History of Water Chemistry and Water Technology in Karlsruhe


When the Polytechnical School in Karlsruhe was founded in 1840, Carl Weltzien reorganized the chemistry curriculum. The aim was a systematical education of scientific and technical chemistry. Weltzien was head of the Inorganic Chemistry Department starting in 1850. Twenty years later, Karl Birnbaum took over. His work involved all areas of chemistry which existed at that time. Carl Engler and Hans Bunte were Kirschbaum’s successors, Engler becoming the Head of the General Chemistry Department and Bunte the Head of Technical Chemistry. In 1907, the Research Institute of the German Gas and Waterworks Association (DVGW) was officially affiliated to the Technical University Fridericiana. Hans Bunte taught from 1887 to 1919. His successor and son, Karl Bunte, headed the Department of Technical Chemistry until he died in November 1944. Josef Holluta took over after World War II in 1947. His key activities involved the mechanisms of permanganate reduction, radioactivity in springs, the fundamental principles of chlorination and disinfection in water treatment, and iron and manganese removal. The well-known lecture series "Analysis and Evaluation of Rivers and Lakes and Drinking Water" was initiated by him. His successor, Heinrich Sontheimer, was appointed in 1965. Heinrich Sontheimer enriched the Chemistry Department with his practical experiences gained in industry, especially in the area of water technology. His intensive research considerably advanced drinking water treatment in Germany, in particular the drinking water treatment in the River Rhine. In 1987, Fritz H. Frimmel followed. Natural Humic Substances played an important role in all his work. Other main areas were identification, characterization and evaluation of anthropogenic water constituents and their interaction in aquatic systems as well as their behaviour in water treatment. Especially oxidation processes (AOP, photo catalysis, hybrid processes) and membrane techniques were of great interest. Since 2012, Harald Horn heads the Partial Institute for Water Chemistry and Water Technology.


The institute has laboratories, practical rooms for students and staff rooms available in buildings 40.14 and 40.04. The building complex 40.14 was occupied in 1962. The extension building 40.04 was ready for occupancy in 1994; it was built in subarea 40 of the university campus north of Richard-Willstätter-Allee as an extension to the existing building (40.14). Since 2015, the buildings of the Engler-Bunte-Institut have been renovated. Subsection one - the new institute building for the EBI Partial Institute Fuel Technology (EBI ceb) - houses laboratories, offices and a large experimental hall. The second section of the new building houses the Engler-Bunte lecture hall, seminar rooms and the EBI's practical training rooms (see picture above). Some of the seminar rooms are shared by the MINT-Kolleg and the EBI.