New laboratory building opened

GFZ celebrates completion of the "GeoBioLab" on the Telegrafenberg


Today, Monday, June 21, the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences opened the "GeoBioLab" with a ceremony. The building was constructed in about two and a half years and cost 16.1 million euros. It offers laboratories and offices for two sections of the GFZ as well as a server room on slightly more than 1500 square meters of main floor space.

The "Helmholtz Laboratory for Integrated Geoscientific-Biological Research" (GeoBioLab) will primarily serve research into the deep biosphere and the interactions of the biosphere with the geosphere and the climate. Life kilometers below the earth, the so-called deep biosphere, has an impact on important processes, for example in the formation and decomposition of methane as a climate-relevant gas in permafrost deposits and in the use of subterranean space, for example for the storage of gases in the course of the energy transition. Significant interactions also occur at interfaces between microorganisms and minerals, for example in snow and ice algae on Greenland's glaciers. The microorganisms accelerate melting processes there.

In his welcoming address, the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Dr. Michael Meister, said: "The Telegrafenberg has been a place of excellent science for almost 150 years. Here, foundations for the future have always been created. With the GeoBioLab, we are ensuring that the Telegrafenberg will continue to be home to cutting-edge research in the future. And it is precisely this kind of cutting-edge research that we need in order to meet challenges such as climate change. With the research that will take place here at the GeoBioLab, we will be able to decipher, for example, what exactly is happening in Arctic soils and how the smallest living organisms and microorganisms influence the climate by forming and breaking down greenhouse gases."

Brandenburg's Minister of Research, Dr. Manja Schüle, who was unable to attend the event, conveyed a word of greeting: "Telegrafenberg not only has a long history of research, but this imposing hill of knowledge is now home to several research institutes with a global reputation. Particularly visible and competent: the GeoForschungsZentrum Postdam with its excellent expertise in the field of earth system research. With the opening of the Helmholtz Laboratory for Integrated Geo-Bioscientific Research, the GFZ is now expanding its scientific radiance. In the future, the GeoBioLab's experts will provide exciting insights into the interactions of deep biosphere microorganisms on climate. It provides important scientific contributions for the future of Brandenburg, Germany and Europe. This shows: our investments have paid off. The opening shows once again: future is being made in Brandenburg."

Niels Hovius, Scientific Director (interim) of the GFZ, said, "If we want to use the geological subsurface, and we have to for the energy transition and climate protection, then we have to understand exactly how the interactions between rock, life and climate take place." He also said that research into processes in the Arctic – at the ice surface, in permafrost and in the ocean – using state-of-the-art laboratory technology is essential to understanding climate change and its consequences. "What I'm particularly pleased about is the fact that this will help us address our space shortage at Telegrafenberg and allow more researchers to work together on projects in face-to-face exchanges – as soon as the pandemic allows," said Niels Hovius. The building and its services will meet the criteria for silver certification under the Sustainable Building Rating System for Federal Buildings (BNB). Hovius said, "This shows that we're not just doing research for sustainability, we're also doing our research sustainably."

The Lord Mayor of Potsdam, Mike Schubert, said, "With the GeoBioLab, a new center for integrated geoscientific and biological research has been created. The appealing architecture as well as the sustainable construction of the building clearly show the understanding of the tradition and scientific importance of the Telegrafenberg. The building creates much needed space for your research!" He saw great opportunities for Potsdam as a science location by connecting research-related focal points with urban development: "We have the unique opportunity to create a future-oriented innovation campus for geo, climate and sustainability research for the existential topics of our time. And in doing so, the targeted combination of research and commercial application can succeed in the sense of a city of knowledge transfer."

The building marks the end of the new GFZ complex with the buildings B to G. The gross floor area is slightly more than 3,800 square meters, of which 1439 square meters are main floor space, i.e. laboratories and offices.

Key data of the Helmholtz Laboratory for Integrated Geoscientific-Biological Research" (GeoBioLab):

Size: 3,837 sqm gross floor area. Of which 1532.85 sqm is main floor space (laboratories, offices).

Cost: 16.1 million euros

Construction time: 10/2018 to 07/2021

Architects: Heinle, Wischer and Partner

Sustainability: the building and building services meet the criteria for silver certification under the Sustainable Building Rating System for Federal Buildings (BNB).

Use: Research into the deep biosphere and the interactions of the biosphere with the geosphere and the climate

Main users*: Section 3.5 Interfacial Geochemistry (Head: Prof. Liane G. Benning) and 3.7 Geomicrobiology (Head: Prof. Dirk Wagner)

Topics in the joint program of the Helmholtz Research Field Earth and Environment "Changing Earth - Sustaining our Future": Future Landscapes (Topic 5) and Georesources (Topic 8)

Media Contact:

Dipl.-Geogr. Josef Zens
Public Relations
14473 Potsdam
Phone.: +49 331 288-1040

Additional News

back to top of main content