University of Heidelberg

University of Heidelberg
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University of Heidelberg
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The University of Heidelberg and Germany's leading chemical and materials firm BASF have signed a contract to set up a catalysis laboratory.

The Catalysis Research Laboratory (CaRLa), based in the Heidelberg Technology Park, will focus on homogeneous catalysis, and leverage Heidelberg University's special research area - “Molecular Catalysts: Structure and Functional Design”.  The CaRLa is funded by the two partners and the federal state of Baden-Württemberg, the laboratory is dedicated to the development of new homogeneous catalysts, starting fall of 2006.

Dr. Christoph Jäkel is the designated CaRLa lab manager. During his time as a Humboldt grantee at Stanford University, California, Jäkel learned the importance of an interdisciplinary and international approach for excellence in research. Upon returning to Germany in 2002, he joined BASF's Chemicals Research and Technology division where he works on the development and application of homogeneous catalysts.

Catalysis is the single most important technology in the chemical industry. More than eighty percent of all chemical products come into contact with catalysts at least once during their synthesis process. Unlike heterogeneous catalysis, which uses catalysts in their solid form to mediate reactions, homogeneous catalysis makes use of catalysts that have been dissolved in the reaction mixture. High-performance catalysts have huge benefits, both ecological and economic. For instance, they help to cut down significantly on the resources used for substance reactions whilst producing fewer by-products; open up new, more cost-effective ways of manufacturing established products; and enable the efficient manufacture of new products.

“We look upon CaRLa as a model example of our university's new value-adding ‘Industry on Campus' concept and as a far-reaching signal designed in particular to help young scientists to present the results of their research to a wider community and put their achievements to industrial use,” said Prof. Peter Hommelhoff, Rector of the University of Heidelberg.