Almost every "permitted" seat in the chemistry lecture hall was filled on Friday October 22 for the kick-off event of the Elite Chemistry and Materials Science Academy. More than 70 school students from across Baden-Württemberg, as well as more than 30 of the best students from the study programs, chemistry, food chemistry, materials science and the chemistry teaching degree made the journey to Stuttgart to learn more about the topic of "Sustainability in Chemistry".
CO2 emissions in the chemical industry
Prof. Elias Klemm from the Institute of Technical Chemistry demonstrated that the chemical industry is responsible for approximately ten percent of CO2 emissions and that innovations are needed in this area to achieve climate targets and climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest. Klemm highlighted just how current this topic is, by referring to this year's Nobel Prize in Physics, which was awarded to climate researchers Manabe and Hasselmann.
CO2 emissions in the chemical industry come from the use of fossil fuels, from the chemical process itself, and from indirect emissions from the use of products over their entire life cycle. If the chemical industry is to become climate neutral, this will require replacing fossil fuels with renewable energies and the activation of the non-fossil and readily available raw materials CO2, H2O, O2 and N2.
How are biological resources used?
Prof. Ralf Takors from the Institute of Biochemical Engineering spoke about the valorization of biological resources, which is being investigated by the Stuttgart research initiative ValBio. He used examples of functional and structural materials produced using renewable raw materials - mostly sugar - and the manufacturing of biobased products using biogenic residual and waste materials. The focus here was on recycling.
At the end of the event, Dr. Maike Lambarth from the Institute for Photovoltaics spoke on the topic of "How we want to rid the world of plastic waste". This can only be accomplished by recycling mixed plastic waste and using it to make new plastics or other products. He also emphasized the importance of creating a recycling system.
In the coming months, the Elite Academy for Chemistry and Materials Science will continue to offer talented individuals an exciting and challenging program, which will aid the development of their scientific skills and offer insight into current research topics.
The Elite Academy for Chemistry and Materials Science is organized by the School for Talents at the University of Stuttgart, which is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of the Excellence Strategy of the German federal and state governments.
Dr. Barbara Schüpp-Niewa, Head of Elite Academy for Chemistry and Materials Science