It was back in 2000 that the first Project House was established. It focused on the development of materials and production processes with special properties that paved the way for new applications in attractive markets in the cosmetics, electronics, optics, paint, and pharmaceuticals industries. The Project House, which was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, first continued as an internal start-up under the name of Advanced Nanomaterials before being in corporated into New Business Development at Aerosil & Silanes.
In 2001, Degussa regrouped its biocatalysis research activities in the Project House Biotechnology. Eleven of the then 23 business units were involved. The aim was to develop new processes and products by means of enzymes generated from microorganisms and then used as biocatalysts. The work of the Project House continued at the biocatalysis Service Center and the Project House ProFerm.
The Project House Catalysis was set up in 2001 with the ambitious goal of providing methods capable of developing, within three to five years, a completely new catalytic process from scratch. The work of the Project House was mainly continued at the Exclusive Synthesis and C4 Chemistry Business Units as well as the start-up Degussa Homogenous Catalysts, which marketed the new catalyst systems.
The Project House Functional Polymers was established at the end of 2003 with the aim of amalgamating know-how in the use of nanotechnology and polymers to develop new materials with innovative properties. In the growth field of laser technology, which is used for applications such as inscribing, etching, and welding plastics, High Performance Polymers has established its own Laser Applications Center to deal with customer requirements.
Launched at the beginning of 2004, the ProFerm Project House continued the work of the Project House Biotechnology. The aim Project House was to exploit the metabolic pathways of micro organisms and to use new fermentation processes for the production of innovative substances.
Process Intensification, the sixth Project House, commenced work at the start of 2005. With a focus on new process strategies and reaction concepts, its aim was to increase the flexibility of the production facilities used in specialty chemicals and to enable the development of new products.
Functional Films & Surfaces started work at the beginning of 2007. Taking up where the fourth Project House, Functional Polymers, left off, it focused on the development of functional plastic films, surfaces, and semi-finished products with new or enhanced properties.
The Project House Systems Integration project started in early 2009. The goal was to develop and coordinate the respective product in such a way, concerning the necessary processing and manufacturing technology, that the client can easily integrate the system into their on-stream production process.
In spring 2011, the ninth Project House called "Light & Electronics", was set up in Taiwan. The Project House Light & Electronics was the first project house outside Germany. The focus of its work was new products and technologies for the photovoltaics, display, LED, and lighting industries.
The Project House Composites went into operation on April 1, 2013. The Project House Composites developed new materials and system solutions for the lightweight construction sector. The projects focussed on current and future customer requirements, such as fast and economical processability. Further information on the Project House Composites.