The conference themes for ECCE & ECAB 2023 include the European Green Deal and its impact on the process industry. How does your research fit in with this mandate that Europe has adopted?
"What we are talking about is that Europe wants to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 2025, even to zero. These are ambitious goals, and I am convinced that we cannot achieve them without the help of basic research. We need new technologies, new chemical reactions, to reduce CO2 emissions. One of my "dream reactions," for example, is to split CO2 into carbon and oxygen, with the help of solar energy."
What is your vision for the future? Do you believe that the EU's climate targets can be met by 2030 and that Europe will be climate neutral by 2050?
"Unfortunately, I cannot predict the future. However, I believe that our current measures are not sufficient if we want to achieve the goal of climate neutrality by 2050. And - let's face it - Europe alone will not be able to save the world. The energy and environmental crises that we humans have caused and that we need to solve can only be mastered in an international context. We need a consensus among the world's major industrialized nations, a concrete joint plan - to which everyone must stick."
You are a big fan of football, so here's a perhaps rather unconventional question to finish with: If catalysis were a footballer, on which position would it play and why?
"That is a good question! Perhaps catalysis would be in good hands in the midfield, because it clearly plays a mediating and at the same time a central role in reactions. Without midfield, the strikers have to expend more energy - this would be quite similar for reactions without catalysis."
Prof. Benjamin List will give a plenary lecture on the topic "Catalysis for a better World". He is Director Homogeneous Catalysis at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung and Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Mülheim an der Ruhr/D
60486 Frankfurt am Main