HZB Newsroom

  • NETWORK DAY of the Alliance for Building-Integrated Photovoltaics on 14.02.
    News
    06.02.2023
    NETWORK DAY of the Alliance for Building-Integrated Photovoltaics on 14.02.
    The 2nd BIPV Alliance Network Day will take place on 14.02.2023 from 10 am to 4 pm. The HZB, a member of the BIPV Alliance, is pleased to host the industry-wide exchange. In addition to practical experiences from representatives from architecture, façade construction and applied research, the focus will be on direct exchange and discussion.

  • Ombudspersons for good scientific practise appointed
    News
    09.01.2023
    Ombudspersons for good scientific practise appointed
    Manfred Weiss, Sebastian Fiechter, Annette Pietsch and Michael Tovar have been available to you as ombudspersons since 1 January 2023. They will be happy to advise you on all questions regarding good scientific practice at the HZB.

  • World record back at HZB: Tandem solar cell achieves 32.5 percent efficiency
    News
    19.12.2022
    World record back at HZB: Tandem solar cell achieves 32.5 percent efficiency
    The current world record of tandem solar cells consisting of a silicon bottom cell and a perovskite top cell is once again at HZB. The new tandem solar cell converts 32.5 % of the incident solar radiation into electrical energy. The certifying institute European Solar Test Installation (ESTI) in Italy measured the tandem cell and officially confirmed this value which is also included in the NREL chart of solar cell technologies, maintained by the National Renewable Energy Lab, USA.
  • On the way to mass production: perovskite silicon tandem cells
    News
    14.12.2022
    On the way to mass production: perovskite silicon tandem cells
    In order to transfer tandem solar cells from laboratory scale to production, HZB is cooperating with the solar module manufacturer Meyer Burger, which has great expertise in heterojunction technology (HJT) for silicon modules. Within the framework of this cooperation, mass production-ready silicon bottom cells based on heterojunction technology are to be combined with a top cell based on perovskite technology.
  • Tiburtius Prize for Eike Köhnen
    News
    07.12.2022
    Tiburtius Prize for Eike Köhnen
    On Tuesday, 6 December 2022, Dr. Eike Köhnen received the Tiburtius Prize (First Place) for outstanding dissertations. Eike Köhnen has contributed to significantly increasing the efficiency of tandem solar cells made of perovskite and silicon, to the point of setting world records.
  • Nanodiamonds can be activated as photocatalysts with sunlight
    Science Highlight
    30.11.2022
    Nanodiamonds can be activated as photocatalysts with sunlight
    Nanodiamond materials have potential as low-cost photocatalysts. But until now, such carbon nanoparticles required high-energy UV light to become active. The DIACAT consortium has therefore produced and analysed variations of nanodiamond materials. The work shows: If the surface of the nanoparticles is occupied by sufficient hydrogen atoms, even the weaker energy of blue sunlight is sufficient for excitation. Future photocatalysts based on nanodiamonds might be able to convert CO2 or N2 into hydrocarbons or ammonia with sunlight.
  • European pilot line for innovative photovoltaic technology based on tandem solar cells
    News
    23.11.2022
    European pilot line for innovative photovoltaic technology based on tandem solar cells
    PEPPERONI, a four-year Research and Innovation project co-funded under Horizon Europe and jointly coordinated by Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and Qcells, will support Europe in reaching its renewable energy target of climate neutrality by 2050. The project will help advance perovskite/silicon tandem photovoltaics (PV) technology’s journey towards market introduction and mass manufacturing.
  • How photoelectrodes change in contact with water
    Science Highlight
    17.11.2022
    How photoelectrodes change in contact with water
    Photoelectrodes based on BiVO4 are considered top candidates for solar hydrogen production. But what exactly happens when they come into contact with water molecules? A study in the Journal of the American Chemical Society has now partially answered this crucial question:  Excess electrons from dopants or defects aid the dissociation of water which in turn stabilizes so-called polarons at the surface. This is shown by data from experiments conducted at the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. These insights might foster a knowledge-based design of better photoanodes for green hydrogen production.
  • Photocatalysis: Processes in charge separation recorded experimentally
    Science Highlight
    08.11.2022
    Photocatalysis: Processes in charge separation recorded experimentally
    Certain metal oxides are considered good candidates for photocatalysts to produce green hydrogen with sunlight. A Chinese team has now published exciting results on copper(I) oxide particles in Nature, to which a method developed at HZB contributed significantly. Transient surface photovoltage spectroscopy showed that positive charge carriers on surfaces are trapped by defects in the course of microseconds. The results provide clues to increase the efficiency of photocatalysts.

