Press Release 094/2019

Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek Visits Helmholtz Institute Ulm

Federal Minister Karliczek Informs Herself about Progress in the Development of Novel Batteries
2019_094_Ministerin Karliczek Batterieforschung_72dpi
Die Bundesforschungsministerin Anja Karliczek beim Besuch der Batterieforschung am Standort Ulm. Foto: Eberhardt/Uni Ulm

Federal Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek, visited Ulm and informed herself about battery research there. She came to see the Helmholtz Institute Ulm for Electrochemical Energy Storage (HIU) that was established by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) together with Ulm University and the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW).


For photos of the visit, click: (Source: Eberhardt/Ulm University).


The HIU is a leading center for electrochemical energy research worldwide. It was established by KIT in cooperation with Ulm University. At HIU, Ulm University, and ZSW, researchers study high-performance and environmentally compatible energy storage systems for the future. During her visit, the Federal Research Minister informed herself about these research activities that will be relevant not least to climate-friendly electric mobility and the energy transition.


“It was impressive to see the enthusiasm of the researchers in Ulm. Ulm is one of the most important locations for battery research in Germany. Under the roof of the ‘Battery Research Factory,’ we will continue to pool Germany-wide competences and to accelerate transfer of findings to industry. Ulm has vast expertise in e.g. production research or future battery concepts. We will continue to support this work in future,” said Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek during her visit.


Professor Oliver Kraft, KIT Vice-President for Research, underscored the high relevance of the joint activities in battery research: “Electrochemical storage systems for mobility and for ensuring grid stability are a key technology of our time. Our progress in this area will be decisive for the economic and social future of Germany.”


On the campus in Ulm, Ulm University, ZSW, and the HIU work on the entire development chain in battery research. Federal Minister Anja Karliczek started her visit at ZSW. Its activities are based on 30 years of expertise in applied battery and fuel cell research and bridge the gap to practice. The ZSW possesses comprehensive research and development competences from the material to the cell, from laboratory to pilot production of automobile-suited lithium-ion cells, and from systems technology to the battery function and safety test center. The Director of the ZSW Electrochemical Energy Technologies Division, Dr. Margret Wohlfahrt-Mehrens, presented their main activities and guided the Minister through the laboratory for battery technology and the research platform for industrial production of large lithium-ion cells (FPL). The platform has been in operation for five years already and represents Europe’s only facility of this kind for close-to-series research into the manufacture of large-scale battery cells. “Ulm offers an excellent research environment for batteries – from electrochemical fundamentals to prototype production,” Wohlfahrt-Mehrens said. “Now, the research production line and the know-how gained at Ulm have to be extended to ensure quick transfer of results to industry.”


Then, Anja Karliczek visited the Helmholtz Institute Ulm, where the basis for mobile and stationary use of energy storage systems is studied. In 2011, KIT as a member of the Helmholtz Association and Ulm University established the Institute. Associated partners are the ZSW and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). To foster strategic collaboration in battery research, the Center for Electrochemical Energy Storage Ulm & Karlsruhe (CELEST), the largest German platform for electrochemical energy research was established in 2018. In CELEST, KIT, Ulm University, and ZSW pool their competences in all areas relevant to electrochemical energy storage, namely, “lithium-ion technology,” “energy storage beyond lithium,” and “alternative electrochemical energy storage technologies.” “CELEST is one of the biggest and most active research and development platforms worldwide. It offers unique opportunities for researchers, excellent education for students, battery cell development, and efficient know-how and technology transfer to industry,” said CELEST Director Professor Maximilian Fichtner.


The first big success of the platform was the acquisition of the cluster “Post Lithium Storage” (POLiS) in the highly competitive excellence strategy. The only cluster of excellence in the area of battery research in Germany will be funded with about EUR 50 million for initially seven years. At Ulm and Karlsruhe, the cluster members study high-performance and sustainable battery technologies based on materials other than scarce lithium and cobalt.


The President of Ulm University, Professor Michael Weber, welcomed the Research Minister and emphasized: “At Ulm, battery research is strong by tradition. In the past years, a unique research environment has developed around the university. Internationally leading researchers pool their expertise relating to batteries across institutions in the CELEST research platform. Now and in future, major impulses for the development of high-performance batteries for electric mobility and the energy transition come from and will come from Ulm,” Weber said.


For photos of the visit, click: (Source: Eberhardt/Ulm University).


About the Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU)

The Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU) was established in January 2011 by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), member of the Helmholtz Association, in cooperation with Ulm University. With the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), two other renowned institutions are involved in the HIU as associated partners. The international team of about 120 scientists at HIU works on the development of future energy storage systems for stationary and mobile use.


About Ulm University

Ulm University, the youngest university in Baden-Württemberg, works on global challenges. Twelve strategic and interdisciplinary research areas have been defined in the fields of aging, sustainability, future technology, and humans and health ( Ulm University’s strength in research is reflected by the acquisition of high amounts of third-party funding and a number of cooperation projects, collaborative research centers, and a cluster of excellence. Ulm University was founded in 1967 as a higher education institution for medicine and natural sciences. Today, more than 10,000 students study at the four faculties of medicine, natural sciences, mathematics and economics, and engineering, computer sciences, and psychology. Students are offered more than 60 study programs, including a number of courses in English, and, hence, given excellent career perspectives. Ulm University has wide international and regional networks. It is the center and driving force behind the science city of Ulm, a dynamically growing research environment, including extra-university research institutions, hospitals, and technology companies. The campus is located in the center of an economically strong region and offers excellent conditions for technology and knowledge transfer. 


About the ZSW

The Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg (Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg, ZSW) is one of the leading institutes for applied research in the areas of photovoltaics, battery technology, fuel cells, renewable fuels, and energy systems analysis. Currently, around 260 scientists, engineers, and technicians work at ZSW’s three offices in Stuttgart, Ulm, and Widderstall. In addition, 90 research and student assistants are employed. The ZSW is a member of the Innovation Alliance Baden-Württemberg (innBW), an association of 13 non-university, business-oriented research institutes. For details on ZSW, click:


More about the KIT Energy Center:


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.

mhe, 15.07.2019


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