30. November 2022


With the support of the companies ait-group, Bosch Thermotechnik, Danfoss Climate Solutions, Stiebel Eltron Group and the Vaillant Group, the first endowed professorship in Germany for this future field can be established at the HKA.

Currently, there is no professorship specifically for heat pump technology in Germany. With generous financial support from the companies ait-group, Bosch Thermotechnik GmbH, Danfoss Climate Solutions, Stiebel Eltron GmbH & Co. KG and the Vaillant Group, Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences has now succeeded in establishing an endowed professorship for heat pump technology. Additional funds have been donated by the company BKW Management AG through the Valerius-Füner Foundation. The endowed professorship will be located at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics at HKA, where the new bachelor's degree program in Green Technology Management (www.h-ka.de/gtmb) also started this winter semester. The training of specialists and technology transfer in heat pump technology is of immense social relevance for the energy transition. The current energy crisis, triggered by the Ukraine war, once again highlights the need for an independent and sustainable energy supply - also for Germany as a business location.

Heating and cooling account for half of final energy consumption in Europe and still use around 80 percent fossil fuels, most of which are imported in Germany. At the same time, Europe has set itself the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 and achieving climate neutrality by 2050. This presupposes that the heating sector is gradually converted completely to renewable energy and that appropriate technologies are available for heating and hot water production. Heat pumps play a key role in this context. Not only are they extremely energy-efficient, but they are also completely climate-neutral when powered by renewable electrical energy, making them completely independent of fossil fuels. The EU Commission has also recognized this and is sending a clear signal with its Europe-wide target of installing 30 million heat pumps in Europe by 2030.

The timing for the establishment of the endowed professorship and the new degree program is currently meeting with high demand. "With the boom in this sustainable heating technology, there is an enormous demand for specialists," says Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Michael Kauffeld, Prof. for Refrigeration Technology at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics at HKA and spokesman of the Institute for Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Environmental Technology "It is high time to provide targeted help here. With our new degree program, we want to make a very concrete contribution to this and support the industry in this disruptive change," Prof. Kauffeld continues.

The foundation companies fully underline this assessment. Dr. Kai Schiefelbein, Managing Director of the Stiebel Eltron Group: "The phase-out of fossil fuels must take place as quickly as possible. In the heating sector, a proven technology is available in the form of the heat pump with which this phase-out can be realized immediately, even in the case of renovations." Dr. Rainer Lang, Director Group R&D Heat Pump Technology at Vaillant Group shared, "Heat pumps are a key technology for the successful decarbonization of the building sector. The product segment has been experiencing strong market growth for years." And Jürgen Fischer, President at Danfoss Climate Solutions emphasized, "The massive increase in demand for energy-efficient, CO2-neutral solutions for heating, cooling and air conditioning shows that the market is undergoing a transformation." Edgar Timm, Director R&D of the ait-group, adds: "The topic of heat pumps - especially also with natural refrigerants - is our core task and DNA! The use of this technology is necessary for a sustainable future. The basis for this lies in the high-quality training of future specialists." Dr. Thomas Finke, Technical Director Electric Solutions, Bosch Thermotechnology, added: "We are investing another 300 million euros in electrification by the middle of the decade. We are therefore very pleased that we can also support the sound training of urgently needed young professionals."

The foundation companies and HKA are therefore working hand in hand. The first research projects have already been launched. "An application-oriented endowed professorship for heat pumps against the backdrop of the intended comprehensive and rapid conversion to renewable energies brings with it strong impetus for the high attractiveness of the new Green Technology Management degree program and research in refrigeration, air conditioning and environmental technology at HKA," emphasizes Rector Prof. Dr. Frank Artinger, "and will further increase our contribution on the path to climate neutrality."

The importance that HKA attaches to the topic of "heat pumps" in research and teaching will also become clear via today's symposium of the same name at the university, which experts from all over Europe are expected to attend.

Press contact:

ait-deutschland GmbH / ait-group
Andrea Eber
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D-95359 Kasendorf

Phone: +49 (0) 9228 / 99 06 – 1102
E-Mail: [email protected]