New laboratory for catalysis research

UniCat and BASF research raw material change together in the new Bas-Cat building

“In the new UniCat Cluster of Excellence - BASF joint laboratory, promising, high quality research will be carried out, which will benefit society”, explained TU President Prof. Dr. Christian Thomsen at the BasCat opening on July 9th. “We are happy that we joined together with strong partners for this project,” said the head of the University. In the bright new green-yellow building, which is located between the TU-cafeteria and the Eugene-Paul-Wigner building on the Hardenberg Street, 17 scientists will be researching the fundamentals of heterogeneous catalysis.

On the roughly 1,000 square meters of laboratory and office space catalytic processes and materials are analysed and tested. The BasCat team will develop experimental and theoretical solutions for raw material change, and thereby promote the search for alternatives to petroleum, in particular the use of natural gas. The researchers come, from among others, the TU institutes for chemistry, process technology and materials science, and from the Fritz-Haber Institute. Prof. Dr. Matthias Driess showed himself to be enthusiastic at the opening ceremony: "Not least due to BasCat will the UniCat spirit of exploration and discovery become the centre of gravity in catalysis research in Germany", says the chair of the UniCat Cluster of Excellence. Together with Dr. Frank Rosowski, Prof. Dr. Matthias Driess is the scientific director of BasCat. "Here, we are inventing a new discipline, namely knowledge-based catalysis, which is more than the sum of the disciplines involved. You have to tear down walls and cooperate between disciplines in order to understand these complex processes on different time and length scales and be able to use them for predictions."

In applying as a Cluster of Excellence; "Unifying Concepts in Catalysis", the Technische Universität Berlin recognized the signs of the times early on and has successfully positioned itself, according to the speech given by Dr. Knut Nevermann, the undersecretary for Science of the Berlin Senate department for Education, Youth and Science.

Since the cooperation agreement in 2011, UniCat and BASF have already begun some joint projects that now have a new location at the TU Berlin. The total amount for BasCat is around 13 million euros for the first five years. BASF SE is investing up to 6.4 million euros. The TU Berlin and the Cluster of Excellence, UniCat is contributing roughly the same amount. With the new BasCat Laboratory the Charlottenburg campus is getting another modern research building. Just recently, an energy laboratory and a house of Biochemistry was opened.

Jana Bialluch / Source: translation from the "TU intern" 7-9/July-September