Promoting chemical innovation for industrial breakthrough

Thursday, 27. August 2015

UniCat supports pitching session of “Chemiewende” start-ups.

The Cluster of Excellence UniCat is supporting a pitching session of entrepreneurs in chemistry, during which ten select start-ups will introduce their business models in short presentations to an international audience of members from industry and politics.

UniCat conducts basic and applied research. Excellent and innovative research results achieved in Germany are still too rarely transferred to industrial application.

UniCat aims to not only bridge the gap of knowledge transfer for the translation of research results in the area of catalysis, but to also reach other molecular disciplines in doing so. Through the foundation of the UniCat-BASF joint lab BasCat, UniCat has already succeeded in the world of established chemical industry. In addition, start-up companies such as the UniCat spin-off DexLeChem are an essential instrument that can facilitate the translation of an underdeveloped or not really existing field of technology on the basis of the latest molecular findings into innovations. The flexibility of their bottom-up structure in conjunction with flat hierarchies and agile project management allow new high-tech start-ups to implement customer projects faster and more needs-based.

The greatest need exists in the area of the “Chemiewende” (the German turnaround in chemistry). This refers to the change in the chemical industry from non-renewable fossil fuels to renewable fuels. The chemical industry is Germany’s third largest industry and thus part of the foundation of the entire German economy. It is also the most important trendsetter and inspiration of new technologies and raw materials. Cell phones, cars, solar cells, and medicine – none of these are possible without chemical products. Nonetheless, the chemical industry is heading towards a dead end, as mineral oil and natural gas will run out in the near future.

At the same time, the “Chemiewende” bears great innovative potential: “green chemistry” refers to a modern branch of chemistry that emerged in 1998. The aim of green chemistry is to transform chemical production into a sustainable mode of production through the development and use of novel technologies. Thus, the environment is conserved, and energy is saved. The philosophy of green chemistry spans all areas of chemistry, though as a key technology, catalysis plays a leading role. Green chemistry bears a great pool of innovative potential that needs to be tapped.

Germany needs this pool of innovative potential and the translation of research results into applications in order to secure a competitive edge for the German chemical industry in the long run. To continue on the same path of production for the next 50 years is impossible.

The reindustrialization of Europe, as it is sought by the European Parliament and the European Commission for the purpose of promoting competitiveness and sustainability, depends on a much stronger link between basic and applied research in the area of green chemistry. The German chemical industry generates about one quarter of the total revenue of Europe’s chemical industry, coming in at a definitive first place. According to revenues generated worldwide, it is the fourth largest chemistry nation (after the USA, China, and Japan).

UniCat therefore actively supports start-ups in chemistry and is promoting the first pitching session in chemistry worldwide. Ten select start-ups will present their business models; The event will elucidate the potential of the historical transition to sustainable chemistry as a driving force for improved innovations, entrepreneurship, and competitiveness.

Friday, September 25, 2015
13:30 - 15:00

dbb forum berlin
Friedrichstrasse 169/170
10117 Berlin

The pitching session is part of the international “Sustainable Chemistry Conference 2015”. The conference is hosted jointly by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and the German federal environmental agency (Umweltbundesamt – UBA). The conference will be in held in English, and participation is free of charge. Visitors are welcome.

About UniCat - Unifying Concepts in Catalysis

The Cluster of Excellence UniCat (Unifying Concepts in Catalysis), located at the TU Berlin as host university and founded in 2007, is an interdisciplinary research consortium on all forms of catalysis. UniCat is supported by four universities and two Max Planck Institutes in Berlin and Potsdam, and in the medium term, it is to be transformed into a Berlin Einstein Center for Catalysis. The “Einstein Center of Catalysis Berlin” (EC2) will further develop pivotal research for the raw materials change and the “Chemiewende” á la UniCat and thus further develop its leading role in the area of green chemistry based in the research center Berlin. The major trend of sustainability, to which UniCat is committed, will be continued at the EC2 for the benefit of humanity.

About DexLeChem
Founded out of the Cluster of Excellence UniCat (Unifying Concepts in Catalysis),
DexLeChem GmbH is changing the chemical-pharmaceutical industry with green high-tech services, and creating a new state of the art with its innovations. The company is able to produce highly complex chemical agents in water and other sustainable solvents. These novel, patented synthesis routes are much cheaper than procedures in toxic organic solvents, since DexLeChem can keep the required and expensive noble metal catalysts active and re-use them, despite the use of water. The interdisciplinary team currently counts twelve employees and specializes in chemical engineering, chiral catalysis and quantum physics. Innovator and co-founder is Sonja Jost, who is also the company's managing director. Since April 2014 the company has been located at the Bayer HealthCare CoLaborator, Muellerstrasse 178, 13353 Berlin, Germany. More information at