Against the background of growing challenges in terms of the competitiveness of existing bioenergy plants, the Biorefineries Department develops, analyses and evaluates processes, technologies and overall concepts for so-called poly-product plants. Its focus is on biofuels, but other products, such as other energy source materials or base materials, are also studied in order to deliver an informative assessment.
Stationary process flow simulations are carried out to provide an understanding of processes and technologies as well as to serve as a basis for plant planning, life-cycle assessment and optimisation. Dynamic simulations are also used to evaluate demand-driven plant operating modes. Other activities include investigating, analysing and enhancing existing systems and components. This not only entails expanding existing biofuel concepts to biorefineries, but also developing innovative methodologies and concepts utilising alternative biomasses such as lignocelluloses and algae.
For evaluation purposes, master concepts are analysed in terms of specific technical, economic and ecological aspects and classified by means of multi-criteria rating methods. The characteristic properties and behaviour of educts and products from biorefineries are investigated by analysis using state-of-the-art laboratory systems. Biofuels are also tested on the engine test bed. Another area of activity is theoretical and experimental research into the production and use of synthesis gas by means of thermo-chemical processes.
The Biorefineries Department is divided into five Working Groups: