Friedrich Bergius

name = Friedrich Karl Rudolf Bergius

image_size = 140px
birth_date = birth date|1884|10|11|df=y
birth_place = Breslau (Wrocław), Germany
nationality = Germany
death_date = death date and age|1949|3|30|1884|10|11
death_place = Buenos Aires, Argentina
field = Chemistry
work_institution = University of Hanover
alma_mater = University of Breslau,
University of Leipzig
doctoral_advisor = Richard Abegg,
Arthur Rudolf Hantzsch
doctoral_students =
known_for = Bergius process
prizes = Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1931)

Friedrich Karl Rudolf Bergius (October 11, 1884 – March 30, 1949) was a German chemist known for the Bergius process for producing synthetic fuel from coal, Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1931, together with Carl Bosch) in recognition of contributions to the invention and development of chemical high-pressure methods.

Bergius was born near Breslau (Wrocław), within the German Empire's Prussian Province of Silesia.

Academic career

Before studying chemistry, Bergius was sent to work for 6 months at the steel works in Mühlheim. His studies started at the University of Breslau in 1903 and ended with a PhD in chemistry at the University of Leipzig in 1907, after only 4 years. His thesis on sulfuric acid as solvent was supervised by Arthur Rudolf Hantzsch. In 1909 Bergius worked for one semester with Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch at the University of Karlsruhe in the development of the Haber-Bosch Process. On the same year he was invited to work at the University of Hanover with Max Bodenstein, who developed the idea of chemical kinetics and held a position as professor.


ynthetic fuel from coal

During his habilitation, techniques for the high-pressure and high-temperature chemistry of carbon-containing substrates were developed, yielding a patent on the Bergius process in 1913. In this process liquid hydrocarbons used as synthetic fuel are produced by hydrogenation of lignite (brown coal). He developed the process well before the commonly-known Fischer-Tropsch process. Theodor Goldschmidt invited him to built an industrial plant at his factory the Th. Goldschmidt AG in 1914. The production began only in 1919, after the World War I ended, when the need for fuel was already declining. The technical problems, inflation and the constant criticism of Franz Joseph Emil Fischer, which changed to support after a personal demonstration of the process, made the progress slow and Bergius sold his patent to BASF, where Carl Bosch worked on it. Before World War II several plants where built with an annual capacity of 4 million tons of synthetic fuel.

ugar from wood

The hydrolysis of wood to produce sugar for industrial use became a hard task for Bergius. After he moved to Heidelberg he started to improve the process and planned an industrial scale production. The high costs and technical problems nearly led him to bankruptcy. A bailiff followed Bergius to Stockholm to get the money from his Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1931.

The autarcy movement before the World War II boosted the process and several plants were built. Bergius moved to Berlin were he was only marginally involved in the development. While he was in Bad Gastein Austria, his laboratory and his house where destroyed by an air raid. The rest of the war he stayed in Austria.

International engagement

After the war he worked as an advisor in Italy, Turkey, Switzerland and Spain. He emigrated to Argentina, where he didn't build any industrial plant. He died in Buenos Aires on March 30 1949


He and Carl Bosch won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1931 in recognition of their contributions to the invention and development of chemical high-pressure methods.

Further reading

* cite encyclopedia
last = Kerstein
first = Gunther
title = Bergius, Friedrich
encyclopedia = Dictionary of Scientific Biography
volume = 2
pages = 3-4
publisher = Charles Scribner's Sons
location = New York
date = 1970
isbn = 0684101149

*cite journal
author= Anthony N. Stranges
title = Friedrich Bergius and the Rise of the German Synthetic Fuel Industry
journal = Isis
year = 1984
volume = 75
issue = 4
pages = 642–667
doi =

*cite journal
author = Dietrich Stoltzenberg
title = Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch und Friedrich Bergius - Protagonisten der Hochdrucksynthese
journal = Chemie in unserer Zeit
year = 1999
volume = 33
issue = 6
pages = 359–364
doi = 10.1002/ciuz.19990330607

*cite journal
author = Robert Haul
title = Das Portrait: Freidrich Berguis (1884-1949)
journal = Chemie in unserer Zeit
year = 1985
volume = 19
issue = 2
pages = 59–67
doi = 10.1002/ciuz.19850190205

External links

* [ Bergius Biography on Nobel site]

Nobel Prize in Chemistry Laureates 1926-1950

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Friedrich Bergius — (* 11. Oktober 1884 in Goldschmieden bei Breslau, heute Teil des Breslauer Stadtbezirks Fabryczna; † 31. März 1949 in Buenos Aires) war ein deutscher Chemiker und Nobelpreisträger. Bergius entwickelte ein Verfahren zur Herstellung von Dieselöl… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Friedrich Bergius — Nacimiento 11 de octubre de 1884 Wrocław …   Wikipedia Español

  • Friedrich Bergius — (n. Goldschmieden, cerca de Breslau, 11 de octubre de 1884 † Buenos Aires, 30 de marzo de 1949). Químico e industrial alemán. Contribuyó de manera muy importante al desarrollo en su país de la industria química de síntesis. Creó un procedimiento… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Friedrich Bergius — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bergius. Friedrich Bergius lors de la cérémonie de remise du prix Nobel de chimie de 1931. Friedrich Karl Rudolf Bergius (né le 11 octobre 1884 à Breslau …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Chemienobelpreis 1931: Friedrich Bergius — Carl Bosch —   Die beiden Deutschen erhielten den Nobelpreis für ihre Verdienste »bei der Entdeckung und Entwicklung chemischer Hochdruckverfahren«.    Biografien   Friedrich Bergius, * Goldschmieden (Polen) 11. 10. 1884, ✝ Buenos Aires (Argentinien) 31. 3.… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Friedrich Karl Rudolf Bergius — Friedrich Bergius Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bergius. Friedrich Bergius lors de la cérémonie de remise du prix Nobel de chimie de 1931. Friedrich Karl Rudolf Bergius (né le 11 oct …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bergius — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Bengt Bergius (1723–1784), Historiker Burkhard Bergius (1937–2010), deutscher Architekt und Stadtplaner C. C. Bergius (1910–1996), deutscher Schriftsteller Carl Julius Bergius (1804–1871),… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Friedrich (Vorname) — Friedrich ist ein deutscher männlicher Vorname. Für Personen mit dem Familiennamen Friedrich siehe Friedrich (Familienname). Zur weiblichen Form des Vornamens siehe Friederike. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Herkunft und Bedeutung 2 Namenstage 3 Varianten …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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