Catalytic Emission Control

"Research and further development of catalytic processes to reduce emissions from combustion processes of biomass energy sources ensures the necessary environmental friendliness of bioenergy."

Prof. Dr. Ingo Hartmann, Head of the research focus area


The Research focus area "Catalytic Emission Control" researches long-term and high-temperature stable, as well as recyclable and cost-effective catalysts without or with significantly lower amounts of noble metals. In particular, the combination of catalysts with additional emission abatement processes will be studied in detail. Therefore, environmentally friendly catalyst syntheses are investigated, which focus on the stability of the catalysts as well as the avoidance of noble metals as active catalyst species.

The research focus is able to cover the entire development from laboratory to application.



Gaseous, liquid and solid hydrocarbon-containing bioenergy feedstocks are almost invariably converted into thermal energy by combustion. Depending on the bioenergy source and the combustion process, methane (CH4), other volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) but also semi-volatile and low-volatile hydrocarbons such as polycyclic aromatics (PAH) and polychlorinated dioxins and furans (PCDD/PCDF) as well as soot (black carbon) are emitted in relevant quantities, which can cause GHG effects and/or environmental damage due to toxicity. Since 1995, according to data from the German Federal Environment Agency, there has been no decrease in annual emissions of PAHs and PM2.5 from the household energy sector (for 2017: PAHs = 146 633.7 kg/a; PM2.5 = 18.4 Mg/a). This is also due to the increased use of biomass for energy. These figures clearly show that for the thermal use of bioenergy fuels to increase sustainability, emission reduction measures focusing on the air pollutants CO, CH4, NOX, PAH and soot particles (black carbon) need to be further investigated in the future and also demonstrated and introduced to the market under practical conditions. These pollutants can be significantly minimized with the use of catalytic exhaust and integrated processes.



In catalyst development, the research focus concentrates on environmentally friendly catalyst synthesis in order to make the emission abatement of carbon-containing unburned pollutants after combustion of bioenergy fuels more environmentally friendly on the one hand. In addition, SCR catalysts for bioenergy applications are being investigated. The durability and robustness of catalysts as well as the avoidance of noble metals are considered.

Emission control is always researched in combination with combustion technology, therefore reactor and process development for emission-free biomass combustion is promoted. For this goal, residential combined combustion facilities for biogenic fuels from residues and wastes and emission-free wood log firing will be developed. Furthermore, the process development for fully automatic residual fuel units in the nominal capacity range above 50 kWth is carried out.

In order to meet the requirements of "green chemistry" as well as the bioeconomy, the extraction of solids from biogenic resources for the production of biogenic silica as an alternative catalyst support is being advanced. For this objective, the thermo-chemical conversion of residual materials to porous solids in combination with emission-free heat recovery from thermo-chemical conversion of the biomasses is being researched. In this context, the findings will be transferred to internationally available residual materials, enabling an important contribution to the bioeconomy to be made in an international context.


An appropriately equipped technical center and characterization laboratory is available for research, which is unique in Europe, especially with regard to application-oriented and near-market applications of catalytic emission control at bioenergy units. The data from the market-oriented research projects are evaluated, published and made available to the public in the form of freely accessible databases. 

Based on the competence of the staff, the research focus together with the technical infrastructure represents an important source for the bioenergy industry for the development and evaluation of emission reduction processes at decentralized energy supply plants in order to establish innovative devices and plant components on the market directly from research in cooperation with companies.

Research focus area "Catalytic emission control"

Exhaust gas purification with catalytic converters is already state of the art in various technologies. The development and adaptation of suitable catalysts as well as the process adaptation for processes of biomass utilisation can enable further development in the field of renewable energy from biomass.

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Important reference projects (Selection)

  • HypoBio - Energetische Nutzung von Scheitholz durch die Entwicklung einer effizienten und emissionsarmen, kleinen Scheitholzfeuerung mittels kontinuierlicher Brennstoffzuführung, Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft/Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e. V., 01.08.2020 - 31.07.2022 (FKZ 22033218)
  • UVV – Verbundvorhaben: Emissionsminderungsstrategien zur umweltverträglichen Verbrennung (UVV) auf Basis von aktuellen Forschungsergebnissen, Teilvorhaben 1: Theoretische und Experimentelle Untersuchungen, Koordination; Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft/Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e. V., 01.04.2019 – 31.03.2022 (FKZ: 22038418)
  • GASASH – Thermo-chemische Konversion von Reststoffen in einem Vergaser-BHKW mit gekoppelter Aschegewinnung; Teilvorhaben: Untersuchungen zur Produktgasqualität, den BHKW-Emissionen, Emissionsminderungsmaßnahmen und der Ascheverwertung, Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie/Projektträger Jülich, 01.09.2018 - 30.06.2021 (FKZ: 03KB139A)
  • SCRCOAT – Optimierung u. Validierung von Verfahren zur kombinierten Reduktion von Feinstaub und sauren Schadgasen an Biomassefeuerungen; Teilvorhaben: Experimentelle Untersuchungen zur Kombination von SCR- und Precoatverfahren an einem Gewebefilter, Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie/Projektträger Jülich, 01.09.2017 - 28.02.2021 (FKZ: 03KB128A)
  • KaRo – Katalytischer Rohrbündelreaktor für die Totaloxidation von Brenngasen aus der thermischen Umsetzung von festen Biobrennstoffen zur emissionsarmen regenerativen Wärmeerzeugung, Sächsische Aufbaubank, 01.10.2019 - 30.06.2022 (FKZ: 100332481)

Important publications (Selection)

  • He, Fang; Li, Xiuhua; Behrendt, Frank; Schliermann, Thomas; Shi, Junrui; Liu, Yongqi (2020): Critical changes of inorganics during combustion of herbaceous biomass displayed in its water soluble fractions. In: Fuel Processing Technology 198. DOI: 10.1016/j.fuproc.2019.106231.
  • Stolze, Bettina; Hartmann, Ingo (2020): Zeitliche Darstellung des Alterungsverhaltens eines Oxidationskatalysators in einem Biogas‐BHKW. In: Chemie Ingenieur Technik 92 (6), S. 782–787. DOI: 10.1002/cite.201900152.
  • König, Mario; Müller, Mirjam; Hartmann, Ingo (2021): Emission reduction process for the energetic use of biogenic residues. In: IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science (642). DOI: 10.1088/1755-1315/642/1/012006.
  • Formann, Steffi; Hahn, Alena; Janke, Leandro; Stinner, Walter; Sträuber, Heike; Logrono, Washington; Nikolausz, Marcell (2020): Beyond sugar and ethanol production. Value generation opportunities through sugarcane residues. In: Frontiers in Energy Research 8. DOI: 10.3389/fenrg.2020.579577.
  • Hartmann, Ingo; Tebert, Christian (2020): The new Blue Angel ecolabel certification method for firewood stoves. 6. Central European Biomass Conference. Graz (Österreich), 22.01.2020.