Spokesperson: Prof. Mirko Skiborowski, mirko.skiborowski(a)tuhh.de
Deputy Spokesperson: Prof. Michael Schlüter, michael.schlueter(a)tuhh.de
In order to meet the challenges of climate change and sustainable development, new technologies for material and energy conversion are needed, which are based on renewable raw materials and make it possible to close the loop as completely as possible. To this end, innovative processes must be developed for the production of our everyday products that are CO2 neutral or even CO2 sinks. This includes, among others, the production of fuels, the supply of fertilizers, basic and specialty chemicals, as well as plastics and pharmaceuticals. To realize this goal, new bio-based technologies are needed in the shortest possible time through leapfrog innovations that are at least competitive with the current petroleum-based processes. In addition to the development of new synthesis routes, the integration of chemo- and biocatalysis, and energy-efficient separation processes, the resource-efficient and climate-compatible processes required by this demand require, in particular, novel reactor concepts that enable flexible processing of geo-globally and seasonally fluctuating biological raw material qualities.
This can only be achieved with a deeper understanding of the process, based on high-resolution measurement and analysis techniques, as well as accurate models using the possibilities of digitalization. Novel materials and structures based on additive manufacturing and specific functionalization offer further possibilities for the optimal design and the most autonomous operation possible of tolerant reactors, as well as industrial biobased processes based on them, which enable the improved use of renewable raw materials for the extraction of bulk and fine chemicals or the storage and generation of energy. For example, reactor internals are 3D printed from temperature-sensitive materials that deform independently and selectively when the temperature changes to avoid local overheating and ensure high product qualities.
A unique selling point of the FSP BioProTec is the interdisciplinary collaboration of process engineering, biotechnology, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, electrical engineering, materials science and mechanical engineering from basic research to application. This is emphasized in various projects at the TUHH with complementary scientific networking at the Hamburg location and worldwide. In the area of basic research, for example, research is being conducted within the framework of DFG SPPs on how chemical, biochemical and solid processes can be optimized through detailed process understanding and targeted adjustment of process conditions. In addition, a revised concept paper was submitted to the DFG SFB "SMART Reactors for Future Process Engineering".
The findings of basic research are transferred to example applications in third-party funded and industrial projects, whereby large and medium-sized industrial companies benefit from the innovative technologies (e.g. with novel high-pressure processes for a sustainable biorefinery, or energy-efficient high-performance reactors for the chemical industry). The successful transfer from basic research to commercial processes with industrial partners is also evidenced by the high number of bilateral industrial collaborations (e.g.: Aerogels with BASF, fatty acid esters with Evonik, active pharmaceutical ingredients with Boehringer Ingelheim, ...). Another unique selling point is the high number of spin-offs in recent years (Aerogel-It, Lignopure, Mushlabs, Reacnostics, Traceless, Colipi).
The combination of teaching and research is of particular importance for the FSP. The latest findings are incorporated in particular into the bachelor's degree programs in Chemical and Biological Engineering and Green Technologies, as well as into the master's degree programs in Process Engineering, Bioprocess Engineering and the international degree program Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering. Students can participate directly in current research projects as research assistants, as well as in project and final theses. In this way, the FSP directly promotes the transfer of knowledge into industrial practice and the training of important junior staff, thus making a further significant contribution to increasing sustainability.