Friedrich Bergius

Picture of Friedrich Bergius

Date of Birth: 10/11/1884

Age: 64

Place of birth: Goldshmiden

Citizenship: Germany


In 1903, B. studied chemistry at the University of Breslau, studying with Albert Ladenburg and Richard Abegg. The following year he spent in the military service, and then entered the University of Leipzig, where under the direction of Arthur Gancia was preparing a doctoral thesis on the subject of concentrated sulfuric acid as a solvent. After finishing his thesis, BA in 1907 from the University of Breslau doctorate.

Over the next two years working as an assistant at B. Walter Nernst at the University of Berlin and then at the Fritz Haber in Karlsruhe, where he studied methods for the application of high-pressure synthesis of ammonia from hydrogen and atmospheric nitrogen. In 1909, he explores the dissociation of calcium peroxide under pressure up to 300 atmospheres in the physical and chemical laboratory of Ernest Bodenstein at the Technical University in Hanover. During this period, B. began to develop a sealed unit, which could create high pressure.

B. The scope of work became quickly go beyond the possibilities available in Bodenstein lab, and he means his family has created a private laboratory in Hanover. Here his research has focused on two themes - the conversion of heavy oils into lighter (and ultimately - in gasoline) and high pressure and high temperature influence on wood and peat in the process of coal formation. During this work, B. convinced that the more viscous types of oil contains less hydrogen than in its more light fractions. Consequently, if the oil is added in hydrogen, to compensate for its loss during cleaning (cleaning process oil contained in different molecules break down into simpler and lighter), will increase the yield of gasoline. Applying this method, B. made to increase the yield of gasoline. Later, he discovered he patented the process of hydrogenation of oils under high pressure.

In the first years of XX century. thanks to the widespread use of internal combustion engines has increased demand for oil. B. Conducted research scientist coal formation convinced that coal is present in hydrogen, and he wondered about the possibility of getting out of this available in a sufficient amount of hydrocarbon fuel needed as fuel. By the end of 1913 B. was a liquid hydrocarbon, acting on charcoal with hydrogen under pressure. His method consisted of hydrogen gas in the tar and coal slurry at high temperature and pressure more than 50 atm.

In 1915, B. at his own expense and with the financial support of two German companies to clean up the oil built in Rheinau near Mannheim plant for the early establishment of a large scale process of coal hydrogenation. However, after the First World War, demand for oil is temporarily reduced, and the project was delayed BA. Only in 1921 he was able to raise additional funds by selling their right to a patent German companies and industry associations in other countries.

In Rheinau B. and his team have developed an industrial unit for coal hydrogenation process. Gases, liquids and solids, injected into the vessel where they are mixed and heated and reacted under very high pressure. Until that time oborudovaniedlya successful reactions under high pressure in the industry has been adapted only for reactions with gaseous substances.

Between 1922 and 1925. B. achieved continuity of the process developed by them, the ability to control the temperature during the reaction and discovered an effective source of hydrogen by burning a mixture of methane and oxygen. Despite, however, these and other achievements, he created a process never has been made possible from an economic point of view. Once in 1925, he sold his patents B. "Baden Aniline and Soda Factory" (BASF), a major German chemical company, its work was continued by Carl Bosch. BASF has successfully completed the industry proposed Haber synthesis of ammonia and high-hydrogenating carbon monoxide to produce methanol. In January 1925, BASF has developed a resistant to the action of sulfur molybdenum catalyst, which facilitates the process of hydrogenation of coal and increases its efficiency.

Later, in 1925, BASF and six other German chemical companies merged and formed the group "IG Farben ". The new union continues to be widely developed a hydrogenation process. In 1926, Mathias Pier, one of the former students of Nernst, which led BASF research activities, improved process B. and achieved increasing the yield of gasoline. Two years later, "IG Farben "built in Lane plant for the production of coal oil.

In 1931, B. Bosch and was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his merits for the introduction and development of the high-pressure techniques in chemistry." Introducing the winners on behalf of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, KV Palmayer spoke about the technical difficulties that had to be overcome in the course of B. improving the technology of a high-pressure reactions. He added that "the introduction of high-pressure techniques in chemistry represents a milestone in the field of chemical engineering."

At the time of receiving the Nobel Prize B. began to study cellulose hydrolysis process - the main component of wood - by using highly concentrated hydrochloric acid. As a result of this process, which is as a joke dubbed "yield wood meal" sugar formed, which in turn can be converted into alcohol or nutritional yeast. In the 30s and 40s. B. continued to study the hydrolysis of wood and built in 1943, the industrial plant in Rheinau. Both of these processes - coal hydrogenation and conversion of cellulose - provided Germany during the Second World War, vital resources.

After the war, B. was unable to find a suitable job at home, and at first he briefly lived in Austria, and then moved to Spain, where he founded a chemical company. In 1947, at the invitation of the Government of Argentina, he moved to live in this country and worked as a research consultant at the Ministry of Industry.

B. was married to Otilia Krazert. They had two sons and a daughter. B. died in Buenos Aires in 1949

In addition to the Nobel Prize, the scientist has been awarded several prizes, including prestigious Liebig Medal of the German Chemical Society. His honorary degrees from the universities of Heidelberg and Hanover were also assigned.