Biorefineries Department

Against the background of the growing challenges in terms of the competitiveness of existing bioenergy plants, the Biorefineries department develops, analyses and evaluates processes, technologies and master-concepts for so-called poly-product plants. Its focus is on biofuels. In order to deliver an informative assessment other products, such as other energy source materials or base materials, are also studied.

The department focuses on developing biofuel production methods and evaluating and simulating biorefi neries. This also includes biofuel production in the fuel technical centre, incorporating laboratory analytics for comprehensive chemical-physical characterisation of biomasses and biofuels as well as test bed investigation of the motor behaviour of liquid and gaseous biofuels. Activities are rounded off by technical assessment, costing and ecological evaluation of master concepts. Another aim is to initiate demonstration projects and monitor them scientifically.

The department also undertakes analysis and optimisation of processes and concepts based on stationary and dynamic process flow simulations. Complementing those activities, it extends and optimises existing plant concepts (such as for biofuel production) and develops innovative biorefinery concepts. This also includes multi-criteria assessment of master concepts, taking into account technical, economic and ecological objectives. Another area of focus is on the development of efficient gasification processes for defined synthesis gas qualities and the ongoing development of hydrothermal techniques. The department also continuously acquires and maintains overview data on the current state of technological and scientific progress in process engineering for biofuel plants and biorefineries.

The research focus "Processes for chemical bioenergy carriers and fuels" deals with selected research topics in the field of biorefineries.

The working groups

As a prerequisite for the analysis and evaluation of system components and overall concepts, process simulation is carried out in close cooperation with the main areas of work on fuel characterisation and synthesis gas supply (e.g. in the transfer of results from experimental investigations).

Focus topics of the working group:

  • Stationary flow diagram simulations for plant planning, balancing and optimization
  • Dynamic flow diagram simulations for demand-oriented system control
  • Methods and data for the simulation of biomass conversion plants (e.g. kinetics measurements)

Contact person:
Prof. Dr. Stefan Rönsch (Head of the working group)
Phone: +49 (0)341 2434-451

Including the results from the experimental investigations on the one hand and the results from the process simulation on the other hand, this focus concentrates on the approaches for the provision of biofuels and other products in biorefineries from a systems engineering point of view.

Focus topics of the working group

  • Analysis and optimization of existing biofuel plants and individual system components
  • Further development of biofuel plants into biorefineries, for optimal conversion of biogenic raw materials into energy sources and other products
  • Development of innovative concepts and technologies for the development of alternative raw material sources (e.g. lignocellulose, residues and algae)

Contact person:
Dipl.-Ing. Arne Gröngröft (Head of the working group)
Phone: +49 (0)341 2434-446

For a comparative classification of the technically relevant overall concept approaches for biofuel and biorefinery technologies among each other as well as in comparison to alternative approaches in the energy system, an overall assessment based on multi-criteria analyses and evaluations according to different aspects (e.g. technology, costs, environmental effects) is necessary. In addition, life cycle assessments as well as feasibility studies and the investigation of aspects related to site planning ensure practical relevance.

Focus topics of the working group:

  • Strategy development and policy advice, monitoring
  • Evaluation of biofuel and biorefinery concepts according to (i) singular criteria (technological, ecological, business and economic) and (ii) multi-criteria objectives
  • feasibility studies
  • Initiation and monitoring of demonstration projects

Contact person:
Dr. Michael Seiffert (Head of the working group)
Phone: +49 (0)341 2434-445

In close synergy with the issues surrounding process simulation and systems engineering approaches, thermo-chemical processes and procedures in the context of biorefinery approaches are the subject of theoretical, experimental and practical investigations in this R&D focus.

Focus topics of the working group:

  • Component development with a focus on thermo-chemical processes (e.g. gasification processes with gravimetric reaction retorts, catalytic processes with tube reactor and plate reactor)
  • Analysis and experimental optimisation of biomass gasification (e.g. innovative biomass conditioning processes, multi-stage process control taking into account the effects on gas conditioning and product synthesis)
  • Investigation of processes and technologies for hydrothermal biomass conversion (Hydrothermal carbonization [HTC], hydrothermal liquefaction)

Contact person:
Dr. Marco Klemm (Head of the working group)
Phone: +49 (0)341 2434-537


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