Within the upcoming three years the CarbonCat project targets on the transformation of CO2 into valuable C1 compounds like methanol under sustainable conditions. This approach involves the technological and chemical expertise of the consortium consisting of Fraunhofer IMM, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg and Sahlmann Photochemical Solutions. Diamond material will be chemically modified and optimized for acting as photocatalyst using visible light as energy source. This key component will be integrated into a novel continuously running microreactor, which not only allows the intense contacting of water and carbon dioxide gas, but also the necessary photonic contacting with visible light. The latter is made available via high-power LED arrays adapted to the microreactor system.
CarbonCat is a project for fundamental research in the fields of organic chemistry and reactor and light engineering providing a strong base for various applications. The main impact of this project stems from the mutual interaction of chemistry and engineering for the realization of a CO2 transformation process into C1 chemicals. Despite this ultimate goal, CarbonCat will provide new and important insights into catalyst development with diamond materials and trend-setting advancements in reactor engineering for continuous flow photochemistry using LED illumination.
The support measure CO2Plus focuses on the enlargement of the raw material base for the chemical industry via the utilization of CO2 as alternative carbon source. This approach directly aims at reducing the dependence on fossil raw materials like mineral oil. One discipline of the call points to the coupling of regenerative energy sources, like solar energy, for the direct utilization of CO2 in the production of chemicals. Here, the CarbonCat approach hits the spot by the development of a novel diamond-based photocatalyst system for visible light usage in a continuously running microreactor.
The national joint research project CarbonCat is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the support measure CO2Plus, which is administrated by Project Management Jülich. The project partners will receive a funding of overall 1.34 million € within a period of three years.
Senior scientist Dr. Thomas H. Rehm is team leader at IMM and coordinator of the CarbonCat project. He was educated at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg and received his diploma and PhD in supramolecular polymer chemistry. During two PostDoc stays he worked on dye chemistry and related photophysical phenomena. Finally, he joined IMM in 2011 and started to work on flow chemistry with microstructured reactors and equipment in the fields of hydrogenation, catalyst immobilisation, online-NMR analysis and photochemical catalysis.
Based on the expertise in the development and exploration of microstructured reactors Fraunhofer IMM will realize a continuously operating reactor plant whose core will be the novel diamond photocatalyst. The physical adaptation of the diamond material applied in the micro reactor as well as the detailed investigation of the photocatalytic process in continuous operation mode is also part of IMM’s tasks.
Professor Krueger’s research group at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg is working on the fabrication, characterization and utilization of nanoscale carbon-based materials, especially diamond, for more than 10 years. One of their current working focuses is the Horizon2020 project DIACAT, which deals with the fundamental research on photocatalytic applications with solvated electrons from diamond surfaces. Furthermore, Prof. Krueger and her research group developed numerous novel methods for achieving exceptional stable bonds between functional molecules and diamond surfaces. CarbonCat will make use of these methods to optimize the diamond material for its use as photocatalyst in the micro reactor. The development of the photocatalytic conversions of CO2 in a flask as well as their analytics is task of Prof. Krueger’s team in the project.
Dr. Benjamin Sahlmann works as a freelance chemist developing highly specialized light sources and experimental setups for photochemical applications since May 2013. After receiving a diploma in chemistry from the Christian-Albrechts-Universität in Kiel, he started writing his PhD thesis in context of the Collaborative Research Center 677 “Function by Switching”, developing photoswitchable ion carriers. During the research in this and neighbouring CRC projects, most light sources available at the market held disadvantages or had to be adjusted laboriously. As a consequence, he started manufacturing specialized photochemical light sources for scientific applications based on high-power LEDs mainly. As a logical consequence, he pursued the set-up of an own business after obtaining his PhD and achieved an Exist Business Start-Up Grant. Since then he offers his clients expertise and solutions to all photochemistry related issues.
Dr. Benjamin Sahlmann will provide the light sources for both the development process of the catalyst at Würzburg University and its implementation in the microreactor at the Fraunhofer IMM Mainz. Additionally, both project partners will be consulted regarding the optimization of the photochemical process as well as training and advice for Occupational Safety and Health.
Adam Day, PhD, joined the workgroup of Anke Krueger and supports the CarbonCat project with his expertise in photochemistry of metal complexes. Adam earned his PhD in the workgroup of Prof. Simon Pope at Cardiff University, where he worked on luminescent, surface functionalized nanodiamonds recently published in Carbon, DOI: 10.1016/j.carbon.2019.05.081.
On 24th and 25th September 2019, the 2nd status conference of the BMBF funding measure CO2Plus took place in the Werkstatt 26 on the EUREF Campus in Berlin. Beside the other 12 funded projects the CarbonCat team presented their results in a short talk given by Thomas Rehm. The ongoing projects were lively discussed and new ideas were collected for future collaborations and projects. This two-day event gave an impressive overview on the project results of this funding measure and allowed an interesting insight into the strategies of industry and academia for the sustainable use of CO2.
More information on the scientific coordination project CO2Net+ can be found here: www.chemieundco2.de/en/
The consortium met up in Mainz with IMM as host and started with a lunch and delicious food in an Italian restaurant. Unfortunately, neither Stefanie Roth from PTJ nor Dennis Kärmer from DECHEMA were available for this meeting, but the consortium is happy to announce that Anna-Lena Ditter has found her way to the Krueger Lab as new member of the CarbonCat project. She will work on diamond film analysis and surface functionalization with photocatalysts. As usual Thomas Rehm started the scientific part of the meeting and presented IMM's latest developments in reactor and plant design. A short excurse to the lab allowed the hands-on presentation of the fully equipped CarbonCat lab plant. Benjamin Sahlmann followed up and introduced his recent developments in LED technology for batch and flow reactors. Finally Anna-Lena Ditter presented the latest progress in diamond analysis on Ti substrates. Fruitful discussions came up at several scientific topics and disclosed the next steps of the CarbonCat project. All consortium members agree on a good progress of the project and look forward to the next two years of exciting science.
