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Energy, Climate and Bioeconomy

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The economic and intelligent use of raw materials and a climate-smart energy supply are among the most important topics for the future of our society. In order to achieve a transformation of the energy sector, a number of measures must be taken. Scientists and engineers at Jülich’s Institute of Energy and Climate Research are working together on the following challenges:

Fuel Cells

Researchers at Jülich are developing various types of fuel cells. The advantage of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) over most low-temperature fuel cells is that they not only run on pure hydrogen, but that they also use methane and carbon monoxide as fuels. Another alternative are high-temperature polymer electrolyte fuel cells (HT-PEFCs). These only have to be heated for three minutes and can be operated on hydrogen produced from diesel in an upstream reformer.

More on fuel cell research

Nuclear Fusion

Nuclear fusion research focuses on the sun. Its aim is to reproduce the processes that take place inside the sun on earth. About two litres of water and 250 grams of stones could meet the energy requirements of a family of four in Germany for an entire year if the fusion of light atomic nuclei could be used for energy production. The advantages: the light atomic nuclei lithium and deuterium can be readily extracted from natural resources and the end products of nuclear fusion are not radioactive.

More on fusion research (IEK-4)


Photovoltaics uses solar energy and is therefore an inexhaustible source of clean energy. However, production costs for solar cells are still relatively high. The shiny power generators could become more economical if they could be constructed from the thinnest layers possible. Jülich scientists are developing new materials for this purpose. Microcrystalline silicon carbide, for example, is stable, transparent and low in reflection, allowing solar cells to store more energy.

More on photovoltaics research (IEK-5)


Climate research can predict future climate scenarios partially caused by human activities, such as industry and mobility – and it lays the foundations for reasonable future behaviour, taking into account environmental aspects. First and foremost, we need a more detailed understanding of the processes that take place in the air, for example the behaviour of gas molecules from their formation to degradation, and the role played by trace elements in the complex system of the atmosphere and troposphere. Only then can decisive mechanisms for protecting the climate be identified in these sensitive elements of the earth system. For their research, scientists use various instruments such as the SAPHIR atmosphere simulation chamber in order to recreate atmospheric conditions.

More on climate research

More on atmospheric research (IEK-8)


Soil and plants are the basis of our ecosystems. Plants are not only the focus as food products that have to adapt to changing climatic conditions, but they are also of interest as energy sources and as an alternative to oil as a raw material for the manufacturing industry. Jülich scientists are working on biotechnological processes that enable pharmaceutical and chemical products to be manufactured using nature as a model. In short: the bioeconomy focuses on bioenergy, bio-based raw materials, biopharmaceuticals, and safeguarding food resources.

Plant research (IBG-2)

Soil research, terrestrial systems (IBG-3)

Biotechnology (IBG-1)

Additional Information


Thomas Bierschenk
Tel: +49 2461 61-9366

Christina Hallen
Tel: +49 2461 61-4662

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