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Research construction for sustainable energy conversion and storage of the future

"Richtfest" Roof Top Ceremony at the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg for Renewable Energy.

The Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg for Renewable Energy (HI ERN) researches and develops basic principles, materials and technologies for climate-neutral and sustainable energy supply at acceptable costs. Today, the roof top ceremony for the 32 million euro new building, which Forschungszentrum Jülich operates as a branch office in cooperation with FAU and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB), was celebrated on the southern campus of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU). Here, the partners pool their expertise in the fields ranch office in cooperation with FAU and HZB, was celebrated on the southern campus of FAU. Here, the partners pool their expertise in the fields of materials, energy and process research. The Bavarian Minister of State for Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy brought 34 millions in approvals for three research projects to the roof top ceremony.

Presentation of the funding certificates for two photovoltaic and one LOHC research project.Presentation of the funding certificates for two photovoltaic and one LOHC research project.
Copyright: Kurt Fuchs / HI ERN

Prof. Harald Bolt, member of the board of directors of Forschungszentrum Jülich, explained in his welcoming address to the traditional judgement: "So far, the scientists of the HI ERN have been accommodated as guests of the FAU, which has led to an excellent integration of the activities in the initial phase". With the new HI ERN institute building and an excellent infrastructure, ideal conditions would now be created to promote research into sustainable and affordable energy technologies in the excellent Erlangen environment.

FAU President Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger, for his part, emphasized the excellent cooperation with the partner institutions to which the university is successfully contributing its basic research in the field of renewable energies: "We are not conducting research in an ivory tower, but are focusing on exploitable scientific progress. This is also shown by the recent nomination of HI ERN Director and FAU Professor Peter Wasserscheid with his colleagues Wolfgang Arlt and Daniel Teichmann for the German Future Prize with a project for the storage of hydrogen produced from renewable sources as an energy source. In his thanks to the Bavarian State Government for its comprehensive support, he emphasized: "Every euro invested in Erlangen for the topic of renewable energies comes back several times."

Roof Top CeremonyCopyright: Kurt Fuchs / HI ERN

Bavaria's Economics Minister Hubert Aiwanger emphasized in his speech: "Bavaria has a first-class research infrastructure, and the new HI ERN is the best example of this. The conversion to a secure, affordable and renewable energy supply can only be achieved with the support of Bavarian energy research. With more than 90 million euros, around one third of the energy research funds of all federal states come from Bavaria. We rely on a technology mix. To this end, we are strengthening and networking research institutions with one another and with industry."

Minister of State Aiwanger underlined his words by handing over two grant certificates for research projects located at HI ERN. The project "Research and development of an emission-free and strongly emission-reduced drive system using the example of rail transport", for which Prof. Dr. Peter Wasserscheid and Prof. Dr. Karl Mayrhofer are responsible, is dedicated to the innovative technologies for hydrogen as an energy storage medium. Over five years, almost 29 million euros will be invested in the development of a mobile train demonstrator based on LOHC technology (Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier).

The aim of the project is to develop a local train that can be operated emission-free with LOHC-bound hydrogen. The aim is to pave the way for new technologies that will make it possible to efficiently use regenerative energy equivalents in rail transport on non-electrified lines and thus make local public transport emission-free, sustainable and economical. Such a propulsion system is CO2-free locally and CO2-free in balance sheet terms when using hydrogen generated from renewable sources. To this end, the funded project will deepen the scientific and technological foundations for new technologies such as the direct LOHC fuel cell and develop all the essential process steps for a mobile train demonstrator.
In addition, Aiwanger handed over two grants for the second HI ERN focus on photovoltaics to Prof. Dr. Christoph Brabec: The project "PV-Tera - Reliable and cost-efficient photovoltaic power generation on the terawatt scale", funded with almost 2.5 million euros over five years, contributes to combining innovative measurement technology with automation and new possibilities for performance analysis as well as economic plant optimisation. The aim is to ensure security of supply and optimum use of all available space for photovoltaics.

The project "ELF-PV - Design and development of solution-processable functional materials for the next generations of PV technologies" will also receive a good 3 million euros in funding over five years. It is regarded as forward-looking with regard to the predicted intelligent, autonomous development of materials. The project will develop a fully automated research machine together with the necessary methods for combinatorial material development. Thus, the experimental prerequisites for autonomously acting research machines in the field of printed electronics are created.

"HI ERN is active in an important field of the future with the concrete design of the energy system transformation," said Franziska Broer, Managing Director of the Helmholtz Association, in her welcoming address. "An important prerequisite for this is considerable investment, for example in the new building. Research into printable photovoltaics or the potential of hydrogen will therefore certainly soon bear further fruit. We hope to find solutions for an energy supply that will sustainably protect our livelihoods and at the same time be cost-effective."

For the city of Erlangen, Mayor Dr. Elisabeth Preuß was pleased: "Erlangen is such an innovative research and science location not least because top research institutions are located very close to each other in a creative environment. The fact that Erlangen has become the seat of the Helmholtz Institute for Renewable Energy is another important building block. With the new building, the institute's significance will become even more visible."

Architect Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Eckhard Gerber then explained the special architectural features of the research building: "The clarity and functionality of a building and, in particular, the orientation options and its internal quality of living are of great importance to me. This also means that its external appearance tells something about the interior of the building."

"The new HI ERN building with its excellent infrastructure will be an attractive and inspiring home for highly motivated and creative researchers as well as a lively meeting place for colleagues and interested parties in the field of photovoltaics and hydrogen technologies", Prof. Karl Mayrhofer, Director of HI ERN, emphasized the qualities of the building once again.

"In this institute building, which is located in the immediate vicinity of FAU's outstanding materials and process research, our Helmholtz experts will be able to work very efficiently on new technologies for sustainable energy conversion and storage in the future," summarized founding director Prof. Peter Wasserscheid in his welcoming address.

HI ERN is a branch of Forschungszentrum Jülich. The institute is operated in close cooperation with FAU and HZB.

The new building will be the institute's headquarters, where the main focus will be on research into printable photovoltaics and hydrogen as an energy vector for renewable energies, with the vision of developing material- and process-based solutions for a climate-neutral and sustainable energy supply at acceptable costs.

Pictures of the Roof Top Ceremony

Further information

Contact person

Prof. Dr. Karl Mayrhofer, Director HI ERN
Phone: +49 9131 85-20843
E-mail: k.mayrhofer@fz-juelich.de

Prof. Dr. Peter Wasserscheid, Director HI ERN
Phone: +49 9131 85-20843
E-mail: p.wasserscheid@fz-juelich.de

Press contact


Dr. Susanne Spörler
Phone: + 49 (0)9131/8520249
E-mail: s.spoerler@fz-juelich.de


Dr. Susanne Langer
Press spokeswoman
Phone: +49 (0)9131 85-70200
E-mail: susanne.langer@fau.de

Forschungszentrum Jülich

Erhard Zeiss, M.A.
Press Officer
Phone: +49 (0)2461 61-1841
E-mail: e.zeiss@fz-juelich.de

Additional Information