Covestro awarded in Germany-wide ideas competition


Covestro has been named one of the hundred winners of the Germany-wide competition “Excellent Landmarks in the Land of Ideas”.

aThe company received the award for a research breakthrough in the production of plastics from renewable raw materials, namely the development of a new process for producing the important basic chemical aniline from plants instead of using crude oil. Covestro is leading a research project with partners from industry and science. The company 
An interdisciplinary team led by Covestro         received the award on Monday in Berlin at
researcher Dr. Gernot Jäger (center) has        
in Berlin at a ceremony organised by 
developed a highly sustainable new production      “Germany - Land of Ideas”. With this
process for the chemical aniline, which is used
in foam insulation boards. 

initiative, the Federal Government and German industry want to draw attention to the innovative power and efficiency of Germany as a business location. In this year's competition, which has been held since 2013, around 1,500 applications were submitted. According to the organizers, the winners demonstrate “how forward-looking innovations are created through experimentation, curiosity and the courage to rethink”.

“We are very pleased to receive this award. It continues to spur us on to contribute to greater sustainability with innovative products, processes and solutions in order to make the world a brighter place,” says Covestro CEO Dr. Markus Steilemann. “This success with bioaniline is also clearly a joint effort and shows how important and useful cooperation in chemistry and industry as a whole is.”

As part of the project, Covestro is cooperating with Bayer, the CAT Catalytic Center in Aachen and the University of Stuttgart. In order to produce aniline from plant biomass, the research consortium led by Covestro has developed a completely new process that combines biotechnology and chemistry. Up to now the chemical, which serves as the starting material for numerous products, has been produced worldwide exclusively from fossil raw materials such as crude oil.

After the success in the laboratory and in the first pilot plants, the partners now want to further develop the technology. The ultimate goal is to enable the production of biobased aniline on an industrial scale – an absolute novelty in the plastics industry.

Photo thumbprint: Insulating with plants: A research team led by Covestro has developed a highly sustainable production process for the chemical aniline. It can be used to produce insulation boards from rigid foam such as this sample. In recognition of this new technology, Covestro has now received an innovation award from the German government and industry.