In the 12th century began the preparation and smelting of rich silver ores in the region and therefore Freiberg developed schools of mechanical engineering as well as process and power engineering were established. 


RammlerIn 1765 the Mining Academy was founded. It is the oldest, still existing montan scientific university in the world. Hence, the beginning of scientific teaching and research in this field was established. It was possible that excellent connexions between industry and economy grew during the decades. The number of third-party funds is brilliant. The students benefit from the close cooperation with companies because they can study with their ‘hands-on’ and do their PhD in industry. Usually the regular period of studies is kept. Furthermore, the faculty provides best possible technical equipment and individual and intensive scientific teaching possibilities with close contact to the lecturers.

The history of the Institute of Energy Process Engineering and Chemical Engineering (IEC) dates back to 1918, when the Lignite Foundation of the State of Saxony was founded to support and develop the upcoming Saxon lignite industry. Since then, significant milestones and developments have been achieved. Building on that tradition, the IEC is the largest institute at TU Bergakademie Freiberg  today, both in terms of personnel and research funding.

Although the institute’s R&D and education focuses have undergone changes in recent decades, IEC has maintained its close collaboration with the industry and broadened its research areas and competences in particular over the last years. The drive for excellence in theoretic and experimental research in the fields of energy process engineering and reaction engineering remains the key focus of IEC‘s  activities today.


2018GSP gasification pilot plant operated by DBI Virtuhcon GmbH in cooperation with EVT
2017“Chemical Conversion Processes“ Business Unit of the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems (IMWS)
2016Start of phase II of the CIC VIRTUHCON
2014October 2014: Acceptance process and handover of the pilot-scale fixed-bed slagging gasifier (SBV)
2013FlexiSlag gasification pilot plant
2013April 2013: Mechanical completion of the pilot-scale fixed-bed slagging gasifier (SBV)
2012May 2012: Start of the construction of a pilot-scale fixed-bed slagging gasifier (SBV)
2011New laboratory building of IEC (DBI)
2010June 2010: First run of the Syngas-to-Fuel plant (STF)
2010March 2010: Establishment Chair of Numerical Thermo-Fluid Dynamics (NTFD)
2009March 2009: Start of the first research group of VIRTUHCON
200321st November 2003: Start-up of the plant for the gasification of gaseous and liquid hydrocarbons by high-pressure partial oxidation (HP-POX)
1991Reorganisation of the area of science to the Institute of Energy Process Engineering and Chemical Engineering; Since 1994 at the Faculty for Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Energy Technology; Fields of studies: "Energy Process Engineering" and "Chemical Engineering"; Main research focus: processes of technical energy source conversion, mechanisms of toxic binding and retention, adsorbent materials development, thermal waste treatment
1968Institute's transfer to the area of science "Reaction and Fuel Engineering" at the section "Chemical and Silicate Engineering"; Establishment of the teaching area "Reaction Engineering"; Transfer of the department "Coal upgrading" in the in-depth area "Fuel Engineering"; Main research focus: reaction engineering and modeling of upgrading processes of coal, product development (cement clinker, technical carbon, carbonaceous adsorbents)
1954Start of the wide contractual extension of the institute on the site "Reiche Zeche"; Main research focus: lignite high temperature carbonisation, high pressure gasification of coal and oil, high salt coal processing
1953Foundation of the department "Processing" with the study focus: coal and oil; Later the department "Processing" is divided into "Mechanical Processing" and "Fuel Processing"
1945The technical test plant is transferred into the institute for technical fuel utilization; Now it is an independent institute of the university at the faculty of mining
1921Construction start of the technical test plant for the heat-economical department of the lignite research institute on the premises of "Reiche Zeche"; Main research focus: Mining of liquids through low-temperature carbonisation and hydrogenation from coal
1919The lignite research institute – with a heat-economical lab - at the Bergakademie Freiberg was founded and can be seen as direct ancestor of the IEC
1918The lignite foundation at the Bergakademie Freiberg was established and financed by the Ministry of Finance and numerous industrial companies