The research cluster "Biomass" is concerned with the development of technologies that convert energy crops, organic residues and wastes as well as sewage into reusable materials and fuels. The focus of this research cluster is on the development of highly efficient and adapted biogas technologies and their integration into process chains for the implementation of nutrient cycles and as a complementary energy source for the fluctuating renewable energy producers. Examples include the conversion of CO2 in biogas to methane in cases of excess amounts of electricity in the local electricity grid, the development of small modular fermenter units, biogas upgrading by optimizing fermenter design and process management, innovative methods of pretreatment and fermentation residues, as well as the integration into sustainable food production process chains (organic farming, green houses, aquaculture).

The research work of this cluster is focused on the assessment, development and optimization of these systems in terms of specific modularization, standardization and integration into various applications. Experimental research is pursued on a laboratory and pilot-plant scale as well as using simulations to design on a demonstration project level. Calculations and simulations are carried out using established commercial software solutions. Based on this the evaluation and target orientated optimization, especially taking into account their role for smart grids and process chains, includes technical and economic aspects on the same scale.

Using this as the basis not only the technical challenges of different concepts and technologies on a system- and component-level can be identified, but also new business models can be evaluated from the operator or component suppliers point of view. The result is a comprehensive picture of the technological perspectives and market opportunities of biogas plants in renewable power plants in the mediation between the supply of basic needs like energy, waste, water treatment, as well as in the sustainable supply of quality food.