New Chair for Energy Process Engineering in Luxembourg

Minister for Higher Education and Research, Claude Meisch, surrounded by representatives of the University of Luxembourg, Paul Wurth and SMS Group. © SMS Group
Minister for Higher Education and Research, Claude Meisch, surrounded by representatives of the University of Luxembourg, Paul Wurth and SMS Group. © SMS Group

Paul Wurth S.A., a company of the SMS Group, and the University of Luxembourg have signed an agreement for the creation and financing of the Paul Wurth Chair in Energy Process Engineering. The five-year agreement was signed on March 4, 2021 by Yves Elsen, Chairman of the University’s Supervisory Board, Prof. Stéphane Pallage, Rector of the University, Georges Rassel, CEO of Paul Wurth S.A., and Hans-Jürgen Leßmann, Senior Vice-President, Global Human Resources of Paul Wurth.

The new chair will be located in the University’s Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine (FSTM) in the Department of Engineering. The aim is to conduct cutting-edge research in the field of hydrogen processing and related aspects of carbon-neutral industrial processes.

The team assigned to the chair will also deal with the teaching of the existing courses at bachelor, master and doctoral level. In addition, the chair will participate in outreach activities to stimulate interest in important engineering challenges.

The partnership supports Luxembourg’s ambition to develop a centre of excellence in areas related to the emerging hydrogen economy, to stimulate industrial development in process engineering and hydrogen and low-carbon technologies, and to increase the number of qualified engineers.

The chair ties in with the university’s strategy of developing research and educational offerings with a focus on sustainability. Hydrogen is seen as a decisive factor for future energy systems and the energy transition, as well as for the transition to more environmentally friendly energy sources. A breakthrough solution lies in power-to-liquid applications for the production of synthetic fuels and downstream products.

Hydrogen could also become an alternative to coal – both as a reducing agent in steel production and as a driver for the far-reaching transformation of the steel industry, which today is a majorCO2 emitter.

This collaboration will be crucial for Paul Wurth to become a global innovation center for metallurgy and hydrogen within the SMS Group and to continue the technology-driven initiatives already launched by dedicated working groups. By combining their respective expertise, Paul Wurth and SMS strive to lead the industry’s shift towards climate-neutral production processes.

“The establishment of the new Chair is well aligned with the University’s research strategy and will contribute to the development of the University’s engineering domain, in particular in the field of process engineering and hydrogen processing. It will increase our international visibility and contribute to academic excellence and have an important and lasting impact on the academic and industrial landscape of Luxembourg”, expects Prof. Stéphane Pallage, Rector of the niversity of Luxembourg.

“The new chair builds on a long-term collaboration between Paul Wurth and the University, in particular in Bachelor and Master courses, as well as the Hydrogen Think Tank created within the University’s Engineering Sciences Department. It will be a catalyst for new research activities related to the future hydrogen economy, which is important for industry and the economy in Luxembourg and beyond”, explains Prof. Jean-Marc Schlenker, Dean of FSTM.

Prof. Hans Ferkel, CTO of the SMS Group adds: “The global hydrogen competence center of the SMS Group is located at Paul Wurth’s headquarters in Luxembourg. Together we are working on the decarbonization solutions of tomorrow – with the clear goal of enablingCO2-free steel production worldwide. We look forward to working closely with the University of Luxembourg and are committed to staying at the forefront of the global challenge of producing ‘green’ steel.”

Claude Meisch, Minister for Higher Education and Research, stresses: “Climate change and its consequences require new models of production and resource management. With its ecological and sustainable objective, this collaboration between Paul Wurth and the University of Luxembourg fits perfectly into the national priority research areas and is fully in line with the Luxembourg government’s R&I ambitions. Moreover, with this chair and the resulting educational offer, we will take an important step towards a long-term and diverse knowledge society.”