  • A perfect match: perovskite meets perovskite
    Interview
    07.11.2022
    A perfect match: perovskite meets perovskite
    Tandem solar cells, which combine two different perovskite semiconductors, promise high efficiencies and can be produced with very little energy input. Such modules could even be bendable. Together with partners from industry and research, HZB expert Prof. Steve Albrecht is working to realise this vision. His team recently succeeded in producing an all-perovskite tandem solar cell with a certified efficiency of 27.2 %. A conversation about the opportunities and challenges of the perovskite-perovskite technology.
  • 40-million-euro sustainable kerosene research project CARE-O-SENE receives funding
    News
    12.10.2022
    40-million-euro sustainable kerosene research project CARE-O-SENE receives funding
    The international research project CARE-O-SENE (Catalyst Research for Sustainable Kerosene) was granted 30 million euros in funding by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Additionally, the industrial consortium partners contribute 10 million euros. The aim of the project is to develop novel, next-generation Fischer-Tropsch catalysts and thus to optimise the production of sustainable kerosene – or Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) – on an industrial scale. Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) is part of this collaboration.
  • New at HZB: Tomography lab for AI-assisted battery research
    News
    10.10.2022
    New at HZB: Tomography lab for AI-assisted battery research
    At HZB, a laboratory for automated X-ray tomography on solid-state batteries is being set up. The special feature: 3D data during charge/discharge processes (operando) can be evaluated quickly and in a more versatile way using artificial intelligence (AI) methods. The Federal Ministry of Research and Education is funding the "TomoFestBattLab" project with 1.86 million euros.
  • Green hydrogen: faster progress with modern X-ray sources
    Science Highlight
    07.10.2022
    Green hydrogen: faster progress with modern X-ray sources
    In order to produce green hydrogen, water can be split up via electrocatalysis, powered by renewable sources such as sun or wind. A review article in the journal Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed. shows how modern X-ray sources such as BESSY II can advance the development of suitable electrocatalysts. In particular, X-ray absorption spectroscopy can be used to determine the active states of catalytically active materials for the oxygen evolution reaction. This is an important contribution to developing efficient catalysts from inexpensive and widely available elements.
  • Listen to the Tagesschau Future Podcast: Solar panels on every roof? So what then?
    News
    07.10.2022
    Listen to the Tagesschau Future Podcast: Solar panels on every roof? So what then?
    Let's assume there are solar systems on every roof. And what happens if the sun doesn't shine for a while? Follow the thought experiment of the Tagesschau Podcast. Our solar expert and architect Thorsten Kühn joins us.

  • For strong non-university research in Berlin
    News
    06.10.2022
    For strong non-university research in Berlin
    The non-university research institutions in Berlin will work even more closely together in the future. Their association Berlin Research 50 (BR50), founded in 2020, has joined forces to form a registered non-profit association on 4. October 2022. Together, the research institutions want to further develop and strengthen Berlin as a science location.

  • Fassaden-PV und die Bauwelt
    Nachricht
    04.10.2022
    Fassaden-PV und die Bauwelt
    Auf dem Programm stehen ein Rundgang durch das Reallabor des Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin gefolgt von Fachvorträgen sowie einem Austausch mit Experten*innen vor Ort.
  • 15 young people start their careers at HZB
    News
    02.09.2022
    15 young people start their careers at HZB
    On 1 September, HZB welcomed 15 new employees who are starting an apprenticeship, a dual study programme or a voluntary year at HZB. At an introductory event at the Wannsee site, HZB's Administrative Director Thomas Frederking welcomed the new employees and wished them a good start at the research centre.

  • Podcast | Der Klimawandel und die Stadt: Mehr Grün oder mehr Photovoltaik?
    Nachricht
    12.08.2022
    Podcast | Der Klimawandel und die Stadt: Mehr Grün oder mehr Photovoltaik?
    Wie umgehen mit begrenztem Platz? Städte und Kommunen müssen sich jetzt auf die Folgen des Klimawandels vorbereiten. Gründächer, begrünte Fassaden und großflächige Entsiegelungen könnten zu einem besseren Mikroklima beitragen. Aber wird der Platz nicht auch für Photovoltaik benötigt?

    In einem kontroversen Gespräch loten die Experten Björn Rau (HZB, BAIP) und Jens Hasse (Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik) die Optionen aus und finden neue Lösungen.

  • Young investigator research group on electrocatalysis at HZB
    News
    01.08.2022
    Young investigator research group on electrocatalysis at HZB
    Dr. Michelle Browne establishes her own young investigator group at the HZB . Starting in August, the group is co-funded by the Helmholtz Association for the next five years. The electrochemist from Ireland concentrates on electrolytically active novel material systems and wants to develop next-generation electrocatalysts, for example hydrogen production. At HZB she will find the perfect environment to conduct her research.
  • Fine particles back into the raw material cycle
    News
    19.07.2022
    Fine particles back into the raw material cycle
    Industrial processes always produce fine-grained residues. These rarely find their way back into the industrial value chain, but are usually disposed of and represent a potential environmental risk. The FINEST project records and investigates various of these fine-grained material flows with the aim of developing new concepts to keep them in the cycle and safely dispose of remaining residues. 
    FINEST was successful in the Helmholtz Association's sustainability competition and will now receive 5 million euros in funding. 
  • Environmental impact of perovskite-on-silicon solar PV modules lower than silicon alone
    News
    11.07.2022
    Environmental impact of perovskite-on-silicon solar PV modules lower than silicon alone
    Solar photovoltaics is a reliable and sustainable way to generate energy. A study has evaluated for the first time the lifecycle environmental impact of industrially produced perovskite-on-silicon tandem solar modules, provided by Oxford PV. The conclusion: these innovative tandem solar modules are even more environmentally friendly than conventional silicon heterojunction modules over their lifetimes. The study has now been published by the peer reviewed journal Sustainable Energy & Fuels.

