CO2 interlinked – from a climate risk factor to a highly sought-after raw material

Recently approved collaboration network "UseCO2", managed by IBB Netzwerk GmbH, utilizes the climate risk factor carbon dioxide to develop sustainable products

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has granted funding for the cooperation network “UseCO2”. In the network, a total of 18 partners develops biotechnological and physico-chemical processes to bind carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial emissions or from the air and use it as raw material for sustainable products. Applicant of the cooperation network was the Industrielle Biotechnologie Bayern Netzwerk GmbH (IBB Netzwerk GmbH). Financial support is provided within the technology and market-open German funding program for small and medium-sized enterprises, the “Central Innovation Program for SMEs” (ZIM).

The partners have commissioned IBB Netzwerk GmbH to coordinate and manage the funded cooperation network “UseCO2”. Managing director, Prof. Dr. Haralabos Zorbas, summarizes the networks objectives: “The partners develop methods to use CO2 as a nearly infinite source of carbon for the production of chemicals and chemical building blocks. Starting from these basic components, many of the nowadays commonly used daily products can be obtained. These products include – but are not limited to – plastics, synthetic clothing, cleaning agents, lubricants, dyes, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, as well as energy stores and fuels.”

The utilization of CO2, this means e.g. the conversion of CO2 into versatile basic chemicals such as methane or methanol, requires a lot of energy. The “UseCO2”-partners take up this challenge and work towards economic and at the same time environmentally friendly solutions.

At present, the cooperation network “UseCO2” comprises eight small and medium-sized enterprises, five research institutes and five large-scale industries from the chemical, biotech, lubricant and automotive sector. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy provides funding for the network management; this amounts to about 140,000 euros for the first year. A follow-up support for a period of two years is possible.



Every year and through their activities, humans release worldwide more than 30 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. The climate-damaging substance is formed e.g. as a byproduct during the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, fossil oil and natural gas. As a greenhouse gas, CO2 is deemed to be highly responsible for the climate change. For this reason, it is of great ecological and economic importance to reduce further increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. (2,442 characters)

About the ZIM coooperation network “UseCO2”

Within the ZIM cooperation network “UseCO2”, partners from industry and academy are working together towards the same end under coordination of IBB Netzwerk GmbH: Instead of fossil oil, coal or natural gas, CO2 shall be utilized as raw material for daily products. As a sustainable source of carbon, CO2 can be employed to produce, for example, specialty and bulk chemicals, or biofuels. To this end, chemical, physical or biotechnological processes are applied. The resulting products can be put into use directly or after further processing. With its approach, the network supports the change from an oil-based to a more sustainable society.

Regular partners: bbi-biotech GmbH, CASCAT GmbH, Electrochaea GmbH, nova-lnstitut für politische und ökologische Innovation GmbH, Phytowelt Green Technologies GmbH, plan-bee Dr. Hermine M. Hitzler, provenion GmbH, Romex Produktions GmbH, Fraunhofer IGB – institution part BioCat, TUM – Industrial Biocatalysis Group, TUM – Microbiology Group, TUM – Institute of Biochemical Engineering, Universität Bayreuth – Macromolecular Chemistry II.

Associated partners: AUDI AG, Clariant Produkte Deutschland GmbH, Jowat SE, Klüber Lubrication München SE & Co. KG, Thermo Fischer Scientific GENEART GmbH

About Industrielle Biotechnologie Bayern Netzwerk GmbH (IBB Netzwerk GmbH)

Industrielle Biotechnologie Bayern Netzwerk GmbH (IBB Netzwerk GmbH) is a network and service organization in the field of Industrial Biotechnology and sustainable Bioeconomy. The aim is to catalyze the conversion of valuable scientific knowledge into innovative, marketable biotechnological products and processes. Including the management of the ZIM cooperation network “UseCO2”, IBB Netzwerk GmbH already carries out the management of three ZIM networks, acquires new partners and supports them in the elaboration of research and development projects. The company is located in Martinsried near Munich, Germany.


IBB Netzwerk, press release, 2016-07-28.


Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWI)
Industrielle Biotechnologie Bayern Netzwerk GmbH (IBB Netzwerk GmbH)


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