Ongoing activities in the area of the Research Department

Crosswise through all departments involved, scientists from the Ruhr University Bochum are dedicated to a wide variety of topics that are relevant for change towards closed carbon cycles. Close professional relationships exist, for example, with the Materials Research Department (high-temperature materials, thin-film technologies) and the Research Department Subsurface Modeling and Engineering (geothermal energy, underground storage). Some outstanding activities in the area of the Research Department Closed Carbon Cycle Economy are listed below. With a click onto the logos you will be redirected to websites with additional information.


In cooperation with the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, the Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg and the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, the Collaborative Research Centre/Transregio 287 BULK-REACTION explores the interaction of physical and chemical processes in reacting and moving dense particle systems passed by a gaseous fluid. BULK-REACTION combines the methods and expertise from reactive fluid mechanics with particle technology in a new multi-scale approach, ranging from microscopic pores inside particles, to the void spaces between particles, up to complete systems of industrial scale.


Together with colleagues from the RWTH Aachen and the TU Darmstadt, scientists from Bochum are researching the basics of solid combustion in oxygen atmospheres. The aim is the well-founded modelling of combustion processes, which can be of great importance for the separation of carbon dioxide from exhaust gases of power plants and industrial processes.


As part of a consortium led by ThyssenKrupp with a total of 17 partners from industry and research, scientists from the Research Department are involved in research into techniques for producing basic chemicals from carbon dioxide in steel industry exhaust gases.


In an international consortium, scientists from the Research Department are investigating options for the provision of hydrogen, which will initially be produced from natural gas as a transitional solution. The resulting carbon dioxide will be captured immediately after the natural gas has been extracted and stored offshore. Sociopolitical and legal aspects will be examined as well as technical aspects.

Endowed professorship Carbon Sources and Conversion

The use of alternative carbon sources in process engineering requires a precise analysis of available carbon sources and the development of large-scale processes for the conversion of carbon in various forms into basic chemicals. The endowed professorship funded by RWE AG and the state of NRW with a total of 5.1 million euros is dedicated to this topic.

Emmy Noether Group "Bio-inspired activation of carbon dioxide using heterobimetallic complexes" and Fraunhofer Attract Group 097-602175

Dr. Ulf-Peter Apfel and his research group "Activation of Small Molecules" are investigating the activation of biologically and technically relevant small molecules. One of his goals is to provide inexpensive catalysts for the activation of carbon dioxide, from which basic chemicals can then be produced again using regeneratively produced electricity.

Website of the working group "Activation of Small Molecules

Doctoral School Closed Carbon Cycle Economy

From October 2018 to April 2019, eight doctoral students and one managing director of five faculties are working on the content of an interdisciplinary doctoral school under the leadership of experienced colleagues. As a result, this circle will be extended to 17 doctoral students at seven faculties. The aim of the Doctoral School is to strengthen the interdisciplinary knowledge of the doctoral students to such an extent that they can become drivers of a structural change towards closed carbon cycles, in addition to an excellent specialist education leading to a doctorate. The focus will initially be on the structural change that is imminent in the Rhenish lignite mining area. The project is funded by the state of NRW with a total of more than three million euros.

Fraunhofer Performance Center DYNAFLEX

For the coupling of the "power supply" and "process engineering production" sectors, it is necessary to dynamise process engineering processes. Processes, which today are practically without exception constantly operated at the design point, must be enabled to follow the fluctuating supply of electricity within wide limits. Material properties of mixtures of hydrogen with other gases, in particular with natural gas components, and the dynamic simulation of process engineering processes play an important role here. Within the framework of the DYNAFLEX performance centre, scientists from the Research Department are working on these issues.

ElkaSyn – Increasing the Energy Efficiency of Electrocatalytic Alcohol Synthesis (BMWi)

In a single process step, the greenhouse gas CO2 is to be transformed into valuable raw materials for the chemical industry. This is the goal of the "Elkasyn" project, which the BMWi is fuding from 2019 to 2022.
The RUB team includes Dr. Ulf-Peter Apfel from the Chair of Inorganic Chemistry I and Prof. Dr. Eckhard Weidner and Dr. Sabine Kareth from the Chair of Process Engineering Transport Processes. The Fraunhofer Institute Umsicht in Oberhausen coordinates the research network, which also includes Siemens AG, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Europe and the Institute for Technical Chemistry at the University of Stuttgart.

Article in RUB News

Contact persons

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Roland Span
Institute of Thermo- and Fluiddynamics
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering

Ruhr University Bochum
44780 Bochum
Phone +49 (0)234 / 32-23033
Room IC 3/127

Prof. Dr. Johann-Christian Pielow
Chair of Economic Law / Institute for Mining and Energy Law
Faculty of Economic Sciences

Ruhr University Bochum
44780 Bochum
Phone +49 (0)234 / 32-25723
Room GD 02/267

Dr. Anna-Lena Schönauer
Chair of sociology, labour and economics
Faculty of Social Science

Ruhr University Bochum
44780 Bochum
Phone +49 (0)234 / 32-25421
Room GD 1/329