Upstream processing of renewable raw materials and biogenic residues

Renewable raw materials and residues represent a local, sustainable source for the production of high-quality products. Residues are produced in agriculture and also in industrial processes. Usually the desired component is embedded in a complex matrix of other natural substances and must be removed from it.

Our working group pursues the goal of a holistic use of all components. Extraction, isolation or pre-treatment are carried out in such a way as to ensure the recovery or use of all substances while minimizing the flow of by-products. This starts with a comprehensive analysis of the various ingredients. Based on the composition and linkage of the desired substance in the substrate, we decide which tool from our repertoire is to be used for processing. The range of our portfolio includes the application of chemical-physical methods for the fractionation of substrates containing lignocellulose and chitin, for example, through to the enzymatic cleavage of organically bound phosphate.

Range of services

We offer interested parties and customers

  • the analysis of the chemical composition of their residual, waste and renewable raw materials and
  • the subsequent added value of these substrates.

In order to increase the efficiency of the methods used, we rely on computer-aided optimization strategies with strong economic relevance.

Research topics

Processing of chitin from crab shells and insect skeletons

Pulping of lignocellulose

Saccharification of lignocellulose

Latex and inulin from dandelion roots

Enzymes for the cleavage of phosphate esters into waste materials

Reference projects

AERTOs biobased economy (BBE)

Duration: June 2014 – May 2016

The project partners have set themselves the goal of driving forward the development of a biobased economy in Europe and thereby removing certain technical hurdles in the new value chains.

BioSurf – Surfactants based on renewable raw materials

Duration: 2011 – 2014

The BioSurf project develops biosurfactants from microorganisms and enzymatically produced surfactants based on renewable raw materials.

Lignocellulose biorefinery – Enzymatic hydrolysis of pretreated lignocellulosic fibers and enzymatic detoxification of digestion solutions with laccases

Duration: January 2010 – December 2013

The aim of this project was to develop and establish a process for the complete material utilization of all components of lignocellulose by obtaining biobased products based on cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin within a biorefinery.

Lignoplast – Functionalized lignin cleavage products as synthesis building blocks for the production of adhesives, coatings, polyurethanes and epoxides

Duration: July 2013 – December 2016

Aromatic compounds of lignin, one of the main components of wood, can replace petroleum-based substances in the production of adhesives or paints and thus enable "greener" products. However, the aromatics in a usable form have so far been very difficult to extract from lignin. The Lignoplast project is developing new processes to make the aromatic compounds more easily accessible.

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PhosFarm – Recovery of inorganic phosphate by enzymatic cleavage of organic phosphate esters

Duration: January 2013 – January 2015

PhosFarm as an interdisciplinary European project has made it its goal to extract phosphate in inorganic form from agricultural residues and additionally from waste from the food industry.