The portfolio of the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance also includes the operation of pilot plants to examine the combustion and emission behavior of different fuels in combustion plants, gasification plants and pyrolysis plants. Researchers at Fraunhofer improve system components, for example by using innovative ceramic materials in burners, advise customers with regard to the management of biomass-fired cogenerations plants and examine production chains of bioenergy raw materials. At the same time, research is conducted with respect to catalytic processes and the improvement of refinery concepts for the processing of biofuels, for example the fluid phase transition of greases, oils and renewable raw materials to biogenic diesel and gasoline.

Further research topics at Fraunhofer include crushing, blending and molding units for the conversion of waste and production residues to alternative fuels and the analysis of small-scale combustion installations with integrated cogeneration systems for alternative fuels from high calorific waste.

Experts at Fraunhofer develop, plan and support plants for biogas anaerobic digestion and conduct research on the production of synthesis gas from biomass for the usage in fuel cell systems and the coupling with chemical processes. The latter also includes the feed-in of biogas into the natural gas grid and the conversion to fuel for vehicles.

Competencies of the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance in the field of Bioenergy

Biomass - Thermochemical Conversion

Whether combustion, gasification or pyrolysis, the institutes of Fraunhofer Energy Research have comprehensive expertise in almost all areas of thermochemical conversion. These processes are the starting point for a wide range of further utilization steps, from flexible power generation, to the provision of fuels and energy carriers, to the on-demand supply of high-temperature process heat, to products and intermediates with which cross-system interfaces can be created. The competences in the field of utilization and conversion of biomass, biogenic residues and waste are a central component for the creation of a Circular Bioeconomy. Our experts also advise and support market players in the areas of digitalization, predictive maintenance and material optimization in plant engineering.




Development of a process for the production of low-emission, combustible fermentation residue pellets for use as fuel for domestic and small combustion plants.



The project examines the potential of biomass cogeneration plants for flexible power generation.

Biomass - Energetic Use

The institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft conduct research in the field of the use of renewable biomass and biogenic residues. The goal is the efficient and system-serving use of existing potentials in the electricity, gas and heat markets of the future, as well as for applications in mobility. The researchers involved are working on tapping the potential of biogenic residues, developing bioenergy plants and making them more flexible, and integrating them into energy supply systems. Another focus is the coupling of material and energetic use, the so-called cascading use of biomass. The Fraunhofer institutes are making technology fit for the challenges of the future - both for digitization and for the provision of process heat for industrial applications. In addition, studies and measurements relating to bioenergy plants are being offered.




Using the example of a brick plant, the »BioBrick« project shows how process heat and residues from biomass plants can be used for industrial brick production.



Energetic, economic and ecological assessment of leaves as fuel.



Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB have teamed up with various partners developing a special steam drying technique.



The project focuses on the energetic utilization of poultry manure and straw based on biogas production. In addition to the energy balance (incl. logistics) especially the material potential of the resulting digestate (fertilizer and fuel) is considered or developed.



Processes, components and systems for the flexible operation of biogas plants using organic waste material.

Biomass - Carbonization

The production of carbonisates from biomass includes a variety of processes from torrefaction to hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) and pyrolysis. Depending on the process and further use, the result is a storable fuel or even a valuable raw material. The production of carbonisates from biomass and biogenic residues is gaining increasing interest in research, industry and society. Our experts actively conduct research along the entire process chain, both on the optimization and process integration of the processes and on the utilization and certification of the resulting products. From the investigation of raw materials, to the development and optimization of carbonization plants, to the many applications of carbonisates. When used in agriculture and forestry, the Fraunhofer institutes are particularly investigating the stability of carbon and the effects on the soil-plant system


Bioenergy: Sustainable use of biomass

New concepts for the material and energetic use of biomass.

Biofuels and Relevant Processes

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is currently working on the further development of biofuels as an alternative form of fuel. Our portfolio not only includes the optimization of biofuel processing methods, but also the associated increase in production efficiency. New paths for biofuels from biogenic residues (such as fermentation residue, sewage sludge or biowaste) aim at the direct substitution of fossil crude oil in refineries "drop-in-fuels" so that the entire range of products can be produced on a green basis. The conversion of waste materials from renewable sources into synthetic fuels and biodiesel is also being investigated.




The "HyCO2" pilot project evaluates the process of converting CO2 with sustainable H2 into liquid compounds such as methanol with the help of an interdisciplinary network.



The Fraunhofer IMM together with its customers, is engaged in developing decentralized plants which produce biodiesel from waste materials on-site without long transportation routes, depending on the application. 



The EU project  »The Demonstration of Waste Biomass to Synthetic Fuels and Green Hydrogen« (acronym: TO-SYN-FUEL)  aims to show how liquid synthetic fuels and hydrogen can be produced decentrally from residual biomass for the first time.



In the PyroMar project, fuel components from biogenic raw materials are being developed for the operation of ocean-going ships. By adding these components to fossil marine fuels, environmentally friendly blends are created...

Biogas / Fermentation

The fermentative conversion of renewable raw materials and organic residues into biogas is a flexible option to provide energy forms and carriers (e.g. fuel, heat and electricity) as needed and to strengthen the material cycles of nutrients and water in agricultural production. Fraunhofer researchers are working to increase efficiency along the entire value chain. The focus of activities is application-oriented process development - from targeted substrate digestion to process management of fermentation and reactor mixing to gas processing and the energetic and material biogas utilization, the application-oriented process development is the focus of the activities. Special emphasis should be placed on the excellent networking of different R&D fields for an optimal integration of the biogas technologies in the origin and target systems. In the future, the focus will be on system efficiency and cascade utilization, including bioeconomics.



Brazilian vehicle fleet drives on bio-methane from the sewage plant



FlexPump - Development and demonstration of a pump-based mixing concept for the flexible, efficiency-optimized and multifeed-capable operation of biogas plants.



Optimization of the operation and design of biogas plants for needs-based, flexible and efficient biogas production, taking process stability into account as a post-EEG strategy.

Biogenic CO2 Storage and Utilization

In order to achieve the climate targets, the use of negative emission technologies (NET) seems inevitable. The bioenergy sector in particular offers great potential for CO2-negative solutions that can already be implemented economically in the short and medium term. Under the keywords BECCS or BECCU (BioEnergy Carbon Capture and Storage or Utilization) and PyCCS (Pyrolysis Carbon Capture and Storage), solutions and technologies are being worked on that enable rapid implementation and success with regard to CO2-negative technologies. In PyCCS, coal is produced from biomass, which is ideally used as a soil conditioner and is sequestered in the soil for as long as possible. OxyFuel processes can also be used on a decentralized scale, especially in combination with electrolysers, to realize CO2-negative processes by separating and recycling CO2.