The Section of Sustainable Biotechnologys expertise covers a wide variety of biotechnology applications with a special focus on the conversion of biomass into bioenergy and valuable by-products. Our competences are eukaryotic and prokaryotic microbiology, advanced molecular biology, enzyme and process technology.
Our scientific platform consists of broad microbiological and biotechnological disciplines – from microbial biodiversity analyses, advanced genetic engineering and enzyme discovery to physio-chemical and biological process engineering.
Sustainable Bioenergy Production
Supplying the future’s energy demand is one of the biggest challenges faced by the world.
The shift of energy production based on fossil fuel to renewable energy resources is driven by three major aspects: Reducing the dependency on oil and gas imports
Searching for alternatives to fossil fuels to cope with future depletion of oil reserves
Reducing the greenhouse effect from the use of fossil energy resourcesBioenergy from biomass is currently one of the major renewable energy resources (for heat, electricity and the transportation sector). Efficient and sustainable systems for the conversion of biomass into energy have to be developed to fulfill the increasing demand for bioenergy based on biomass without interfering with the world’s food production. Therefore, the focus for sustainable bioenergy production is on
The conversion of (lignocellulosic) waste biomass (2nd generation)
Full conversion schemes into bioenergy/biofuels and valuable by-products (biorefinery)
Carbon based biofuels such as bioethanol or biodiesel is so far the only way to introduce alternatives to gasoline for the transportation sector in a short time span. Furthermore, biomass is the only renewable resource to substitute chemicals that are currently produced from oil.
The combination of biofuels and biochemicals production from biomass with 100% usage of the raw material is the key for sustainable bioenergy production in the future.
In order to achieve both a cost-effective process and to recover all value of the biomass resource the conversion of the biomass should follow a biorefinery scheme into different energy carriers and valuable by-products. The best suited biorefinery concept is depending on the specific biomass characteristics and the value of the specific products. An important aspect for fulfilling sustainability of the process scheme is the recovery of process water and nutrients in order to minimize the need for water and nutrient supply.
SSB is currently investigating different biorefinery systems for the conversion of waste biomass or energy crops that do not interfere with food production – please see the specific research projects for further details.