Interview with Juergen Eck



1. Which potential do you see in developing novel technologies for using CO2 as a resource?
Point sources of CO2 provide large amounts of carbon at high concentration which are especially attractive. Emerging technologies like Direct Air Capture open access to the almost unlimited amount of atmospheric CO2. Recycling of CO2-rich waste streams is the ultimate rationale of providing carbon to the chemical industries. The economic potential is huge once sufficient supply of renewable and thus cheap energy will be available.

2. Which projects is BRAIN AG working on at the moment?
BRAIN and Südzucker AG joined forces to produce succinic acid solely based on CO2 and hydrogen. Succinic acid finds many applications as a building block in the synthesis of alcohols, solvents, pigments, and fully biodegradable plastics that enable closed loop applications.
Within the ZeroCarbFP strategic alliance we have established technologies to use alternative feedstocks, that utilize different C-sources like raw glycerine, used cooking oil, process water, CO2 or food waste.

3. What are the largest challenges in this field?
CO2 contains only tiny amounts of chemical energy. Therefore it has to be activated to become a useful building block for chemical and biochemical synthesis. The corresponding energy demand has to be provided by renewable resources. Therefore, ramping up the capacities of renewable energy including storage capacities is crucial for the extensive use of CO2 as a feedstock.

Jürgen Eck was a speaker in the EFIB 2019 session: “Novel feedstocks – How to advance sustainable strategies for a bio-based economy” on 2 October 2019.