Fraunhofer IGB at Achema 2015
The Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB is characterized by very diverse research areas. At Achema 2015, the institute presents its R&D work and results in the areas of "water treatment", "biorefinery" and "process analytics".
Industrial water treatment – Concepts for ecologically and economically efficient water recycling
One of the challenges of the future is a sustainable use of water resources. The Fraunhofer IGB is researching a wide spectrum of technologies for the efficient processing and recycling of water.
In the area of water purification, the institute presents electrochemical and oxidative treatment processes to reduce pollutants by plasma technology or UV light or for desalination through capacitive deionization. Since water purity is also a safety issue, the IGB also presents a biosensor alarm system for water monitoring.
Furthermore, the IGB shows how to use water for the recovery of raw materials or nutrients. Mineral raw materials such as metals or rare earths can be efficiently recovered by membrane adsorbers from industrial process and wastewater and nutrients are precipitated from water for use as high-value fertilizers, for example.
Biobased World – Meeting point of industrial biotechnology
The focus of the IGB in the 'biorefinery' area is on the use of wood as a renewable raw material. How the energy use of wood can be optimized, is shown by the torrefaction with superheated steam. With this method, the mass-based energy density is increased, thus achieving a higher calorific value. The pellets produced in this way are regarded as an ideal auxiliary fuel for power stations with coal dust firing.
The potential for the exploitation of wood goes well beyond the use as an energy source. It is also ideally suited as a raw material for the chemical industry. Under the motto "Nature's own chemical plant", the IGB shows examples which chemical compounds, platform chemicals and materials can be obtained from wood. In addition to process development the IGB offers the scaling up to an industrial scale.
Upscaling is performed at the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP, the institute branch of the IGB at the Leuna chemical site.
The IGB researches microalgae as a renewable raw material for the production of value and fuels and the production of energy. The frugal aquatic organisms require only sunlight, carbon dioxide and mineral recyclables. And they provide a wide range of metabolites, such as carotenoids or vitamins, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates. Even residual algal biomass can be digested into biogas and thus used as an energy source. The IGB has established processes for an efficient cultivation of microalgae in specially developed photobioreactors. In a fully automated pilot plant at the CBP in Leuna algae cultivation takes place already on a large scale in a total of 110 reactors with a volume of 11.7 cubic meters.
Innovative Process Analytics – a link between automation and analytics
In addition to bioproduction processes the IGB also develops analytical methods for biotechnological applications. The new real-time process mass spectrometer can be seen at Achema as an example. This instrument can simultaneously analyze up to 30 components from both the gas and from the liquid phase.