Institute of Chemical Engineering

Vienna University of Technology
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Hermann Hofbauer
Getreidemarkt 9/E166
1060 Vienna
+43 (0)1 58801-15901
+43 (0)1 58801-15999
The Institute of Chemical Engineering at the Vienna University of Technology is one of the leading research institutes in the field of biomass utilization in Austria. Furthermore, the Institute is integrated into the international scientific society by the partnership in European projects and the representation of Austria in IEA Bioenergy (International Energy Agency). The Institute is shareholder at the competence centre bioenergy 2020+, and holds also the position of a key researcher in the Area “Gasification” in this competence centre.
Currently 25-30 scientific employees are engaged in different projects in the field of biomass utilization. Both conversion routes the thermal as well as the biological are investigated. The character of the projects can be partly considered as fundamental research  but  also  a  lot  of  precompetitive  applied projects are carried out. Besides a lot of experimental research work also modelling and simulation of single process steps as well as overall processes is a core expertise at the Institute.
During the last decade a novel process based on biomass gasification for the combined heat and power production has been developed together with Austrian boiler manufacturers and plant operators. A demonstration plant according to this process was started up in 2002 and successfully operated since that time in Güssing and a second plant is in operation since 2008 in Oberwart. In the last years this technology has been applied also internationally in German and Sweden in the size range of 15 to 33MW. The producer gas from this steam blown gasification process is well suited as synthesis gas for the production of BioSNG (Synthetic Natural Gas), BioFiT (liquid biofuels from the Fischer Tropsch Synthesis) mixed Alcohols or Hydrogen. All these synthesis processes are currently intensively investigated in the frame of European as well as national projects. An EU-demonstration project was successfully carried out to build and operate a 1 MW plant for the production of BioSNG. Another advanced process based on the Güssing gasification process is currently developed with the aim to integrate the removal of tars and dust inside the gasifier.