Development of efficient battery systems for future energy supply and mobility is the objective of the Ulm Helmholtz Institute for Electrochemical Energy Storage (HIU). This new research institution celebrated its opening in Ulm. "The new Helmholtz Institute for Electrochemical Energy Storage in Ulm shall be the basis of future high-performance battery generations. This is of high importance to Germany as a location of technology and industry and to Baden-Wuerttemberg with its strong automotive industry," underlined Federal Minister of Research Professor Annette Schavan and Minister President of Baden-Wuerttemberg Stefan Mappus.
The new Ulm Helmholtz Institute is founded and organized by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), member of the Helmholtz Association, in cooperation with Ulm University. Associated partners are the German Aerospace Center (DLR), also member of the Helmholtz Association, and the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Wuerttemberg (ZSW). A first step towards the close cooperation of these four partners was made in 2009 by establishing the BMBF Alliance of Competence in Electrochemistry for Electromobility in Southern Germany. The new center of viable battery research will be located on the campus of Ulm University and bridge the distance between locations of Ulm and Karlsruhe.
"The Ulm Helmholtz Institute will be a center of excellence for electrochemical storage pooling the vast expertise of the partners KIT and Ulm University as well as of the associated partners DLR and ZSW in various fields of battery research," emphasized KIT President Professor Eberhard Umbach during the opening ceremony.
As a Helmholtz institution, the HIU will be funded via KIT by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg at a ratio of 90 to 10. The DLR share will be funded via the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. The annual budget of the new institute will amount to EUR 5 million.
Together with Ulm University, the state will spend EUR 12 million for a new building in the Ulm Science City that will be ready for occupancy in 2013. It will accommodate up to 80 employees. In this and the coming year, 35 new positions will presumably be established at Ulm and Karlsruhe with a main focus initially lying on fundamental research for new lithium-ion technologies. At the partners involved, a total of 200 scientists work on the development of new battery systems.
Apart from the use of the partners' resources, four new professorships will be established at the HIU, one of which will be funded by the DRL to contribute to the development of energy storage, energy conversion, and electromobility. It is also planned to establish a research training group to specifically prepare young scientists for international competition in battery research.
On the official founding date of January 01, 2011, the HIU Board of Directors started its work. It consists of the Professors Horst Hahn (KIT; Founding Director of HIU), Dieter Kolb (Ulm University), Axel Groß (Ulm University), and Werner Tillmetz (ZSW) as well as the associated members Dr. Andreas Gutsch (KIT) and Professor Ulrich Wagner (DLR).