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The Magazine from Forschungszentrum J端lich

RESEARCH in J端lich



RESEARCH in Jülich The Magazine from Forschungszentrum Jülich

The Earth’s atmosphere: a variety of processes in the air surrounding our planet influence the environment and the climate. Atmospheric research is increasingly concentrating on the pollutant input generated by humans. Cover illustration: The research aircraft known as “Eco-Dimona” is a single-engine power glider. It measures the concentration of carbon dioxide and water in the atmosphere above a test area.


Research in Jülich 1 | 2009

Environmental Research Safeguards the Basis of Life


limate change will have serious consequences that will endanger the basis of human life. This was confirmed by the Fourth Assessment Report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Scientists from Forschungszentrum Jülich were also involved in compiling this report. The economic and intelligent use of raw materials and an eco-friendly energy supply are therefore among the most important topics for the future of our society. The seriousness of the situation is acknowledged by almost everyone today. But how should we react to it today? Who should react? Decisive action from politicians, new products from industry, altered behaviour on the part of consumers – all of these things are important. However, we will only succeed if we understand the complex processes in our environment in more detail. We must understand how the atmosphere, the plant world and the soil function – both alone and together. Is the energy carrier hydrogen a friend or foe of the climate? How do clouds affect the climate? … These and many more questions have yet to be answered, and the gaps in our somewhat patchy knowledge have yet to be filled. Monitoring, understanding, acting – and in this order – is therefore our way of approaching environmental and energy research. Using measuring instruments on the ground and in the air, environmental researchers from Jülich collect comprehensive data in international campaigns – both regionally and globally. They clarify interactions and simulate them on the basis of the processes that occur. This is how they are creating a basis for targeted and sustainable action. For example, Jülich atmospheric researchers observed an accelerated degradation of atmospheric pollutants in the air above South China that proved very different to the process discovered in the past. They are now clarifying this newly observed mechanism using simulations and experiments in the SAPHIR atmosphere simulation chamber at Jülich.

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Prof. Dr. Achim Bachem, Chairman of the Board of Directors (right) and Prof. Dr. Harald Bolt, Member of the Board of Directors (left) Another example: it is well known that the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) is absorbed by plants and soils, stored, and gradually released back into the atmosphere again. However, what interactions we can expect between these organic carbon dioxide reservoirs, different types of land use, soil moisture and the forecasted climate change – with an increase in temperature and altered precipitation – is a question that still remains to be answered. Jülich scientists are trying to clarify this. They also hope to discover how plants and plant production can be adapted to the changing climate conditions. While these two examples focus on monitoring and understanding processes, we are close to finding applications for our knowledge in other fields. An example can be found in materials research for a future climate-friendly energy supply. Scientists from the Institute of Energy Research are developing special membranes that separate carbon dioxide in flue gases as well as new materials for fuel cells and energy-saving lamps. This topic can also be found among the articles that follow. We hope that this edition of “Research in Jülich” makes for interesting reading.

Prof. Dr. Achim Bachem Chairman of the Board of Directors

Prof. Dr. Harald Bolt Member of the Board of Directors


10 :: FLYING LABORATORIES Measuring instruments reach lofty heights on board the Zeppelin, on aircraft or in satellites. They allow atmospheric researchers to investigate the influence of trace gases and suspended particles on the atmosphere.



BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH The relationships between soils, plants and the climate are varied. Plants absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and produce substances that promote cloud formation, forests store water, and soils release different levels of carbon dioxide depending on the weather conditions. In long-term projects, Jülich researchers are investing how these things interact.

UNDERSTANDING THE HEAVENS ABOVE CHINA Jülich atmospheric researchers travelled to the Olympic Games in China. They drew up recommendations aiming to reduce pollution loads during the Games and made surprising discoveries on the self-cleaning ability of the atmosphere.


Research in Jülich 1 | 2009




:: Snapshots FROM Jülich 6 Research at a Glance A kaleidoscope of pictures shows highlights from Jülich ­research – from searching for the origin of mass and ­dis­covering changes in the brain of synesthetes to ­fathoming the depths of the nanoworld.

:: FOCUS 9 Understanding the Climate 10 Flying Laboratories Measuring instruments take flight to analyse trace gases and suspended particles in the atmosphere. 13 Between Heaven and Earth Jülich environmental scientists investigate the interactions between soils, plants and the climate. 16 Global Climate Change on a Regional Level Interview with Prof. Harry Vereecken, Director of the ­Institute of Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere. 18 Ice Clouds in Greenhouse Earth Cirrus clouds composed of tiny ice crystals can have both a cooling and a warming effect on the climate. Which effect is stronger? Jülich researchers are tracking down the answer … 20 Climate – Monitoring, Understanding, Acting 22 From Climate Killers to Raw Material Sources Microalgae can retain carbon dioxide from power plant flue gases. They could therefore serve as renewable raw materials for the production of petrol and plastics in the future.

:: Highlights 26 Understanding the Heavens above China The atmospheric chemistry above Chinese conurbations is different to what was assumed in the past. 30 Automation instead of Manual Labour Jülich energy researchers are developing automated manufacturing techniques for fuel cells. 32 Hydrogen – Friend or Foe? Scientists at Jülich give the all-clear. 34 Dangerous Emergency Brake for Global Warming Sulphate particles in the atmosphere could counteract the greenhouse effect but they would also have serious side effects. 36 Light with the Right Pinch of Salt Mercury is to be banned in energy-saving bulbs. Jülich researchers are developing alternatives. 38 News on Environmental and Energy Research On chemical weather forecasts, world record for fuel cells, and networks for plant research.

24 Capturing and Burying Carbon Dioxide Filters that separate the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in flue gases will make power plants more eco-friendly.

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HELP FOR DAMAGED DISCS If a worn intervertebral disc causes unbearable pain and noninvasive treatments do not bring relief, the disc may have to be replaced with an implant. Scientists at Jülich have helped to enhance such titanium implants. With their patented fabrication technique, the size and volume of pores in titanium can be ­accurately controlled, allowing them to be optimally colonised by bone cells. In recognition of this achievement, Dr. Martin Bram, Dr. Hans-Peter Buchkremer and Prof. Detlev Stöver, together with Dr. Thomas Imwinkelried from the Swiss medical company Synthes, were awarded the Schrödinger Prize worth € 50,000.

ORIGIN OF MASS Using the Jülich supercomputer known as JUGENE, an international team of researchers has calculated the mass of the most important building blocks of matter – protons and neutrons – for the first time ever. The sophisticated simulations performed by the scientists confirmed the accuracy of a basic physical theory – quantum chromodynamics. The editors of the high-­ impact journal Science voted this research work one of the top ten “Breakthroughs of the Year 2008”.

Research at a Glance This magazine focuses on environmental research at Jülich. However, this is not the only area in which Jülich scientists have scored great successes.



Research in Jülich 1 | 2009


CHANGES IN THE BRAINS OF SYNESTHETES When people with synesthesia see a letter of the alphabet, for example, this can trigger a secondary colour perception. Scientists from Forschungszentrum Jülich and University Hospital of Cologne used magnetic resonance tomography to demonstrate that synesthetes have an increased proportion of grey matter in the left parietal lobe (left) and in the lower right temporal lobe (right). While the brain region in the lower temporal lobe is dedicated to the perception of colour, the parietal lobe is responsible for ­relating sensory stimuli.

A LOOK AT A QUANTUM EFFECT An international research team, which ­included the Jülich chemist Dr. Gustav Bihlmayer, succeeded for the first time in measuring the spin of electrons in a ­material that exhibits the quantum spin Hall effect, which was theoretically predicted in 2004. This effect could make it pos­sible in future to transport information from storage media virtually lossfree and to manipulate it electrically.

BLOOD IN MOTION Physicists from Jülich and Tokyo used elaborate computer simulations to show that when the blood flow in narrow capillaries contains a low content of red blood cells, these cells line up in a row and take on the shape of parachutes (top). The blood cells change their shape at higher densities, lining up in two rows like a zipper (bottom). During the transition between these two states, the flow resistance of blood increases abruptly.

NANOSONAR Just as sonar sends out sound waves to explore the depths of the ocean, electrons can be used by scanning tunnelling microscopes to investigate the hidden properties of the atomic lattice of metals. This is the method used by scientists from Jülich, Göttingen and Halle to make the Fermi surfaces inside metals visible. Fermi surfaces determine important properties such as the conductivity, heat capacity and magnetism of a metal.

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SIMULATING WITH PETAFLOP/S In May 2009, three new supercomputers were unveiled at Jülich for European research. The most powerful of these can perform 1015 floating point operations per second (one petaflop/s). At the time of its inauguration, it was the fastest computer in Europe and the third fastest in the world. At an official event, Federal Research Minister Annette Schavan and Prime Minister of NRW Jürgen Rüttgers emphasised the importance of supercomputing for Germany and Europe, particularly on the international stage.



Research in Jülich 1 | 2009


:: UNDERSTANDING THE CLIMATE Soil, biosphere and atmosphere influence the local and global climate. Jülich scientists are trying to identify these factors as accurately as possible in order to understand their diverse interactions. What exactly happens in the soil, in plants and in the air? How do these processes affect the climate? How do they react to natural changes? What ­consequences do human activities have on them? ­Researchers aim to ­develop strategies to protect the environment and facilitate the ­sustainable use of natural resources.

