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Forschungszentrum Jülich - Annual Report 2011

Karsten Beneke (Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors) 6 Forschungszentrum Jülich | Annual Report 2011 Preface by the Board of Directors I mplementing sustainable energy concepts is one of the key challenges for the future. Following the Fukushima disaster in March 2011 and the ensuing transformation of the ener- gy sector, the urgency of this task has increased in the re- search sector. In June 2011, the German Bundestag resolved to phase out nuclear power by 2022 – the expansion of renew- able energies must therefore be accelerated. With its well-es- tablished expertise in the fields of energy, climate and envi- ronmental research, Forschungszentrum Jülich has set itself the task of helping to find innovative solutions for society and for industry. The ultimate aim is to create a reliable energy supply that is economically and ecologically reconcilable. At Jülich, we are working on the scientific and technological ba- sis to transform our energy system and we are investigating the consequences this will have on the atmosphere and the climate. In 2011, we continued to pursue our strategy of focused en- ergy and environmental research. This was also reflected in the systematic restructuring of Jülich as a research centre: the number of subinstitutes working in this core area increased to fifteen last year and in 2011 we also invested some € 108 mil- lion of our budget in research topics related to energy. A deci- sive factor for a reliable energy supply, which is increasingly being fed from renewable sources, involves energy storage sys- tems which compensate for fluctuations. Here, Forschungszen- trum Jülich is concentrating on stationary storage: on making progress in battery development and on investigating hydrogen technology. In climate research, Forschungszentrum Jülich plays an important role in international collaborative projects, such as the pan-European project PEGASOS, which is laying the scientific basis for EU climate protection measures. In addition to the Institute of Energy and Climate Research, many other subinstitutes at Jülich are also involved in energy research. The electron microscope PICO, which was unveiled in February 2012 and is unique in Europe, is an instrument that will help develop energy-efficient information technology and a climate-smart energy supply. Like the instruments used in neutron research, it is an important tool for materials re- searchers. Materials with novel properties will play a key role in the coming years when it comes to creating a sustainable energy supply and implementing energy-saving technologies, particularly within the concept of green IT – energy-efficient developments in the area of information processing. Our am- bitious aim is to become one of the leading institutions in the area of novel material systems for the energy supply of the future. New materials – whether it’s membranes for hydrogen technology, composite materials or coatings that repair hair- line cracks themselves, or even thermoelectric materials that convert waste heat into electricity – will be extremely impor- tant in the transition towards a sustainable economy. This does not only apply to energy research but also to our other priorities, namely health research and information technology. As one of the large Helmholtz centres in Germany, we see it as our mission to develop applications while simultaneously pursuing longer-term research. For this reason, we work close- ly with partners from the academic and industrial sectors – for example, in the area of biotechnology for the microbial manu- facturing of products from renewable raw materials. At the same time, we have the longer perspective required to devel- op future technologies regardless of whether profits are ex- pected in the short term or not. How the foundation is being laid in this way for the sustainable technologies of tomorrow is illustrated by the examples presented throughout our Annual Report 2011. Prof. Dr. Achim Bachem (Chairman of the Board of Directors) Prof. Dr.-Ing. Harald Bolt (Member of the Board of Directors) Prof. Dr. Sebastian M. Schmidt (Member of the Board of Directors)