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 "Biobased Products and Fuels" deals with selected research topics in the field of biorefineries.

The working groups

In close synergy with research regarding gasification processes, fuel compounds, and the corresponding up- and downstream processing, hydrothermal processes as a building block for biorefinery approaches are subject of theoretical, experimental, and practical investigations in this R&D-focus. Further information

Focus topics of the working group:

  • Investigation of processes and technologies for hydrothermal biomass conversion (Hydrothermal carbonization [HTC], hydrothermal liquefaction [HTL])
  • Hydrothermal processes as an option for nutrient recovery from biogenic residues like sewage sludge and digestate
  • Hydrothermally produced chars applied as a fuel, as an adsorbing agent among other potential applications
  • Production of chemicals and fuel precursors with hydrothermal processes

Contact person:

Dr. Benjamin Herklotz (head of the working group)
Phone: +49 (0)341 2434-449

Efficient separation technologies for the production of biobased materials are essential for the development of new biorefinery concepts. Individual separation steps and their combination into separation cascades are being developed on a pilot scale. The integration into complete biorefineries is modelled and analyzed by flow sheet simulation.

Focus topics of the working group

  • Solid-liquid separation: decanter centrifuge, hydraulic dewatering, filtration
  • Liquid-liquid separation: membrane filtration, extraction, distillation, evaporation, preparative chromatography
  • Development of separation cascades
  • Conceptual design of biorefineries: process synthesis, flow-sheet simulation, up-scaling
  • Techno-economic assessments and evaluation

Contact person:

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

The production of gaseous secondary energy carriers enables the application of solid biomass in additional fields of energy provision, industry and transportation. In this context, the working group are dealing with the conversion of biomass into a CO/H2 synthesis gas via gasification, the synthesis gas cleaning and the synthesis of gaseous secondary energy carriers based on synthesis gas from gasification or CO2 and regenerative hydrogen. Theoretical and experimental investigations and validation by measurement at technical scale plants are implemented in the work.

Focus topics of the working group:

  • gasification of special fuels and catalytically assisted gasification processes
  • gas purification / conditioning for synthesis gas
  • integration and modularisation of reactors for decentralised concepts
  • SynBioPTx, calorific value increase
  • techno-economic analysis and evaluation

Contact person:

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

The working group focuses on a comparative classification of the overall concept for biofuel and biorefinery technologies that are relevant from a technical and practical point of view. For this purpose the overall estimation is based on analyzes and evaluations considering different aspects, for example technology, costs, environmental effects, location, feasibility.

Focus topics of the working group:

  • Monitoring the market and technology development of plants for renewable fuels
  • Identification of fields of application and the associated challenges for renewable fuels (e.g. infrastructure issues)
  • Evaluation and assessment of the political and legal framework conditions for renewable fuels
  • Analysis and techno-economic evaluation of fuel options for different vehicle drive systems
  • Processing and chemical analysis of fuel precursors via hydrotreatment, including balancing and techno-economic analysis and evaluation

Contact person:

Dr. Kati Görsch (head of the working group)
Phone: +49 (0)341 2434-329


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