24-May-2023 - Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker e.V. (GDCh)

Wöhler Award for sustainable chemistry goes to Klaus Kümmerer

Pioneer of the "Benign by Design" concept is honored at the WiFo 2023

Two sustainability researchers are recognized for their work by the German Chemical Society (GDCh). professor dr Klaus Kümmerer, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, receives the Wöhler Award for sustainable chemistry for his pioneering research work in the field of sustainable chemistry. dr Philipp Demling, RWTH Aachen University, is awarded the prize for bioconversion of renewable raw materials for his dissertation. Both awardee will receive their awards on September 6th as part of the GDCh Science Forum (WiFo) Chemistry.

Recyclable plastics, waste water reuse and end-of-life Management of solar systems - these are just a few examples of the research areas in which Professor Dr. Klaus Kümmerer has done outstanding things for sustainable chemistry. In addition, the awardee was one of the first to establish the "benign by design" concept, in which environmental pollution is reduced through the targeted design of molecules. Kümmerer was able to successfully test the concept in practical examples, such as the development of ionic liquids that are less harmful to the environment and biodegradable antibiotics. In addition, he is committed to ensuring that sustainable topics are integrated into the training of chemists and has designed and established corresponding courses. For his groundbreaking contributions to the development and implementation of sustainable chemistry, the GDCh honors Kümmerer at the WiFo with the Wöhler Award for sustainable chemistry, which is endowed with 7,500 euros.

Klaus Kümmerer studied chemistry at the Julius Maximilians University in Würzburg and the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen, where he also received his doctorate in 1990. In 1999 he received the venia legendi for environmental chemistry and environmental hygiene at the Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg. After his habilitation, Klaus Kümmerer first became an assistant professor and later Head of the section for applied environmental research at the University Hospital in Freiburg. In 2005 he became an associate professor at the University of Freiburg. From 2008 to 2010 he was both Deputy Chair of the Commission for Environment and Sustainability and environmental officer at the University Hospital Freiburg. Kümmerer has been Professor of sustainable chemistry and Physical Resources at Leuphana University Lüneburg since 2010 and Director of the Research & Education Hub at the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Center (ISC3) since 2017. He is and was a member of numerous national and international committees and regularly advises the EU and UNEP as well as national and international politics on sustainability issues.

The prize for bioconversion of renewable raw materials will also be awarded at the WiFo. em Manfred Schneider was set up at the GDCh. The award, which is endowed with 2000 euros, is given to young doctors who did their doctorate no more than two years ago. This year's awardee is Dr. Philip Demling. In his dissertation at the RWTH Aachen University, he deals with process engineering improvements in fermentative rhamnolipid production. In doing so, he developed both new processes to avoid foam formation and new digestion and bioreactor concepts that would improve industrial application.

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