Leibniz University Hannover

Institute for Technical Chemistry

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Selin Kara

Project Website


DECADES – Research into the development of green solvents for sustainable bioprocesses (2023-2027)

Scientific contact
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Selin Kara

EU-Funding line
MSCA  – Horizon Europe 

Projektleitung: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Arno Kwade

Projektname: „Li-Ion Pilot Lines Network“ (LiPLANET)

Keywords: Energie, Mobilität, Partner

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DECADES – Research into the development of green solvents for sustainable bioprocesses

Novel biobased products: European Commission approves the DECADES project under the leadership of Leibniz Universität Hannover

The chemical industry is currently facing the challenging transformation of replacing classic, chemical manufacturing processes based on petroleum with sustainable, bio-based products, in line with the concept of a circular bioeconomy. Solvents, in particular, play a crucial role in the chemical industry along the entire production chain. They are needed to dissolve raw materials at the beginning of the manufacturing process, but are also required for the isolation and conditioning of products at the end. Consequently, there is an urgent need for novel solvents which can significantly improve synthesis processes while also being environmentally friendly and cost-efficient for the industrial bioeconomy.

This is where the DECADES project, led by Leibniz University Hannover (LUH), comes in. Six universities from Germany, Austria, Spain and the Netherlands and ten industry partners from different countries have joined forces to develop sustainable solvents for the European biotech sector and thus contribute to the goals of the European Commission’s European Green Deal. The project has received €2.6 million in funding from the European Commission under the HORIZON Marie Sklodoswka Curie Action Doctoral Networks (MSCA-DN) scheme.

“We will exploit the benefits of green solvents in two ways: First, by transferring knowledge from state-of-the-art basic research to industrial applications, and second, by optimizing solvents holistically, spanning their production, application, and environmental impact along the entire process,” explains Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Selin Kara, head of the Institute of Technical Chemistry at LUH and coordinator of DECADES.

The research project aims to increase the efficiency and sustainability of industrial biocatalysis via so-called “safe and sustainable-by-design” solvents. In an interdisciplinary approach, all key aspects are to be considered from a holistic perspective. These aspects include the biogenic origin of the raw materials, the use of efficient (bio)catalysts with reduced environmental impact, environmentally-friendly process conditions, and tailor-made sustainable solvents. In addition, the DECADES project also aims to address training gaps and mitigate the growing shortage of skilled workers by bringing together Europe’s leading academic and industry partners in a training network – based on the principle that education at all levels is crucial to achieving sustainability goals. To achieve the necessary growth in the fields of green technologies, renewable energy, and the bioeconomy, an efficient transfer of knowledge in terms of both marketable products and highly-skilled doctoral candidates is indispensable.

DECADES – Research into the development of green solvents for sustainable bioprocesses © LUH/Lena Wöhler


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