More Efficient Processes
Dr. Sebastian Wohlrab
Dr. Bernd Müller

Research within Topic 06 is focused on new collaborations and concepts that can successfully meet future challenges. Economical synthesis routes, promising new starting materials as well as novel attractive processes for industrial applications are the goal.
The design of more effi cient processes comprises four different pillars: 

(i) More efficient catalysts: Targeted ligand design and their synthesis play a prominent role in homogeneous catalysis. This is because even the smallest structural changes can have a drastic effect on the catalytic effi ciency of the catalyst. In addition to the synthesis of ligands and complexes for homogeneous catalysis, Topic 06 is dedicated to research on heterogeneous catalysts. One focus is on the development of cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternatives to commercially used catalyst systems. Priority is given to the regenerability of the developed catalysts without losing activity, selectivity and on-stream stability.
(ii) More efficient process control: The subject of investigations includes transfers from batch to continuous operation, with the aim of improving various factors such as thermal management, residence time distribution, product separation and ultimately selectivity and yield. Another tool to make thermodynamically and kinetically demanding reactions more efficient is the use of catalytic membrane reactors. By using membranes, thermodynamic equilibria can be shifted or selectivity as well as productivity can be increased.
(iii) More efficient synthesis routes: So-called 'dream reactions' are attractive reactions that often only exist on paper, for example the production of a complex compound in just one reaction step.
However, catalysis opens up the possibility of completely new synthetic routes. One such 'breakthrough' is the one-step dicarbonylation of butadiene. After more than 60 years of intensive research worldwide, the reaction could be realized at LIKAT and transferred into application. The targeted adjustment of the H2:CO ratio of synthesis gas in the catalyzed reforming of methane is another such dream reaction that is the subject of intensive investigation.
(iv) More efficient use of resources: The great interest of industry in improving its processes in terms of turnover, selectivity and productivity - even by only a few percentage points - justifies the fourth focus of Topic 06. Behind the primary objectives lies a more efficient use of raw materials and energy, which is of great societal importance for the conservation of our resources. Of great importance is research into carbon extraction from the air and the further processing of airborne CO2 under mild conditions.