Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion

Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion

Sun and wind provide more than enough clean energy to cover the requirements of mankind – unfortunately, however, not always where and when it is needed, and often not in a usable form. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion are working on finding ways of storing such energy in chemical compounds. They investigate how energy can be efficiently converted into storable and usable forms, in particular searching for suitable catalysts for the chemical reactions necessary for this process. To this end, researchers use plants as models that directly produce sugar by harnessing the energy of light. But they also want to enhance methods such the electrolysis of water, with which excess electrical energy can be stored.


Stiftstr. 34 - 36
45470 Mülheim an der Ruhr
Phone: +49 208 306-4
Fax: +49 208 306-3951

PhD opportunities

This institute has an International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS):

IMPRS on Reactive Structure Analysis for Chemical Reactions

In addition, there is the possibility of individual doctoral research. Please contact the directors or research group leaders at the Institute.

At the right, you can a hand holding a round glass flask. The flask contains a yellowish liquid and a brownish coarse-grained powder that has settled at the bottom.

The Max Planck-Cardiff Centre Funcat lays the foundations for the systematic development of chemical reaction accelerators


The Academy recommends a shift towards sustainable forms of economy, more European and international cooperation, and a strengthening of services of general interest and common goods that will make our societies more resilient to future crises


Five Max Planck researchers win EU funding


Researchers from the Max Planck Society, RWTH Aachen University, and Covestro AG nominated for CO2-based plastics


We live in a moment of profound transitions, a moment in which the accelerating dynamics of planetary change are becoming ever more perceptible.

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With the steel industry accounting for some six percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, the Carbon2Chem project is taking an unusual approach to reducing the industry’s climate footprint: scientists from organizations including the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion and the company Thyssenkrupp AG are studying how this greenhouse gas can be used as a raw material for chemical products that – until now – have been produced from oil.

Second-generation biofuels could solve the food versus fuel conflict because the energy crops involved do not need to be cultivated on arable land specifically reserved for them, which would then no longer be available for food production. Researchers around the world, including Ferdi Schüth, Director at the Max Planck Institute für Kohlenforschung, and Walter Leitner, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion, are working on the production of both economically viable and low-emission biofuels.

Carbon dioxide, of all substances, could help the chemical industry reduce its climate footprint. Using energy from renewable sources, it could be incorporated into the building blocks of plastics and other products – if suitable catalysts and production processes can be found. That is the task of researchers led by Walter Leitner at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion in Muelheim an der Ruhr.

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Catalysis emerges as a crucial technology in shaping a sustainable future, by making it possible to store, distribute and use electricity from renewable sources in chemical energy carriers and products. In addressing the challenges posed by variable electricity supply and diverse chemical feedstocks, adaptability is gaining increasing significance as a parameter for advancing next-generation catalytic systems. The MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion is dedicated to exploring novel methods in designing and creating adaptive catalytic systems, with a specific emphasis on hydrogen activation. 


Meeting in the Middle: Achieving Molecular Intermediate Spin-States

2022 Cutsail III, George E., Henthorn, Justin T.

Cell Biology Chemistry Structural Biology

For iron-sulfur clusters with two irons of different electron counts, a mixed-valent compound is formed. These clusters have a single electron that can be shared and transferred between the two metals, giving them unique and intriguing physical properties. 


Catalysis is an essential technology for a sustainable future as it enables the production of energy carriers and valuablechemicals from renewable energy and non-fossil carbon feedstocks. To cope with fluctuating electricity supply and diversified raw materials, adaptivity is becoming a parameter of every-increasing importance for the development of futurecatalytic systems. New approaches for the design of adaptive catalytic systems are researched at the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion with a focus on the chemical utilization of hydrogen.


Dry methane reforming (DMR) offers a way to convert harmful greenhouse gases into industrially useful syngas. Therefore, there is a growing interest in nickel-based catalysts for DMR. Microscopic studies have shown how a bimetallic NiCo catalyst changes during activation and subsequent DMR reaction. This involves the transformation from an alloy to a segregation of Co and Ni. The addition of Co increases stability, inhibits coking and modulates the electronic structure of Ni in the process. 


Hydrogen - the Material for Energy Transition

2019 Schlögl, Robert

Cell Biology Chemistry Solid State Research

For the success of the energy system transformation we need further building blocks in addition to renewable energies, which we can use directly, or electricity from renewable sources: These are the gaseous energy sources, especially CO2-free hydrogen. In our research group at the Max-Planck-Institute for chemical Energy Conversion we focus on the search for those materials.

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