The Institute of Process Systems Engineering has borne its current name only since May 2020.

It was originally founded under the name "Institute for Process and Plant Engineering" in 1985, just seven years after the founding of the TUHH, which was then still run as the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg. At the beginning, the institute was headed by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Eberhard Futterer, while from 1991 onwards Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil Dr. h.c. Günther Gruhn took over the management of the institute, before it was last headed by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Georg Fieg from 2003 to 2020. During this time, the institute was able to establish itself internationally with research work in the field of innovative methods for heat integration, as well as integrated reactive separation methods for intensifying chemical and biotechnological processes. In particular, groundbreaking work was achieved in the field of chemically and biochemically catalyzed reactive dividing wall columns.

Since April 2020, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Mirko Skiborowski is head of the institute. In addition to the essential preservation of the scientific and didactic continuity, the institute is heading towards a further expansion of the research activities. Especially the topics of process synthesis, as well as the simulation and optimization of flowsheets are and have been essential cornerstones for all of the institute directors so far. In addition to the further development of energy-efficient and reactive separation processes, the development of hybrid processes and the simultaneous optimization of process and auxiliary materials are major research areas of the institute. Here, the work focuses on the experimental and model-based development of innovative process concepts, as well as the development of efficient and systematic methods for the synthesis and optimization of competing process alternatives to enable cost-effective and sustainable solutions for the chemical and biochemical industry.