Chemical processes


Starting materials for the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries from lignin, renewable energy and CO2

The focus is on the development of chemical processes for the production of bio-based primary, fine and platform chemicals and petrochemical products for further processing in the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries. The educts of these processes form alternative sources such as lignin, renewable energies, stream-based H2 and CO2 from flue gases or after adsorption from the air.

In addition to the development and transfer of new process concepts from laboratory to pilot plant scale, the optimization of material and energy efficiency plays an important role. During development, process steps can be optimised, energetically considered and balanced by theoretical considerations and process simulation.

Lignin added value

© Sven Döring

In order to operate sustainable and economic biorefineries, the conversion of lignin into high-quality products is essential. Various processes for the modification and depolymerization of lignin are examined and scaled, which maintain or increase the structure and functionality of lignin. In this way, new, previously inaccessible aromatic structures with new functionalities and thus a new range of services are identified that can be used in a variety of industrial applications.

Electricity-based fuels and chemicals

In the course of the energy transition, power-to-X technologies are increasingly moving into the focus of research, as surplus electricity from renewable energy generation can also be used for the electrochemical production of basic chemicals or fuels. This means that the use of renewable energies is expanding to the chemical sector. At Fraunhofer IGB and CBP, we are investigating how regeneratively generated "green" hydrogen can be used in sustainable synthesis processes, such as the chemocatalytic conversion of CO2 into platform chemicals or fuels.

Windmill and solar cells.

Process design and plant engineering

© Norbert Michalke/Fraunhofer IGB
Plant for the production of lignin fragments at Fraunhofer CBP.

Using modern simulation tools (CHEMCAD, Aspen), together with our project partners we evaluate the developed processes with regard to their energy and raw material efficiency, plan and construct plants and put them into operation.

Downstream processing

This area includes the development of processes for the purification and downstream processing of product mixtures. For custom applications, new downstream processes are developed, scaled and evaluated. The industrial feasibility of the process is already evaluated and optimized on a laboratory scale.