While nature builds all her organic materials from CO₂, the stability and inertness of the CO₂ molecule prevents its use in chemical technology. The team of Leitner searches for catalysts as molecular tools to break through this wall. Together with the company Covestro, they developed a catalytic process to incorporate CO₂ into polyurethane plastics, replacing fossil feedstocks and reducing the carbon footprint in the production of materials with many applications in a multi-million ton market.

Tags: Circular Economy, Climate change, Energy, Engineering, Environment & Nature, Green Tech, Hydrogen, Renewable energies, Trust in science, Sustainable Production of Consumer Products, Green Chemistry

Walter Leitner

RWTH Aachen University and Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion

Walter Leitner was born in 1963 in Pfarrkirchen, a small town in Bavaria. After receiving his Doctorate at the University of Regensburg and a postdoctoral stay at the University of Oxford, he joined the Max-Planck-Working Group “CO2 Chemistry” at Jena University. He continued research on the use of CO2 as group leader at the MPI für Kohlenforschung and later as Chair of Chemical Technology and Petrochemistry at RWTH Aachen University. Since 2017, he is Director for Molecular Catalysis at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion.

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