Systemic Contribution of Biomass

"Smart Bioenergy use in small, very precisely controlled plants will be a building block of integrated supply systems and be able to contribute to the sustainable energy supply of tomorrow."

Prof. Dr. Daniela Thrän, Head of the research focus area


Future biomass use must meet a wide range of needs. They include safeguarding food supplies, assuring security of supply in the mix with other renewables, creating innovative products and markets within the bioeconomy, climate and environmental protection, and, not least, rural development. This poses a major challenge in terms of implementation. In conjunction with the fact that biomass potential is limited, conflicts of aim and constraints on biomass use will inevitably arise. Those challenges can only be met by means of raw material resource strategies embedded in sustainability frameworks, and by prioritising key technologies for biomass use (see figure 1).


This area of research focus will contribute to the creation of sustainable bioenergy strategies at national and international level. To that end, it will identify regional and global biomass potential and investigate and assess the wide-ranging options offered by different biomass recovery concepts. The primary aim is to answer methodological and technical system-related questions on the efficiency and sustainability of biomass use from economic, ecological and technical viewpoints, incorporating both the land resources used as well as treatment and conversion technologies specific to the energy source. The combination of these topic areas provides the basis for deriving strategies and recommendations for action for decision-makers in the political and business spheres.



In view of the challenges for future biomass use set out at the beginning within the framework of the "Systemic contribution of biomass" research focus area, it is necessary to steer the focus towards application-oriented issues in order to provide scientific backing to decision-making processes in the field of bioenergy/bioeconomy. In this context, research goals would be the development of monitoring systems to map biomass availability for its use as an energy and material source under dynamic economic, social, ecological (e.g. climate change) and political conditions and the development of models, supply scenarios and usage strategies for bioenergy and bioeconomy concepts with the aim of extending value chains based on additional cascades and improved efficiency of use. Another medium-term research goal would be analysis of the contribution of biomass in assuring combined security of supply for material and energy use and for flexible, needs-based energy supply.

Flyer "Systemic Contribution of Biomass"

In the research focus "System contribution of biomass", standardised data management tools are used to collect a wide range of data for monitoring the bioenergy market. On the basis of the data, the DBFZ offers a wide range of consulting services on strategic policy issues and market-relevant decisions.

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Important reference projects (Selection)

  • acatech - Energiesysteme der Zukunft (ESYS): Biomasse im Spannungsfeld zwischen Energie- und Klimapolitik: Strategien für eine nachhaltige Bioenergienutzung, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, 01.09.2017 - 31.08.2018
  • OpenGeoEdu – Offene Daten für Lehre und Forschung in raumbezogenen Studiengängen; Teilvorhaben e-Learning: Räumliche Verteilung von biogenen Ressourcen, Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur/VdI/VDE/IT + TÜV Rheinland, 01.05.2017 - 30.04.2020 (FKZ: 19S2007D)
  • MethBos2 – Bioenergy Component - Advisory for biomass potential map development in Bosnia and Herzegovina, GIZ, 05.09.2017 - 30.08.2018
  • MoBiFuels - Analyse und Beseitigung von Markthemmnissen von technisch-modifizierten Bioenergieträgern, Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie/Projektträger Jülich, 01.11.2018-31.10.2021 (FKZ: 03KB136A)
  • TATBIO – Technoökonomische Analyse und Transformationspfade des energetischen Biomassepotentials, Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie/Projektträger Jülich, 10.10.2017 - 31.01.2019 (FKZ: 03MAP362

Important reference publications (Selection)

  • Dotzauer, M.; Pfeiffer, D.; Lauer, M.; Pohl, M.; Mauky, E.; Bär, K.; Sonnleitner, M.; Zörner, W.; Hudde, J.; Schwarz, B.; Faßauer, B.; Dahmen, M.; Rieke, C.; Herbert, J.; Thrän, D. (2019). "How to measure flexibility: performance indicators for demand driven power generation from biogas plants". Renewable Energy (ISSN: 0960-1481), H. 134. S. 135-146. DOI: 10.1016/j.renene.2018.10.021.
  • Scheftelowitz, M.; Becker, R.; Thrän, D. (2018). "Improved power provision from biomass: A retrospective on the impacts of German energy policy". Biomass and Bioenergy (ISSN: 0961-9534), H. 111. S. 1-12. DOI: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2018.01.010.
  • Lauer, M.; Hansen, J. K.; Lamers, P.; Thrän, D. (2018). "Making money from waste: The economic viability of producing biogas and biomethane in the Idaho dairy industry". Applied Energy (ISSN: 0306-2619), H. 222. S. 621-636. DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2018.04.026.
  • Majer, S.; Moosmann, D.; Wurster, S.; Ladu, L.; Thrän, D. (2018). Gaps and Research Demand Analysis from Current Certification and Standardisation in a Sustainable Biobased Economy. Vortrag gehalten: 26th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, Kopenhagen (Dänemark), 14.-17.05.2018.
  • Millinger, M.; Meisel, K.; Budzinski, M.; Thrän, D. (2018). "Relative Greenhouse Gas Abatement Cost Competitiveness of Biofuels in Germany". Energies (ISSN: 1996-1073), Vol. 11, H. 3. DOI: 10.3390/en11030615.
  • Reißmann, D.; Thrän, D.; Bezama, A. (2018). "Hydrothermal processes as treatment paths for biogenic residues in Germany: A review of the technology, sustainability and legal aspects". Journal of Cleaner Production (ISSN: 0959-6526), H. 172. S. 239-252. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.10.151.
  • Horschig, T.; Welfle, A.; Billig, E.; Thrän, D. (2019). "From Paris agreement to business cases for upgraded biogas: Analysis of potential market uptake for biomethane plants in Germany using biogenic carbon capture and utilization technologies". Biomass and Bioenergy (ISSN: 0961-9534), H. 120. S. 313-323. DOI: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2018.11.022.


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