Research Alliance Ruhr

Top international research on pressing issues of the future - this is what the University Alliance Ruhr has been working on in four research centres and one college since 2021. The initiative of the Ruhr Conference is a testament to the Ruhr area’s transformation into a vibrant metropolis of knowledge. Unprecedented career opportunities are unfolding here and now for excellent scientists and scholars from all over the world.

Research Center Future Energy Materials and Systems

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The Research Center Future Energy Materials and Systems aims to develop new materials that are urgently needed for energy carrier generation, energy conversion, storage, and transport in a targeted, rapid and sustainable manner. The goal is to understand fundamental properties and relevant processes in the generation and use of complex materials in order to develop building blocks for a sustainable energy system. At the same time, the college is looking into regenerative processes to replace energy-intensive ways of materials production and processing.

The ways in which composition and processing influence materials structures and properties are considered along all relevant length scales from the atom to the component. The goal is to realize the vision of the knowledge-based development of novel materials and processes for the energy system of the future, thus replacing a development approach, which so far is often empirical and sequential, with materials and process design.

In concrete terms, this involves such things as the fundamental design of novel materials, including interfaces and surfaces, starting from the atomic scale on the basis of materials exploration with experimental and simulative high-throughput methods. For this purpose, hypotheses are derived from physical and chemical models in combination with machine learning and optimized in an iterative and experimentally simulative design cycle to obtain correlations between chemical composition, crystal structure and microstructure of new, chemically complex materials for applications under extreme conditions. Furthermore, the focus is on observing and controlling quantum mechanical processes in real time at interfaces and in heterostructures for energy-relevant materials such as catalysts, batteries, magnets, and superconductors. Another field of interest is the development of scalable synthesis, coating, and structuring methods. These close the gap between newly discovered materials and their implementation in electrochemical and electrified processes and make it possible to evaluate the innovative material concepts in a system context. Aspects of sustainability, resource availability, cost effectiveness and usability in the energy system are considered from the very outset and set priorities for the development of components and system-compatible materials.

Interdisciplinary approach

The Research Center Future Energy Materials and Systems brings together numerous disciplines of the natural sciences and engineering:

  • Material Science
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Information Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Process Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering

Professor Alfred Ludwig, Director:

“At the Research Center Future Energy Materials and Systems, our goal is to develop new, urgently needed materials for a sustainable energy system of the future. With a diverse and powerful research landscape, which also has many ties to industry, the Ruhr region constitutes an excellent basis for our Center. We combine scientific creativity with the expertise on how to bring new ideas to fruition. Exploring materials in the context of energy transition is highly relevant, and our Research Center will provide the platform enabling the three universities in the Ruhr Area to make a significant contribution in this field.

We are pleased that the first three outstanding colleagues will be conducting research in new professorships at the center starting in April 2023. One of the aims involves the development of functional materials such as catalysts for energy carrier production – keyword green hydrogen – as well as materials that can be used for climate-friendly cooling, for example. To this end, we need to understand the basic properties and relevant processes of producing and using new materials. We examine how the composition and processing of materials influence structures and properties, from the atom to the component. We approach the design of new materials, including interfaces, for example, with experimental and simulative high-throughput methods and bridge the gap between newly discovered materials and their implementation in applications through scalable synthesis, coating and structuring processes. In the process, we also consider aspects of sustainability, resource availability, economic efficiency and usability in the energy system from the outset.”

(Photo credit: RUB, Marquard)

Infrastructure and collaborative projects

The following research buildings offer infrastructure of the highest quality for interdisciplinary collaboration:
•    NETZ (NanoEnergyTechnologyCenter)
•    Centre for Interface-Dominated High Performance Materials (ZGH)

The innovative research endeavors of the Research Center Future Energy Materials and Systems are based on the successful, cross-location cooperation taking place in numerous collaborative research centers (CRCs) and transregios (TR):

Non-university partners

The Research Center Future Energy Materials and Systems is firmly rooted in a strong research environment in the Ruhr valley:

Contact for further information

Scientific Board Members:

Further Members: 

Managing Director:


The Research Centre Future Energy Materials and Systems is part of the Research Alliance Ruhr.