In January Siemens and Evonik presented a new joint research project called Rheticus. In the project, approximately 20 experts from both companies are working to generate specialty chemicals from CO2. The first phase of the project will end in 2019, and plans call for the completion of an initial test facility at Evonik’s headquarters in northwestern Germany two years later.
How will the process envisioned by the two companies work? In the first step, a Siemens electrolyzer uses energy from renewable sources to convert carbon dioxide and water into metabolizable carbon monoxide (CO). Next, a fermentation process from Evonik very selectively converts the gases containing CO into valuable substances with the help of specialized microorganisms. The end products are chemicals such as butanol and hexanol, both of which are feedstocks for products such as specialty plastics and food additives.