German–Canadian Materials Acceleration Centre (GC-MAC) Launched
A step forward for future energy technologies
With the German–Canadian Materials Acceleration Centre (GC-MAC), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Canadian government are creating a joint platform for the rapid development of climate-neutral energy technology. In addition to Forschungszentrum Jülich, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), and the Canadian National Research Council (NRC) are involved in this project. The center promotes the close integration of research infrastructures in both countries and is being established simultaneously in both Germany and Canada. Its objective is to achieve technological advances in particular in hydrogen production as well as CO2-neutral fuels and energy storage.
An intensive scientific and technical exchange between Canadian and German scientists has already existed for 50 years. The collaboration at the interface of materials research, energy research, and artificial intelligence will be taken to a new level at the GC-MAC. The expertise and infrastructures of the partners involved contribute to the center and create a strong foundation for excellent research. The center will target, channel, and integrate the activities of German and Canadian scientists
One crucial factor in the success of the center is the orchestrated use of different approaches. The team relies on physical theory and multiscale modeling as well as computer-aided simulations to drastically accelerate the cycle of material development in robot-controlled autonomous platforms. Artificial intelligence methods play a key role in processing the multi-layered information and guiding the complex development steps. “Our center forms a powerful alliance of research communities in Germany and Canada on a topic of utmost importance: the use of artificial intelligence, data analytics, and robotics to rapidly gain access to materials for energy technologies of the future,” explains Prof. Michael Eikerling (JARA-ENERGY), GC-MAC coordinator for Germany and head of the Institute of Energy and Climate Research – Theory and Computation of Energy Materials (IEK-13) at Forschungszentrum Jülich.
Prof. Michael Eikerling, coordinator of the GC-MAC for Germany and director at the Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK-13) of Forschungszentrum Jülich Picture: © Forschungszentrum Jülich / Ralf-Uwe Limbach
Beyond the development of specific energy materials and technologies, the training of the next generation of scientists is also an important goal of the GC-MAC. The ambitious thematic orientation and the cooperative international environment are intended to create new standards in this area. Another aim is to expand and strengthen the transfer of knowledge to the general public, as well as to policymakers in industry and government.
“Strengthening international partnerships will position Canada and Germany as global innovation leaders,” said Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, The Honourable Seamus O'Regan, emphasizing the importance of the GC-MAC. This new centre will deliver new energy technologies to market through world-class research and collaboration. “This is how we get to net-zero,” O´Regan added.
The GC-MAC is coordinated by Forschungszentrum Jülich. Other participating institutions are the University of Toronto, the University of British Colombia in Vancouver, Simon Fraser University, the Helmholtz Association, the Helmholtz Institutes Ulm and Erlangen-Nürnberg, RWTH Aachen University, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, and the University of Münster.
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Michael H. Eikerling
Head of the Institute of Energy and Climate Research – Theory and Computation of Energy Materials, Forschungszentrum Jülich (IEK-13)