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Flying Laboratories Satellites, research and commercial aircraft, and airships transport measuring instruments into the sky. These are then used by researchers at Jülich to analyse the influence of trace gases and suspended particles on the climate.


xperts estimate the number of substances in the atmosphere to be somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000. “Among these substances are trace gases which are decisive for the properties of the atmosphere, despite the fact that they often only make up around a billionth of the components in air,” says Jülich atmospheric researcher Prof. Martin Riese. A whole range of substances have a considerable influence on the climate. Over the next few decades, methane, for example, will have a shortterm effect that will be just as serious as that of the greenhouse gas CO2, which is the main cause behind climate change.


Single chemical processes can be investigated in the laboratory without having to take flight. “However, the extent to which this process also acts in nature is often questionable in such instances. For example, feedback effects could be induced, which simply cannot be observed under laboratory conditions,” says the ­expert Dr. Franz Rohrer, explaining the reason behind the Jülich high-altitude flights in the polar regions, above Lake Constance, and into the centre of tropical thunderclouds. Scientists have often discovered processes during these outdoor measurements that would have been ­impossible to predict using laboratory studies. The best-known example is the formation of the hole in the ozone layer above the Antarctic. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are used as coolants and propellants, were surprisingly identified as the cause behind the hole. When they escape and enter the upper polar atmosphere, CFCs are converted into ozonedepleting substances in previously unknown chemical reactions on cloud

particles. “Moreover, meteorological pro­ cesses can influence the transport of trace gases for hundreds of kilometres. In other words, they take place on a scale that cannot be reproduced in the laboratory,” says Riese. Looking into a coffee cup from a satellite All of this could lead us to think that atmospheric researchers actually don’t need to go anywhere at all, that they should just stay at home and concentrate on analysing the data that they receive from the measuring instruments on satellites. However, as the scientists at the Jülich Institute of Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere (ICG) point out, the spatial resolution of such images, for ­example, often leaves much to be ­desired. Franz Rohrer, who works in ICG-2 (Troposhere), explains what scientists mean by this with the help of the cup of coffee in front of him. As he stirs in his milk, he uses it as an example: “If you take a look at my cup of coffee from a satellite, you will only be able to

Research in Jülich 1 | 2009


Measuring instruments on environmental satellites (far left), on the Zeppelin NT (left) and on board research aircraft such as HALO (below) provide Jülich researchers with supplementary information on trace gases and suspended particles in the ­atmosphere.

recognise that milk has been ­added by the brightness of the image. However, you won’t be able to tell ­whether the milk has been homogeneously distributed or if streaks have formed.” Earth observation satellites do not supply continuous data from a particular region – despite the fact that the trace gas contents change over the course of a few hours or even within ­minutes. This is one reason why atmospheric researchers cannot do without aircraft and Zeppelins. To put it simply: they can get closer to the action. Martin Riese and his team from ICG-1 (Stratosphere) are working to improve the visual acuity of satellite measurements. In the past, satellites could at best determine the average ­volume of a trace gas in a column of air that was three to five kilometres high and hundreds of kilometres wide. In cooperation with colleagues from Forschungs­zentrum Karlsruhe, scientists at Jülich are developing a measuring instrument that can classify the average values of trace gases at vertical distances of less than one kilo-

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metre and horizontal distances of around 50 kilometres. The instrument plays a major role in the idea behind PREMIER (Process Exploitation through Measurement of Infrared and Millimetre-Wave Emitted Radiation). Forschungszentrum Jülich and its European partners have proposed PREMIER as an earth observation mission with funding from the European Space Agency (ESA) totalling € 300 million. It would begin in 2016. Up to now, the application has proven very successful. Out of a total of 24 suggestions, three have been selected for a more indepth analysis of their scientific potential and technical feasibility – PREMIER is one of them. A similar measuring instrument for more than 15 trace gases will be tested for the first time in 2010 on the research aircraft HALO. New research aircraft This jet in the service of climate and atmospheric research cost € 62 million. It conducted its first flight in Germany in January 2009. HALO surpasses all other

European research aircraft with a range of over 8,000 kilometres, a flight altitude of more than 15 kilometres and a payload of 3 tonnes. “With HALO, we can fly into interesting chemical and meteorological situations and study the processes there in detail,” says atmospheric chemist Dr. Andreas Volz-Thomas. The Jülich researchers are particularly interested in the tropopause, which is about five to fifteen kilometres above the surface of the Earth. The troposphere plays an important role in climate change as the changes undergone here by greenhouse gases, suspended particles and clouds have a particularly strong effect on the radiation properties of the atmosphere and thus on the temperature on the ground. 100 million research kilometres Commercial airlines in contrast avoid “interesting” meteorological situations, such as storms, and cannot carry tonnes of measuring instruments. Despite this, however, they can still be very success-


Special air-intake systems are required if scientists are to use aircraft to investigate the atmosphere. The Central Technology Division at Forschungszentrum Jülich developed this intake system for HALO. It captures highly reactive atmospheric trace substances, which can then be analysed using the measuring instruments inside the aircraft.

fully employed for atmospheric research. This was demonstrated in the MOZAIC project, which was coordinated by CNRS. Between 1994 and 2004, measuring instruments on board five long-haul Airbus aircraft took readings of the tropopause air over the course of more than 100 million kilometres. “There is no other way of ­recording so many data over such a long period of time. They have already been used in almost 150 scientific publications”, says Volz-Thomas. One of the ­major findings was that the upper troposphere above East Asia contains much more carbon monoxide than expected. The reason: forest fires and slash and burn. Satellites failed to detect the ­extremely high concentrations of carbon monoxide. Once the MOZAIC project had come to a close, the long-term European observation system IAGOS-ERI was launched. “In IAGOS-ERI, lighter easier-to-maintain and more powerful measuring instruments play an important role. They have also been authorised for retrofitting on aircraft,” says Volz-Thomas, head of the IAGOS project at Jülich. At the end of 2009, a Lufthansa machine will be fitted with the new equipment for the first time. Discovering slowness A flying laboratory has long been lacking for studies on the lowest atmospheric layer up to an altitude of 1,000 metres. The measuring instruments were too heavy and too large for the available research aircraft. Moreover, the aircraft flew too fast to collect near-Earth data with a high spatial resolution. As a result, a group of scientists working on the ­troposphere at Jülich headed by Prof. Andreas Wahner contacted the German company who operate the Zeppelin NT:


Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei GmbH (DZR) in Friedrichshafen. The Zeppelin NT is an airship that normally takes tourists on scenic flights above Lake Constance. It can float slowly at low altitudes, ascend and descend, pause in the air and fly with the wind whilst carrying equipment weighing up to one tonne. “Since then, we have conducted two very successful measurement campaigns, each lasting a number of days in South Germany. During these campaigns, we determined the concentration of hydroxyl radicals, for example. These radicals are compounds that react with many pollutants, often leading to their degradation. This is why they are often referred to as the detergent of the atmosphere,” says

Jülich researcher Dr. Andreas Hofzumahaus (for more on the OH radical, see p. 29). If you ask him whether he has time to enjoy the scenery during such a research mission over Lake Constance, Hofzumahaus gives a wry smile. Nobody has time to enjoy the breathtaking sights. Instead, a mission like this means hard work for a team of many scientists: from instrument development and flight planning to data analysis. Apart from the pilot, only one researcher is actually allowed on board – the Zeppelin can’t take any more weight. highlights/zeppelin Frank Frick

The most important flight routes of the five commercial Airbus aircraft involved in the MOZAIC project. The equipment on board measured the volume of ozone and carbon monoxide in the atmosphere among other things.

Research in Jülich 1 | 2009


Between Heaven and Earth Forests and fields remove the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store the carbon as biomass. Scientists speak of CO2 sinks. The majority of the carbon remains in the ground: in root systems, leaf litter and humus. Soil organisms decompose the dead parts of plants and then slowly release the CO2 back into the atmosphere. But how much CO2 is swallowed or released under what conditions? Scientists at the Jülich Institute of Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere are tracking down the answer.

Knowledge from the bare earth Dr. Michael Herbst works with his two feet planted firmly on the ground. Absolutely nothing grows in his plot in Selhausen. For the last three years, Herbst and his colleagues have used environmentally-friendly weedkillers and cultivation practices to ensure that the field has remained this barren as part of the FLOWatch project. The project is part of the

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German Research Foundations “Transregio32” Collaborative Research Centre (SFB). Only decomposed plant material from the former cultivation of wheat can still be found in the field. Herbst wants to know: How much CO2 does the naked soil release into the atmosphere? How is the flow of carbon influenced by rain or drought, snow, or a mild or cool summer? What is the effect of a rough or fine soil

structure? In order to find answers to these questions, the scientists insert open tubes with a diameter of around 20 centimetres into the earth and measure the increase of CO2 as well as the moisture and temperature of the soil in them. “Temperature has the biggest influence,” reports Herbst. “But the soil organisms don’t like drought either.” However, relationships exist here that the


