Grillo has developed a new, direct and sustainable process to produce methanesulfonic acid (MSA, CH3SO3H). From a scientific point of view, this process is a breakthrough in the field of methane functionalization (CH4). In 2019, BASF acquired the respective IP and know-how to accelerate its implementation on an industrial scale.

Methanesulfonic acid from Grillo: a flagship project for sustainable chemistry in Germany
DER SPIEGEL, Lokalausgabe NRW, June 2019

Germany’s leading news magazine DER SPIEGEL showcases Grillo‘s direct process to MSA as a perfect example of sustainable chemistry (page 10). In a supplement focusing on the largest German state North Rhine-Westphalia („Starkes Land Nordrhein-Westfalen“), the journalists highlight MSA’s biodegradability, the use of natural gas and biogas as feedstock, as well as the potential of methanation, the conversion of CO2 to methane.
A comprehensive report in the same edition covers a collaboration between Grillo and Aurubis named „Closing the Loop“ (page 11). The integrated production is listed as a perfect example of circular economy. Special focus is given to our innovative process to remove bromides – originating from the use of flame retardants – from electronic waste streams.

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State parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia
and Grillo’s sustainable route to MSA

Association of the Chemical Industry e. V. in North Rine-Westphalia (VCI NRW), April 2019

VCI NRW and its associated chemical companies support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The association has planned several activities in connection with sustainability for spring 2019, e. g., an exhibition in the parliament building and a networking evening; Grillo is represented with two highly-innovative projects.

Activation of methane to CH3+: A selective industrial route to MSA
Science Magazine, March 2019

Scientific article on Grillo methane sulfonation with details on the cationic chain mechanism initiated by a low concentration of added sulfonyl peroxide and propagated by CH3+ under superacidic conditions. Furthermore, the broader perspective (“Making more from methane”) by Fredi Schüth from the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Mühlheim.

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uzhGrillo MSA with greatly reduced carbon footprint
Journal of Greener Production, November 2018

Professor Seeger and his team at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) have done a comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) of the conventional process for the industrial production of MSA with the new and direct process developed by Grillo.

knauerLeaving the beaten tracks: dosing pumps and MSA
Knauer News, September 2018

High-pressure metering pumps produced by the Berlin-based manufacturer of laboratory measuring instruments Knauer Wissenschaftliche Geräte GmbH have played an important role in the development of the groundbreaking new manufacturing process allowing the production of methanesulfonic acid (MSA) directly from methane and sulfur trioxide.

Conference presentations on the chemistry behind methanesulfonation
International Symposium on Homogeneous Catalysis (ISHC), July 2018

The International Symposium on Homogeneous Catalysis (ISHC) takes place every two years and is one of the most important scientific conferences on homogeneous catalysis.

Talk on the chemistry of super acids by C. Díaz-Urrutia: “Super (Acid) Chemistry in Industry: Activation and Functionalization of Methane to Methanesulfonic Acid

Poster by N. Bloch et al. “From Lab to Pilot: Upscaling of a Homogeneous Methanesulfonation-Process

Methane sulfonation as an example of a successful innovation in medium-sized businesses
KPMG Chemicals Roundtable, June 2018

At first glance, world-class research and a medium-sized basic chemicals company do not seem to go together. In a presentation we had the opportunity to explain the reasons why it was no coincidence that a team from Grillo has been able to produce methanesulfonic acid from methane (CH4) and sulfur trioxide (SO3).

Sustainable methanesulfonic acid on the basis of biogas
European Biogas Conference, January 2018

The European Biogas Conference is the annual gathering of the members of the European Biogas Association (EBA). Over two days the participants have the opportunity to discuss current sector-related topics in lectures and workshops. In 2018, the focus also laid on the industrial use of biogas.

Presentation by our research director Dr. Ingo Biertümpel at the European Biogas Conference in Antwerp with the emphasis on the fundamental issue „Bio-Methane as a chemical building block?

Poster by C. Díaz-Urrutia et al. entitled “Upgrade of Methane to Value-Added Products: Industrial Synthesis of Methanesulfonic Acid

Methane functionalization and the Holy Grail
Magazine bild der Wissenschaft, November 2017

Natural gas can be incredibly multifunctional: reaching for the Holy Grail
For the first time, methane was converted into a liquid resource by using a simple process suitable for industrial use. Chemists had long been looking for this key to many new applications.

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Methane activation as one of the „remaining grand challenges“ in chemistry
Review article by Roy A. Periana et al., August 2017

Chemical Review (ACS). One of the remaining “grand challenges” in chemistry is the development of a next generation, less expensive, cleaner process that can allow the vast reserves of methane from natural gas to augment or replace oil as the source of fuels and chemicals. […] One approach [… ] could be to focus on higher value, smaller volume products. Recently just such a possibility was announced by the German firm Grillo. They reported a new process for the synthesis of methanesulfonic acid (MSA) from reaction of CH4 with SO3. Since this is a much higher value added product compared to methanol, it is possible that the challenges (discussed above) can be economically addressed.”

Reprinted (adapted) with permission from Niles Jensen Gunsalus, Anjaneyulu Koppaka, Sae Hume Park, Steven M. Bischof, Brian G. Hashiguchi, Roy A. Periana, Chem. Rev. 2017, 117, 8521-8573. Copyright (2017) American Chemical Society

Breakthrough in the activation of methane: Grillo successfuly converts methane to methanesulfonic acid
Press release, June 2016

The functionalization of methane to a high-value chemical has been achieved by Germany’s chemical company Grillo after years of intensive research. The new process leads to high-purity methanesulfonic acid (MSA) by the direct sulfonation of methane with sulfur trioxide. Start of large-scale production is planned for 2019.

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