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Research areas at the Biomass Institute

Biomass production

The production of biomass is closely linked to issues including resource efficiency, climate change, biodiversity and societal acceptance, and this can create huge challenges for the agricultural industry. Another important aspect is the use of digital technologies to improve efficiency. The research projects and knowledge transfer measures being undertaken focus on current issues and identify solutions for the parties involved.
You can find out more about the key topics being investigated in the research area by clicking on the links for the individual terms.

Biomass production and resource efficiency

Growing populations and climate change are presenting new societal and economic challenges, requiring bioeconomic relationships to be re-evaluated and analysed and strategies for optimisation to be developed.
The area of biomass production and resource efficiency focuses on the feasibility of recycling concepts and strategies and examines the ecological and economic effects of the production of biomass. These concepts are evaluated in test fields at the Triesdorf campus. Areas of interest include site-specific fertilisation to increase yield while reducing fertilisation work, catch cropping, efficient water usage and the optimised use of pesticides.
An important aspect to consider is the sustainable production of biomass. It is also important to examine the entire life-cycle and recycling chains. The use of renewable raw materials should be CO2-neutral as far as possible. This means that when using biomass, the amount of carbon dioxide released should not exceed the amount removed from the atmosphere through planting energy crops, wood, crop waste etc.

Digitalisation of biomass production

Digitalisation is currently a fast-growing sector in the agricultural industry on account of the rapid increase in data processing and the development of sensor technology. This trend gives agricultural business of all sizes the opportunity to take advantage of the economic and ecological benefits that can be achieved through resource efficiency. As well as recording and analysing measured data, our projects focus on establishing adapted methods in agricultural enterprises.
The project applications combine various disciplines, and industry partners and biomass-producing agricultural businesses from across the region are very involved in the projects. The focus in these cooperations is not only on the transfer of knowledge, but also on breaking down barriers to acceptance and increasing support for implementation in practice.
The aim is to use the results to enable a transfer of technology to the participating industry partners, and to share the knowledge gained with the entire biomass production industry.

Biodiversity

Biodiversity encompasses three areas: Species diversity, i.e. the number of species in a particular location, genetic diversity within a species and habitat diversity, i.e. the number of different habitats or ecosystems.
Biodiversity is crucial to the preservation and maintenance of our cultural landscape, so it is important to maintain an abundance of species in the agricultural and cultural landscape. Maintaining a high level of biodiversity also has a number of benefits for ecological agricultural businesses.
In species-rich areas, dry conditions have less impact on biomass production than in monocultures. A high level of species diversity therefore acts as a buffer in extreme weather conditions, which are becoming more and more frequent as a result of climate change. It is also important to preserve the diversity of natural genetic resources to ensure maximum flexibility in terms of our basic food resources. The transfer of knowledge is also crucial in this area, so online training has already been created as part of the 'Room for diversity' (Raum für Vielfalt) project.

Biomass utilisation

The purpose of the research and transfer of knowledge being undertaken at the Biomass Institute is to demonstrate ways in which an economy can be developed that functions successfully using biomass (link to the German website), an economy that, thanks to various innovations, does not require the use of finite resources and enables us to achieve our society’s environmental protection and climate protection goals. The research is being carried out across the entire value chain. It involves all parties and takes into account success factors such as acceptance, feasibility and the compatibility of ecology and the economy right from the start. You can find out more about the key topics being investigated in the research area by clicking on the links for the individual terms.

Material cycles

The development of a sustainable economic system that is based on natural material cycles is currently one of the most pressing tasks facing industry, agriculture, the public sector and private households. The Biomass Institute is researching innovative processes and product ideas for using biogenic waste and raw materials, such as materials produced from wood waste and grain husks. Life-cycle analyses, concepts and prototypes for recyclable industrial products are also created and the relevant knowledge passed on to business and society.

Digitalisation of the bioenergy industry

There are no time constraints or limitations on the production and storage of bioenergy. Crucially, it can be used to help deliver a stable supply using renewable energies and can be used in a targeted manner to meet peaks in demand in the power grid and to cover periods when there is no or very little solar and wind power production. This requires new solutions for controlling the overall process for biogas production, right through to the integration of the energy in the power grid. Tools include virtual sensors, prediction models and machine learning techniques (artificial intelligence).

Sectoral integration with bioenergy

Renewable energies already cover over a third of power consumption, but only one seventh of final energy consumption in Germany. Work is still needed to drive the energy transition forward in heating and cooling applications and in the transport sector. To this end, the Biomass Institute is developing solutions for the efficient use of biogas and bioethanol, as well as for cross-sector concepts such as Power-to-X technologies and local solutions (e.g. 'energy self-sufficient businesses').

Legal, societal and economic aspects

The transformation into a resource-conserving, environmentally friendly economy that uses renewable raw materials (a 'bioeconomy') requires a rethink in all economic sectors, in society and in politics. Within the context of the overarching research topic of 'Legal, societal and economic aspects' (link to the German website), the Biomass Institute is seeking to identify the areas in law and politics where action is required and to highlight ways in which economic and societal objectives can be successfully combined.

Contact Triesdorf

Hochschule Weihenstephan-Triesdorf
Zentrum für Forschung und Wissenstransfer
Biomasse-Institut
Markgrafenstraße 16
91746 Weidenbach

T +49 9826 654-390
F +49 9826 654-4390
biomasse-institut [at]hswt.de

Academic director

Managing Director

Contact Ansbach

Biomasse-Institut
Hochschule Ansbach
Residenzstraße 8
91522 Ansbach

Alexandra Sept
T +49 981 4877-318
F +49 981 4877-188

alexandra.sept [at]hs-ansbach.de