Royal interest in clean energy storage
King Felipe the VI of Spain visited the Fritz Haber Institute
On Monday, 17 October 2022, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain began their three-day visit to Germany with a reception hosted by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at Bellevue Palace. The Spanish royal couple last visited Germany together in 2014. In the evening, the Federal President will host a state banquet in honour of the royal couple. The afternoon, however, was all about science: King Felipe, who is interested in the subject of energy, paid a visit to Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, together with his wife Queen Letizia, to inform himself about the institute’s energy research.
Max Planck President Martin Stratmann and Beatriz Roldán, director at the MPI, welcomed the royal visitors. Martin Wolf, Director of the Department of Physical Chemistry at the FHI, gave a brief introduction to the history of the Institute. The discussion with Beatriz Roldán then focused on the topic of green hydrogen and questions about its production, use and transport, but also how it can be converted into other products or possibly used in Spain's steel industry. The Max Planck director then presented the research of the Interface Science department, which deals with climate change issues: How can carbon dioxide be used to produce chemicals for industry and also fuels? And can emissions be minimised and the carbon cycle closed in this way?
Roldán then took King Felipe on a tour of the Institute campus and into their laboratory buildings to show him the experiments being developed in their group to answer the above questions.
Prince of Asturias Prize
This is not Felipe's first contact with the Max Planck Society: in 2013, in fact, the MPG was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for International Cooperation. Felipe, then still Crown Prince, presented the prize to then Max Planck President Peter Gruss and four selected international young scientists from the MPG.
The Prince of Asturias Prize (now the Princess of Asturias Prize, as Felipe's daughter is the patron), which is highly regarded in Spain, honours scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work by individuals, institutions, consortia or groups of institutions at an international level. They are awarded by the Foundation of the same name, a private non-profit organisation whose aim is to contribute to the appreciation and promotion of all the scientific, cultural and humanistic values that are part of the World Heritage.