The energy question is the main driving force of technical development. This is especially true for the iron and steel industry, where energy sources such as steam, gas and electricity are used on a large scale. With the possibility of using surplus blast furnace gases through the large gas engine, the end of the steam age in the iron and steel industry seemed to have come at the end of the 19th century. Just as the steam engine had played a key role in the "Industrial Revolution", the large-scale gas engine played a predominant role in supplying energy to the iron and steelworks for more than half a century. In the years between 1890 and 1900, only one-fifth of blast furnace gas continued to be used in the smelting industry.

The general introduction and widespread use of large gas engines, one of the most important and revolutionary innovations in the iron and steel industry in the first third of the 20th century, was the temporary culmination of a technological development that had begun in the middle of the 19th century. The large gas engine was a further development of the gas engine, in the research and construction of which Hugo Junkers of the Berlin-Anhaltinische Maschinenbau AG in Dessau played a decisive role.

On the following pages you can learn more about the construction and operation of the gas engine centre and its importance for Maxhütte, whose energetic heart it was for many years of its active operation.


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