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July 9, 2014

New BasCat Laboratory opens at TU Berlin

Gerald Ondrey

On the South Campus of Technical University Berlin (TU Berlin; www.tu-berlin.de), BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; www.basf.com) together with the Cluster of Excellence “Unifying Concepts in Catalysis” (UniCat; www.unicat.tu-berlin.de) today opened the new BasCat Laboratory building (www.bascat.tu-berlin.de). On about 1,000 square meters of laboratory and office area, 17 scientists will in future be researching the principles of heterogeneous catalysis for raw material change. BASF and TU Berlin are devoting considerable resources to establishing the BasCat Laboratory: BASF is investing up to €6.4 million during the first five years. The total volume is around €13 million.

“Heterogeneous catalysts make many chemical reactions more cost effective and environmentally compatible or even possible in the first place. Especially in this time of increasingly scarce resources, energy and raw material efficiency are playing an ever more important role,” says Peter Schuhmacher, president Process Research and Chemical Engineering at BASF. “Together with our internationally prestigious partners, we want to generate fundamental scientific knowledge of the activation of less reactive molecules to accelerate the development of industrially relevant catalysts over the long term.” The research partners include working groups from the natural and engineering sciences, such as at the Institutes of Chemistry, Process Technology and Material Sciences at TU Berlin, and in the Inorganic Chemistry Dept. of the Fritz Haber Institute.

“The spirit of research and discovery at UniCat is becoming the center of gravity of catalysis research in Germany, not least due to the BasCat Laboratory, which is developing new experimental and theoretical solutions for raw material change,” says professor Matthias Drieß, spokesperson of the UniCat Cluster of Excellence. “In the UniCat Cluster of Excellence, synergies between chemical and biological catalysis are being researched to make innovative contributions to the energy transition and in active substance research.” The research partners have already launched numerous projects since the cooperation agreement was signed in 2012. With the new facilities, the BasCat now has a joint research center for heterogeneous catalysis under one roof.

Professor Christian Thomsen, president of TU Berlin, said on the occasion of the BasCat inauguration: “The cooperation of the UniCat Cluster of Excellence with BASF has given catalysis research a new home at TU Berlin. In the BasCat joint laboratory, cutting-edge, forward-looking research is pursued that benefits our society. The scientists make important contributions to securing our energy and raw material supplies. We are pleased that in this project we have joined strong partners who help enable top-ranking research and provide excellent doctoral candidate training in the new laboratory.”

 

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