German Federal Minister of Education and Research in Berlin-Adlershof

November 14, 2022

The Federal Minister of Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, visited the Catalysis Laboratory (CatLab) in Berlin-Adlershof. CatLab is a research platform for catalysis research supported by the Fritz Haber Institute of the MPG, the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion and the Helmholtz Center Berlin. The aim of the joint project is to develop important innovations that will contribute to the realization of a green hydrogen economy. During her visit to the CatLab, the minister gained insight into the latest technological developments for the production and characterization of thin-film catalysts as well as special methods for operando analytics and digital catalysis.

“I want to make Germany a country that runs on hydrogen. We are already world leaders in green hydrogen production technologies. Next, we need to accelerate the ramp-up of the hydrogen-based economy. The Federal Ministry of Research has already been investing in the necessary research and development for years. CatLab is an excellent example of this,” emphasized Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger during her visit.

“In order to make our energy system CO2-neutral, it is absolutely necessary to produce green hydrogen on an industrial scale and process it into basic chemicals and synthetic fuels. Novel catalysts and catalytic processes are the key to this,” said Prof. Dr. Bernd Rech, scientific director of Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin. “To develop novel thin-film catalysts, we are pursuing a unique research approach in which we closely intertwine data science, materials characterization under realistic conditions and technology development, and cooperate with industry at an early stage of research and development,” explained Prof. Dr. Beatriz Roldán-Cuenya, director at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society. “The Energy Materials In-Situ Laboratory (EMIL) at the BESSY II synchrotron radiation source is ideal for studies of catalytic processes under real-time conditions. Digital catalysis, in which AI methods are used to search for the right catalyst materials, also plays an important role. In addition, novel reactors are developed here in collaboration with industry,” added Prof. Dr. Robert Schlögl, director at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society. 

The CatLab reactor and characterization laboratories are located in the neighboring Integrative Research Institute for the Sciences (IRIS Adlershof) at Humboldt University in Berlin. CatLab is embedded in Berlin’s university research landscape through partnerships with the Humboldt University at Adlershof, the Technical University of Berlin and the Cluster of Excellence UniSysCat.

CatLab is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with more than 50 million euros. In total, the five-year development project involves around 100 million euros. Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the two Max Planck Institutes, Fritz Haber Institute (FHI) and Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion (MPI CEC), are pooling their expertise and building the research platform together with Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. A new office and laboratory building is being constructed for CatLab in the immediate vicinity of the X-ray source BESSY II.

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