Panel Discussion

Science Breakfast by invitation only: "It Is All About Chemistry. How We Tackle the Energy Challenges of the Future!" Upon invitation of BASF and Chemical Industry Fund

Thursday, 4 July 2013
06:45 - 08:45 CEST


One of the major challenges of today and even more in the future is how to secure the energy supply for a growing world population: Energy demand is predicted to double by 2050 when over nine billion people will live on earth. With limited resources in fossil fuels, increasing prices, the carbon conundrum and its role in climate change scientists are looking for new ways to meet the needs of the growing population while safeguarding the environment.
As global challenges of this size cannot be easily solved on the basis of currently known technologies, we will explore still to be developed technologies, unconventional ideas and approaches in a world café with dedicated researchers from science and industry. Many answers will come from chemistry as key enabler for countless innovative solutions. Future-oriented innovative applications from chemical research and development are the key approach to solving these questions.
Thomas Weber, BASF’s Senior Vice President Science Relations and Innovation Management, and Carla Seidel, Vice President, responsible for E-Power-Management at BASF New Business GmbH will discuss with Nobel Laureates, young scientists and a team of experienced researchers how chemistry can enable solutions to key problems in energy supply, storage and use. Which disciplines need to be connected to identify potential applications and stimulate change? What is necessary to develop energy efficient products and processes for regional markets which are at the same time robust and affordable? What are the lessons learned from Germany’s energy turnaround for power researchers?
Energy Supply: With decreasing fossil resources raw material change gets a prominent place in energy scenarios. For example, methods to capture and recycle CO2 to methanol (CCR) -- renewable methanol – are increasingly translated into practical industrial use. Today CO2 is mainly used as an industrial gas or chemical raw material, e.g. in the production of epoxy resins. How can we utilize solar energy for hydrogen generation? Are sugar and biomass options as renewable raw materials for our value chains?
Energy distribution and storage: As a prerequisite to synchronize supply and demand from intermittent renewable energy in large dimensions and improve grid capacity electrochemistry is a strategic science for Germany’s energy turnaround. Which processes are sustainable and can be integrated into existing infrastructure to guarantee synchronized demand and supply (storage) and reliable transmission and distribution (grids)? How can sources of renewable energy be used more efficiently?
Use of energy: Heating and cooling, lighting, driving a car – more and more people share a contemporary lifestyle. The way we live has become the key factor for quality of life. What has chemistry to offer for the use of energy? Will research on new materials such as graphene make a difference? What is to be expected of organic electronics – energy wise?
The world café is a participatory and creative process for facilitating a collaborative dialogue. It encourages knowledge and idea sharing to create a living network of conversation and action. Participants discuss in small groups. The ideas are summarized in a plenary session by the table hosts and follow-up possibilities are exchanged.

Recommended Literature:
Ausfelder, F., Isenburg, T., & Deutsche Bunsen-Gesellschaft für Physikalische Chemie. (2010). Feuerlöscher oder Klimakiller? Kohlendioxid CO2 - Facetten eines Moleküls. Frankfurt, M: Dt. Bunsen-Ges. für Physikalische Chemie.
Keim, W., & Roeper, M. (2010). Change in the Raw Material Basis. Position Paper. Frankfurt: Dechema.
Kreimeyer, A. (2013). New Directions in Industrial Chemical Research as Reflected in Angewandte Chemie. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 52(1), 147–154. doi:10.1002/anie.201208912
Schaub, T., & Paciello, R. A. (2011). A Process for the Synthesis of Formic Acid by CO2 Hydrogenation: Thermodynamic Aspects and the Role of CO. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 50(32), 7278–7282. doi:10.1002/anie.201101292

Related Laureates