20 years ago, the first biodiesel was refueled in the Styrian viticulture school Silberberg. The process was developed by Hans Junek, who researched and taught at the Graz University of Technology. The conversion of rapeseed oil into fuel was achieved by a novel transesterification reaction that replaces the glycerol content in rapeseed oil with methyl alcohol. Pilot plants were quickly set up in Styria, soon followed by large-scale plants abroad. Biodiesel has been added to fossil fuels since 2005.
One of Junek’s special concerns was to initiate national and international cooperations, resulting in scientific partnerships with Austrian, Swiss and Swedish research laboratories.
Junek studied pharmacy at the University of Graz and completed an apprenticeship as a druggist. He has published more than 210 papers and holds 22 patents. In 1997, he was awarded the Ernst Späth Prize of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.