Press release
Corporate Press
July 22, 2015

Evonik supports the exploration of the deep sea

  • Evonik Industries prolongs its support for non-profit Rebikoff-Niggeler Foundation
  • Enormous success in deep-sea exploration
  • Scientists discover numerous previously unknown species through 1.40-meter PLEXIGLAS® observation dome

Evonik Industries AG, Essen (Germany), has agreed to continue supporting the non-profit Rebikoff-Niggeler Foundation for two additional years. The cooperation between the specialty chemicals company Evonik and the Azores-based foundation, which began in 2013, has been extended until 2018 prior to the expiration of the current contract. Rebikoff-Niggeler operates one of the few manned submersibles in the world that is able to descend to a depth of 1000 meters to carry out research work. The centerpiece of the “Lula1000” submarine is the PLEXIGLAS® observation dome that Evonik manufactured.

Klaus Engel, Chairman of the Executive Board of Evonik, referred to the past successes of the foundation as a reason for extending the support to what will now be five years. "The Rebikoff-Niggeler Foundation has established a very good name for itself in the world of science," he said. "With our long-term commitment to this work, Evonik wants to contribute to ensuring that research can continue in the fascinating and precious deep sea living environment."

The Rebikoff-Niggeler Foundation also cooperates with Cologne University in Germany, the University of the Azores, and the German Oceanographic Museum in Stralsund. It is also currently working on a BBC scientific television series about the oceans and the deep sea, which will also be screened in Germany, Austria, and the United States.

Over the past years, Kirsten and Joachim Jakobsen, the German couple who are behind the Foundation, have made hundreds of hours of high-resolution films and collected numerous samples from the deep sea around the Azores islands of Faial and Pico. On many occasions, they have been able to document species that were completely unknown or for which very little information was available before. Their discoveries include the only known living coral reef in the Azores and a more than 500-year-old Neopycnodonte zibrowii deep sea oyster, which is regarded as the oldest living animal in the world. They are pursuing the main aim of their project—to film a giant squid in its natural environment—with passion. Special lighting systems and a feed syringe have been installed on Lula1000 to entice the largely unknown giant of the deep sea.

The PLEXIGLAS® observation dome plays a key role in these manned exploratory journeys to the depths of the ocean. Evonik used a special process to manufacture and shape the 1.40-meter-diameter viewing dome. PLEXIGLAS® is not only much more robust than glass, its optical qualities are also superior. The innovative process that Evonik used for the dome of Lula1000 has been further developed and is now in demand among producers of deep sea submersibles. The manned research submarine Jago is now also equipped with a PLEXIGLAS® observation dome. Jago belongs to GEOMAR, the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany. US submarine producer Triton also now installs PLEXIGLAS® spheres. These spheres are constructed from two hemispheres that are joined (virtually invisible to the eye) by an adhesive which was also developed by Evonik.



Company information

Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders
in specialty chemicals. Profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company form the heart of Evonik’s corporate strategy. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms.

Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. In fiscal 2014 more than 33,000 employees generated sales of around €12.9 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of about €1.9 billion.



In so far as forecasts or expectations are expressed in this press release or where our statements concern the future, these forecasts, expectations or statements may involve known or unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results or developments may vary, depending on changes in the operating environment. Neither Evonik Industries AG nor its group companies assume an obligation to update the forecasts, expectations or statements contained in this release.