Electrifying chemical synthesis


The Germany-based start-up ESy-Labs GmbH is using electrosynthesis as a platform for the synthesis of chemical compounds. The direct use of electricity for the conversion of both organic and inorganic chemicals allows for an innovative and resource-friendly approach to the production of these resources. By diving deep in this field, ESy-Labs has been able to bridge the gap between academic research to industrial application by obtaining unique optimized processes that uphold some of the key concepts of sustainable chemistry.

Year of Foundation:

November 2018

Addresses the following SDGs:

SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure).

a man with glasses
Dr. Tobias Gärtner
Prof. Dr. Siegfried Waldvogel

Electrochemistry made accessible to an emerging market

The idea was born when Dr. Tobias Gärtner met Prof. Dr. Siegfried R. Waldvogel, now founders as well as CEO and CTO of the company, respectively. Professor Waldvogel’s expertise and experience of organic electrosynthesis in the industry immediately caught Dr Gärtner’s attention. Having worked a lot on inorganic electrochemistry waste management methods himself, the notion of founding a company together to bring forward this innovative technology from an academic to industrial scale became clear. Their goal has been to take the current state-of-the-art on electrochemistry and transform it into a bilateral cooperation built on two pillars: organic and inorganic process development. Their methods align with sustainability in various ways due to the nature of their technology. The premise of electrochemistry, which employs electric conductors known as electrodes to transfer electricity into a chemical mixture, permits to avoid the use of toxic oxidizers or reduction agents and by doing this, avoidance of chemical waste thus reinforcing the use of renewable energy. Since their conception to the present, ESy‑Labs has been successful at paving an accessible path for a developing market for those who wish to implement a new sustainable approach to the synthesis of chemicals.

Innovation and sustainability technology enablers

To strive toward their main objective and push forward into an emerging industry market, ESy-Labs decided to not only stay within the realm of the concept of electrosynthesis but also in its optimization of process development at a larger scale. With different parameters, statistical data analysis, and a thorough selection and classification process designated as screenings, they have been able to develop a wide portfolio of compounds tailored to the specific needs of customers. In the future, the team is hoping to continue the innovative essence of the company by increasing the screening capacity towards a high throughput screening and the addition of artificial intelligence to their process optimization methods.

‘We see ourselves as technology enablers, rather than producers of fine chemicals. We provide our customers with the technology to produce fine chemicals in a sustainable innovative way.’ Dr. Tobias Gärtner, stated.

The potential to integrate innovative electrolysis processes in the industry and replace the conventional ones is something the start-up hopes to see in the future. There is a wide range of sustainable alternatives, and these are what ESy‑Labs has decided to view as opportunities for their market entrance. Through the promotion and development of their own processes, they go ahead to inspire others locally and, later on, internationally to follow and build a sustainable technology alternative for the industry.

Next up at ESy-Labs

The Start-up is currently looking for a strategic partner, potentially from the chemical industry to support and build on the expansion of their ESy-screening service and to implement artificial intelligence for process optimization. ESy-Labs is looking forward to find partners and investors who share their vision of generating sustainable, innovative, and long-term impact for the environment and the chemical industry.