Our current linear way of producing chemicals is unsustainable. The chemical industry needs to be transformed from its current fossil basis to renewable resources for energy and raw materials. In particular, chemicals and fuel production require renewable carbon sources to close the carbon cycle.
In this presentation, we will present recent contributions towards a circular chemical industry. Circular carbon flows can be established by employing biomass, CO2, and waste recycling as carbon feedstock for chemical transformations. To optimize the required novel conversion processes, we integrate the molecular design of solvents and catalysts directly into process design. Design objectives are not only economics but also environmental impacts. For this purpose, methods are developed to predict environmental impacts for molecules designed in silico. The resulting optimized processes are then integrated into a bottom-up model of the chemical industry. Thereby, trade-offs and potential synergies can be resolved between the renewable carbon sources biomass, CO2, and waste recycling. The industry-wide model allows us to identify promising pathways towards a net-zero circular chemical industry.
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