Anke Schickling uses a spectrometer to measure the solar radiation reflected by the surface. The “Eco-Dimona” research aircraft can be seen in the background measuring the concentration of water and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

scientists call “non-linear”: a certain increase in soil moisture does not auto­matically lead to a corresponding increase in the degradation of plant remains in the soil. If it is too wet, the soil actually emits less CO2. “It’s as if the soil pores are blocked and gas can no longer circulate,” explains Herbst. The only way of getting to the bottom of these relationships is with many measured data from the barren field. From the soil to the field Normally, soils in our latitude have a more or less thick vegetation cover. How the vegetation influences the exchange between soil and atmosphere is a question that Dr. Alexander Graf and his team want to answer in the FLUXPAT project. FLUXPAT is also part of SFB “Trans­ regio32”. The scientists sink their CO2 measurement chambers into arable land between cereal or sugar beet plants. “The plants above the surface are therefore not of primary interest to us,” ­explains Graf. What Graf is interested in, in the first instance, is what happens at the soil-atmosphere interface in a field with living roots running through it. Dr. Uwe Rascher is interested in the vegetation itself. He tracks the photosynthetic activity of the plants with his team. To do so, the researchers take measurements in the fields and from aircraft. In


the future, they hope to use satellites to measure the fluorescence of green plants in sunlight. The less fluorescence, the greater the photosynthetic activity and the more avidly the plants remove CO2 from the ­atmosphere. Eddy covariance measurement systems record the flow of eddies above the field and measure temperature, water vapour, and the vertical CO2 flow – in other words taken together, everything that is influenced by soil and plants. “The bottom line here is what the chamber measurements and plant measurements add up to,” says Graf. “The results so far have agreed very well.” “We compare different forms of vegetation cover on the one hand,” reports Rascher. “While on the other hand we want to know what effects changing environmental conditions, such as temperature, solar radiation or humidity, have on photo­synthesis and the uptake of CO2 over the course of a day.” The data are then fed into computers in order to refine and further develop models. These models will predict how global warming impacts on different agricultural crops and natural ecosystems. Caged trees Dr. Astrid Kiendler-Scharr looks at the relationship between vegetation and climate change from another point of view. Her work is part of an EU project: Euro-

pean Integrated Project on Aerosol Cloud Climate and Air Quality Interactions (EUCAARI). She does not just consider plants as the consumers of the greenhouse gas CO2 but also as the producers of emissions that influence the climate. “Anyone

Astrid Kiendler-Scharr uses experiments in plant chambers to determine what ­substances plants emit into the air. who has ever gone for a walk in a pine forest during the summer is aware that trees excrete substances into the atmosphere,” she says. “The fragrant aroma is produced from a large number of volatile substances.” When these react with ozone and ­other oxygen compounds, they form particles which act as seeds for cloud formation and counteract global warming. “Considerable disagreement exists among the experts as to how strong this effect is

Research in Jülich 1 | 2009


The fluorescence of a leaf is being measured here. From this, the photosynthetic activity of the plant can be determined.

– the estimates differ by multiples of ten and a hundred,” says Astrid KiendlerScharr. In order to learn more, the scientist places small trees in large glass containers in cooperation with colleagues from the plant institute. This allows KiendlerScharr to measure what the plants emit, how particles are formed from these emissions, and how plants are affected by stress caused by heat, drought or ­parasitic attacks. “Higher temperatures, for example, tend to cause an increase in the amount of emissions from trees and therefore in aerosol formation,” reports the researcher. Global warming could therefore simultaneously lead to cooling by aerosols. A forest under surveillance Dr. Thomas Pütz is far from satisfied with single trees. His investigations focus on an entire forest: the watershed at the top end of the Wüstebach catchment in the Eifel National Park. It is also part of the Rur observatory: a large area measuring 2,400 square kilometres along the River Rur, which is being monitored as part of the long-term project TERENO (see box on p. 17). After the end of the war, spruce trees were planted in the Wüstebach catchment for timber production. The forest is now to be converted into a site-adapted

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mixed forest. However, the implications of this project are still unclear: How much carbon dioxide and nitrogen will be stored or released beforehand and afterwards? How will the water budget and flora and fauna change? “We couldn’t ­believe it when we discovered that no studies have actually looked at such a ­restructuring measure in an interdisciplinary way,” says Pütz. Together with his colleagues from Jülich, as well as those at the universities of Trier, Bonn and Aachen, he is helping to bridge this gap in knowledge. Since 2007, scientists have been planting a network of soil sensors in an area measuring 27 hectares to allow them to measure soil moisture, for example, at different depths. In the middle of the forest stand, there is a rain radar device and a weather station. The CO2 emissions of the forest floor are registered at different measurement points, as is the volume of carbon compounds in the water. The scientists count and determine the types of animals and plants and estimate the biomass in the ecosystem. In what are known as lysimeters – metal cylinders that are open at the top and contain ­extracted blocks of soil measuring around 1.5 cubic metres – sensors that are connected to a computer via a wireless network monitor water and mass transport in real time.

Extracted blocks of soil in lysimeters help us to understand the role played by water and soil structure in the transport of substances and the impact of climate changes on these processes.

By the time the first spruce trees are felled, an inventory will have been drawn up which will allow changes to be recorded. “We assume that the forest floor will emit a lot of CO2 immediately after tree felling, and that it will take several years after reforestation before the forest will once again function as a carbon sink,” says Pütz. The exact process is the subject of debate and can only be clarified when the data are available. Only the combined results of all of these projects will offer a comprehensive explanation of how climate, soil and plants influence each other. Wiebke Rögener


An Interview with Professor Harry Vereecken

Global Climate Change on a Regional Level How is climate change affecting Germany? What ecological and economic consequences does it have in the different regions – from the North German Plain to the Alps? Finding the answers to these questions is the aim behind the project entitled Terrestrial Environmental Observatories (TERENO). Prof. Dr. Harry Vereecken, Director of the Institute of Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere at Jülich, coordinates the network of six Helmholtz centres together with his Jülich colleague Dr. Heye Bogena.

subject of a long-term and interdisciplinary investigation. The observation area for which Jülich is responsible, namely the Rur observatory, stretches from the Eifel National Forest to the Lower Rhine Embayment and is as big as Luxembourg. We will collect data here for a period of at least 15 years – on the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) and the climate, as well on the nitrogen budget, methane formation, water and soil quality and on biodiversity. At the same time, we will analyse the land use. What are the consequences of reforestation or open-cast mining? Will farmers have to water more in the future? Up to now, there have not been enough data available to answer this question. Question: There are a plethora of climate monitoring stations – what’s so special about TERENO? Vereecken: What is unique is that we are intensively monitoring all components of the terrestrial system – soil, groundwater, plants, and atmosphere – in four regions of Germany. This is the first time that such a large and diverse landscape is the


Question: What knowledge gaps are particularly serious? Vereecken: We know very little about processes in the deeper soil layers. And yet they play an extremely important role in terms of the climate. This is where a large proportion of bound carbon is stored – globally estimated to be around

Research in Jülich 1 | 2009


Northeast German Plain Observatory Uecker Catchment Area

TERENO – the Facts

Harz/Central German Plain Observatory

The national network of observatories is operated by six centres in the Helmholtz Association: the German Aerospace Centre, Forschungszentrum Karls­ ruhe, Helmholtz-Zentrum München, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam, and Forschungszentrum Jülich, which has taken on the role of coordinator. The project will initially run for a period of 15 years and has been granted funding by the Helmholtz Association totalling € 12 million over the next three years. Additional funding will be made available for subprojects: for example, the lysimeter network SoilCan (€ 3.6 million) and TERENO-ICOs, which will measure trace gases (€ 2.75 million). Work began on setting up the network in 2007 and the programme was officially launched at the end of 2008.

The TERENO project comprises a national German network for observing the Earth. From the North German Plain to the Alps, environmental changes are being studied in four different climatic regions (observatories).

1,600 billion tonnes. It is therefore essential that we find out how fast it is converted and released back into the atmosphere as CO2, and how temperature increases or changes in the water budget affect this process. Question: How do you acquire such information? Vereecken: We employ a variety of different methods – from remote sensing using satellites and radar stations to sondes in the soil and lysimeters. Lysimeters are extracted soil cores measuring around 1.5 cubic metres in metal containers that are open at the bottom and allow us to precisely measure the transport of water and substances. Within the framework of SoilCan, a TERENO subproject, a total of 120 lysimeters are being installed in the four observatories. All measured data are transmitted via wireless networks and monitored in real time. Question: Basically, we’re talking about blocks of soil in large tin cans – what can you discover with them?

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Bode Catchment Area

Eifel/Lower Rhine Embayment Observatory

Vereecken: Among other things, lysimeters can be transported to other sites both within and between the observatories – for example, from regions with a lot of rain to regions with low precipitation or from cooler to warmer regions. This ­allows us to observe what happens, for example, when grassland soils or arable soils in the Rur observatory are subjected to greater drought, as is common in East Germany. In this way, we can simulate ­future climate changes. Question: Why do the measurements take so long? Vereecken: 15 years is actually a short period of time for such studies. It takes hundreds of years to break down stable carbon compounds in the soil. Although we don’t want to study weather fluctuations of individual years, we do want to study the development and impact of climate trends in the long term. This is why it’s important that TERENO is connected to other long-term research projects, for example the EU Network of Hydrological Observatories (NOHA),

Rur Catchment Area

Bavarian Alps/Foothills of the Alps Observatory

Ammer Catchment Area

which aims to record the water budget in a large number of European regions. Our work in the Rur observatory is also directly connected to the “Transregio32” (TR-32) Special Research Centre in which Forschungszentrum Jülich is cooperating with the universities at Cologne, Bonn and Aachen. TR-32 uses the same infrastructure that is made available by the Helmholtz Association. Question: Can you use all of this to look into the future? Vereecken: If we combine satellite data, detailed measurements on precipitation and soil moisture with information on the groundwater level, for example, we will be able to predict more accurately than today whether there is a danger of flooding. We will use the coupled measurement data to further develop models that will allow us to make better regional predictions on climate change and the ecological and economic consequences that we can expect. Interview: Wiebke Rögener


Ice Clouds in Greenhouse Earth Scientists from Jülich meticulously measured the ice water content of cirrus clouds and thus improved our understanding of the role of these clouds in the climate system. In addition, they discovered something surprising about the organic aerosols that play a role in the formation of clouds.


