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February 25, 2008

Bayer invests in research center in Aachen

Gerald Ondrey

A new catalysis center ( has opened today in Aachen, Germany, for which the Bayer company provides more than seven million euros of funding. “To further boost our innovative strength, we support excellent performance and talent in science,” says Peter Vanacker, member of the Executive Committee of Bayer MaterialScience and head of the Polyurethanes Business Unit, at a press conference. “Catalysis became a key technology in the chemical industry a long time ago,” he added. “We think there remains a big potential for innovation, and it is our goal to gain competitive advantages through this type of research.”

In September 2007, Bayer MaterialScience AG ( and Bayer Technology Services GmbH (both Leverkusen, Germany; had signed a (renewable) five-year agreement for intensive cooperation in catalysis research with the Rheinisch-Westfälisch Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen. Over a period of five years, Bayer MaterialScience will invest a total of 6.05 million euros in the research center. Bayer Technology Services will contribute 1.25 million euros. The State of North-Rhine Westphalia and the RWTH Aachen have provided an additional 2.7 million euros to finance the infrastructure of the center.

“The development of entirely new catalytic processes, which we would like to realize with this joint center, opens many opportunities. It also represents a central scientific challenge in order to achieve sustainable development in the value-added chain of materials,” explained Professor Dr. Walter Leitner, scientific head of the new center. Among the planned research projects are questions pertaining to the synthesis of lower-molecular polymer building blocks for special plastics, or the exploration of alternative raw material sources, for example through the activation of CO2 as a building block of synthesis. Sustainable chemistry helps making processes more efficient, which in turn leads to reduced energy consumption and lower CO2 emissions.

At the Seffent/Melaten site, and in immediate proximity to the Institute for Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry (ITMC) of the RWTH, which is also headed by Professor Leitner, the university will provide the necessary laboratory space of a total of 400 square meters. The laboratory wing was completely modernized with the support of the State of North Rhine Westphalia and the RWTH, and equipped and furnished in cooperation with Bayer MaterialScience. At the new catalysis center, up to sixteen young researchers will undertake fundamental catalysis research in close cooperation with experts from Bayer MaterialScience and Bayer Technology Services.


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