LEC celebrates 20-year anniversary

26 June 2023

Large Engines Competence Center celebrates anniversary. New professorship for large engines in Graz.

The Large Engines Competence Center (LEC) located in Graz, Austria, is one of the world’s leading research institutions for sustainable large engine technologies and has recently celebrated its 20 years of activity.

The anniversary event also hosted a roundtable with guests from the Austrian large engine industry and local government discussing the role of combustion engines in the future power generation and transportation sectors.

The Large Engines Competence Center (LEC) located in Graz, Austria, is LEC celebrated 20th anniversary with roundtable event in Graz, Austria. (credit: LEC GmbH, photograph Jorj Konstantinov)

Rainer Aufischer, head of CIMAC Austria (the global association of the internal combustion machinery industry), explained the importance of the large engine sector in Austria: “The industry employs about 15 200 people and has a total revenue of €4.65 billion, of which over 90% comes from export.”

Aufischer added that this sector is a relevant part of the Austrian economy and a pioneer in Green Tech research. “The main application fields for large engines are power generation and transportation, e.g. ships, locomotives and specialty vehicles such as mining trucks,” he said. “One of the main drivers of this market today is alternative fuels, in particular hydrogen.”

For over 20 years, LEC’s research has been dedicated to the development of green energy and transportation systems, as explained by Andreas Wimmer, CEO and research director of LEC. “The core of the developments in large engine technology today revolves around the transformation to the use of green fuels produced with renewable energy, such as hydrogen, ammonia and methanol.”

According to Helmut List, CEO of Austria-based mobility technology company AVL List GmbH, there are different trends in the market of large engines, with some sectors as for example light commercial vehicles leading the way to the introduction of electric powertrains. On the other side though, electric solutions cannot be the answer for some of the applications where today a large combustion engine is used. “We are already seeing that for these applications the use of combustion engines powered by hydrogen and synthetic fuels is a key step towards a zero-emission future.”

The LEC anniversary was the perfect occasion to introduce the new professorship “High-performance Large Engine Systems”at Graz University of Technology.

The professorship at Graz University of Technology will succeed Andreas Wimmer who will retire in four years as a professor. “The University and the Large Engines Competence Centre (LEC) have been among the leading research institutions in this field for more than 20 years thanks in particular to the activities of Andreas Wimmer,” said Horst Bischof, Vice Rector for Research at Graz University of Technology.

Thanks to the support of INNIO, AVL, MIBA, Bosch, Geislinger, KS Engineers, and the LEC, the new position can be set up as an early professorship. “It is a tribute to Andreas Wimmer’s work,” added Bischof, “that, thanks to the support of these important representatives of the Austrian large engine industry, an optimal handover process will be possible.”

Wimmer commented: “The newly established professorship will take a key position for research in the field of renewable energies at Graz University of Technology. Cooperation with the LEC, whose further scientific development will be one of the main tasks of the new professor, will play a particular role. I would like to give my special thanks to the companies which are financing this transitional phase. I am looking forward to receiving numerous applications!”

Graz University of Technology is looking for an individual proven in the field of “High-Performance Large-Engine Systems” through excellent professional practice and scientific activity, someone who will represent the subject internationally in research and teaching.

The role’s focus will be on sustainable propulsion systems for ships, locomotives, mining trucks etc. and on highly flexible power systems (“Power plant of the future”) based on large engines. Interested individuals can apply until July 2, 2023. For further details, click HERE.

On September 28-29, 2023, the Graz University of Technology and LEC will organize the 19th edition of the conference “Sustainability in Mobility, Transportation and Power Generation” (formerly “The Working Process of the Internal Combustion Engine”).

The conference will take place at the Grazer Congress in Graz, Austria, and will focus on innovative concepts for future fuels and their impact on fuel consumption, emissions and noise, as well as on advanced simulation, digitization and measurement technologies. In addition to the specific engine-related topics, the symposium focuses also on the overall system as key aspect for achieving the stringent GHG targets.

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