Team of Research Scientists Working On Computer, with Medical Equipment, Analyzing Blood and Genetic Material Samples with Special Machines in the Modern Laboratory.

The innovation platform KEEN »Artificial Intelligence Incubator Labs in the Process Industry« connects 20 industrial and scientific institutions. The common goal: to accelerate the use of AI technologies and AI methods in the process industry and to comprehensively evaluate the potential, especially for chemical production. The project was launched in April 2020.

Project KEEN: AI meets 100 years of engineering

Innovation Platform KEEN Unites Start-ups, Corporations and Research Institutions

The chemical industry has been considered a driver of progress in Germany for more than 100 years. In the KEEN project, stakeholders are working together to take the experience of the knowledge-based industrial world in new directions with the possibilities of artificial intelligence. Because one thing is clear: »AI alone will not work. It's a matter of bringing knowledge and data together to unleash benefits in practice,« says PD Dr. Michael Bortz. 

What if …

For this purpose, there are two subprojects at Fraunhofer ITWM: In the first step, substances and substance mixtures have to be modeled so that AI can be used for a prediction of substance properties. In the second step, process simulations are carried out. »Only when we know how substances behave can we even design a process for separation, for example,« says Bortz.

Specifically, the team is working on a decision support system that can run »what-if« scenarios in real time. By using AI, it is possible to display the effects of changes in the process in real time, even in computationally intensive and time-consuming process simulations. »We set up AI models that are trained from simulation data and can then calculate considerably faster and even be capable of real-time,« Bortz describes the vision. 

What-if scenarios are important for practice, as they can be used to anticipate situations before they actually occur: How should I run a cooling-intensive process if the river water I use to cool the process gets too warm in a hot summer? How should process settings be changed if the composition or even the price of raw materials changes? If questions like these are answered reliably before the event occurs, it is possible to react quickly in an emergency – without compromising raw material efficiency and product quality.

Project partners:

Innovative End Users

  • Air Liquide Forschung&Entwicklung GmbH, Frankfort Main
  • Bayer AG, Leverkusen
  • Covestro Deutschland AG, Leverkusen
  • Evonik Operations GmbH, Essen
  • Merck KGaA, Darmstadt

Established technology providers

  • ABB AG, Ladenburg
  • KROHNE Innovation GmbH, Duisburg
  • SAMSON AG, Frankfurt am Main

Experienced Researchers

  • Fraunhofer ITWM, Kaiserslautern
  • ScaDS, Dresden
  • TU Berlin
  • TU Dortmund
  • TU Dresden 
  • TU Kaiserslautern

Agile KMU/Start-ups

  • Capital-Gain Consultants GmbH, Berlin
  • DDBST, Oldenburg
  • LeiKon GmbH, Herzogenrath
  • INOSIM Consulting GmbH, Dortmund
  • X-Visual Technologies GmbH, Berlin-Adlershof


  • DECHEMA e.V., Frankfurt am Main
  • GVT, Frankfurt am Main
  • NAMUR, Leverkusen

Associated partners

  • MetaTwin GmbH, Dortmund
  • ViSenSys GmbH, Dortmund
Zum Projektstart der Keen-Plattform trafen sich die Teilnehmer in einer Webkonferenz.
© Norbert Kockmann, Dechema
For the project launch of the Keen platform, the participants met in a web conference. During speed dating in various virtual rooms, the old and new project partners exchanged ideas and identified synergies.

Project Duration:

The project is designed for the period from 01.04.2020-2023.

Project Type:

KEEN is 60 percent funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and has total funding of 23 million euros.