  • Long night of Sciences at HZB: Experience science up close!
    News
    28.06.2022
    Long night of Sciences at HZB: Experience science up close!
    Important info: At the HZB, FFP2 masks are mandatory indoors from the age of 14 during this event.

    How can solar cells be produced even more efficiently? Why is "green" hydrogen so important for our future? Why does Berlin need an accelerator to screen materials? The answers are available at the Long Night of the Sciences. On July 2, 2022, 5 p.m. to midnight, HZB opens its doors at the Adlershof site and invites young and old to experiment.

  • HZB researcher Olga Kasian honored as young scientist
    News
    24.06.2022
    HZB researcher Olga Kasian honored as young scientist
    The Werner-von-Siemens-Ring Foundation has accepted Prof. Dr. Olga Kasian into its network in recognition of her outstanding scientific achievements. Olga Kasian heads a junior research group on electrocatalysis at HZB and is a professor at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU). The foundation has been honoring young researchers in the technical and natural sciences since 1977 and offers them unique opportunities for interdisciplinary networking.

  • Water distribution in the fuel cell made visible in 4D
    Science Highlight
    02.06.2022
    Water distribution in the fuel cell made visible in 4D
    Teams from Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and University College London (UCL) have visualised the water distribution in a fuel cell in three dimensions and in real time for the first time by evaluating neutron data from the Berlin Experimental Reactor shut down in 2019. The analysis opens new possibilities for more efficient and thus more cost-effective fuel cells.
  • New cookbook "Science-Food" - download now!
    News
    02.06.2022
    New cookbook "Science-Food" - download now!
    People from many different countries work at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and enrich our atmosphere. For our cookbook, employees and guest researchers from six continents have contributed their favorite recipes.

  • International consortium to advance decarbonisation of the aviation sector
    News
    24.05.2022
    International consortium to advance decarbonisation of the aviation sector
    JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – 24 May 2022: CARE-O-SENE research project will develop advanced catalysts for sustainable aviation fuels

    The company Sasol and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) will lead a consortium to develop and optimise next-generation catalysts that will play a key role in decarbonising the aviation sector through sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).

  • Perovskite solar cells: Properties still remain enigmatic
    Science Highlight
    02.05.2022
    Perovskite solar cells: Properties still remain enigmatic
    In order to explain the particularly favourable properties of perovskite semiconductors for solar cells, various hypotheses are circulating. Polarons or a giant Rashba effect, for example, are thought to play a major role. A team at BESSY II has now experimentally disproved these hypotheses. In doing so, they further narrow down the possible causes for the transport properties and enable better approaches for the targeted optimisation of this class of materials.
  • Solar hydrogen: Better photoelectrodes through flash heating
    Science Highlight
    04.04.2022
    Solar hydrogen: Better photoelectrodes through flash heating
    Producing low-cost metal-oxide thin films with high electronic quality for solar water splitting is not an easy task. Especially since quality improvements of the upper metal oxide thin films need thermal processing at high temperatures, which would melt the underlying glass substrate. Now, a team at HZB-Institute for Solar Fuels has solved this dilemma: A high intensity and rapid light pulse directly heats the semiconducting metal-oxide thin film, allowing to achieve the optimal heating conditions without damaging the substrate.
  • HZB has signed the “Charta der Vielfalt” (Diversity Charter)
    News
    16.03.2022
    HZB has signed the “Charta der Vielfalt” (Diversity Charter)

    HZB is an employer that comprehensively strengthens and cares for the diversity of its employees. HZB publicly acknowledges this by signing the Diversity Charter. The charter is run by an association that works to anchor diversity in the working world.

  • Knowledge transfer: BAIP consulting office becomes permanent at HZB
    News
    11.03.2022
    Knowledge transfer: BAIP consulting office becomes permanent at HZB
    The BAIP consulting office for building-integrated photovoltaics has been launched as a knowledge transfer project in 2019, funded by the Helmholtz Association's Initiative and Networking Fund. In order to build a bridge between the world of construction and photovoltaics, the consulting office provides comprehensive knowledge for architects, planners, builder-owners, investors and urban developers. After an excellent evaluation, the BAIP consulting office will be permanently financed by HZB.
  • From Lab to Fab: World Record Solar Cell Goes from Lab to Industry
    News
    07.03.2022
    From Lab to Fab: World Record Solar Cell Goes from Lab to Industry
    Q CELLS and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin achieve a new world record efficiency for a 2-terminal tandem solar cell combining a mass-production ready silicon bottom cell based on Q.ANTUM technology and a top-cell based on perovskite technology. The efficiency is 28.7%.
  • Predicting solar cell performance from terahertz and microwave spectroscopy
    Science Highlight
    04.03.2022
    Predicting solar cell performance from terahertz and microwave spectroscopy
    Many semiconducting materials are possible candidates for solar cells. In recent years, perovskite semiconductors in particular have attracted attention, as they are both inexpensive and easy to process and enable high efficiencies. Now a study with 15 participating research institutions shows how terahertz (TRTS) and microwave spectroscopy (TRMC) can be used to reliably determine the mobility and lifetime of the charge carriers in new semiconducting materials. Using these measurement data it is possible to predict the potential efficiency of the solar cell in advance and to classify the losses in the finished cell.  
  • “Workhorse” of silicon photovoltaics combined with perovskite in tandem for the first time
    Science Highlight
    24.02.2022
    “Workhorse” of silicon photovoltaics combined with perovskite in tandem for the first time
    So-called PERC cells are used in mass production of silicon solar cells, they are considered the workhorses of photovoltaics, dominating the market. Now two teams from HZB and the Institute for Solar Energy Research in Hamelin (ISFH) have shown that such standard silicon cells are also suitable as a basis for tandem cells with perovskite top cells. Currently, the efficiency of the tandem cell is still below that of optimised PERC cells alone, but could be increased to up to 29.5% through targeted optimisation. The research was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics as part of a joint project.
  • Lithium-Sulfur batteries: First multimodal analysis in pouch cell format
    Science Highlight
    21.02.2022
    Lithium-Sulfur batteries: First multimodal analysis in pouch cell format
    Lithium-sulphur (Li/S) batteries have significantly higher energy densities than conventional lithium-ion batteries, but age very quickly. Now, for the first time, a team at HZB has investigated Li/S batteries in the industry-relevant pouch cell format with different electrolytes during operation. Teams from TU Dresden and the Fraunhofer IWS were also involved in the study. With a specially developed measuring cell, impedance, temperature and pressure can be recorded at different times and combined with radiographic images. The evaluation shows how the electrolyte affects the formation of unwanted sulphur particles and polysulphides. The study has been published in the renowned journal Advanced Energy Materials.
  • Dissertation Prize Adlershof 2021 goes to Amran Al-Ashouri
    News
    21.02.2022
    Dissertation Prize Adlershof 2021 goes to Amran Al-Ashouri

    On February 17, 2022, the Adlershof Dissertation Prize was awarded for the 20th time. Dr. Amran Al-Ashouri (3rd from right) from the HZB young investigator research group "Perovskite tandem solar cells" received the prize endowed with 3,000 euros. The physicist is researching how new organic contact layers can be used to optimize highly efficient perovskite silicon tandem solar cells.

  • Innovative catalysts: An expert review
    Science Highlight
    15.02.2022
    Innovative catalysts: An expert review
    Highly efficient (electro-)catalysts are essential for the production of green hydrogen, the chemical industry, fertiliser production and other sectors of the economy. In addition to transition metals, a variety of other metallic or non-metallic elements have now moved into the focus of research. In a review article, experts from CatLab and Technische Universität Berlin present an overview on current knowledge and a perspective on future research questions.
  • New board „HZB Succeed“ has been founded
    News
    11.02.2022
    New board „HZB Succeed“ has been founded
    To support the development of young scientists at HZB in the best possible way - this has been a long-standing goal of the HZB. Now this task will be pursued even more strategically. To this end, the new board “HZB Succeed” has been founded in January 2022.
  • A sundial of a different kind
    Interview
    24.01.2022
    A sundial of a different kind
    Turning a scientific question into a product is the requirement that the winners of the HZB Technology Transfer Prize should fulfil. The team led by Tobias Henschel, Bernd Stannowski and Sebastian Neubert won more than just a prize.
  • A Wiki for Perovskite Solar Cell Research
    Science Highlight
    15.12.2021
    A Wiki for Perovskite Solar Cell Research
    An international team of experts has collected data on metal halide perovskite solar cells from more than 15,000 publications and developed a database with visualisation options and analysis tools. The database is open source and provides an overview of the rapidly growing knowledge as well as the open questions in this exciting class of materials. The study was initiated by HZB scientist Dr. Eva Unger and implemented and coordinated by her postdoc Jesper Jacobsson.
  • World record again at HZB: Almost 30 % efficiency for next-generation tandem solar cells
    News
    22.11.2021
    World record again at HZB: Almost 30 % efficiency for next-generation tandem solar cells
    Three HZB teams led by Prof. Christiane Becker, Prof. Bernd Stannowski and Prof. Steve Albrecht have jointly managed to increase the efficiency of perovskite silicon tandem solar cells fabricated completely at HZB to a new record value of 29.80 %. The value has now been officially certified and is documented in the NREL-charts. This brings the 30 percent mark within reach.

  • Germany on the road to net zero: a new Web Atlas shows the options
    News
    18.11.2021
    Germany on the road to net zero: a new Web Atlas shows the options
    Which technical and nature-based options as well as political decisions can support Germany in being CO2-neutral? These questions are answered by the new web atlas of the Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS) at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon. The new tool is aimed at politicians, experts and the public. The HZB has also contributed to the web atlas.

  • "Green" chemistry: BESSY II sheds light on mechanochemical synthesis
    Science Highlight
    16.11.2021
    "Green" chemistry: BESSY II sheds light on mechanochemical synthesis
    In mechanochemistry, reagents are finely ground and mixed so that they combine to form the desired product, even without need for solvent. By eliminating solvent, this technology promises to contribute significantly towards ‘green’ and environmentally benign chemical manufacture in the future. However, there are still major gaps in understanding the key processes that occur during mechanical treatment and reaction. A team led by the Federal Institute for Materials Research (BAM) has now developed a method at BESSY II to observe these processes in situ with X-ray scattering. 

  • Live broadcast at HZB - now as podcast!
    News
    12.11.2021
    Live broadcast at HZB - now as podcast!
    After a live broadcast the programme "Die Profis" is now online as a podcast.
  • Stifterverband certifies Helmholtz Centre Berlin for strategies in dealing with diversity
    News
    11.11.2021
    Stifterverband certifies Helmholtz Centre Berlin for strategies in dealing with diversity
    The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) is the first non-university research institution to have undergone the Stifterverband's diversity audit "Vielfalt gestalten". The certification attests to the HZB's opportunity-oriented concepts and measures for diverse groups of people.
  • Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg appoints Olga Kasian
    News
    13.10.2021
    Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg appoints Olga Kasian
    Dr. Olga Kasian is investigating why catalysts for hydrogen production by water electrolysis are limited in efficiency. The chemist has now accepted a professorship at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU). The W2 professorship is entitled "Materials for Electrochemical Energy Conversion" and is located at the Faculty of Engineering.

  • Perovskite solar cells: Defects trap charge carriers - and release them again
    Science Highlight
    07.10.2021
    Perovskite solar cells: Defects trap charge carriers - and release them again
    An international team at HZB and Charles University Prague has investigated how charge carriers in so called MAPI-perovskite semiconductors interact with different defects. They show that a large proportion of defects quickly releases trapped charge carriers. These results could help to further improve the properties of perovskite solar cells.

  • BR50: How Berlin could be developed into a world-leading science metropolis
    News
    21.09.2021
    BR50: How Berlin could be developed into a world-leading science metropolis
    On 26 September, not only the Bundestag but also the Berlin House of Representatives will be newly elected. In a position paper, the non-university institutions in the capital that are united in Berlin Research 50 now emphasise what is important for research after the election. In it, they outline 10 demands that the future Senate should implement in order to further strengthen Berlin as a science metropolis.



  • HZB uses electricity-producing facade wall as real laboratory
    News
    07.09.2021
    HZB uses electricity-producing facade wall as real laboratory
    In the presence of the State Secretary for Economic Affairs, Energy and Operations of the State of Berlin, Christian Rickerts, the HZB officially commissioned the solar façade of a new research building on 6 September 2021. What makes it so special is that the elegant façade not only generates up to 50 kilowatts of electricity (peak power). It also provides important insights into the behaviour of the solar modules under different weather conditions.  
  • Perovskite solar cells: Interfacial loss mechanisms revealed
    Science Highlight
    20.08.2021
    Perovskite solar cells: Interfacial loss mechanisms revealed

    Metal-organic perovskite materials promise low-cost and high-performance solar cells. Now a group at HZB managed to de-couple the different effects of self-assembled monolayers of organic molecules (SAMs) that reduce losses at the interfaces. Their results help to optimise such functional interlayers.

  • Neutron instrument VSANS will move to Penn State University, USA
    News
    19.08.2021
    Neutron instrument VSANS will move to Penn State University, USA

    At the end of 2019, the Berlin neutron source BER II was shut down as scheduled. To ensure that the high-quality instruments can continue to be used for research, they are moving to suitable neutron sources in Germany and abroad. Now, another move has been agreed upon: The Very Small Angle Scattering Instrument (VSANS) will find a new home at the Breazeale Research Reactor at Penn State University, USA, in spring 2022.

  • Green hydrogen: Why do certain catalysts improve in operation?
    Science Highlight
    09.08.2021
    Green hydrogen: Why do certain catalysts improve in operation?
    Crystalline cobalt arsenide is a catalyst that generates oxygen during electrolytic water splitting in the production of hydrogen. The material is considered to be a model system for an important group of catalysts whose performance increases under certain conditions in the course of electrolysis. Now a HZB-team headed by Marcel Risch has observed at BESSY II how two simultaneous mechanisms are responsible for this. The catalytic activity of the individual catalysis centres decreases in the course of electrolysis, but at the same time the morphology of the catalyst layer also changes. Under favourable conditions, considerably more catalysis centres come into contact with the electrolyte as a result, so that the overall performance of the catalyst increases.

  • Solar hydrogen for Antarctica - study shows advantages of thermally coupled approach
    Science Highlight
    02.07.2021
    Solar hydrogen for Antarctica - study shows advantages of thermally coupled approach
    A team from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, Ulm University, and Heidelberg University has now investigated how hydrogen can be produced at the South Pole using sunlight, and which method is the most promising. Their conclusion: in extremely cold regions, it can be considerably more efficient to attach the PV modules directly to the electrolyser, i.e. to thermally couple them. This is because the waste heat from the PV modules increases the efficiency of electrolysis in this environment. The results of this study, which has now been published in Energy & Environmental Science, are also relevant for other cold regions on Earth, such as Alaska, Canada, and high mountain regions, for example. In these places, solar hydrogen could replace fossil fuels such as oil and petrol.

  • VIPERLAB: EU project aims to boost perovskite solar industry in Europe
    News
    24.06.2021
    VIPERLAB: EU project aims to boost perovskite solar industry in Europe
    The HZB is coordinating a major European collaborative project to open up new opportunities for the European solar industry. The VIPERLAB project involves 15 renowned research institutions from Europe, as well as Switzerland and Great Britain. It will be funded within the framework of the EU's Horizon 2020 programme for the next three and a half years with a total of 5.5 million euros, from which the HZB will receive just under 840,000 euros. 

  • Perovskite Solar Cells: Insights into early stages of structure formation
    Science Highlight
    18.06.2021
    Perovskite Solar Cells: Insights into early stages of structure formation
    Using small-angle scattering at the PTB X-ray beamline of BESSY II, an HZB team was able to experimentally investigate the colloidal chemistry of perovskite precursor solutions used for solar cell production. The results contribute to the targeted and systematic optimization of the manufacturing process and quality of these exciting semiconductor materials.

  • Berlin Energy Days: Integrated photovoltaics - active areas for the energy transition
    News
    23.04.2021
    Berlin Energy Days: Integrated photovoltaics - active areas for the energy transition
    The energy transition needs photovoltaics, and photovoltaics need space. There are large areas that have hardly been used so far: For example, solar cells can be integrated into the shell of buildings and vehicles, or installed in traffic routes, over farmland and flooded opencast mines. On Wednesday, 28 April 2021, experts from the HZB consulting office for builiding integrated PV (BAIP) and other research institutions will present these options. The event will take place as part of the Berlin Energy Days, and participation is free of charge after registration.
  • Green hydrogen: "Rust" as a photoanode and its limits
    Science Highlight
    19.04.2021
    Green hydrogen: "Rust" as a photoanode and its limits
    Metal oxides such as rust are intriguing photoelectrode materials for the production of green hydrogen with sunlight. They are cheap and abundant, but in spite of decades of research, progress has been limited. A team at HZB, together with partners from Ben Gurion University and the Technion, Israel, has now analysed the optoelectronic properties of rust (haematite) and other metal oxides in unprecedented detail. Their results show that the maximum achievable efficiency of haematite electrodes is significantly lower than previously assumed. The study demonstrates ways to assess new photoelectrode materials more realistically.

  • Solar cells: Losses made visible on the nanoscale
    Science Highlight
    17.03.2021
    Solar cells: Losses made visible on the nanoscale
    Solar cells made of crystalline silicon achieve peak efficiencies, especially in combination with selective contacts made of amorphous silicon (a-Si:H). However, their efficiency is limited by losses in these contact layers. Now, for the first time, a team at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Utah, USA, has experimentally shown how such contact layers generate loss currents on the nanometre scale and what their physical origin is. Using a conductive atomic force microscope, they scanned the solar cell surfaces in ultra-high vacuum and detected tiny, nanometre-sized channels for the detrimental dark currents, which are due to disorder in the a-Si:H layer.

  • HZB re-certified as a compatibility-friendly company again
    News
    17.03.2021
    HZB re-certified as a compatibility-friendly company again
    HZB has been certified as a family-friendly employer since 2011. Now the research centre has successfully completed the re-auditing process and developed further measures to promote a life phase conscious working culture. The certificate is considered a seal of quality for the company's compatibility policy and is awarded by the board of trustees of berufundfamilie Service GmbH.
  • The HZB Graduate Center is here now
    News
    04.02.2021
    The HZB Graduate Center is here now
    The HZB “DR coordination” is now the HZB Graduate Center. Since the beginning of 2018, the DR coordination has been continuously expanding the offers and standards at the HZB for doctoral researchers and their advisors. The ideas and suggestions that were collected in discussions with numerous stakeholders and in various HZB committees on this topic are leading the path and are incorporated in the set up of a uniform HZB-wide umbrella structure for doctoral researchers and their advisors - the HZB Graduate Center.

  • Solar hydrogen: Photoanodes made of α-SnWO4 promise high efficiencies
    Science Highlight
    26.01.2021
    Solar hydrogen: Photoanodes made of α-SnWO4 promise high efficiencies
    Photoanodes made of metal oxides are considered to be a viable solution for the production of hydrogen with sunlight. α-SnWO4 has optimal electronic properties for photoelectrochemical water splitting with sunlight, but corrodes easily. Protective layers of nickel oxide prevent corrosion, but reduce the photovoltage and limit the efficiency. Now a team at HZB has investigated at BESSY II what happens at the interface between the photoanode and the protective layer. Combined with theoretical methods, the measurement data reveal the presence of an oxide layer that impairs the efficiency of the photoanode.


  • HZB and Humboldt University agree to set up a catalysis laboratory
    News
    25.01.2021
    HZB and Humboldt University agree to set up a catalysis laboratory
    Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) have signed a cooperation agreement with the aim of establishing a joint research laboratory for catalysis in the IRIS research building of HU in Adlershof. The IRIS research building offers optimal conditions for the research and development of complex material systems.

  • Perovskite/silicon tandem solar cells on the threshold of 30% efficiency
    Science Highlight
    11.12.2020
    Perovskite/silicon tandem solar cells on the threshold of 30% efficiency
    An HZB team has published a report in the journal Science on the development of its current world record of 29.15% efficiency for a tandem solar cell made of perovskite and silicon. The tandem cell provided stable performance for 300 hours – even without encapsulation. To accomplish this, the group headed by Prof. Steve Albrecht investigated physical processes at the interfaces to improve the transport of the charge carriers.