horse gallops over the ice in Greenland. It is accompanied by an ice cloud that is up to 50 metres high at times. When polar researcher ­Alfred Wegener observed this on an ­expedition back in 1911 and 1912, he concluded that air can be “ice-super­ saturated”. This means that the air contains more water vapour that it actually should. The excess water only crystallises


to ice – depending on the prevailing temperature – when it meets particles or droplets in the air. As the horse releases these particles with its moist breath, a cloud out of ice crystals instantaneously forms. The phenomenon of ice-super­ saturation first described by Wegener is the subject of recent atmospheric and climate research to which Jülich scientists have contributed new findings. Clouds at an altitude of between six and twenty kilometres, consisting solely of ice crystals, influence the heat balance of Earth. On the one hand, they reflect incident sunlight back into outer space. On the other hand, they decrease the emission of heat from the Earth’s surface into the cosmos. “Cirrus clouds can therefore have both a cooling and a warming effect – what the overall balance looks like is still unclear,” says Dr. Martina Krämer, head of the “Cloud”

group in ICG-1 (Stratosphere) at Jülich. For the Intergovernmental Panel on ­Climate Change (IPCC), the “feedback” between global warming and the climatic effects of clouds is a major uncertainty factor in all projections: Will cirrus clouds, which usually appear as fluffy white clumps or strips, heat “greenhouse Earth” even more? Or will they help to lower the global temperature increase caused by mankind? Better climate models To answer this question, we must first determine the conditions under which cirrus clouds are formed. Jülich scientists have developed sophisticated instruments to determine the water vapour content of ice clouds and in clear skies, and have already used them in over 100 research flights above the tropics, the Arctic and in the middle geographic

Research in Jülich 1 | 2009


Polar ice clouds in the upper stratosphere as recorded by an environmental satellite.

A child’s freezing breath makes a phenomenon visible that still puzzles atmospheric and climate researchers: the supersaturation of air with water vapour.

latitudes. “We have acquired a qualitycontrolled data set that is unique in terms of its size and also contains cirrus clouds at extremely low temperatures down to - 90 °C,” says Krämer’s colleague Dr. Cornelius Schiller, head of the “Water Vapour” group. The measurements show that the density of the clouds – crucial for the reflection of radiation – and their ice water content decrease rapidly with increasing altitudes and simultaneously decreasing temperatures. Furthermore, the researchers determined the extent to which isupersaturation occurred inside and outside the ice clouds. “Our data are already being fed into climate models and allow us to simulate the formation of cirrus clouds more realistically on computers,” says a satisfied Schiller. The Jülich researchers

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also discovered that the measured high supersaturations fitted the number of ice crystals in the clouds, registered by scientists from Mainz on some of the flights. This number was unexpectedly low in the tropics, meaning that in this climate-sensitive region, the ice crystals absorb less water than was previously assumed. Ageing substances and aerosols When searching for an explanation, it is important to know the following: even in the upper troposphere, water vapour only crystallises to ice – as observed by Alfred Wegener close to the ground – because of the suspended particles present there. These aerosols can be of a very different chemical nature and comprise substances such as sulfuric acid, black

carbon or mineral dust. “One assumption is that aerosols actually contain more organic material than was thought and therefore are comparatively poor ice crystallisation nuclei ,” says Krämer. This puts the research conducted by scientists at ICG-2 (Troposhere) in a whole new light. They are actually studying these organic aerosols as part of the European Integrated Project on Aerosol Cloud Climate and Air Quality Interactions (EUCCAARI) because they are nuclei for water clouds. “All of us have felt the cooling effect of these clouds at some point,” says Dr. Thomas Mentel, head of the “Aerosol” section. Water clouds in the lower few kilometres of the atmosphere are important antagonists of global warming caused by greenhouse gases. Scientists at Jülich are investigating how organic aerosols are formed and why there are so many of them in the atmosphere. It is common knowledge that trees emit volatile substances referred to by chemists as terpenes. Aerosols are formed from these together with ozone and other oxygen compounds under the effect of sunlight (see also “Between Heaven and Earth”, p. 13). In the SAPHIR atmosphere simulation chamber, researchers at Jülich have reconstructed this process. In doing so, they discovered that the volume of aerosols formed was significantly underestimated when only the direct reaction of terpenes was taken into account. The oxidation products created from the terpenes also form aerosols days later. “We are hot on the heels of the missing sources of organic aerosols,” says a convinced Mentel. Frank Frick




5 6


Climate – Monitoring, Understanding, Acting Using a variety of devices and methods, Jülich scientists are studying different factors that influence the climate. The aim is to understand these processes in detail and to derive recommendations for climate protection measures from them.


Research in Jülich 1 | 2009







Clouds can have both a cooling and a warming effect on the climate.


The Zeppelin carries measuring instruments up to altitudes of 1,000 metres.


Environmental satellites deliver ever more accurate measurements of trace gases in the atmosphere.


The high-altitude research aircraft HALO can carry up to three tonnes of measuring instruments.


Such membranes are used to “sift out” carbon dioxide from flue gases.


Fuel cells deliver eco-friendly energy.


Algae consume carbon dioxide and can be used as a biofuel.


A radiometer measures the moisture content of soil.


Fluorescence is used to determine the photosynthesis rate of a plant.

10 Lysimeters supply environmental information from the ground. 1 | 2009 Research in Jülich



From Greenhouse Gases to Raw Material Sources Carbon dioxide (CO2) can also be put to good use. It can be used to “feed” algae that then function as a source of chemical products and provide energy in the form of biogas or biopetrol. Scientists at Jülich are applying their know-how at the most advanced algae breeding plant in the world for efficient carbon conversion at the RWE power plant Bergheim-Niederaußem.


Scientist Thorsten Brehm analyses the mixture of salt water and algae in the plastic tubes in the pilot plant in Niederaußem.


arbon dioxide or CO2 for short is a greenhouse gas and is regarded as the most important cause of global warming. “But we shouldn’t forget that it has another side,” says plant researcher Prof. Ulrich Schurr, Director of the Jülich Institute of Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere. After all, CO2 is vital for life on Earth. Above all, green plants require the gas for photosynthesis. They use it together with sunlight to produce sugar molecules, which they need to store energy and as structural material to grow leaves, stalks and stems. Already today, around 10 % of all products in the chemical industry are based on plants – a figure that is set to rise significantly in the future. The reason is: Crude oil, which is used as a source of petrol, synthetic materials and medications, is becoming scarce. In addition, products based on plants are much more eco-friendly. At the end of their lifetime, plants only release the same amount of CO2 into the atmosphere as they absorbed from the air during their growth period.

The surfaces on which plants grow however – forests, plantations or arable land – cannot be expanded at will. Fuel manufacturers and the chemical industry are already competing with the food industry today for the limited crops available. One way out of this dilemma is to produce biomass, which is not used as a food. “The aim is to produce as much biomass as possible in a short period of time without using large amounts of our precious water or high-quality arable land,” explains Schurr. Algae don’t need a field Microalgae are promising candidates for biomass production: their growth rate is seven-to-ten times higher than that of land plants. They can also be cultivated in closed facilities, thus allowing sites to be used where the soil is unsuitable for plant cultivation. Salt-water algae, like those being studied by scientists at Jacobs University Bremen, for example, are particularly appropriate. While fermentation and rotting processes occur easily in freshwater, the microorganisms

Research in Jülich 1 | 2009


responsible for these processes don’t feel at home in salt water. In cooperation with the scientists at Bremen and the energy company RWE, Schurr’s team has decided to focus on improving the production of salt-water algae and studying the usage potential of the resulting biomass. The power supply company RWE put a 600-m² pilot facility for algae cultivation into operation in November 2008. The algae in this facility are “fed” directly with flue gas originating in the neighbouring lignite-fired power plant Niederaußem. The flue gas is first directed into what is known as a bubble reactor. This contains a mixture of salt water and algae, which

Photosynthesis activity in different algae samples: the algae in a fresh suspension (centre) adsorb the most CO2 compared to a diluted (bottom) and a precipitated mixture (top).

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absorbs carbon dioxide from the flue gas until it is saturated. The remaining gas therefore contains less CO2 and is released into the air via a stack. The ­carbon-rich mixture of algae and salt ­water is fed from the bubble reactor into a greenhouse with transparent, V-shaped plastic tubes. This is where the algae grow. They are harvested simply by filtering them out of the salt water. The facility produces up to 6,000 kilograms of algae per annum and requires 12,000 kilograms of carbon ­dioxide from flue gas to do so. Clever control systems Parallel to the ongoing algae cultivation in Bergheim-Niederaußem, Schurr’s research team is also working on making production more efficient. Their point of departure: in addition to carbon dioxide, nutrition and light are important for the growth of algae as is temperature. This is the motivation behind the clever control strategy pursued by the scientists. Sensors take regular contact-free measurements of the condition and growth of the algae. The level of CO2 and nutrients can then be automatically adapted depending on the data acquired in order to ensure optimal thriving conditions for the algae. By measuring the chlorophyll fluorescence, the scientists can determine how “fit” the algae are. The more actively the algae carry out photosynthesis, the more energy is set free by the chlorophyll responsible for this process. This energy is

Microalgae produce biomass in plastic tubes and consume carbon dioxide in doing so.

released in the form of a measurable fluorescent light signal. Furthermore, Schurr’s team of ­researchers are investigating the effect that the innovative roof of their small greenhouses in Jülich has on algae production. It is constructed from highly transparent glass panels through which UV radiation and particularly large quantities of light can pass into the facility. The spectral composition of this light is almost identical to that of natural sunlight. The scientists are also checking to see if the tubes in which the algae grow can be further improved. “All of our findings combined will hopefully increase production in the algae facility in Niederaußem,” says Schurr. The plan is to equip the plant there as deemed necessary step by step. The Jülich scientists are convinced that their research work will confirm that algae cultivation and the recycling of biomass, whether for use as fuel or as construction materials, are worthwhile – for the environment and also for the economy. Frank Frick


Capturing and Burying Carbon Dioxide Carbon dioxide (CO2) must be prevented from entering the atmosphere. Researchers at Jülich are developing membranes to separate this gas that is harmful to the climate from the flue gas in coal-fired power plants so that it can then be stored in underground reservoirs.


he Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts an increase of up to 6 °C in the average temperature on planet Earth by 2100 – depending on the assumed scenario. The main reason for the temperature rise since the middle of the 20th century is the increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. It has increased from a preindustrial value of 280 ppm (parts per million) to 379 ppm in 2005. Germany


and the European Union are campaigning to limit the envisaged temperature rise to a maximum of 2 °C. However, this can only be achieved by combining several different measures. In addition to the increasing use of renewable energy sources, the German Federal Government is therefore also calling for the development of coal-fired power plants that emit almost no carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The idea is to store the gas in ­underground reservoirs instead. The National Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam is currently working on a pilot project in the town of Ketzin in Brandenburg, which involves injecting a total of 60,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into a saline aquifer ­between 2008 and 2010.

