Launch of new catalysis centre in HZB-Adlershof

The new CatLab (blue area) will be built in close proximity to BESSY II and other laboratories.

The new CatLab (blue area) will be built in close proximity to BESSY II and other laboratories. © HZB

The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) is launching a major new project through an interdisciplinary architectural competition: an innovative laboratory and office building for expanding joint catalysis research between the HZB and the Max Planck Society (MPS). Catlab is to become an international beacon for catalysis research that will advance the development of novel catalyst materials urgently needed for the energy transition.

The starting signal has been given: the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) is inviting architecture and engineering firms to enter an architectural design competition for an innovative office and laboratory building for conducting advanced research. The building is to meet federal sustainability criteria.

The new building will greatly broaden and enhance R&D activities in the field of catalysis research at all points of the innovation process. Novel catalyst materials are destined to play a central role in the energy transition by helping replace fossil fuels with both hydrogen and synthetic fuels that can be produced using renewable energy.

It is for this reason that the HZB, the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion, and the Fritz Haber Institute of the MPS are launching the long-term CatLab project in Berlin. The project partners intend to advance the development of energy-related catalysts in CatLab at the HZB-Adlershof site. CatLab’s close proximity to HZB’s BESSY II synchrotron source and its supporting laboratories with their diverse analysis and characterisation methods will produce major synergies.

The building will be located at Magnusstraße 10 in Berlin-Adlershof. An essential feature of the building must be modular expandability. Laboratory and office space should be seamlessly integrated with an Innovation Centre and a data science platform. The laboratory and office requirements that are essential for CatLab should be covered by the initial construction phase. Two further building sections are planned that will provide a location for research activities in the field of Data Science, and establish an anchor for further large industrial collaborations with space for everything from initial exploratory experiments to fully mature applications.