HZB and Humboldt University agree to set up a catalysis research laboratory

Establishment of a joint research laboratory for catalysis in the IRIS research building of HU in Adlershof

Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) have signed a cooperation agreement with the aim of establishing a joint research laboratory for catalysis in the IRIS research building of HU in Adlershof. The IRIS research building offers optimal conditions for the research and development of complex material systems. Catalysts are the key to many technologies and processes needed to build a climate-neutral economy. A hotspot for catalysis research has been developing in Berlin’s research landscape for some time. As part of the Excellence Initiative, new clusters such as UniSysCat have been created in which established research institutes bundle their activities and the chemical industry is involved through the BASCat laboratory. An important field of research is the production of "green" hydrogen: in order to produce hydrogen and synthetic fuels in a climate-neutral way using renewable energies, innovative catalysts are needed. The recently launched CatLab project, which is funded as part of the Hydrogen Strategy, is pursuing completely new approaches based on thin-film technologies that promise real leaps in innovation.

IRIS laboratories equipped for catalysis research

To further promote catalysis research in Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and HZB have now signed another cooperation agreement. Part of the IRIS laboratories in Berlin-Adlershof will be additionally equipped for the development and investigation of heterogeneous catalyst systems. IRIS Adlershof stands for Integrative Research Institute for the Sciences. With approximately 4,500 square metres of state-of-the-art laboratory, office and communication space, the IRIS research building offers optimal conditions for the research and development of complex material systems. An open-plan laboratory is planned for the installation of laboratory reactors to determine the catalytic activity and selectivity of the material systems. To study catalysts in action, electron microscopes will be set up in the basement. In addition, in-operando investigation methods such as X-ray diffraction, photoelectron, Raman and UV-vis spectroscopy will be used, which will be completed by the high-end analysis options of the neighbouring synchrotron radiation source BESSY II of the HZB. Close cooperation is also planned in the field of thin-film technology, using additive manufacturing processes and nanostructuring and synthesis methods.

Innovations through interdisciplinary cooperation

In the IRIS research building, experts from different disciplines work closely together for a deep physical-chemical understanding of complex interfaces. This forms an excellent basis for the development of energy materials. The arrangement of the laboratories and offices as well as the spacious communication areas create the best conditions for the different disciplines to exchange ideas and learn from each other.

Cooperation agreement is also legally innovative

The cooperation between the HU and the HZB on the catalysis research laboratory is being structured on a public-law basis for the first time due to the recent amendment to the Berlin Higher Education Act on cooperation between scientific institutions. The procedure for recording, evaluating and documenting mutual cooperation contributions is simpler and less bureaucratic. This allows researchers to concentrate on their core task - doing science.


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