Final Thesis

Analysis of humins via process spectroscopy

Key Info

Basic Information

Process Systems Engineering
Focus/Key Topic:
experimental / simulativ


Due to its high availability, lignocellulose biomass is suitable as a sustainable raw material for biorefineries. To make these plants more economically competitive, a shift from the often batchwise operated processes to continuous processes, such as e.g. continuous tube reactors, is necessary. Unwanted side reactions during the acid-catalyzed conversion of sugars obtained from biomass are a major challenge for such process alternatives. Formed by polymerization of unstable intermediates, insoluble degradation products, so-called humins or hydrochar, lead to significant fouling in reactors and pipelines. Furthermore, they strongly reduce the process yield [1-4]. Although this fact has been known for a long time, humins have only recently been the subject of intensive research on their avoidance or utilization. Here, however, there is a lack of techniques for in-line quantification of these substances during a conversion in the reactor or in pipelines. Spectroscopic analytical methods, such as infrared and UV/Vis can provide valuable new insights as they allow rapid, non-invasive measurements under process conditions directly in the respective plant component [5, 6]. In this experimentally oriented work, a qualitative and quantitative method for the spectroscopic detection of humins will be developed and validated.

That's waiting for you:

  • Solid experience in biomass conversion
  • Developing your skills in the field of experimental work
  • Handling advanced analytical techniques of process spectroscopy
  • Plenty of freedom to contribute your own ideas
  • Deepening your ability to work scientifically
  • Exciting tasks and new challenges
  • Always a point of contact for your work

Your skills:

  • Experience with lab work is helpful, but not mandatory
  • Good comprehension and the ability to improvise
  • Independent, structured and autonomous way of working
  • Motivation, interest and commitment
  • Fun with experimental work

The thesis can be written in German or English. If you are interested feel free to contact me with a short CV and your latest transcript of records to arrange an appointment. E-Mail to:

[1] G. Tsilomelekis et al., Green Chem., 2016, 18, 1983-1993.

[2] Z. Cheng et al., Green Chem., 2018, 20, 997-1006.

[3] V. Maruani et al., ACS Sustainable Chem Eng., 2018, 6, 13487-13493.

[4] D. Jung et al., ACS Sustainable Chem Eng., 2018, 6, 13877-13887.

[5] T. Eifert & M. A. Liauw, React. Chem. Eng., 2016, 1, 521-532.

[6] M. Glass et al., Fluid Phase Equilib., 2017, 443, 212-225.