Merck opens €50m Material Research Centre

Largest single r&d investment by firm in its chemicals business

Merck opens a new Material Research Centre in Darmstadt

Merck has opened a new €50m Material Research Centre (MRC) at its corporate headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany.

The MRC was officially opened in the presence of German chancellor Angela Merkel and Merck KGaA chairman Karl-Ludwig Kley, in addition to Volker Bouffier, prime minister of the Federal State of Hesse, and 300 guests.

The MRC comprises two six-storey buildings as well as a pilot plant with a cleanroom and offers 340 employees, who were formerly spread across three sites in Darmstadt, Frankfurt and Mainz, a modern working environment. It is the single largest r&d investment within Merck’s Chemicals business sector.

The 11,000m2 MRC will conduct r&d into innovative liquid crystals for flat panel displays in televisions and computer monitors, as well as materials for organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

Also included are research areas for materials for mobile energy storage systems used in hybrid or electric vehicles, as well as microbiological test systems for detecting pathogenic bacteria in food.

During a tour of the building, Chancellor Merkel was informed first-hand about Merck's research areas of focus, particularly light generation using OLEDs.

According to Kley, innovations are the lifeline of the company, and many have originated in Darmstadt.

“We want it to stay that way,” he said. “That is why we decided to make this major capital investment here.”

The energy-efficient building, which has room for expansion in the future, offers heat and sun protection, high-efficiency fans and pumps, reduced airflow and energy consumption during non-working hours, as well as high-efficiency heat recovery from exhaust air, which ensure that CO2 emissions will be 80% lower than in comparable laboratories.

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