Creavis Lounge VIII

How value is created—then and now

At the latest Creavis Lounge in Marl, the focus was on value creation and transformation of material. The panel discussion ranged from from alchemy to artificial photosynthesis.

The transformation of material has always excited man’s imagination. Alchemy, the forerunner of modern-day chemistry, is remembered mainly by the fact that its expert practitioners aspired to transmute lead into gold. It is often overlooked here that research and industry have been exercised by the issue of value creation from very early times.

The latest Creavis Lounge took up the topic of value creation, looking at the underlying processes, with the collaboration of artist Jana Hartmann from Frankfurt, Jürgen Eck, founder and CEO of BRAIN AG, and Prof. Stefan Buchholz, head of Creavis.

Hartmann set the ball rolling by describing her conceptual view of the value creation process. Using artistic representations of researchers and manuals for material transmutations, she showed that man himself is always the executor in the transmutation of simple to more complex things—and that he himself develops in the process.

As an analogy, the principle of artificial photosynthesis was presented, which allows CO2, water, and renewable energy to be converted into valuable specialty chemicals. In collaboration with Siemens and with the support of Process Engineering, Creavis is investigating this principle in the Rheticus project.

In a moderated panel discussion, Jana Hartmann, Jürgen Eck, and Stefan Buchholz expressed their views on sustainable chemical production. The discussion centered on the greenhouse gas CO2 as the currently most discussed waste material. According to Jürgen Eck, production processes like Rheticus that can generate added value from CO2 offer one possibility for slowing down climate change. “As a driver of innovation in the chemical industry, Evonik wants to make its contribution here. But it must also be remembered that the energy sector’s contribution to CO2 emissions is significantly higher. There’s still a lot of scope for new value-adding processes here,” said Buchholz.

Moderator Joachim Müller-Jung, head of the Nature and Science section at FAZ, wound up the discussion with the observation that a strong vision of sustainable chemical production in the future would be an important driver for innovation as well as commercial success.

Hartmann presented at this event three art works she had prepared for the Creavis Lounge. The pictures show parts of the pilot plant for the Rheticus project that have been distorted and rearranged in an elaborate process. This was just one of the many stimuli for discussion and exchange offered in the course of the evening.

Creavis Lounge was established to promote collaboration and exchange within the company as well as with customers, industry associations, and academic institutions, and thus to broaden the company’s own perspectives. The event is held regularly on topics relating to sustainability, creativity, and the future.