The Federal Government is aiming to achieve sustainable expansion of the energetic use of biomass, so that it becomes an important mainstay of future energy supply. This expansion is intended to make an important contribution to climate and environmental protection, to the conservation of fossil resources, security of the power supply and to augment added value, especially in rural regions and in agriculture and forestry. However, the energetic use of biomass can only become permanently established if this is achieved sustainably, i.e. in an economically justifiable, ecologically forward-looking and socially compatible way.
Against this background, the scientific task of the Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum (DBFZ) is to comprehensively support the efficient establishment of biomass as a valuable resource for sustainable energy supply within the scope of applied research and to drive it forward, both theoretically and practically. The establishment and integration of biomass in the range of existing energy sources takes place with simultaneous inclusion of technical, ecological, economic, social and energy management aspects along the whole usage chain, i.e. from production through to supply and use. In addition, the DBFZ is to draw up sound decision-making aids for politicians.
The DBFZ also does the following work:
- Testing and certification of solid and liquid biofuels and plants for the supply of heat, electricity and fuel.
- Advising private and public establishments on all aspects of "energy production from biomass".
- Market monitoring and supply of data on "biomass/bioenergy".
- Work on national and international committees and commissions, among other things for standardisation and drawing up directives and guidelines.
- Supporting federal ministries in strategic issues concerning "biomass/bioenergy".
- Networking activities of relevant players within the "biomass/bioenergy" sector.
The relevant target groups for the DBFZ, apart from the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV) and other federal and state ministries, include governmental and non-governmental, national and international organisations and branches of industry which are directly and indirectly affected by energy production from biomass. The development of new processes, methods and concepts takes place in close cooperation with business partners and research facilities. In this way, research networks between industry and science are also initiated and promoted. We also network with agricultural, forestry and environmental research facilities, among others, with the BMELV's research department, major non-university research organisations (in particular the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ), the state research facilities, selected universities as well as with other German, European and international institutions working on energetic biomass research.
In its scientific work, the DBFZ primarily covers the following main topics. An independent research department has been created for each of the fields of research and which are briefly described in the following.
Bioenergy Systems: The main objectives of "Bioenergy Systems" research are the investigation of biomass potential at different levels and assessment of the opportunities for their sustainable use. This includes the development of improved methods for potential analysis, drawing up and assessing medium and long-term scenarios, developing action plans for the exploitation of specific resources and the introduction of innovative technologies to the market and further development of suitable criteria for economic, ecological and technical evaluation. On the basis of this work, the intention is to develop and evaluate proposals for a sustainable bioenergy strategy for Germany and Europe. This is intended to ensure that, as a future energy source, biomass successfully contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the view of the whole economy, creates added value options for rural regions and can open up promising prospects for German industry. Read more
Biochemical Conversion: The "Biochemical Conversionâ€ department deals with research, development and advisory services regarding energy production from biomass on the basis of biochemical processes. Apart from biogas production and use, this also includes the processes for the supply of bioethanol and future liquid and gaseous energy sources, which can be biologically catalysed from organic materials. Technically optimised biochemical conversion involves diverse challenges. Equal attention must be paid to the different technical, biological and chemical issues, as well as logistical, legal, ecological and economic factors. Against this background, the main objectives of the "Biochemical Conversionâ€ research work are to improve the technical, economic and ecological efficiency of biogas production and use. This includes reducing negative and/or unwanted effects on the environment and increasing the methane yield from the many different substrates and substrate mixtures while at the same time reducing biomass or methane losses in the whole process of the substrate production and supply chain. Efficient use of the energy and material flows, closing nutrient cycles and providing support for the realisation of new and improved plants are further elements involved. Read more
Thermo-Chemical Conversion: The "Thermo-Chemical Conversion" department deals with selected issues related to the thermo-chemical conversion of biogenic solid fuels and the supply of electricity and/or heat from biogenic solid fuels. All technical aspects are included, from the fuel to the furnace, flue gas cleaning, both theoretically in monitoring and practically in development. Furthermore, the theoretical principles, including modelling, are also considered. Use of solid biomass as an energy source must continue to increase significantly in order to further extend the proportion of renewable energy production in Germany - as required politically within the scope of the climate protection initiative. At the same time, this increase must take place within the thermo-chemical conversion with the least possible impact on the environment - especially with respect to fine dust and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Against this background, among other things, the TK department examines how the available resources base for the supply of biogenic solid fuels can be broadened. In addition, the existing combustion systems are further optimised and new equipment is developed - with the aim of achieving improved efficiency, less effect on the environment and reduced costs. Other tasks within this context are improved integration of solar systems via innovative control systems and the development and optimisation of cogeneration (CHP) systems in all output ranges. Read more
Biorefineries: The research tasks of the Biorefineries department are practical analysis and assessment of the production and use of current and future biofuels. This work focuses on the technical and economic feasibility and environmentally relevant aspects in the context of current and future sustainability targets. Research and development (R&D) within the BR department is oriented along the whole supply chain (i.e. starting from process and technologies, through to production of biofuels in stand-alone plants or as part of biorefineries and their use). The orientation of the experimental activities is on the one hand focused on all kinds of synthetic gas supply issues and on the other on the characterisation of fuels and their performance in engines. Read more