Chemistry is everywhere

Chemistry is ubiquitous in our daily lives. In 2021, it generated sales of more than 227 billion euros and provided jobs for almost 500,000 people in Germany. The chemical industry is fundamental to the supply chains of numerous other sectors of the economy.

This makes the chemical industry one of the most important economic sectors in Germany after the automotive sector and the branch of mechanical engineering. It is by far the largest chemical industry in Europe and is regarded as highly productive, innovative and internationally competitive, making Germany one of the world’s most important industrial locations.

Major challenges

The chemical industry generated around 925 million metric tons of CO₂ worldwide in 2021 – around one-fifth more than Germany’s total greenhouse gas emissions. In 2019, more than 5 percent of hazardous waste came from the German chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

What’s more, the chemical industry is heavily dependent on crude oil and natural gas. Both serve as sources of energy for manufacturing processes as well as a raw material for chemical substances and products. Both the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have highlighted a problem that has existed in the industry for a long time: Many supply chains are extremely fragile and not protected from shortages, price shocks or geopolitics.

Our goal: Chemistry as a circular economy

To secure supplies for the entire German economy, it is urgently necessary to rethink feedstocks, processes and products. The current linear chemical industry must become a resilient circular economy in the long term. Chemical products must be manufactured mainly from renewable raw materials or recycled materials – while maintaining highest occupational safety and environmental standards and short transport distances. The Center for the Transformation of Chemistry (CTC) aims to advance the sustainable circular economy scientifically and implement it cooperatively with industry.

This diagram describes how the chemical industry is to be transformed into a circular economy

An opportunity for Central Germany

The CTC will address one of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century. At the same time, it will establish and expand a site of cutting-edge research making it highly attractive to professionals and partner institutions from academia and industry alike, attracting new companies, and thus supporting structural change in the Central German mining region.

Our site in Delitzsch

Drohnenaufnahme des Zuckerfabrik-Areals in DelitzschEntwurf des Delitzscher CTC-Campus

The CTC headquarters will be located in Delitzsch, about 20 kilometers north of Leipzig on the site of a former sugar factory. The CTC will be established in the coming years as the first research institution to date in the district of North Saxony. Current plans include a campus with the new research center, adjacent to residential quarters with its own suburban rail station with connections to Leipzig and Halle. There will be a second location in Merseburg in Saxony-Anhalt. In this way, the CTC is continuing the long-standing tradition in the Halle-Merseburg-Bitterfeld chemical triangle.