Robert Schlögl

Robert Schlögl

Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion, Germany / Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society

Safe and Sustainable Energy is the Largest Application of Catalytic Chemistry


Safe and Sustainable Energy is the Largest Application of Catalytic Chemistry

Energy transition is mainly associated with wind and PV systems and possibly with battery storage to help overcoming the inherent volatility of the RES supplies. When looking into the dimension of the transformation necessary reaching with 20 TWa/y the dimension of global food production it becomes slowly evident that one factor would be hydrogen as chemical long-term storage solution[1]. Whereas the dimension of its use is still debated in Europe stakeholders outside Europe have started to create respective infrastructures. Planning for their dimension needs some knowledge about utilization scenarios exceeding by far the present use of hydrogen in chemical industry amounting to about 75 Mt/a.

The detailed understanding of its generation by electrolysis, pyrolysis and photochemistry is pre-requisite to estimate the achievable efficiencies and infrastructures required. The paper reviews some of the underlying catalytic issues of electrolysis with the example of oxygen evolution. Transport of these dimensions of energy as di-hydrogen has several severe challenges. They call for derivatisation into ammonia, methane, methanol or LOHC. All these processes are catalytic as well as the necessary back-conversion reactions required when hydrogen is used in pure form. The example of catalysis for ammonia as energy carrier will be discussed. The enormous responsibility catalysis science has for the success of the energy transition is paralleled by a substantial progress in the perception of how catalysts work. Perhaps the element of surprise is the ratio between static and dynamical phenomena in their operation.

  1. Schlogl, R., Chemical Batteries with CO2. Angewandte Chemie-International Edition, 2022. 61(7).


Robert Schlögl is born in 1954 in Munich. He is Director at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society in Berlin as well as Founding Director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion in Mülheim a.d. Ruhr.

Robert Schlögl’s research focuses primarily on the investigation of heterogeneous catalysts, with the aim to combine scientific with technical applicability as well as on the development of nanochemically-optimized materials for energy storage. The application of knowledge-based heterogeneous catalysis for large-scale chemical energy conversion summarizes his current research focus.

He is Vice-President of the National Academy Leopoldina as well as an Honorary Professor at Technical University Berlin, at Humboldt University Berlin, at University Duisburg-Essen, at Ruhr University Bochum as well as a Distinguished Affiliated Professor at TU Munich and an Honorary Professor of Boreskov Institute of Catalysis. He is member at acatech and BBAW and other numerous international organizations, received numerous national and international awards as well as is partner in numerous European and international joint projects.

He is Author/co-author of more than 1200 publications, more than 550 presentations and invited talks as well as inventor of more than 20 patent families.

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