- Artificial photosynthesis uses renewable energy, CO2, and water
- Makes contribution to closing the carbon cycle
- BMBF funding research project with around €1 million
Beiersdorf and Evonik have reached an agreement on a research partnership. Its aim is to develop sustainable raw materials for care products, using carbon dioxide (CO2) as the starting material. Beiersdorf is on the lookout for new sources of raw materials that will also reduce the company’s carbon footprint. One option here is artificial photosynthesis technology. The idea: with the aid of electricity from solar energy and bacteria, valuable raw materials are produced with water and CO2, drawing on natural photosynthesis as a model. The joint research project of Evonik and Beiersdorf is being funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in the amount of around €1 million.
Dr. May Shana’a, Corporate Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Beiersdorf, says: “The research cooperation fits perfectly with our sustainability agenda, an ambitious program that we are implementing systematically and across all functions. We are pursuing a vision of becoming climate positive, and we want to play a part in closing the carbon cycle.” If Beiersdorf succeeds in using CO2 as a source for the raw materials used in its care products, this will reduce the company’s carbon footprint as well as the land used for renewable resources. “Together with Evonik, we are determining which raw materials can be produced with the aid of artificial photosynthesis and could potentially be suitable for our care products. While this has already been observed in the early stages of a number of other industries, this application is in its infancy in the cosmetics industry. We are therefore especially proud to be entering into this research partnership,” Shana’a continues.
Thomas Haas, who is responsible for artificial photosynthesis at Evonik, says: “By using carbon dioxide as the starting material for the production of valuable raw materials, we can close the carbon cycle – exactly as demonstrated by nature with photosynthesis.” Evonik is developing the technology platform needed for artificial photosynthesis together with Siemens in the Rheticus project funded by the BMBF. Evonik believes that the research cooperation just launched with the skin care specialist Beiersdorf, which is independent of the cooperation with Siemens, is an opportunity for the specialty chemicals maker to expand the future product portfolio for artificial photosynthesis. Haas says: “With Beiersdorf, we have a partner who is joining us in extending the value chain to include sustainable CO2-based products – in the interests of the consumer.”
With this research project, Beiersdorf and Evonik are partners in the BMBF’s P2X II project launched in September 2019 as one of the projects of Kopernikus, one of the biggest German research initiatives in the area of the energy transition. A total of 42 partners are involved in the P2X II project alone. The aim is to develop processes that use renewable energy to produce high-quality products.
Beiersdorf AG is a leading provider of innovative, high-quality skin care products and has more than 135 years of experience in this market segment. The Hamburg-based company has about 20,000 employees worldwide and is listed on the DAX, the German benchmark equities index. Beiersdorf generated sales of €7.6 billion in financial year 2019. Its product portfolio comprises strong, international leading skin and body care brands, including NIVEA – the world’s largest skin care brand* – Eucerin, Hansaplast/Elastoplast, and La Prairie. Millions of people around the world choose Beiersdorf brands every day because of their innovative, high-quality products. Further renowned brands such as Labello, Aquaphor, Florena, 8X4, Hidrofugal, atrix, Maestro, and Coppertone round off the extensive portfolio. Beiersdorf’s wholly owned affiliate tesa SE, another globally leading manufacturer in its field, supplies self-adhesive products and system solutions to industry, craft businesses, and consumers.
* Source: Euromonitor International Limited; NIVEA by umbrella brand name in the categories Body Care, Face Care, and Hand Care; in retail value terms, 2018.
Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The company is active in more than 100 countries around the world and generated sales of €13.1 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of €2.15 billion in 2019. Evonik goes far beyond chemistry to create innovative, profitable and sustainable solutions for customers. More than 32,000 employees work together for a common purpose: We want to improve life, today and tomorrow.