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microscope-275984_1280 Bild: PublicDomainPictures auf Pixabay

The leitmotif of our research is the development and optimization of safe, sustainable and efficient production processes founded on a strong interaction between natural and engineering sciences. Engineers and natural scientists of 14 labs at the department research closely interacting with each other. The professorate has a 50 %share of natural scientists and engineers, a capacity - unparalled in Germany - that is used to realise the research goals. 
Numerours national and international co-operations, publications, papers, prizes, offices, and patents prove the innovative power and compentence of scientists. Current developments in technology are reflected by a number of new chairs in biology, biochemistry, biomaterials and in downstream processing.
There is a close cooperation between local extra-faculty research instituts like Institute for Analytical Sciences, Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Physiologie and institutions in the Technologiepark. In addition to this the department closely co-operates with other departments of technical universities and with industrial enterprises like Bayer Technology Services, EVONIK or BASF.

We live Science - research Areas in Focus

Chemical Process Engineering

Chemical Process Engineering is the traditional strength of our department. The distinguishing feature of our approach is the integrated view of the entire process, from the chemical reaction to the separation steps and recycle streams, leading to efficient and environmentally benign production. This philosophy is imparted to the students in the group project and reflected in the large number of collaborative research projects. One of the challenges we are currently addressing is to intensify chemical production processes, by combining classical chemical engineering operations such as reaction, separation and heating/cooling or by switching to continuous operations with intensified heat and mass transfer, leading to both significant cost savings and a reduced environmental footprint. The emphasis on the chemical side has been towards processes based on renewable resources, like fats and oils. Optimization of plant designs as well as optimal operational policies are being investigated as a means to further improve plant performance.

Sustainable Biochemical Engineering

Our department is making an important contribution to the development and optimization of biotechnological processes for industrial applications. Typical unit operations being examined are enzymatic reactions and fermentation as well as downstream processing steps, such as technical scale chromatography. In this field, modelling and computation also play an important role when attempting to increase yield, selectivity and raw material utilization. Additionally, research work is being carried out in the field of new products and biomaterials. Methods from systems biology are being used to design and optimize biotechnological processes combining experimental data and model-based predictions.

Product Development and Process Engineering for Specialty Products

Up to now, there has been little scientific treatment of the industrial production of special compounds with complex structures exhibiting explicitly specified properties. The area of low-volume and high-value products will probably be the most profitable for the chemical industries in coming years. A research goal in this field is to model the processes and thus identify optimization potential for high conversion rates and minimal inputs of energy and materials. With increasingly powerful computer simulations it will be possible to model even micro-scale-phenomena and exploit the results for process and system optimization. Targeted product development is an important emerging challenge playing an essential role in such areas as pharmaceuticals, food, and agrochemcials. Most of the products of industrial processes today are solid compounds and are very often only sparingly soluble. There is a great need for “smart engineering” of these products based on particle and powder technology in general, but also for innovations with targeted applications as drugs for humans.