design of new polymers from CO2 and biogenic raw material sources, while "Green Monomers" will highlight energy-efficient syntheses of monomers from non-fossil raw materials. Last but not least, "Efficient Building Blocks" explores the use of highly reactive molecules for atom-efficient synthesis. "All three processes are treading the path from green raw materials to green process control to green products," says Ulf-Peter Apfel. "The development is closely accompanied by both life cycle assessments and system analyses as well as REACh assessments and (eco-)toxicity predictions."

Within the framework of ShaPID, the researchers at Fraunhofer UMSICHT are concentrating on establishing demonstrators in the field of "Green Monomers". "This primarily involves the alternative synthesis of 1,3 butadiene and 1,4 butandiol  – all important compounds for the chemical industry – from renewable raw materials via new thermal and electrochemical pathways," explains Dr. Barbara Zeidler-Fandrich.

About the project
Nine Fraunhofer Institutes are behind the lead project "ShaPID – Shaping the Future of Green Chemistry by Process Intensification and Digitalization":

  • Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Microtechnology and Microsystems IMM
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT