Press Release 145/2014

New Research Building for the Helmholtz Institute Ulm

Opening Ceremony in the Presence of the Federal Minister of Research Wanka and State Minister of Research Bauer
Ceremony of key handover for the new building of Helmholtz Institute Ulm (Photo: Elvira Eberhardt, University Ulm)

At the Helmholtz Institute Ulm for Electrochemical Energy Storage (HIU), scientists conduct research into efficient battery systems and new materials for future batteries to be used for the Energiewende. To offer the researchers optimal prerequisites for their work, the State of Baden-Württemberg erected a new building with modern laboratory equipment in Ulm. The building with a funding volume of EUR 12 million has an area of 2400 m2 accommodating laboratories and offices. As the HIU is a Helmholtz institution, its operation is funded by the Federation and the State of Baden-Württemberg at a ratio of 90 to 10.


Four partners cooperate at the HIU: The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Ulm University, and the associated partners German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW). The new building eliminates the spatial separation of researchers that has been existing since 2011 and will enhance the cooperation of the teams. During the opening ceremony, the Federal Minister of Research, Professor Johanna Wanka, pointed out that research into the next battery generation at Ulm will help make the Energiewende become reality. “We need enhanced storage capacities to transform the energy system and bring about the Energiewende. At Ulm, we have established state-of-the-art conditions that will allow for groundbreaking developments. Work focuses on a topic of relevance to the future,” Wanka said.


“Successful research does not only require smart and creative minds, but also appropriate structures and modern buildings. With the new building of the HIU, we give scientists of four renowned research institutions in Baden-Württemberg a common basis for work on one of the central topics related to the Energiewende: The development of high-performance, long-lived, and low-cost energy storage systems,” Theresia Bauer, Baden-Württemberg Minister for Science, Research, and the Arts, underlined.


The new building on the campus of Ulm University is part of the Science City and was built by the Ulm Office of Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg on behalf of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Finance and Economics. “On the campus of Ulm University, the new building of the Helmholtz Institute will be a center of trendsetting energy research. Securing energy supply is one of the biggest challenges of our time,” said Rolf Schumacher, Head of Department of the Ministry of Finance and Economics of Baden-Württemberg, during the opening ceremony in Ulm.


The center of battery research in Ulm is managed by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). As a member of the Helmholtz Association, the KIT initiated the HIU in 2011 together with Ulm University and the associated partners. With a total of 350 researchers at the HIU, the Ulm University, and the ZSW, Ulm has now become the biggest battery activity in Germany.


“Research into high-performance and low-cost battery systems is one of the key activities of KIT, since efficient storage systems are the prerequisite for the success of the Energiewende,” emphasized the President of KIT, Professor Holger Hanselka. “The HIU, a KIT institute on the campus of Ulm University, will be based on the expertise of four strong partners. The new building with its highly modern infrastructure provides excellent prerequisites for work at full speed on the scientific fundamentals for marketable and trendsetting batteries.”


“The new HIU building allows for an even closer cooperation of the partners Ulm University, KIT, ZSW, and DLR for the development of novel high-performance battery systems,” emphasized Professor Karl Joachim Ebeling, President of Ulm University. “The already successful cooperation secures our leading position in battery research in Europe and enhances the attractiveness of our campus.”


About Research at HIU:

Scientists of HIU study the fundamentals of low-cost and high-performance batteries in order to further optimize the lithium-ion technology, for instance. While small lithium-ion batteries are commercially applied in entertainment electronics, electric tools, hybrid vehicles, and electric cars, commercial application of larger energy storage systems is still in its infancy. A significant increase in energy density of battery cells will only be achieved with new storage materials and a more compact design. Increased performance also requires new storage concepts. Thus, the researchers also work on entirely novel battery types that are hoped to give rise to major innovations in the future. Since its foundation, three new professorships have been established at HIU. The HIU is embedded in the energy storage portfolio of the Helmholtz Association. Under the Helmholtz programme “Storage systems and cross-linked infrastructures”, the scientists conduct important fundamental research. Thirteen research teams work at the HIU. Work is organized in five research areas: Electrochemistry, materials, theory, systems, and methods. The groups are headed by renowned researchers, who also head institutes or research groups at one of the four partner institutions. In addition, the HIU has defined four topics for interdisciplinary work to solve major problems.


About the New Building of HIU:

The new building constructed by the State of Baden-Württemberg and operated by Ulm University has been planned and designed by the Architectural Office of Professor Nickl and Partners, Munich, since February 2011. In early summer 2012, construction work started. With its three floors and a complete basement, the building has an area of 2400 m2 and, hence, will provide space for about 100 employees. At the moment, about 90 scientists are already working in the new building of HIU, another 15 researchers involved in HIU research are working at KIT. The new high-technology chemical and physical laboratories and a drying room provide for excellent research conditions. The researchers were integrated in the equipment of the laboratories. In this way, the latter were adapted exactly to the scientists’ needs. A characteristic architectonic feature of the building is the façade that consists of perforated metal plates. Variably sized perforations produce a pattern of optical interferences. The elements can be folded up in front of the office windows and used as sun shades. The artist Gert Wiedmaier installed rectangular metal plates with lasered, colored words inside the building. The HIU scientists participated in the process of selecting the words.


Press Contacts of the Partners:

Monika Landgraf
Chief Press Officer
Phone: +49 (0)721 608 47414
E-Mail: Monika Landgraf does-not-exist.kit edu


Ulm University:
Annika Bingmann
Public Relations
Phone: +49 (0)731 50 22021
E-Mail: annika bingmann does-not-exist.uni-ulm de


Helmholtz Institute Ulm:
Daniel Messling
Public Relations
Phone: +49 (0)731 50 34013
E-Mail: Daniel Messling does-not-exist.kit edu


Dorothee Bürkle
DLR Communications, Energy and Transport
Phone: +49 (0)2203 601-3492
E-Mail: dorothee buerkle does-not-exist.dlr de


Tiziana Bosa
Public Relations
Phone: +49 (0)731 95 30 601
E-Mail: tiziana bosa does-not-exist.zsw-bw de


About Ulm University

Ulm University, the youngest university in Baden-Württemberg, was established in 1967 as Ulm College of Medicine and Natural Sciences. Since then, the scope of subjects has been extended significantly. The presently about 10,000 students study at four faculties (medicine, natural sciences, mathematics and economics, and engineering and computer science).
Ulm University is the driver and center of the Science City, in which a rather diverse research community of hospitals, technical companies and other institutions has developed. Research activities of the university focus on life sciences and medicine, biological, nanoscaled, and energy materials, financial services and their mathematical methods as well as on information, communication, and quantum technologies.


Information on HIU can also be found at



Photo 0: New building of the Helmholtz Institute Ulm. (Photo: Daniel Messling, HIU)

Photo 1: Ceremony of key handover for the new building of Helmholtz Institute Ulm. From left to right: Wilmuth Lindenthal, Head of the Ulm Office for Assets and Construction in Baden-Württemberg, Head of Department Rolf Schumacher, Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Finance and Economics, Baden-Württemberg Minister of Science, Research, and the Arts, Theresia Bauer, Federal Minister of Education and Research, Professor Dr. Johanna Wanka, Professor Dr. Holger Hanselka, President of KIT, Professor Karl Joachim Ebeling, President of Ulm University. (Photo: Elvira Eberhardt, Ulm University)

Photo 2: The new building of Helmholtz Institute Ulm. (Photo: Elvira Eberhardt, Ulm University)

Photo 3: Federal Minister of Education and Research Professor Dr. Johanna Wanka. (Photo: Elvira Eberhardt, Ulm University)

Photo 4: Baden-Württemberg Minister of Science, Research, and the Arts Theresia Bauer. (Photo: Elvira Eberhardt, Ulm University)

Photo 5: Professor Dr. Holger Hanselka, President of KIT. (Photo: Elvira Eberhardt, Ulm University)



Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,800 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

lg, 31.10.2014


Monika Landgraf
Head of Corporate Communications, Chief Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41150
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
presse does-not-exist.kit edu

The photo in the best quality available to us may be requested by
presse does-not-exist.kit edu or phone: +49 721 608-41105.

The press release is available as a PDF file.