Ralph Krähnert becomes Einstein Junior Fellow

Friday, 06 July 2012

The Einstein Foundation Berlin supports five promising junior scientist for the next three years. UniCat Junior Research Group Leader Dr.-Ing. Ralph Krähnert is one of them.

Dr.-Ing. Ralph Krähnert

Chemist Ralph Krähnert is making outstanding contributions to the development of new catalytic materials. He investigates concepts for the synthesis of catalysts with precisely tunable properties. The catalysts are then used in the generation and chemical storage of hydrogen.

In his vision, catalyst synthesis must enable precise control over the properties of a catalytic material, such as composition and nanostructure. "To achieve this goal, you have to develop appropriate synthesis methods. Moreover, you need to understand all the physical and chemical processes that contribute to the formation of your catalyst", Krähnert explains. 

Supported by the Einstein Foundation Berlin, Ralph Krähnert will develop catalysts that decompose formic acid into clean hydrogen (H2) and avoid the formation of carbon monoxide, an unwanted by-product. Pure hydrogen is essential for hydrogen fuel cells, since many fuel cells get poisoned by carbon monoxide (CO). "My research contributes also to the chemical storage of hydrogen as a liquid such as formic acid", Krähnert adds.

However, Krähnert’s research is not just focused on hydrogen storage. He develops new concepts for the controlled synthesis of supported catalysts, which find application in many industrial oxidation and hydrogenation reactions as well as electro-catalytic water splitting.

The „Einstein Junior Fellow“ programme supports the research of excellent young scientists in Berlin. Financial support includes the researcher’s position as well as up to 100,000 € for research expenses, such as hiring talented PhD students.

The Einstein Foundation Berlin was founded in 2009 by the state of Berlin. The Foundation promotes various science-related activities to establish Berlin as a centre of excellent research.