The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) have signed a cooperation agreement with the aim of building a joint research laboratory for catalysis in the HU’s IRIS research building in Adlershof. The IRIS research building offers optimal conditions for researching and developing complex material systems.
Catalysts are the key to many technologies and processes that are needed to build a climate-neutral economy. A hotspot for catalysis research has been developing in the Berlin research landscape for some time. As part of the excellence initiative, new clusters such as UniSysCat were created, in which established research institutes pool their activities. The chemical industry is integrated via the BASCat laboratory. An important research field is the production of “green” hydrogen: In order to produce hydrogen and synthetic fuels with renewable energies in a climate-neutral manner, innovative catalysts are required. The recently started development project CatLab, which is funded as part of the hydrogen strategy, pursues completely new approaches,
IRIS laboratories equipped for catalysis research
In order to further accelerate the great potential of Berlin’s catalysis research, the Humboldt University of Berlin and the HZB have now concluded a further cooperation agreement. This is intended to upgrade part of the IRIS laboratories for the development and investigation of heterogeneous catalyst systems. IRIS Adlershof stands for Integrative Research Institute for the Sciences. M.ith approx. 4,500 square meters of ultra-modern laboratory, office and communication space, the IRIS research building offers optimal conditions for researching and developing complex material systems, e.g. for electronics, optoelectronics and photonics. A large-scale laboratory is provided for the installation of laboratory reactors in order to determine the catalytic activity and selectivity of the material systems. In order to examine catalysts in action, electron microscopes are set up in the vibration-stabilized basement. In addition, there are other in-operando examination methods such as X-ray diffraction, photoelectron, Raman and UV-Vis spectroscopy, which are complemented by the high-end analysis options of the neighboring synchrotron radiation source BESSY II of the HZB.
Innovations through interdisciplinary cooperation
In the IRIS research building, experts from different disciplines work closely together in a large joint laboratory. The partners hope that this will boost innovation: physics and chemistry as well as experiment and theory approach a problem from different angles. A deep physical-chemical understanding of complex interfaces 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 one another.
Cooperation agreement is also legally innovative
The cooperation between the HU and the HZB on the catalysis research laboratory is being designed for the first time on a public law basis due to the current amendment to the Berlin University Act on the cooperation of scientific institutions. This should facilitate the cooperation. The procedure for recording, evaluating and documenting the mutual cooperation contributions is simpler and less bureaucratic. This allows researchers to concentrate on their core task – research.