  • Architectural Design drafts for new CatLab Center awarded
    News
    07.12.2020
    Architectural Design drafts for new CatLab Center awarded
    An innovative laboratory and office building for catalysis research will be built in Berlin-Adlershof: CatLab is to become an international beacon for catalysis research and drive forward the development of novel catalyst materials, which are urgently required for the production of green hydrogen for the energy transition. In an architectural competition four winning designs have now been selected. All designs include climate friendly solutions.

  • Perovskite Solar Cells: paving the way for rational ink design for industrial-scale manufacturing
    Science Highlight
    27.11.2020
    Perovskite Solar Cells: paving the way for rational ink design for industrial-scale manufacturing
    For the production of high-quality metal-halide perovskite thin-films for large area photovoltaic modules often optimized inks are used which contain a mixture of solvents. An HZB team at BESSY II has now analysed the crystallisation processes within such mixtures. A model has also been developed to assess the kinetics of the crystallisation processes for different solvent mixtures. The results are of high importance for the further development of perovskite inks for industrial-scale deposition processes of these semiconductors.

  • Green hydrogen: buoyancy-driven convection in the electrolyte
    Science Highlight
    19.11.2020
    Green hydrogen: buoyancy-driven convection in the electrolyte
    Hydrogen produced by using solar energy could contribute to a climate neutral energy system of the future. But there are hurdles on the way from laboratory scale to large-scale implementation. A team at HZB has now presented a method to visualise convection in the electrolyte and to reliably simulate it in advance with a multiphysics model. The results can support the design and scaling up of this technology and have been published in the renowned journal Energy and Environmental Science.

  • Solar cells: Mapping the landscape of Caesium based inorganic halide perovskites
    Science Highlight
    16.11.2020
    Solar cells: Mapping the landscape of Caesium based inorganic halide perovskites
    Scientists at HZB have printed and explored different compositions of caesium based halide perovskites (CsPb(BrxI1−x)3 (0 ≤ x ≤ 1)). In a temperature range between room temperature and 300 Celsius, they observe structural phase transitions influencing the electronic properties. The study provides a quick and easy method to assess new compositions of perovskite materials in order to identify candidates for applications in thin film solar cells and optoelectronic devices.

  • Solar-cell façade at HZB undergoes real-life testing
    News
    24.09.2020
    Solar-cell façade at HZB undergoes real-life testing
    Solar-modules shimmer bright blue on the cladding of a new building at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB). They are special CIGS thin-film modules custom-developed and produced in Germany for integration into the building’s envelope. The solar cladding not only meets part of the power requirement, but is also a realistic laboratory in and of itself: an HZB team is monitoring the long-term behaviour of the modules under varying environmental conditions and evaluating the data. 

  • Climate Strike on Friday: HZB-Direktor welcomes engagement for climate protection
    News
    23.09.2020
    Climate Strike on Friday: HZB-Direktor welcomes engagement for climate protection
    "I find it remarkable and encouraging that more and more citizens are joining the protests of the younger generation and calling for a turnaround for climate protection," says Prof. Bernd Rech, Scientific Director of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB). In an open video message on the occasion of the worldwide climate day planned for Friday, he welcomes the fact that HZB staff members want to participate in the actions. At the same time he calls on people not to be afraid of technical changes. "The technologies for a climate-friendly energy supply are available. We must now use them quickly, but we must also improve them and create new options".

  • HZB is member of the IGAFA initiative in Adlershof
    News
    21.09.2020
    HZB is member of the IGAFA initiative in Adlershof

    Since September 2020, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin is again a member of IGAFA - the Initiative of Non-University Research Institutions in Adlershof. Prof. Dr. Jan Lüning, scientific director of the HZB, was elected to the association's board.

  • New Materials for Energy Storage: ERC Starting Grant for Tristan Petit
    News
    03.09.2020
    New Materials for Energy Storage: ERC Starting Grant for Tristan Petit
    Dr. Tristan Petit has received a prestigious Starting Grant from the European Research Council for 1.5 million euros over the next five years. The materials researcher will use the grant to investigate a new class of materials known as MXenes for storing electrical energy. MXenes can store and deliver large amounts of electrical energy extremely quickly. They might play an important role in energy storage alongside batteries and supercapacitors. The ERC Starting Grant is one of the most important European research grants.

  • Best electrolyser/photovoltaics combinations demonstrated in test fields
    News
    04.08.2020
    Best electrolyser/photovoltaics combinations demonstrated in test fields
    One of the most promising ways to increase the availability of solar energy is to convert excess production into hydrogen. The PECSYS project has investigated the best possible material and technology combinations to facilitate such an operation.

  • Seminar für Architekt*innen Bauwerkintegrierte Photovoltaik: Architektur – Gestaltung und Ausführung
    Nachricht
    16.07.2020
    Seminar für Architekt*innen Bauwerkintegrierte Photovoltaik: Architektur – Gestaltung und Ausführung
    Im September veranstaltet die Beratungsstelle für bauwerkintegrierte Photovoltaik (BIPV) „BAIP“ zusammen mit der Architektenkammer Niedersachsen ein Seminar für Architekt*innen zum Thema Bauwerkintegrierte Photovoltaik: Architektur-Gestaltung und Ausführung
  • Launch of new catalysis centre in HZB-Adlershof
    News
    08.07.2020
    Launch of new catalysis centre in HZB-Adlershof
    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.

