The chemical industry in NRW
  2. Industries in NRW
  3. Chemical industry

The chemical industry in NRW

North Rhine-Westphalia is Germany's principal chemical industry location. Chemical enterprises based in NRW generate approximately one third of the industry's total sales revenues in Germany. NRW stands out on account of its first-class scientific research infrastructure and special blend of SMEs and global players. The chemical sector is a powerful driving force behind innovation in many other industrial value chains, due not least to its central role as a materials supplier.

Did you know ...

... that 70 percent of the materials produced by the chemical industry are used in the industrial processing chain?

... that Covestro Deutschland transforms waste carbon dioxide into high-quality plastics at its plant in NRW?

... that at its plant on the Lower Rhine 3M has set a world record in adhesive bonding?

Quick Facts

5th Rank

in the EU
In terms of sales revenues the North Rhine-Westphalian chemical industry ranks 5th in the EU and 14th in the world.

5 out of 10

in NRW
Of the ten highest-grossing German chemical companies, five are based in NRW alone.

44.1 bn €

Umsatz in NRW
In 2018 the NRW chemical industry achieved sales of €44.1 billion – equivalent to nearly 30.0 percent of total German sales.

Nearly 470

chemical enterprises
The nearly 470 chemical enterprises in NRW (with 20 and more employees) employ a workforce of more than 97,000 – approx. 28 percent of all employees in this industry in Germany.

Chemical parks offering sophisticated logistics and infrastructure

Chemical park in NRW: Knapsack

North Rhine-Westphalia boasts 12 chemical parks – more than any other German state. Half of the chemical industry workforce is employed in these parks. Enterprises that are interested in moving to NRW benefit from a well-developed infrastructure and sophisticated logistics services. Chemical industry locations such as Dormagen, Gelsenkirchen, Leverkusen and Marl safeguard a continuous supply of raw materials (e.g. via extensive pipeline networks) and energy (via the high-capacity power and gas grids). These locations also offer a complete portfolio of services including utility and waste disposal management, logistics services, engineering, and facility management. This creates the basis for realizing plug & play concepts when planning and operating new plant and facilities.

Chemical industry companies in NRW

The chemical industry in NRW consists of a broad spectrum of SMEs, plus numerous global players:

Bayer AG
Evonik Industries AG
Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
Covestro AG

High-tech synthetic material for innovative robot suit

Category: Chemie

Region: Region Köln/Bonn

Long drawn-out, energy-sapping rehabilitation is usually the norm after an operation or serious illness. Complete recovery is often uncertain, especially where there is neurological damage or impairment of the musculoskeletal system. A new kind of robot suit made from innovative materials by Covestro can be of help in such cases. The HAL® exoskeleton serves as a successful therapy aid. The concept comes from the Japanese researcher, Yoshiyuki Sankai. His company, Cyberdyne, also manufactures the artificial limbs. The special polycarbonate used here for the casing is supplied by specialists in chemistry at Leverkusen. 

The HAL® (Hybrid Assistive Limb) is strapped to the arms and legs of the rehab patients. Once the wearer thinks of, say, walking or climbing steps, a computer translates nerve signals into supportive limb movements. The robot suit is already in use at over 100 rehabilitation centres in Japan and has likewise been put into service in Germany since 2012. In future, the exoskeleton could well be used also for civil protection at disaster sites.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions

Economic Development Agency of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)
Völklinger Str. 4
40219 Düsseldorf

Germany’s No. 1 Economic Region

The excellent infrastructure, the central location and the high qualifications of the people make North Rhine-Westphalia an economic power of international standing. In terms of numerous economic statistics, NRW is world class.


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