“This carbon dioxide comes from the chemical industry and is transported to Ketzin by truck,” explains Dr. Petra Zapp, who works as a process engineer at Jülich. The reason why the gas does not come from power plants is simple: there is no efficient process for capturing the carbon dioxide in the flue gas emitted by power plants. “Currently, the best developed separation technique for conventional power plants is chemical scrubbing,” says Dr. Wilhelm Meulenberg, who like Zapp works at the Institute of Energy Research. This “scrubbing” involves binding the carbon dioxide chemically to a solution and then releasing it again before transport by increasing the temperature. However, all of this costs energy.

Research in Jülich 1 | 2009

FOCUS In the future, the carbon dioxide emitted by coal-fired power plants will not be released into the atmosphere.

Atmospheric CO2 (ppm)

“The efficiency of a power plant drops by more than 10 percentage points as a result,” says Meulenberg. “An average coalfired power plant in Germany has an efficiency of around 38 %, which means that this is a huge loss.” Reducing this energy loss is the aim of the MEM-BRAIN research project involving Forschungszentrum Jülich as well as other German and European research centres and universities together with partners from industry. The MEM-BRAIN project is headed by Prof. Detlev Stöver, Director of the Institute of Energy Research. Instead of using a chemical process that consumes energy, the aim is to “sift out” the carbon dioxide from the flue gas using membranes. Furthermore, the scientists are also designing suitable ­efficient power plant concepts. Within the MEM-BRAIN collaborative research programme, Forschungszentrum Jülich is responsible for developing membranes from ceramic materials. However, the ­development of materials alone is not enough. “The membranes have to be adapted to suit different types of power plants and they must function efficiently in these plants,” says Meulenberg. “The major advantage here at Jülich is that we have everything under one roof. We are

As they are composed of many layers, membranes combine different properties: stable large-pored ceramics ensure mechanical strength, while dense finepored ceramics function as a filter for gases.

developing the materials and the membranes; my colleague Dr. Torsten Markus tests them under power plant conditions.” Zapp continues: “And we keep the system as a whole in mind and evaluate it. We perform life cycle assessments, for example, on future coal-fired power plants equipped with membranes and look at all of the environmental impacts involved in constructing and operating the power plant.” Needless to say, the costs also play a role. Meulenberg: “When we discover a new material for membranes, it is not unusual that our colleagues will then say something along the lines of: ‘Your material is great, but how are you going to pay for it?’” While Zapp has the more thankless task of taking the wind out of her colleagues’ sails before they invest too much work in the development of membranes that don’t make ecological or economic sense, other researchers come




SP750 SP650


SP550 SP450


200 2000 1 | 2009 Research in Jülich




to Meulenberg with specific requests. His colleague Dr. Ernst Riensche, for example, is modelling membrane modules to find the optimal operating temperatures and pressures as well as the best way of integrating them into a power plant. Meulenberg then looks for a membrane material that can withstand the ambient conditions that Riensche requires. Researchers at RWTH Aachen University offer additional support. They use computer models and measurements to simulate the mode of operation of a membrane on an atomic level. The researchers at Aachen also plan to test the membranes in a large demonstration plant. Axel Tillemans

The temperature rise on Earth depends on a number of factors including the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The curves represent different political scenarios. The blue curve assumes that the maximum annual level of carbon dioxide emissions will be reached around 2020. Although emissions are to be drastically reduced, the concentration in the atmosphere will remain constant for the next century at 450 ppm. In the other scenarios, maximum emissions will be reached at a later stage. The carbon dioxide concentration that remains constant over a number of centuries is therefore higher. The red curve (1,000 ppm) represents an increase of 5.5 °C in the average global temperature, while the blue curve signifies an increase of 2.1 °C in the average temperature.



Understanding the Heavens above China Athletes were not the only group of people who spent years preparing for the Olympic Games in Beijing. Scientists from Jülich were on site two years before the sporting event even began. In August 2008, they returned to China once again for the Games. Their goal: to ensure clean air for the Olympic competitors and to study the atmospheric chemistry in the Chinese conurbations.


inner: “Hotpot with well seasoned fish cooked not on burning embers (carbon dioxide emissions!) but on an electric hob,” notes Prof. Andreas Wahner on 10 August 2008 in his blog. After all, the Director of the Institute of Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere (ICG) at Forschungszentrum Jülich came to Beijing with his team to conduct studies to improve the quality of the air.


The German-Chinese cooperation for better air began back in 2006. Scientists from ICG travelled to China where they conducted two large measurement campaigns between July and September to analyse the quality of the air. In cooperation with colleagues from the Leibniz ­Institute for Tropospheric Research in Leipzig and teams of scientists from ­China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea, they ­analysed the pollutants in the blanket of smog over two Chinese megacities: the urban areas around Beijing and Guangzhou in the Pearl River Delta where millions of people live and work. They ­also studied the self-cleaning ability of the atmosphere above these megacities.

Industry and air pollution growing China’s booming economy, increasing industrialisation and the ever heavier traffic have undesired side effects. The air is being increasingly contaminated with pollutants such as ozone, particulate matter, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide. For example, the lower layer of the atmosphere (the troposphere) above China already contained 50 % more nitrogen dioxide in 2002 than it did in 1996. The researchers want to use their analyses in the “Care Beijing” campaign to determine what substances are polluting the atmosphere, how they can be decomposed, and what chemical and physical processes are

Research in Jülich 1 | 2009


In an effort to reduce the stress on athletes in Beijing, Jülich researchers drew up recommendations.

­ ehind the transport and degradation of b the pollutants. The findings could also be interesting for other megacities. The Jülich scientists used their measurements to draw up specific recommendations for their Chinese partners in the run-up to the Olympic Games. The main aim was to reduce the pollution ­levels of particulate matter and carbon monoxide during the Games. The recommendations of the atmospheric researchers included repairing leaks at petrol ­stations and ­refineries and using sulphurfree diesel fuel. The scientists did not ­believe that a ban on the use of cars would actually lower the concentration of nitrogen oxides during the Games.

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I­mposing early constraints on industrial plants appeared to be more efficient. “We worked well with the Chinese side,” says Wahner. “The government in Beijing used our measurements and calculations as a ­basis for their plans.” Advice for athletes The Jülich expertise was also put to good use for the German Olympic preparations: the German Olympic Sports ­Association and the Federal Sports ­Research Institute refer to the ICG ­studies in their brochure containing ­medical advice for athletes travelling to Beijing. Their recommendations to ­athletes to train predominantly in the

morning and evening in China were ­partially based on measurements of the temperature and of ozone concentrations taken by the Jülich scientists in 2006. During the Olympic Games, the Jülich scientists provided daily reports for the athletes on air pollution. Some of the measurements for the reports, for ­example, were taken of diffused sunlight on the roof of Peking University. “We used these measurements to determine the distribution of aerosols, nitrogen ­oxides, ozone and formaldehyde,” explains ­Wahner. The campaign was con­ tinued ­after the Olympic Games were over in ­order to determine whether the


Mean tropospheric NO2 column density (1,015 molec/cm²) according to measurements using the SCIAMACHY instrument on the ESA satellite ENVISAT for the years 2003 to 2006.

