Ionics in Energy: Green Light for New Helmholtz Institute
Due to the successfully completed review process and the prior decision of the Senate of the Helmholtz Association, the 7th Helmholtz Institute will be established in Münster. The new research institution, which will focus on the investigation of electrolytes and their ionic behavior, is a cooperation between Forschungszentrum Jülich, the University of Münster, and RWTH Aachen. It will receive more than 5.5 million euros annually in funding from the Helmholtz Association and, until 2018, 11 million euros from the Federal State of NRW.
Helmholtz president Jürgen Mlynek welcomed the decision for the so-called HI MS: “With the help of the Helmholtz Institute for Ionics in Energy, universities and non-university research institutions are now able to pool their competencies and conduct research in the highly topical and important field of secure and affordable energy supplies.” Johanna Wanka, the Federal Minister of Education and Research, emphasized that “in this way, battery research will be promoted and advanced in Germany in the long run, contributing significantly to electric mobility and the country’s turn to sustainable energy solutions.
Creating the Prerequisites for New Energy Strategies
The review panel of internationally recognized experts considered the research plans of the partners to be “scientifically excellent.” The researchers of the new institute will investigate electrochemical energy storage systems as a prerequisite for new energy strategies. The research results are expected to have the potential to deliver a breakthrough in electric mobility and to make the fluctuating generation of energy from renewable sources more reliable.
As Jürgen Mlynek put it, “through the close collaboration with the University of Münster, we are establishing a research institution which will provide vitally important contributions for society and industry in the field of energy supplies." The HI MS is scheduled to start its activities in 2014.
Involvement of University Institutions
Commenting on the establishment of the new Helmholtz institute, the NRW Minister for Innovation, Science and Research, Svenja Schulze, stated that „the decision demonstrates the leading roles of North Rhine-Westphalia as a location for energy research and Münster as a city of science. For over a decade now, the battery researchers in Aachen, Jülich and Münster have been providing important contributions to energy storage technologies.”
According to Rector Ursula Nelles, the University of Münster “will deliver top-level research as a part of this cooperation, with contributions from the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy and, in particular, from the battery research center MEET. I am confident that the Helmholtz Institut Münster will bring new impetus to the fields of energy storage and electric mobility.”
The Helmholtz Institute will be established as a permanent branch of Forschungszentrum Jülich. Aside from collaborative research, the cooperation between the institute and the universities will include the joint appointment of professors as well as the exchange of researchers and students.