  • They are back: Sheep and goats graze the Wannsee campus again
    News
    15.05.2020
    They are back: Sheep and goats graze the Wannsee campus again

    The meadows are lush green, the ice saints (almost) over: Now is the perfect time for the sheep and goats to return from their winter quarters! Until late autumn, they will now graze the near-natural HZB campus in Wannsee and serve the natural preservation of the landscape - completely without a lawn mower.

  • New charging points for electric cars installed in Adlershof
    News
    14.05.2020
    New charging points for electric cars installed in Adlershof
    On 14 May 2020, two charging points for electric cars were installed near the BESSY II main building. But not only the hybrid company car fleet is to be charged here. Soon, employees will also have the opportunity to charge their private cars at one of the charging points.

  • On the road to non-toxic and stable perovskite solar cells
    Science Highlight
    11.05.2020
    On the road to non-toxic and stable perovskite solar cells
    The promising halide perovskite materials for solar energy conversion show high efficiencies, but this comes at a cost: The best perovskite materials incorporate toxic lead which poses a hazard to the environment. To replace lead by less toxic elements is not easy since lead-free perovskites show lower stability and poor efficiencies. Now, an international collaboration has engineered a new hybrid perovskite material with promising efficiency and stability.
  • Tandem solar cell world record: New branch in the NREL chart
    Science Highlight
    14.04.2020
    Tandem solar cell world record: New branch in the NREL chart
    A special branch in the famous NREL-chart for solar cell world records refers to a newly developed tandem solar cell by HZB teams. The world-record cell combines the semiconductors perovskite and CIGS to a monolithic "two-terminal" tandem cell. Due to the thin-film technologies used, such tandem cells survive much longer in space and can even be produced on flexible films. The new tandem cell achieves a certified efficiency of 24.16 percent.
  • HZB donates urgently needed protective equipment for doctors’ surgery
    News
    27.03.2020
    HZB donates urgently needed protective equipment for doctors’ surgery
    The situation in Berlin's doctors’ surgery is becoming increasingly acute due to the lack of important protective clothing and disinfectants. Some practices have already had to close for this reason. The HZB has therefore decided to provide quick help and is donating 65 boxes of protective clothing that are normally used for work in the laboratories and clean rooms. The boxes were handed over to the Kassenärztliche Vereinigung Berlin on 27.03.2020.
  • Fast and furious: New class of 2D materials stores electrical energy
    Science Highlight
    02.03.2020
    Fast and furious: New class of 2D materials stores electrical energy
    Two dimensional titanium carbides, so-called MXenes, are being discussed as candidates for the rapid storage of electrical energy. Like a battery,MXenes can store large amounts of electrical energy through electrochemical reactions- but unlike batteries,can be charged and discharged in a matter of seconds. In collaboration with Drexel University, a team at HZB showed that the intercalation of urea molecules between the MXene layers can increase the capacity of such "pseudo-capacitors" by more than 50 percent. At BESSY II they have analysed how changes of the MXene surface chemistry after urea intercalation are responsible for this.
  • Berlins außeruniversitäre Forschungseinrichtungen schließen sich zusammen
    Nachricht
    20.02.2020
    Berlins außeruniversitäre Forschungseinrichtungen schließen sich zusammen
    Berlin als internationale Wissenschaftsmetropole zu stärken, ist Ziel einer gemeinsamen Initiative der außeruniversitären Forschungseinrichtungen der Hauptstadt. Sie haben sich zur BR 50 (Berlin Research 50) zusammengeschlossen, um künftig gemeinsam Strategien für die Forschung und den Austausch mit Politik und Gesellschaft zu entwickeln. Auch das Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin hat sich der Initiative angeschlossen. Die Kooperation mit den Berliner Universitäten wird hierdurch erleichtert und verstärkt.
  • Unique X-ray experiments for school classes: The X-ray mobile will arrive at the HZB
    News
    28.01.2020
    Unique X-ray experiments for school classes: The X-ray mobile will arrive at the HZB
    What is ultraviolet radiation? What are X-rays used for? And what is radioactivity again? These questions are on the curriculum in physics lessons, but vivid experiments on these topics are rare. From 5 to 13 March 2020, pupils can conduct experiments on these topics in the HZB's school laboratory in Berlin-Adlershof. The public is invited to attend on 12 March.
  • Plants absorb lead from perovskite solar cells more than expected
    Science Highlight
    21.01.2020
    Plants absorb lead from perovskite solar cells more than expected
    Lead from metal-organic perovskite compounds can be absorbed particularly easily by plants. The bioavailability is significantly higher than that of lead from inorganic compounds as found in batteries. This is shown in a study by HZB researcher Antonio Abate with partners in China and Italy, published in Nature communications.
  • HZB is now using green electricity
    News
    09.01.2020
    HZB is now using green electricity
    Since 1 January 2020, HZB is drawing 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable energies. This reduces CO2 emissions by around 17,400 tons per year (related to 2018). By switching to green electricity, HZB acknowledges its responsibility to contribute to climate protection.