Unique research infrastructure for green energy and transportation solutions

Climate change is advancing, global energy demand and transport volumes are increasing. Together with partners from science and industry, the LEC Campus Inffeld at Graz University of Technology is working at full speed to make energy and transport systems more sustainable, efficient, robust and flexible in order to achieve the climate targets.

In addition to excellent know-how and experience, this requires a high-performance, highly flexible infrastructure with which different requirements and issues from industry can be addressed individually and quickly. The LEC has made a name for itself worldwide in this regard. The infrastructure is considered unique by experts from all over the world. The virtual design methodology has received several awards. This basis enables the LEC to try out and test new trends and ideas earlier than others. Such as drive solutions with hydrogen or other e-fuels.

The high flexibility with regard to different infrastructure requirements, coupled with comprehensive simulation know-how, make the LEC a pioneer and first point of contact for industry when it comes to sustainable solutions for the future.


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The infrastructure: Highly flexible test beds & facilities

Four single-cylinder test beds are located at the LEC, which are used for pre-development and component testing. In addition, one of the most flexible and innovative engine test beds in Europe has been in operation since spring 2020, and is also among the best in the world. Due to its flexibility and the ability to analyze overall concepts, it is referred to as a “system test bed”. It not only has a highly flexible multi-cylinder engine in the power class of up to 3.5 megawatts, but also new fuel treatment equipment, extensive metrological facilities and all the necessary safety systems.

At present, this test stand with its additional components is being used as a demonstrator for the HyMethShip concept. This concept combines a membrane reactor, a CO2 capture system, a storage system for CO2 and methanol, and a hydrogen combustion engine to form an innovative overall system that operates with virtually no CO2 emissions. A reference ferry (it operates between Gothenburg and Kiel) has been defined and its driving profile will be used to demonstrate at the LEC in Graz how the developed propulsion system would perform. Further follow-up projects for which this innovative system test bed will be used are already being planned.

This innovative overall system makes it possible to work with different fuels – from hydrogen to e-fuels to hybrid solutions. In this way, concepts for emission-free ocean shipping can be researched, as can green energy generation in power plants.

The unique LEC test bed infrastructure

  • 4 test beds with single-cylinder research engines
  • Highly flexible research engine concept (>16 configurations available)
  • Charge air compressor system for simulation of two-stage turbocharging (up to 10 bar)
  • Operation with a wide range of liquid and gaseous fuels
  • Highly efficient safety system (for operation with H2, CO, etc.)
  • Extensive metrological equipment
  • High pressure gas system (up to 600 bar)

Comprehensive research and development from a single source

With this research infrastructure, which is probably unique in the world, the LEC can respond to flexible questions from its research and development partners and offer solutions from a single source. Companies can quickly adopt the results of LEC research, for example using the LEC’s VirtualDesign Method (LDM) for simulation-based optimization of large engines, and integrate them into their applications, i.e. into real plants. Be it for low-emission energy generation in power plants or for green propulsion solutions in the transportation sector, from cargo ships to locomotives and trucks.

  • Entire research spectrum from basic research to implementation in real applications and demonstration of complete systems
  • Analysis of sub-areas (e.g. flame propagation) up to the entire engine system – from fuel to exhaust gas aftertreatment
  • Investigation of concepts for different liquid and gaseous fuels: from ammonia to hydrogen and natural gas to synthetic fuels, so-called e-fuels, including the necessary highly efficient safety systems (for operation with hydrogen, carbon monoxide, etc.)
  • Unique facilities for basic research (test rigs): In the IIC Lab of the LEC with its single-stroke engine (RCEM), special processes in combustion engines can be investigated with state-of-the-art laser measurement technology. This enables particularly efficient and precise visualization of processes in a combustion chamber. Among other things, the single-stroke engine can be used to analyze the flow situation in a prechamber, which is unique in this form.

Test Facility

  • 4 SCE test beds (up to max. 600 KW)
  • New: MCE test bed (up to max. 3,500 KW)
  • 10 bar charge air compressor system (total power 1.100 KW)
  • Conditioning systems oil, cooling water and intake air (up to max. 250°C)
  • Central safety and building services system
  • Dynamics and endurance SCE test beds
  • IIC-Lab (RCEM, injection chamber, …)


  • New: E-fuels (hydrogen, ammonia, methanol)
  • Gaseous fuels: natural gas, CNG (600 bar), carbon monoxide, propane
  • Liquid fuels: diesel, gasoline
  • Gas mixers for special gases
  • NG/Propane mixer for MZ variation


  • SCE 2.4 … 26.4 dm³
  • >16 configurations
  • Flexibility (combustion process, configuration, speed, …)
  • PFP max. 300 bar (max. 200 mm bore)
  • New: MCE Jenbacher 612 as basic engine (2 MW)

Test Beds

  • Ignition test bed
  • Ignition spark test bed
  • Injection laboratory
  • RCEM 10K gas mixer
  • NH3 and H2 capability

Measurement Techniques

  • Standard measuring technique (p, T, mass, blow-by, …)
  • Pressure indexing
  • Optical measurement technology
  • Power measurement with HBM flange on all test beds
  • Exhaust gas measurement
  • Particle measurement technology
  • Oil consumption measurement technology
  • Instrumented engine components up to telemetry systems on moving parts

Data and Quality Management

  • Standardization
  • Measurement data server
  • LEC MCheck is used

Virtual lab-tour