Bioconversion & Biogas Systems

In the field of biotechnological conversion of biomass into energy and/or materials we cooperate closely with the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna (IFA Tulln). We jointly aim to maximise the cascading use of resources.
Our core competence in this research area is the further development of biogas technology due its’s capabilities to valorise residues and waste and to supply storable energy (biomethane) from renewable resources.

Our research interests in the field of biogas technology focus on:

  • Integration of biogas plants in the overall energy system
  • Intensification and optimisation of the use of residues in biogas plants and stable fermentation of substrates with high protein content
  • Pretreatment of poorly degradable substrates to improve microbiological conversion and use of additives to increase microbiological activity (e.g. trace elements, enzymes)
  • Processing of biogas digestate to biofertilisers

The second field of activities is bioconversion. We consider a variety of different processes, with algae biotechnology being an already established main pillar. Other activities cover the biotechnological transformation of residues or CO2 into a variety of different products (fuels, platform chemicals, high-quality products for the chemical industry, etc.). Overall, our research interests address the following fields of bioconversion systems:

  • New and further development, and process scale-up, in algae biotechnology
  • Desulphurisation processes and nutrient recovery
  • Refining problematic waste (e.g. slaughterhouse waste)
  • ABE (acetone, butanol, ethanol) fermentation based on residues

AREA 3 performance specifications

• Biogas technology

Characterisation of different substrates for biogas processes (dry matter, organic dry matter, COD – chemical oxygen demand, total nitrogen, NH4 –nitrogen, etc.), determination of biomethane yields  using batch tests, feasibility studies for biogas projects, optimisation of the mono-digestion of industrial residues (continuous anaerobic digestion (AD) experiments), monitoring and optimisation of industrial biogas plants

• Microalgae biotechnology

Screening of algae strains, testing and comparison of different cultivation systems (tubular photobioreactor, sleeve bag system, etc.), process scale-up from lab scale to pilot scale, downstream processing (harvesting, biomass processing, extraction of useful substances, etc.), supply of algae biomass, further development of algae biorefinery processes

• Nutrient recovery and nutrient availability

Process engineering for refining biogas digestate to biofertilisers (sieving, centrifugation, use of flocculants, ultrafiltration, …) bioavailability of trace elements, development of desulphurisation processes (chemical, microbiological), further development of nutrient recovery processes (ammonia,
phosphate, sulphur, microelements)

• Further bioconversion processes

Biomethanation and biological upgrading of biogas to biomethane, biological conversion of hydrogen and carbon dioxide to acetic acid, refining of problematic wastes (e.g. slaughterhouse waste), production of volatile fatty acids from biogenic residues, further development of ABE fermentation

Contact Person

Area Manager

Bernhard Drosg

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