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Engler-Bunte-Ring 1-7
76131 Karlsruhe 

Building number 40.13.I 


Tel: +49 (0)721 608 42571
Fax: +49 (0)721 608 47770


E-Mail: Secretariat

History and profile of the Engler-Bunte-Institute


For 100 years, the Engler-Bunte-Institut has been working on sustainable energy and water use in the sense of a safe and careful handling of resources in the field of tension between scientific research and technical application.


The Engler-Bunte-Institut focuses on the education and training of students and experts as well as on the research and development of effective processes, analysis and measurement methods and their engineering fundamentals. In 2007, the Engler-Bunte-Institute celebrated its 100th anniversary. The history of the institution testifies to the rapid technical development on which our modern civilization is based and reflects the far-reaching importance of energy and water research. The Engler-Bunte-Institute owes its success story to the cooperation with the state of Baden-Württemberg, represented by its University of Karlsruhe (TH), the city of Karlsruhe and the Stadtwerke Karlsruhe as well as the DVGW (German Gas and Water Association) and the gas industry. In 1903, the DVGW Executive Board decided to establish an experimental gas station. In 1907 the "Lehr- und Versuchsgasanstalt" of the DVGW was officially opened and affiliated to the University of Karlsruhe (TH). Since 1971, the institute has borne the names of two outstanding scientists, who at their time made significant advances in chemical engineering and in particular in the chemical process engineering of fuels: Professor Carl Engler, appointed to Karlsruhe in 1876, and Professor Hans Bunte, active in Karlsruhe from 1887 (see illustration). They acted as pioneers in the field of petroleum characterization and processing and coal-based public gas supply. Today, the Engler-Bunte-Institut belongs to the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Process Engineering of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and comprises the fields of chemical energy carrier fuel technology (institute director: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Kolb), combustion technology (institute director: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dimosthenis Trimis) and water chemistry (institute director: Prof. Dr. Harald Horn) as well as the DVGW Research Centre.



Chemical Energy Fuel Technology Division.

The Chemical Energy Fuel Technology Division, formerly Chemistry and Technology of Gas, Petroleum and Coal, is concerned in research and teaching primarily with the process engineering of the conversion and refinement of fuels before their use. Research and development focuses on the fossil fuels gas, oil and coal, but also on renewable fuels, such as biomass and waste materials, on synthetic fuels such as hydrogen and Fischer-Tropsch products, as well as on environmental technology for fuel use in industry and households. The main focus here is on the rational use of chemical fuels and the further or new development of refining processes using the latest scientific findings. Current research focuses on the production of synthetic fuels from biomass. Several publicly funded research projects are dedicated to fundamental investigations of the thermal gasification of biomass. Experimental investigations on the formation of soot and tar during the entrained-flow gasification of biomass pyrolysis oils are a focal point here. The aim is to determine optimal operating parameter ranges for the downstream syntheses. A further topic is investigations on the "chemical quenching" of synthesis raw gases, whereby the thermal energy of the raw gas is used to improve the overall efficiency of the gasification. The project is carried out in close cooperation with the Karlsruhe Research Centre. The work on the production of tar- and soot-free synthesis gases will be supplemented by scientific work on the downstream syntheses (SNG and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis). Decentralized hydrogen production and purification, especially with regard to application in PEM fuel cells, has long been an area of research at the chair. The work on sulphur-tolerant reforming, desulphurisation, water gas shift reaction and residual CO removal covers all relevant process stages of this application. Fuel-related aspects of SOFC fuel cells for stationary (FC heating) and mobile (APU systems) applications are also dealt with in research work of the Chair. These include investigations on reforming and desulphurisation.


Combustion Technology

Research activities in the field of combustion technology focus on processes that take place in flames and are characterised by a complex interplay of chemical reactions and transport processes. Scientists are investigating the flames experimentally with complex measurement techniques. On the other hand, they calculate the physical and chemical processes using mathematical models. The knowledge gained from the research work can be used to optimize existing combustion processes and develop new, forward-looking concepts, such as flameless oxidation in gas turbines, lean-burn combustion in aircraft engines or the homogeneous self-igniting combustion engine. The priority here is to increase efficiency and minimize emissions of carbon dioxide and pollutants. Researchers are also responsible for developing safety-related solutions to problems in order to avoid damage caused by explosions or fires.


Water Chemistry

The main activities of the Water Chemistry Division are water treatment, drinking water supply, swimming pool water treatment, waste water disposal and water protection. Research and development are oriented towards the current molecular problems of water management: analysis of anthropogenic and biogenic water constituents, oxidation and disinfection processes including the by-products produced, separation processes with membranes and their combination with classical treatment processes (hybrid systems), biochemical conversions and elucidation of the degradation pathways of substances that are regarded as toxic intermediate products. The focus is on the knowledge of the molecular dimension of water constituents, their occurrence, behaviour and reactions. The investigations cover determination methods and reactions of water constituents in water bodies and in technical water treatment. Specially developed and powerful analytical methods enable the identification of pesticides, pharmaceutical products and other organic synthesis products as well as industrial chemicals down to the concentration range of nanograms per liter.


DVGW Research Centre

The DVGW Research Unit at the Engler-Bunte-Institut is an independent institution of the DVGW at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Here devices are tested, monitored and certified. The research centre underlines the application relevance of the chairs of the Engler-Bunte-Institut. The employees advise companies in the gas and water industries, develop the basics of practice-oriented processes and are involved in national and international standardisation work in many ways.


Gas Testing Laboratory

The Gas Testing Laboratory is recognised throughout Europe and has the technical prerequisites and facilities for all tests required in the gas field, including additional tests to obtain certain quality or environmental labels. On the one hand, material tests are carried out on sealing materials, diaphragms, lubricants, etc. In this context, the gas industry is also involved in the testing of gaskets. On the other hand, in addition to safety tests on all fittings and devices for gas supply and use, tests are also carried out on electrical safety and electromagnetic compatibility.


Gas technology consulting

Gas technology consulting is a competent partner for industry and gas supply companies in questions of safe and environmentally friendly processing, distribution and use of gaseous fuels. Current research projects include the production and processing of methane from biomass. Within the scope of the DVGW research project G1/04/07 "Process engineering of the purification of biogas" technical, economic, ecological and licensing aspects of biogas treatment are investigated. In addition, the production of methane from wood by gasification and subsequent methanisation of the synthesis gas was taken up.


Department of Water Technology

The Department of Water Technology promotes the supply-oriented development of analytical methods. The forward-looking methods for eliminating unwanted water pollution are also of particular importance. For example, microparticles and macromolecules are successfully separated from the water using novel membrane modules. Materials that are otherwise difficult to separate are eliminated by fast and energy-efficient oxidation processes. Finally, innovative processes are tested and made ready for application together with water supply companies and swimming pool operators.


translated from the german text of:

Frank Graf
Rainer Reimert
DVGW-Forschungsstelle am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)