measures implemented by the Chinese authorities on the recommendation of the scientists were effective. For comparative purposes, the researchers recorded the concentration of pollutants during and after the implementation of these measures. A location around 80 kilometres southwest of Beijing was also included in the study. The measurements showed that the level of pollution dropped by 30 – 50 % during the Olympic Games. “The clean air measures were coincidentally boosted by a change in the weather,” explains Dr. Franz Rohrer, head of the nitrogen oxide chemistry working group at ICG. He ­focuses on evaluating the results of the Jülich measurements. “Air masses moved around and heavy rain washed much of the particulate matter out of the atmosphere. The environmental protection measures ensured that subsequent new pollution of the air was not as heavy, which led to better air quality for the ­athletes and for the population.” On the other hand, this combined weather influence makes it difficult to assess in detail how the reduced pollutant emissions affected the atmospheric chemistry. Enigmatic radicals In order to understand what happens in the air above the Chinese conurbations, the Jülich scientists now want to simulate the atmospheric conditions in such a way that the weather will not be


able to thwart the measurement results. “In the SAPHIR atmosphere chamber at Jülich, we can control all of the conditions,” explains Rohrer. “We can set the concentrations of different components in the air and of pollutants to those measured in China and accurately monitor exactly what reactions then occur in the atmosphere with sunlight.” In particular, the researchers hope to be able to explain the unexpected measurement results they recorded for hydroxyl radicals (OH). These radicals play a key role in the self-cleaning of the ­atmosphere and are therefore referred to as the “detergent” of the atmosphere. They are highly reactive compounds formed from a hydrogen atom and an ­oxygen atom in sunlight. They decompose hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants. Jülich is a global pioneer in the precise determination of OH radicals. “Even at high pollution levels, our measurements in Beijing and the Pearl River Delta ­revealed two-to-three times as many ­hydroxyl radicals as we had expected,” reports Dr. Andreas Hofzumahaus, who headed the measurements in China. The scientists had assumed that the radicals would be rapidly consumed due to high levels of pollution. However, it would ­appear that this “detergent” is recycled faster after reacting with pollutant molecules than was previously believed. Why this is the case is not yet clear. “We have

pinpointed a gap in our knowledge of these photochemical processes. Now we can work in a targeted manner to solve this enigma,” says Hofzumahaus. Another question that has yet to be answered is why much less ozone is ­actually formed during the degradation of pollutants above the Chinese megacities than models had previously led us to ­believe. Normally, for every pollutant molecule degraded, one to two ozone (an important greenhouse gas) molecules are formed. “Our measurements revealed new atmospheric degradation pathways for trace substances,” says Andreas ­Wahner. In contrast to what was previously assumed, no ozone is formed when trace substances are degraded. “At the moment, we suspect that these degradation processes also occur in other ­regions on Earth. This could change our understanding of the self-cleaning ability of the atmosphere.” These new insights were published recently in the high-­ impact journal Science. The Jülich scientists hope to find answers to the remaining questions using experiments in the SAPHIR atmosphere chamber. Chinese atmosphere in Jülich The 20-metre-long “laboratory container” with a diameter of five metres holds around 300 m3 of air surrounded by double-walled Teflon foil. Scientists can mix the air as they choose – for example, they can simulate smog in Beijing

Research in Jülich 1 | 2009


Images from the ESA satellite ENVISAT use the example of tropospheric nitrogen dioxide (NO2) to show the different levels of pollution throughout the world (blue = low, red = high NO2 concentrations). Pollution around Beijing and the Pearl River Delta is particularly heavy.

in the late afternoon or the sky above Guangzhou in the early hours of the morning. This allows them to monitor in detail what happens, for example, when the levels of nitrogen oxides or hydrocarbons change. In this way, the researchers hope to determine whether there are any differences between European and ­Chinese air. “Typical pollutants produced by mankind – for example hydrocarbons from industrial plants or nitrogen oxides from car exhaust gases – are the same here as they are there,” explains Rohrer.

A large proportion of substances in the air, however, are produced from different sources: plants also emit various substances into the air. “The difference between these biogenic emissions could offer a potential explanation for the nonconformance of the measurements in China to the well-known processes in ­atmospheric chemistry,” suspects Rohrer. The researchers will only know for sure if they succeed in reproducing what they observed in their SAPHIR experiments.

“Further measurements will also be necessary in South China in order to gain a better understanding of the issue in all its complexity,” emphasises Wahner. His Olympic blog ends with the words: “Good prospects for interesting scientific and application-oriented research focusing on the interaction between chemistry and climate.” highlights/peking Wiebke Rögener


Cycle of Radicals Hydroxyl radicals (OH radicals) are formed in sunlight from ozone molecules. Other radicals known as HO2 radicals are formed by the splitting of formaldehyde. These “detergents” of the atmosphere are short-lived and are present only in minute amounts in the atmosphere. Yet they are a decisive factor in determining the length of time that important trace gases (hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides) remain in the lower atmospheric layers. The sooner trace gas molecules are degraded in reactions with radicals, the less chance they have of spreading. However, the degradation of trace gases gives rise to secondary pollutants such as ozone. On the other hand, measurements in China have revealed that there could be other degradation processes in which hardly any ozone molecules are formed. The graphic shows the most important known chemical processes involved in the degradation of trace gases by OH radicals and HO2 radicals, which are converted into each other during the cycle in a matter of seconds. In each case, a carbon monoxide or a hydrocarbon molecule is oxidised. Depending on the level of nitrogen oxide pollution, an ozone molecule is either created or destroyed. When this cycle has been repeated around ten times, the radicals then disappear forming nitric acid (HNO3) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and are no longer part of the detergent cycle.

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UV light






O3 O3


UV light

H2O2 NO2

UV light O2 O3


Automation instead of Manual Labour The principle of a fuel cell, to put it in simple terms, is like that of a refillable battery. It was discovered back in 1839. The challenge, however, is to produce fuel cells cost effectively and operate them efficiently. To do so, their individual components must first be optimally adjusted. Scientists at Jülich are investigating how this can be done in a pilot research and fabrication facility.


uel cell components are fabricated automatically in the Jülich pilot research and fabrication facility, just as they would be in an industrial plant. “We are aiming to transfer the technologies that we have developed in laboratories to a fabrication process that is very close to series production,” says engineer Jürgen Mergel who heads the department for “Direct Methanol Fuel Cells” (DMFCs). However, in contrast to the subsequent industrial plants, the production stages in the pilot research facility do not automatically follow each other. Instead, the intermediate product is evaluated at every manufacturing step without causing any problems. Fill it up please! While most types of fuel cells work with hydrogen, which releases energy in a reaction with oxygen, a DMFC uses


methanol mixed with water as fuel (see photograph on p. 31). However, in contrast to a combustion engine, the methanol in a fuel cell is not combusted. ­Instead, energy is generated directly by means of electrochemical reactions. When looked at from the outside, a fuel cell behaves just like a battery. The difference is that a fuel cell can be refuelled once the methanol has been consumed. In space flights, where cost is not the most important factor, fuel cells have been the first choice for the provision of power for many decades. They are lighter than batteries and more reliable than generators driven by a combustion ­engine. However, in order to hold their own on the free market, fuel cells must meet other criteria. Mergel’s team, for example, is working on the complex task of operating DMFCs with pure methanol without the

In order to achieve a higher electric ­voltage, a number of fuel cells are ­assembled together to form what is known as a stack (pictured on the right). This work is performed by a robot arm (pictured above).

Research in Jülich 1 | 2009


The different layers of the fuel cell are deposited as pastes on the substrate material, which is guided over rollers in the pilot fabrication facility.

porous current collector (carbon) anode cathode – +

addition of water in order to reduce the weight of the fuel. This is possible because fuel cells don’t just require water, they also produce it. The water produced at the cell outlet must therefore be fed back into the fuel cell. “This gives rise to another problem: we also have to feed air through the cells because the electrochemical reactions need oxygen,” adds Mergel. “But the air takes some of the water with it as steam and transports it out of the cell. This water must also be recovered.” “Another challenge we face is, for example, achieving maximum performance out of the expensive material we use in the catalysts,” says Mergel. The researchers use platinum and ruthenium as materials. The catalyst is responsible for activating the electrochemical conversion of the methanol. Platinum and ruthenium remain unchanged during this process, and ideally they should remain permanently available and not be consumed – ideally.

“A big problem, however, is that ruthenium corrodes under certain conditions. This means that it is dissolved and then deposited somewhere else, for example, on the cathode – the positive pole in a fuel cell,” explains Mergel. This sort of degradation process currently limits the

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lifetime of a fuel cell to a few 100 hours. “We aim to achieve a lifetime of 3,000 hours in the next stage of development,” continues Mergel. Before this is possible, however, other weaknesses of the DMFC must first be overcome. Robots make the best mistakes The automated fabrication of DMFC components in the pilot production facility is of great assistance in this endeavour. This ensures that the characteristics of all fuel cell components can be reproduced exactly. If the performance of a ­fuel cell improves or deteriorates after a small change in the fabrication process, then the researchers can draw firm conclusions as to the reasons why. If they did everything manually by contrast, random non-conformance would be an issue that would distort the conclusions on the changed performance of the fuel cell. “This reproducibility is particularly important in the fabrication of the pastes,” emphasises Dr. Andreas Glüsen, who is responsible for the heart of the fuel cell – the membrane electrode assembly. The catalyst layer and the other layers in the DMFC are first mixed as pastes and then transferred to a substrate material. A lot can go wrong at this stage! For example, the catalyst particles could clump together or large cracks could form in the layer when it is drying. Both have a negative impact on the performance of the catalyst layer, which can only be improved by continually making controlled changes in the “recipe” for the paste. When the single layers have been ­fabricated, they are then joined together to form a fuel cell. In order to achieve a higher electric voltage, a number of cells are assembled together to form what is known as a fuel cell stack. In the pilot fabrication facility, a robot arm performs this task. Mergel remembers what it used to be like when the researchers had to glue the stacks together by hand: “When


H2O H+ O2


protonconducting membrane

catalyst (PtRu/PT)

The principle of operation of a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC). The core component of a DMFC is the membrane electrode assembly. The membrane – a proton-conducting plastic foil (yellow) poröse Stromableiter – separates a mixture of (Kohle) methanol and Anode Kathode water (CH2OH, H2O) on the anode side – + (red) of the fuel cell from the air on the cathode side (green). The methanol-water CO2 H2O mixture is converted electrochemically together with air into CO2 and water. H+ This produces electric current and heat. O2 CH2OH, H2O

protonenleitende Membran

Katalysator (PtRu/PT)

building a stack out of 1,900 single components, it was not uncommon that we had to keep taking it apart because we had forgotten just one of the some 800 sealing rings.” Needless to say, the robot arm also has its faults. And of course, when it makes one mistake – for example, if it doesn’t align the single components correctly with each other during assembly – then it doesn’t just do it once, but rather over and over again. However, a repeated error is usually quickly recognised and is therefore as good as corrected. Axel Tillemans


Hydrogen – Friend or Foe? Hydrogen is considered very promising in the battle against climate change. Produced from renewable energy sources, it should dampen the consumption of fossil fuels. But are we perhaps fighting fire with fire? If hydrogen leaks into the atmosphere, it too can damage the ozone layer. Researchers from the Institute of Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere have now given the all clear.

