Dr. Karl Mayrhofer, MPI Düsseldorf, wins German state innovation award

by | Nov 27, 2012

Dr. Mayrhofer, head of the electrocatalysis group at Düsseldorf's Max Planck Institute for Iron Research, has been awarded a young researchers prize.

Dr. Karl Mayrhofer (34; pictured), chemist and head of the electrocatalysis group at Düsseldorf’s Max Planck Institute for Iron Research (MPIE), was awarded a young researchers innovation prize at the North Rhine-Westphalia Innovation Award Ceremony on Monday, 26 November. Svenja Schulze, Minister of Innovation, Science and Research of North Rhine-Westphalia, presented the award in a special ceremony at the K21 Art Collection.

“The jury is convinced that the work of Dr. Mayrhofer on analysis and development of electrocatalysts will help to develop material concepts that will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases and thus be of enormous importance for sustainable energy conversion and storage,” said Schulze on Monday.

Dr. Karl Mayrhofer, born in Austria, has worked at the MPIE since 2010 as group leader in the surface chemistry and surface engineering department. Previously, he worked at, among others, the Technical University of Munich and at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.

His work includes the characterization and development of electrocatalysts. These are crucial for energy conversion in fuel cells. In a new attempt to understand the connection between activity, selectivity and stability of such materials, he has examined various catalysts. The ultimate aim is to react carbon dioxide (CO2) with the help of catalysts in, for example, methanol, to be used in direct methanol fuel cells. “The efficiency of these catalysts to be tested in prototypes to make the entire process interesting for industry,” said Mayrhofer.

The Innovation Award is given by the North Rhine-Westphalia ministry of science research, and honours excellence in those fields relevant to the major challenges facing society. Professor Henning Kagermann, President of acatech (the German Academy of Sciences), is chairman of the jury. The criteria for the award are strong scientific potential, excellent research and a concrete practical application.

Source: MPI Düsseldorf (original in German)

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