Biomass conversion

Disintegration of sprucewood
Investigation of biomass conversion processes with main focus on experiments, process analytics, and process design.

The biomass conversion application group covers a wide field of research with the objective of optimal processes and products from renewables. The group focuses on the value chain in its entirety, starting from biomass pretreatment as a process step up to the conceptual design of the entire process. The overall goals are products in terms of fuels but also specialties and platform chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass.

In particular, we research the following topics:


  • Physical-chemical phenomena of biomass pretreatment with aqueous and organic solvents, acids, alkali, tailor-made solvents, e.g. ionic liquids and mixtures of various solvents
  • Physical-chemical phenomena of conversion of biomass downstream products, e.g. sugars to platform chemicals such as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural and levulinic acid

Process analytics

  • Development of robust inline process analytical technologies for biomass conversion using spectroscopy
  • Model-based methods of data evaluation for analysis of complex biological-chemical systems

Process design

  • Modelling of various chemical processes occurring during the conversion of biomass to products
  • Development of novel methods and strategies to identify optimal reaction pathways for the synthesis of fuels and platform chemicals from biomass
  • Conceptual process design and optimization of, e.g., multicomponent separations, in order to convert biomass to fuels and platform chemicals
  • Development of dynamic models for optimized operation and process control of biorefineries
  • Simulation and analysis of metabolic pathways in microorganisms for optimal productivity regarding biochemicals


  1. Experiments: 4ml bis 50L reactor volumes, batch and continuous process operation
  2. Process analytics: UV-Vis, MIR, NIR, NMR and Raman spectroscopy with IHM, PLS and PI via PEAXACT
  3. Process design: PEAXACT, Aspen Plus, MATLAB, GAMS, Dymola, gPROMS, COSMO-RS, Visual Studio