Group electro‐ & Thermo‐chemical Conversion (eTC)

Conversion processes at elevated temperatures are applied to produce higher value products from primary and secondary carbon resources. Typical process routes for chemical  conversion and utilization include the generation of transportation fuels, basic chemicals and the production of  metallurgical coke or adsorbent for environmental  protection. The focus lies on beneficiation and conversion of biomass, coal, wastes and residues by pyrolysis, gasification or  related processes. The “electro‐ & Thermo‐chemical Conversion“ division aims for a better understanding and improvement of conversion processes as well as for the development and realization of new applications and variants of conversion processes for alternative feedstock and new products.

Research tasks:

  • Fuel technological evaluation of carbon resources 
  • Characterization of thermochemical behavior of coal, biomass, wastes and residues
  • Investigation of mechanisms, kinetics and energy and material balances of pyrolysis processes 
  • Investigation of reactivity of fuels and kinetics of gasification reactions 
  • Production and characterization of coke and chars for various applications including the development and optimization of carbon-based adsorbents and 
  • Investigation of the influence of feed properties and operating conditions on the product quality of conversion processes 

Simulation tools and pilot plants:

  • Extensive laboratory analysis equipment for standard and applied fuel characterization (particle analysis, ultimate and proximate analysis, calorific value determination, major and trace component analysis, heated microscope etc.)
  • Thermal analysis (ambient pressure and high-pressure thermo-balances coupled with DTA, DSC or MS, pyrolysis GC-MS system etc.) 
  • Analysis and characterization of coke and char (high-temperature dilatometry, plastometry, determination of swelling index, CRI and CSR, ignition temperature etc.)
  • Small-scale pyrolysis reactors with online gas flow measuring and analysis (fixed-bed and drop tube reactors up to 1000 °C with pressure up to 100 bar, continuous rotary kiln reactors)
  • Small-scale gasification reactors with online gas flow measuring and analysis, PIV system and thermo-camera (fixed-bed, fluidized-bed and drop tube reactors for temperatures up to 1600 °C and pressure up to 100 bar, continuous fluidized-bed gasifier)
  • Pore size and structure determination and characterization of adsorption properties (mercury porosimetry, surface area determination, helium pycnometry, adsorption testing for methylene blue titer, iodine, sulfur dioxide, mercury etc.)
Current projects and references
  • Evaluation of conversion routes for Mongolian coals
  • Demonstration of the gasification of high-ash coals applying internal-circulating fluidized-bed gasification (COORVED project)
  • Investigation of the influence of ash-forming components and additives on pyrolysis product distribution and kinetics of gasification
  • Investigation of co-conversion of coal and biomass
  • Investigation of suitability of various feedstock for the production of adsorbents for flue gas and waste water trea


Head of group: