One of the key issues for successfully transforming the energy sector is the question of long-term storage for large quantities of electricity in the smallest possible space. Forschungszentrum Jülich, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (WWU Münster), and RWTH Aachen University are determined to accelerate the search for solutions. At the Helmholtz Institute Münster (HI MS), jointly founded by these three institutions and operated as a branch office of Forschungszentrum Jülich, work focuses on electrolytes – the most important component in all batteries.
Electrolytes are at the heart of research at HI MS, with the official name of Ionics in Energy Storage. Electrolytes are the medium for ion transport in batteries and also a central component that reacts with all other components of the battery. HI MS will make a decisive contribution towards accelerating the development of storage technologies.
The institute pools and focuses the expertise of all three partners in order to develop concepts for future stationary electrochemical storage. Münster Electrochemical Energy Technology (MEET) at WWU Münster is an institute with an international reputation in the field of rechargeable lithium and lithium-ion batteries with liquid and polymer electrolytes. This outstanding competence in the field of electrochemistry is complemented by Forschungszentrum Jülich's expertise in materials science. At Jülich, priority is given to the investigation, synthesis, and development of cation- and anion-conducting ceramics. The world-class research at RWTH Aachen University rounds off the cooperation between universities and a research establishment for the characterization of large cells and anion-conducting ceramics. By pooling the expertise of three strong partners, HI MS can effectively contribute to tackling important issues concerning the future energy supply. HI MS will cooperate closely with Helmholtz Institute Ulm, which focuses on electrochemical energy storage, complementing the latter's portfolio of energy storage research and consolidating networking activities between the Helmholtz Association and universities.
From 2015, base-level funding for HI MS of about € 5.5 million will be provided via the programme-oriented funding of the Helmholtz Association. Of this, 10 % is contributed by the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and 90 % by the German Federal Government. Furthermore, NRW will invest an additional € 11 million by 2018.