A brief history of ETEC
The department ETEC "Electrical Engineering and Energy Technology" of the Vrije Universiteit Brussels was founded by Gaston Maggetto (1939-2007), who obtained a PhD in Engineering at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in 1973. In the same period, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel was under construction and was looking for a teacher in “power electronics,” or as it was then called “Electricity and its applications in the industry.” Gaston Maggetto accepted the assignment and was known to be a passionate lecturer who knew how to motivate students. In the early seventies, the time of the first oil crisis, there was a growing environmental awareness. Gaston Maggetto saw the potential role of electricity in transport very early and founded his visionary research into electric vehicles. A hit! Gradually, a renowned research team has developed: ETEC. The group soon gained national and international recognition and the well known research group on electrical vehicles is currently called MOBI.
At the end of the eighties, Gaston Maggetto became the scientific promoter of a talented researcher, Patrick Rombauts, who focused his research in power electronics on several aspects of lighting, a research field that was partly unexplored at the time. There was a mutual trust between them, enabling Patrick Rombauts to perform independent research and to obtain his PhD in 1992. Patrick founded the lighting research group of ETEC and covered several fundamental concepts in his career: semi-cylindrical illuminance, BSDF, residential lighting and glare, a topic which is again trending these days.
In 2010, the UZ Brussels contacted Patrick Rombauts to start an interdisciplinary study on lighting and ventilation in the operating room. Financial support was provided by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and in 2011 Valéry Ann Jacobs became a PhD student of Patrick Rombauts and Peter Hanselaer (KU Leuven). After obtaining her PhD in 2015, she continued working as a research associate at ETEC. LUXETEC was founded, being a small but motivated group of people working in the field of light & lighting, visual environment and domotics.