The consortium is happy to announce that the project is prolonged for further two years until August 2021.
For the second meeting in 2018 the consortium met in Würzburg again and started with a lunch at the local university mensa. Afterwards Thomas Rehm started the scientific part of the meeting and presented IMM's latest developments in reactor and plant design. Benjamin Sahlmann followed up and introduced his recent developments in LED technology for batch and flow reactors. Finally Anke Krueger reflected the progress in her work group. Fruitful discussions came up at several scientific topics and disclosed the next steps of the CarbonCat project. At the end several upcoming calls on photochemistry on the national and EU level were discussed. The consortium agrees that the CarbonCat approach is fully inline with the important and exciting research in photochemistry for a sustainable future.
On 17th and 18th April 2018, the 1st status conference of the BMBF funding measure CO2Plus took place in the Kalkscheune in Berlin. Beside the other 12 funded projects the CarbonCat team presented their results from the first 18 months as poster and talk, the latter one given by Thomas Rehm. The ongoing projects were lively discussed and new ideas were collected for future collaborations and projects. This two-day event gave an impressive overview on the project results of this funding measure and allowed an interesting insight into the strategies of industry and academia for the sustainable use of CO2.
More information on the scientific coordination project CO2Net+ can be found here: www.chemieundco2.de/en/
The first meeting in 2018 started with a lunch and delicious food in an Italian restaurant. Unfortunately, Stefanie Roth from Project Management Jülich and Dennis Krämer from DECHEMA were not able to participate this time. Starting the scientific part of the meeting Thomas Rehm presented IMM's latest developments in reactor and process plant design. Sara Ranjbar from University of Würzburg followed up and discussed their results in synthesis and analysis. Finally Benjamin Sahlmann introduced his recent developments in LED technology for batch and flow reactors. Althought the meeting team was of small number this time, fruitful discussions provided the base for the upcoming weeks and the contribution for the 1st Status Seminar of the CO2Plus programme in Berlin in mid of April.
After a successful Year 1 all project partners met againg in Würzburg for the 2nd interim meeting. Sara Ranjbar and Thomas Hertle have joined the team of Anke Krüger in summer 2017 and presented their latest results from the lab. Thomas Rehm and Benjamin Sahlmann introduced the recent developments in flow reactors and LED technology, respectively. Stefanie Roth from Project Management Jülich delivered best regards from Dennis Krämer (DECHEMA), who was not able to participate this time. She also provided the latest news about funding and networking in the research field of CO2 valorization. After the scientific part of the meeting the group joined for a short sight seeing tour in downtown Würzburg and finally ended up in the Juliusspital Weinstuben for a delicious dinner.
Anke Krüger and Thomas Rehm participated at this first workshop on LCA. The meeting was organized by the colleagues of DECHEMA from the CO2Net+ project and took place at the DECHEMA house in Frankfurt am Main. During this meeting the main boundaries and scenaria were discussed for the CO2 LCA.
Today all project partners and Dennis Krämer from DECHEMA met in Würzburg for the 1st CarbonCat interim meeting. After a delicious lunch in the local university casino the latest results were presented and future steps were discussed.
The official CO2Plus program kick-off took place in Frankfurt am Main. Thomas Rehm and Patrick Löb from IMM as well as Benjamin Kiendl from UWÜ participated at this meeting. Thomas Rehm gave a short presentation about the CarbonCat approach. In sum 13 projectes are funded by the support measure CO2Plus.
Today the CarbonCat project website was launched!
At 27th September 2016 the project consortium met at Fraunhofer IMM in Mainz for the official project kick-off meeting. Dr. Stefanie Roth from Project Management Jülich was invited as a representative of the support measure CO2Plus giving a talk about the administrative rules and pitfalls. The consortium members gave introductive talks on the scientific challenges and goals of the project. A lab tour completed the official program showing the background of IMM in microreactor technology.
At 1st September 2016 the CarbonCat project is launched. Fraunhofer IMM, Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg and Sahlmann Photochemical Solutions will work on the development of a novel diamond-based catalyst system inside a continuously running microreactor for the transformation of CO2 into valuable C1 chemicals.
20th April 2020
Two papers have been published by Fraunhofer IMM dealing with concepts for flow photoreactors and synthesis routes, which benefit from going to photo-flow.
Flow photochemistry as a tool in organic synthesis.
Chem. Eur. J., 2020, 26, accepted article
Reactor technology concepts for flow photochemistry.
ChemPhotoChem, 2020, 4, 235-254
17th April 2018
The CarbonCat project is summarized in the midterm report of the CO2Plus support measure.
28th November 2016
The CarbonCat project as summarized overview on the fact sheet.
14th September 2016
1st press realease - Tailor-made diamond for the continuous photocatalysis allowing CO2 conversion
Dr. rer. nat. Thomas Rehm
Phone +49 6131 990-195
Prof. Dr. Anke Krueger
University of Stuttgart
Phone +49 711 68564288
Dr. Benjamin Sahlmann
Sahlmann Photochemical Solutions
Phone +49 4551 8919956