In the present dissertation, synergistic effects on bi-metallic and oxidic-metallic surfaces and interfaces for energy-relevant heterogeneous catalytic reactions are investigated. To study Cu/Zr interactions in a wide variety of Zr oxidation states, several preparation techniques were applied (sputtering, atomic layer deposition, physical vapour deposition, chemical vapour deposition). Sophisticated in situ and ex situ surface characterizations were performed for all catalysts. The obtained knowledge about water activation promoting active Cu/Zr sites and the identification of sites that accordingly need to be avoided, was used to synthesize an extremely active, stable and highly CO2 selective Cu/Zr catalyst for hydrogen generation form methanol (methanol steam reforming reaction). Moreover, Zr forms highly redox-active nanoclusters of 2-6 atoms on Pd. In the correct chemical and structural state Zr was found to promote CO2 activation on Pd for dry reforming of methane. The role of GaPd2 as a support in MSR was identified as well as Pt/Zr interactions, similar to those observed for Pd/Zr were found. Finally, the atomic layer deposition process of alumina on varying crystallographic Pd and Pt surfaces was studied in detail.