C.A.U. GmbH


The "Gesellschaft für Consulting und Analytik im Umweltbereich - C.A.U. GmbH" was founded in 1992 by Gerhardt Arendt, a former manager at the Battelle Institute Frankfurt/ Main.


This newly founded company had a staff of about 25 former coworkers of the analytical chemistry section of Battelle, including the study (LCA)-group. It moved from Frankfurt/Main to Dreieich (South of Frankfurt) in December 1993. New areas of activity were launched and new staff was hired in the following years.


Walter Klöpffer was the scientific leader of C.A.U.´s working group "Life Cycle Assessment and Assessment of Chemicals" 1992-2003. The title of the group reflects the main fields of activity. LCA studies were conducted for industrial as well as public sponsors. In addition, several contributions to the development of LCA-methodology, specially to Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) phase and the former phase "valuation" (now "interpretation").


In the last years under the leadership of Klöpffer, the LCA of agricultural systems has been developed by Isa Renner, including the LCA of genetically modified plants. This work was commissioned by the Austrian Federal Environment Agency, Vienna, and by the European Commission, Brussels.


Another main achievement was the introduction of LCA into the comparative assessment of remediation methods for contaminated sites (a core activity by C.A.U.). Regine Gihr and Stefan Volkwein should be remembered in addition to Isa Renner as close co-workers in that difficult time.


The project euroMat, lead by Prof. Fleischer, TU Berlin, lasted from August 1994 to March 2001. It aimed at the development of a software programme for the designe phase of products (material selection including composite materials). The project was coordinated by Wulf-Peter Schmidt, Gerald Rebitzer and Kerstin Lichtenvort. It has been conceived as a major initiative to introduce Life Cycle Management (LCM) into industrial decision processes in order to create more sustainable products. 


The research field of chemicals assessment and fate/ exposure analysis was resumed 1997 after a break of more than five years. The renewed interest in this field is due to international treaties for the protection of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea (OSPAR, HELCOM) and UNEP`s convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), signed May 2001 in Stockholm.


 In this time, a successful co-operation with Gerhard Lammel at MPI Hamburg (now Brno and Mainz) started.

Multi-media exposure modelling, conveniently performed with PC programmes, was combined with climate models running on some of the largest computers used for modelling. The modest (but not trivial) role by C.A.U. was to select validated data for model compounds used in first runs of the Multicompartment-Chemistry-Transport-Models (MCTM), as they are called now. We at C.A.U. also used the same data set for calculations with conventional PC programmes. This work was performed mainly by Elisabeth Schmidt.


Battelle Institut e.V.


Most of the experimental research conducted by Walter Klöpffer and his coworkers was performed at the Battelle-Institut e.V., Frankfurt/Main, a legally independent German daughter company of the Battelle Memorial Institute (BMI), Columbus, Ohio (USA). In the 1980s WK also had different manager functions (quality management, section head).


The research at Battelle by WK and his team(s), extending over 28 years, can be divided in two phases:

  1. Spectroscopic and photophysical research on the electronic properties of aromatic polymers, especially on Poly-N-vinylcarbazole (PVCA, industrial product by BASF: PVK), and of suitable monomeric model compounds, e.g. N-isopropylcarbazole).
  2. Research on the abiotic degradation and transformation of organic compounds with environmental relevance and on other physico-chemical properties needed for understanding, modeling and predicting the fate of such compounds in the environment.


The main result of (1) was the elucidation of the energy-migration process in aromatic polymers (“exciton-hopping”), which was found to be limited by “excimer-forming sites” acting as traps. Short-lived Singlet- as well as long-lived Triplet excitons were studied using sensitized luminescnece (fluorescence and phosphorescence) and delayed fluorescence (due to triplet-triplet annihilation). Part of this work done at Battelle was used for the habilitation thesis at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz (1975).


The emphasis of (2) was on abiotic degradation in the air - mostly by OH-radicals - and the role of semivolatile organic compounds (SOC, now a central research field in studying the “Persistent Organic Pollutants or POPs”). In addition to degradation processes also tranfer processes were studied, e.g. the volatility of organic compounds from water into the air. The experimental results were described and explained using simple models and data which can easily be measured. The aim was to support the chemical laws issued around 1980 by most European countries under the leadership of the European Economic Community and co-ordinated internationally by OECD. This was clearly applied research with a political background.


In addition to the experimental research at Battelle, several studies on the criteria for assessing the environmental hazard of chemicals were performed. It turned out that the persistence of chemicals is the central criterion for assessing the environmental hazard posed by anthropogenic organic substances in the same sense as human toxicity is the central criterion for assessing the risk at the work-place. This work was mainly performed for the federal environmental agency of Germany (UBA Berlin, now Dessau). Rainer Frische, Gerd Rippen and Wolfgang Schönborn from different sections of Battelle contributed most to this work.


In the final phase at Battelle (1988-1991), Life Cycle Assessment (LCA, in German: Ökobilanz) began to gain importance for the environmental assessment of products and services. The relatively simple life cycle methods of this time ("proto-LCAs") had several names before Life Cycle Assessment has been chosen as the official name by SETAC and ISO. It should be mentioned, however, that the first proto-LCA in Germany, and possibly in Europe, was performed at Battelle by Bonifaz Oberbacher and HansJörg Nikodem as lead-authors as early as 1972. This work was based on a method developed by Bill Franklin and Bob Hunt at Midwestern Research Institute, USA.


At Battelle, several LCA-studies were performed for industrial sponsors in those years. These studies  were continued at C.A.U. The essential results of the experimental and theoretical studies have been published in scientific journals and books ([Publications]). This attached file also contains more recent papers, written as a member of C.A.U., as free consultant and as the editor of “The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment” and other organs.



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