The start-up C1 has prominent supporters

ΜA new company from Germany can hardly get significant business support. Jürgen Hambrecht, former Chairman of the Board and Supervisory Board of BASF, former CEO of Linde and now Chairman of the Continental Supervisory Board Wolfgang Reitzle, and Jim Hagemann Snabe, former CEO of SAP and current Chief Supervisor – all three have invested in Carbon One.

Bernd Freytag

Business correspondent Rhein-Neckar-Saar based in Mainz.

C1, as the Berlin start-up calls itself, aims to make the chemical industry less dependent on oil and gas. As a pilot project, the founders are promoting what they say is a completely new process for the production of methanol, one of the most important raw materials in chemistry. It should no longer be produced from a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide using a catalyst under high pressure and high temperatures. A newly developed, highly efficient catalyst not only requires less pressure and heat, but can also be treated with “excess biomass or old plastic”.

This is what makes the production of “green” methanol, like the one used in large quantities in shipping, economical from the start. Snabe, who also oversaw the board of directors of the world’s largest shipping company, the Danish Maersk, may be quoted as saying: “Demand for a climate-friendly alternative propulsion system will exceed supply for years to come.” C1 technology “will reduce the overall cost of green methanol and accelerate production growth”.

The new production method was no longer developed by long-term experiments, but by “quantum chemical simulations” on high-performance computers. In this way, chemical processes could be developed that were unthinkable just a few years ago, writes Jürgen Hambrecht, who is also a member of C1’s supervisory board.

It remains to be seen whether the promise will be fulfilled. The series’ co-founder and founder Christian Vollmann talks about success. In his mid-forties, he made the dating portal E-Darling, the My Video online store and the neighborhood network. However, chemistry is new ground for him. According to the company, the necessary know-how comes from a team led by technology scientist and inventor Marek Checinski. In a first round of funding, donors invested a total of 5m euros.

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