The “Unifying Concepts in Catalysis” (UniCat) cluster of excellence, whose sponsoring academic institution is Technische Universität Berlin, studies the field of catalysis, an area of widespread importance in all segments of the economy.
Funding period: 2007–2017
The cluster’s interdisciplinary research alliance encompasses about 50 working groups, in which scientists and researchers drawn from the natural sciences and engineering fields at Technische Universität Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the University of Potsdam, the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, and the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam work together.
UniCat deals specifically with the development of and research on catalysts in order to achieve more efficient uses of natural energy and material resources and the discovery of new “intelligent” enzymes for the production of antibiotics. The scientists study and compare heterogeneous, homogeneous, and biological catalysis processes in order to understand how catalysts work at the molecular level. This understanding leads to the development of new and more efficient catalysts for large-scale technical applications. The cluster’s combination of broad-based expertise in the natural sciences and cutting-edge engineering methods represents the first effort of this kind in Germany.
The research work currently being done by the scientists participating in the cluster focuses on the oxidative conversion of methane (natural gas and biogas) into ethylene, the activation of carbon dioxide, biological hydrogen production for microbial fuel cells, and the development of new agents based on natural substances.
Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Matthias Drieß (Technische Universität Berlin)
For further information, please see the UniCat website.