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Born Oct. 11, 1884, near Breslau; died Mar. 31, 1949, in Buenos Aires. German chemical engineer.
In 1913, Bergius invented a method of obtaining liquid motor fuels by saturating mixtures of pulverized carbon and coal-tar by-products of the manufacture of coke and generator gas with hydrogen under pressure higher then 20 meganewtons/m2 (200 kilograms-force/cm2) and at temperatures on the order of 500° C. This method found practical application when the I. G. Farbenindustrie acquired Bergius’ patent and used catalysts. Using Bergius’ method, fascist Germany obtained considerable quantities of gasoline during World War II. Bergius studied the possibility of obtaining food sugar by the hydrolysis of wood cellulose. He won the Nobel Prize (1931).