Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek said on the opening
ceremony in Marl, "I am delighted that we have today given the go-ahead
for a new test facility of the very highest standard in Marl. With Rheticus, we
are showing how we can set up climate-friendly production processes in the
chemical industry and at the same time manufacture new innovative products.
And this works not only here in Germany, but potentially all over the world.
This opens promising opportunities for technology exports. We want to promote
effective climate protection and continue to have a strong industrial base in
Germany. I am firmly convinced that we can succeed in both. I am pleased that
my ministry is now investing a total of 6.3 million euros in the new pilot
plant in Marl with this goal in mind and wish all those involved every
Kaufmann, Member of the German Bundestag and Federal Commissioner for Green
Hydrogen, states, "Today's start of the Rheticus pilot plant for the
production of specialty chemicals is a real pioneering achievement. After all, a
green hydrogen economy can only succeed in Germany as a country of innovation,
if innovative technologies are used. This requires courage and a spirit of
research. The project partners at Rheticus are exemplary in demonstrating
Schwager, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of Evonik and responsible for
innovations, said, "Climate protection is not possible without chemistry,
because our industry supplies and develops solutions for the energy turnaround.
Research projects such as Rheticus are a motivation and innovation driver for a
sustainable society". At the same time, he warned against speed when
phasing out fossil fuels. "Security of supply and reliability in political
decisions set the framework in which new things are created.”
Bruch, CEO of Siemens Energy: "Our goal is to use innovative technologies
to enable new, more sustainable solutions. With our hydrogen and CO
electrolysis, we are building a bridge from green electricity to sustainable
material applications. The close cooperation between politics, science and
business partners, like Evonik, is an important step in this direction.“ The
Rheticus research project is a spin-off of the Copernicus projects, one of the
largest research initiatives of the German Federal Government on energy system
transformation. Rheticus demonstrates how the Power-to-X idea can be
successfully put into practice.
the idea of artificial photosynthesis, which is behind the Rheticus
experimental facility, the researchers took nature as a model. Just as plants
use solar energy to produce sugar, for example, from carbon dioxide (CO2) and
water in several steps, artificial photosynthesis uses renewable energies to
produce valuable chemicals from CO2 and water through electrolysis with the
help of bacteria. This type of artificial photosynthesis can serve as an energy
store and thus help to close the carbon cycle and reduce carbon dioxide
pollution in the atmosphere.
pilot plant has started up in Marl, the largest Evonik site. It consists of a
CO electrolyzer developed by Siemens Energy, a water electrolyzer and the
bioreactor with Evonik's know-how. In the electrolyzers, carbon dioxide and
water are converted into carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2) with
electricity in a first step. This synthesis gas is used by special
microorganisms to produce specialty chemicals, initially for research purposes.
These are starting materials for special plastics or food supplements, for
the coming weeks, the composition of the synthesis gas and the interaction
between electrolysis and fermentation will be optimized. In addition, a unit
for processing the liquid from the bioreactor will be set up to obtain the pure
successful completion of the current Rheticus project phase (Rheticus II),
Evonik and Siemens will have a unique platform technology at their disposal
that can produce energy-rich and valuable substances such as specialty chemicals
or artificial fuels from CO2 - in a modular and flexible manner.