A cooperation agreement to establish a new joint lab in Berlin, Germany, dedicated to the development of new catalytic processes for raw material change, the UniCat-BASF Joint Lab, was signed by the Cluster of Excellence “Unifying Concepts in Catalysis” (UniCat) and the BASF. The BASF and the Technische Universität Berlin are putting substantial resources into setting up the lab. BASF plans to invest up to € 6.4 million during the first five years. The total volume amounts to about € 13 million.
The UniCat-BASF Joint Lab promotes the search for alternatives to petroleum, in particular the use of natural gas. The long term goal is to ensure the continued future availability of raw materials for the production of chemicals. Twelve postdocs and postgrads will do research in the 900 m2 lab. Installation of equipment for catalyst synthesis, characterization and testing starts in January 2012. The lab is to be assigned a steering committee made up of UniCat chair Prof. Dr. Matthias Drieß, Fritz Haber Institute representative Prof. Dr. Robert Schlögl, and the head of the BASF Competence Center Chemicals Research and Engineering, Dr. Friedrich Seitz.