Hydrogen is considered a clean source of energy. However, hydrogen leakages, for example during refuelling, could damage the atmosphere.


f you set light to a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen, it will explode. And it will also produce water. In fuel cells, this reaction is controlled so that the energy is set free slowly, allowing the resulting electric current to be used in cars, mobile phone and notebooks. Hydrogen vehicles are also currently being developed, in whose engines the hydrogen is combusted directly in a similar manner


to petrol in spark ignition engines. In order to reduce the consumption of coal and oil, the European Union and the USA agreed to support a “green” hydrogen economy in 2003. According to this vision, hydrogen generated from water using wind or sun energy is to ­replace fossil energy sources, which are harmful to the climate, within the next 100 years.

However, in the same year, a team of US researchers headed by Tracey Tromp from the California Institute of Tech­ nology published a study that aroused interest. The Jülich environmental scientist Dr. Thomas Feck explains why: “The team concluded that the hole in the ozone layer in the Arctic would grow by up to 8 % more in spring than it otherwise would, if we were to fully replace the fossil energy sources we use today with ­hydrogen energy. The problem is that ­hydrogen could leak when being piped through pipelines, for example, and end up in the stratosphere, where it would damage the ozone layer.” The stratosphere is the atmospheric layer at an altitude of between 10 and 50 kilometres. This is where hydrogen is converted into water vapour. “This water vapour ­encourages the formation of what are

Research in Jülich 1 | 2009


Hydrogen encourages the formation of polar stratospheric clouds. Combined with chlorofluorocarbons, these clouds deplete the ozone layer.

known as polar stratospheric clouds,” ­explains Feck’s colleague Dr. Jens-Uwe Grooß. They are formed at temperatures below around -80 °C. “Combined with chorine from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), they destroy the ozone layer,” adds Grooß. The additional depletion of ozone predicted by the Tromp study would ­exacerbate the existing problem of ozone depletion every spring, which affects ­areas as far as North Germany in some years. This results in more intensive UV radiation, which in turn could lead to ­increased skin and eye diseases. In their study, the US researchers assumed that 20 % of the hydrogen would leak into the atmosphere. However, they failed to explain the reasons for this ­assumption. Feck and Grooß were not completely satisfied with these findings. “We wanted to know if such a magnitude is realistic,” says Feck. “And most importantly: even if this figure is well-founded, such worst-case assumptions must take into account future technological progress. The loss ratio in 50 years’ time will not be the same as that of today.”

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Losses overestimated In his PhD, Feck compared scenarios for the future development of hydrogen technologies and interviewed companies and institutions that are already beginning to work with hydrogen. “My research has shown that the Tromp study even overestimates the level of hydrogen emissions as they stand today,” says Feck. “The losses today are around 10 %. We can expect that the loss ratio in the ­medium term will be less than 2 %.” ­Nevertheless, if fossil fuels are completely replaced with hydrogen, this would mean that up to 60 million tonnes of hydrogen would still end up in the atmosphere every year. What effect does this extra hydrogen have on the ozone layer? In order to answer this question, we must first clarify how much hydrogen ­actually reaches the ozone layer. “We can refer to existing studies to see how levels of hydrogen in the lower atmospheric layer, the troposphere, would change. For example, the study conducted by Dr. Martin Schultz, who also works here at Jülich,” explains Feck. Feck used the

r­ esults of these studies to “feed” Jülich’s internationally recognised simulation program CLaMs. Grooß was one of the main people involved in its development. CLaMs can be used to simulate the ­penetration of hydrogen into the stratosphere, and its chemical and physical ­impact in terms of time and space. With the data entered by Feck, CLaMs calculated that the hole in the ozone ­layer would only grow by an additional 2.5 % – in other words less than a third of the value estimated by the Tromp study. This calculation does not yet account for the fact that the level of CFCs in the stratosphere will most likely sink drastically over the next ten years because many countries have already reduced or put a stop to CFC production. “With the expected decrease in CFCs, hydrogen will cause additional ozone depletion of less than 1 %,” estimates Feck. All in all, it looks like the recovery of the ozone layer brought about by the disappearance of CFCs will prevail. Axel Tillemans


Dangerous Emergency Brake for Global Warming In order to counteract the greenhouse effect, we could pump millions of tonnes of sulphate particles into the upper layer of the atmosphere. In cooperation with a team of US scientists, Jülich scientist Rolf Müller discovered that this emergency measure could have detrimental side effects.


t was dormant for 611 years. When Mount Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, the result was devastating: Although scientists had predicted the eruption and successfully evacuated around 60,000 people on time, more than 875 lost their lives. More than 80,000 houses were damaged or destroyed. The volcano sent ash up to 34 kilometres into the air. And more than ten million tonnes of sulphur reached the stratosphere. Less sunlight than normal penetrated the atmosphere to reach the Earth’s surface: the average global temperature decreased by almost half a degree.


A cooling of the global climate – to some ears, this doesn’t sound like a catastrophe but rather the opposite. After all, the scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predict global warming of up to 6.4 °C over the course of the next 100 years. The main cause behind this is the greenhouse gas CO2 released by mankind during energy generation. Today, it is recognised that even if we pull the brake on CO2, climate change cannot be reversed. It is perhaps not very surprising that some of today’s masterminds are already looking at a “plan B for mankind”. One of the ideas is to send millions of tonnes of sulphate particles composed of sulphur and oxygen into the upper atmosphere – like what happened when Pinatubo erupted. Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen brought this concept into the public domain in 2006. “Naturally, I hope that this experiment will never have to be conducted. It should only be

Severe ozone depletion in the polar vortex above the Arctic at an altitude of around 18 km. The high natural ozone values in March 1997 at the edge of the polar vortex are shown in red, and the strong chemical ozone depletion inside the vortex in green and blue. By artificially injecting sulphates into the atmosphere, we could experience even greater ozone losses.

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Volcanic eruptions such as Mount Etna in October 2002 release millions of tonnes of sulphates into the atmosphere.

considered an emergency solution,” says Crutzen today. This “grotesque measure” was intended as a wake-up call for politicians. Learning from the eruption of Pinatubo The Pinatubo eruption did not just provide a concept for slowing down ­global warming. It also taught us the side effects associated with such extensive interference in the Earth’s system. This was brought to the fore by Dr. Rolf Müller from the Jülich Institute of Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere and Dr. ­Simone Tilmes, who is now working at the National Center for Atmospheric ­Research, Boulder, USA. They used data collected mainly by satellites over the course of the years following the eruption. The scientists concentrated on ozone at altitudes of between 10 and 25 kilometres – the region that protects the Earth from dangerous ultraviolet ­solar radiation. It is well known that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were used in the past as coolants and propellants, are one of the main causes behind ozone depletion. CFCs are sources of the initially inert chlorine compounds that become active in the stratosphere under certain condi-

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tions – for example at very low temperatures – and then deplete ozone. Particles containing sulphate in the stratosphere promote the activation of chlorine. ­Simone Tilmes and Rolf Müller used the satellite data to “filter out” how big a role they therefore play in ozone depletion. They compared the four years in which the sulphates from the Pinatubo eruption could still be detected in the atmosphere with the subsequent time between 1996 and 2005. “We derived mathematical ­relations from this which we then used to estimate how an artificial injection of ­sulphur would affect the ozone layer,” ­explains Müller. Half of the Arctic ozone in danger The result: if we kept supplying more and more sulphur to maintain the 5.3 million tonnes of sulphate in the stratosphere, and if the sulphate particles were as big as they are in a volcanic eruption, the ozone layer above the Arctic would be depleted by a third. These sulphate levels would be necessary according to Paul Crutzen in order to counteract a twofold increase in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Blocking the incoming sunlight with 1.5 million tonnes of par­ ticularly small sulphate particles is just

as efficient – but up to half of the ozone layer would disappear as a result. This would be even more risky if a volcano were to erupt shortly after the artificial injection of sulphates. “We would then have to expect even greater, very severe ozone depletion,” says Müller. Further ozone depletion above the Antarctic is hardly possible because at the moment the ozone in the stratosphere there is almost completely destroyed every spring. Although the production and consumption of CFCs has been limited since the end of the 1980s, the ozone layer is only beginning to ­recover now because of the long life of CFCs in the atmosphere. The artificial injection of sulphate particles would then lead to a situation where the hole in the ozone layer would disappear 30 to 70 years later than expected. Other climatologists warn of further side effects, such as acid rain. In light of this, thought experiments such as that published by US scientist Alan Robock seem a little hasty: he has already calculated how many military jets would be required in order to bring the sulphur into the stratosphere. Frank Frick


Light with the Right Pinch of Salt In gas discharge lamps, salts are added to achieve the required colour of light. Mercury is added to support the ignition of the high-temperature gas discharge lamps. According to EU regulations, the use of this toxic agent must be reduced ­dramatically in the future. However, simply leaving mercury out makes operation of the lamp impossible. Researchers at Jülich are helping industry to find the right pinch of salt.


ooks are not alone in trying to improve their handiwork with a well judged pinch of salt – lamp manufacturers do the same. By adding salts, for example, sodium iodide with a structure similar to that of ordinary table salt, the colour spectrum of a lamp can be altered. However, salts are chemical compounds that could do any number of things inside a hot lamp. “If we knew how the salts react with each other and with the material of the lamp vessel, then we would be able to change the light spectrum as we choose,” says Dr. Torsten


Markus. With his team from the Institute of Energy Research, he helps companies such as Philips and Osram to do this. Markus’ work focuses on high-temperature discharge lamps, which are used for example in car headlights. In these lamps, mercury is used to maintain the operating voltage. Its behaviour is otherwise chemically neutral. The European Commission intends to prohibit the use of this environmental toxin in lamps but it has come up against a problem: the favoured substitute at the moment – zinc iodide – does not just react with the salts

but also with the wall material of the lamp. A pinch of a few salts can create a whole range of previously unknown substances, all of which influence the light colour of the lamp. While an incandescent bulb glows because of a tungsten wire, gas discharge lamps provide light because of excited gas atoms. Light is created when electrons change their level of orbit around the atomic nucleus. The energy required to bring an electron to higher level of orbit is provided by the electric current supplied. When it falls back to its original

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HIGHLIGHTS Coloured light influences our mood. In discharge lamps, adding a mixture of salts creates the right tone.

lower level of orbit, the electron emits the excess energy as light. The decisive point now is: the colour of the emitted light depends on the distance between the electron orbits. This is the reason why every chemical element and every chemical compound possesses a specific spectrum of light colours. It’s all in the mixture – even in the gas phase In gas discharge lamps, this is exploited by adding different salts to the lamp in order to determine the colour spectrum of the light emitted. “The light spectrum influences our mood,” explains Markus. “For example, you don’t necessarily want the same light at the breakfast table as you have in the sitting room in the evenings. And the industry caters to these requirements.” In contrast to fluorescent tubes where the salts are coated onto the walls of the lamp and remain there, in high-temperature discharge lamps, they evaporate as soon as the lamp has reached its operating temperature. This is a desired effect because it increases the efficiency of the lamp just like the high temperature does. However, this effect causes problems when it comes to selecting the desired colour spectrum. The contribution made

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by each salt to the overall colour depends on the proportion of the salt that evaporates in the high-temperature discharge lamps. “But the original mixing ratio of the salts in their solid state is not the same as that in the gaseous state,” ­explains Markus. “What’s more, the evaporated salts react with each other and form new chemical compounds that we were not expecting at all.” As if that weren’t enough, the salts also react with the wall of the lamp vessel. The wall in state-of-the-art discharge lamps is composed of aluminium oxide because this material can withstand higher temperatures compared to the more commonly used quartz glass. To ensure that the right pinch of salt is added for each intended colour spectrum and that the process is not just a gamble for industry, Jülich researchers are investigating what happens to the salts when they are evaporated. Conditions similar to those inside the lamp are simulated in a heated vessel. “In order to create the desired colour, you usually have to use five or six different salts in the lamp,” ­explains Markus. “First, we add only two salts to the vessel in order to analyse the interactions between these two alone.” The vessel releases a small proportion of its gas content in what is known as a

When they are turned on, discharge lamps emit little light until a considerable amount of mercury has evaporated and the internal pressure increases.

Knudsen effusion mass spectrometer. This device determines the amount of all substances present in the gas. In ­addition to the two salts, this could ­include new substances formed inside the vessel. “We then use these results to create computer models,” says Markus. “We can then tell the computer what salts we add and it gives us as a result the proportions of all of the substances found in the gas – including those that were created by bonding between a salt and the wall material of the lamp.” Markus’ team makes these computer models available to industry. When it actually gets to “composing” the colour spectrum from the gaseous substances, companies play their cards very close to their chests. Axel Tillemans



on Environmental and Energy Research

Inspiring Research

Network for Crops

A system developed by Jülich plant researchers Bernhard Biskup and Dr. Grégoire Hummel simultaneously keeps an eye on 800 leaf discs. Using two cameras, infrared LEDs for lighting and an intelligent image analysis software, the system measures the growth of the discs, which remarkably progresses in exactly the same way as the growth of the plant as a whole. The device can thus help to breed more productive plants and to inexpensively test pesticides. It is to be released on the market in 2010 – as the first product by the company known as “Phenospex”. Biskup and Hummel successfully entered their business idea in the business plan competition run by the association for new entrepreneurship in the Rhineland (Verband Neues Unternehmertum Rheinland e.V.). They won one of the main prizes in rounds one and two.

As one of four structural projects, the “CROPSENSe” competence network headed by Forschungszentrum Jülich and the University of Bonn was announced as the winner of the call for proposals for “Competence Networks for Agricultural and Nutrition Research” published by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. With partners from universities and industry, Jülich researchers will develop analysis techniques for improved plant breeding and plant research. Using innovative sensor systems, the properties of plants will be recorded, adapted and combined. The Jülich Plant Phenotyping Centre (JPPC) evaluates the structural and functional properties of plants – their phenotype – quickly and precisely. “JPCC is already an internationally leading platform for the phenotyping of plants and is involved in global networks,” says initiator Prof. Ulrich Schurr. The aim: higher yields while simultaneously conserving resources.

Calculating Groundwater Pollution Nitrate in groundwater is a problem because around three quarters of our drinking water comes from this source. An agrosphere research group headed by Dr. Frank Wendland is deriving methods for the sustainable managements of watershed areas. Using the simulation models WEKU and GROWA, the researchers calculate how nitrate, which mainly comes from fertilisers, spreads in surface waters and groundwater. The results are documented in the Nitrate Report, which was published in May 2009 by the Consumer Protection and Environmental Ministries. They provide the basis for effective measures ­protecting water quality.


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World Leaders in Alternative Energies

Studying without Destroying

In a current study on the best research institutions worldwide in the field of alternative energies, Forschungszentrum Jülich occupies a well-deserved fourth place. The energy researchers at Jülich and those at Helmholtz Centre Berlin are the only Europeans to feature among the top ten on the list. The study was conducted by the publishers Elsevier, who analysed 5.6 million scientific publications by 3,000 institutes worldwide between 2003 and 2007.

Studying entire trees without having to wield an axe or a saw – this is what the magnetic resonance tomograph for plants does which was installed in a greenhouse at Forschungszentrum Jülich in spring 2009. The device weighs six tonnes and has a field strength of 1.5 tesla. It allows studies to be conducted on plants including their root systems with diameters of up to 30 centimetres and heights of up to four metres. It allows ­researchers to take a look inside plants and soils without intervening in or damaging the living system.

Chemistry-Climate Forecasts Within the framework of the EU project “Global Environmental Monitoring using Satellite and in situ Data” (GEMS), Jülich ­researchers and 31 European partners developed a forecasting system for atmospheric chemistry. Observation data on important pollutants, greenhouse gases and aerosols are fed into computer simulations at the European Centre for MediumRange Weather Forecasts and used to derive global and regional forecasts. The chemistry transport model known as MOZART, which was developed in Jülich, is used in this process. Measurements are taken of the global distribution of the above-men-

tioned atmospheric constituents, which influence the climate, air quality, and UV radiation. “We hope that these forecasts will soon become a matter of course just like the daily weather forecasts,” says Dr. Martin Schultz, who coordinates a GEMS subproject at the Institute of Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere. In April 2009, Jülich played host to the GEMS final symposium. Work will be continued in the EU project “Modelling Atmospheric Composition and Climate”.

PUBLICATION DETAILS Research in Jülich Magazine of Forschungszentrum Jülich, ISSN 1433-7371 Published by: Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH | 52425 Jülich I Germany Editors: Dr. Wiebke Rögener, Dr. Anne Rother (responsible under German Press Law), Stefanie Tyroller, Annette Stettien Authors: Dr. Wiebke Rögener, Dr. Frank Frick, Dr. Axel Tillemans Design and Layout: Graphical Media, Forschungs­ zentrum Jülich Translation: Language Services, Forschungszentrum Jülich Photographs: Forschungs­zentrum Jülich (cover photo, p. 3, p. 4 bottom left, p. 6 right, p. 7 top left, top right, bottom centre, bottom right, p. 8/9, p. 12 top, pp. 14 – 17, p. 20 top left, centre left, bottom right, p. 21 bottom left, centre right, bottom right, p. 23 bottom, p. 25 right, p. 30/31, p. 33, p. 36/37, p. 38 top left, top right, p. 39), NASA (p. 2, p. 10, p. 21 top left, p. 35), DLR (p. 11 right, p. 18, p. 21 top right), GEMS/NASA (p. 38 bottom), Photothek (p. 22 left), PNAS (p. 7 bottom left), Synthes (p. 6 left), RWE (p. 20 bottom left, p. 23 top), fotolia (p. 13, p. 24, p. 25 bottom left), dfd (p. 4 bottom right, p. 26/27), Mauritius (p. 19), Thomas Klink (p. 4 top, p. 11 top left, p. 20 top right), Linde AG (p. 32), IPCC, Fourth Assessment Report (p. 25 bottom left), Steffen Beirle, MPI Mainz (p. 28), CRNS (p. 12), Lufthansa AG (p. 12 bottom) Contact: Corporate Communications | Tel. +49 2461 61- 4661 | Fax +49 2461 61- 4666 | Printed by: Rhein-Ruhr-Druck GmbH & Co. KG Copies: 2,500

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Climate change will have serious consequences that will endanger the basis of human life. This was confirmed by the Fourth Assessment Report...