FITT – Forests In The Tank


Project duration: 5/2011 - 5/2012
Funded by Interdisciplinary Management Practice (IMP) Project House

  Conversion process from raw biomass to biofuel use in combustion engines (Source: RWTH Aachen TMFB, AVT.PT) Conversion process from raw biomass to biofuel use in combustion engines (Source: RWTH Aachen TMFB, AVT.PT)

The Cluster of Excellence “Tailor-Made Fuels from Biomass (TMFB)” at the RWTH Aachen University is conducting research on third generation biofuels. These fuels are defined to be blends of well-defined oxygenated components with tailored properties for low temperature combustion engines. Contrary to other approaches, novel selective bio- and chemo-catalysis routes aim to preserve the synthesis power of nature in the non-food, lignocellulosic feedstock. However, the raw material supply (including availability and cost estimations) is not yet considered in the TMFB cluster.

We aim to develop a methodology to evaluate key techno-economic aspects of the innovative processes for the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into fuels and bulk chemicals. Preliminary research results on lignocellulose transformation pathways and the energy efficiency of their process design will be complemented by an economic model that accounts for resources availability and the associated production chain in order to evaluate the market effects caused by the introduction of the new technology.

An integrated interdisciplinary approach between the engineering and economic disciplines is necessary to evaluate the untested ability to successfully bring the products of this technology to the market. The objective of this project is to lay the foundations of an evaluation framework that encompasses the various aspects of the proposed wood-to-biofuel synthesis. Most importantly, we plan to improve the informative value of the current model-based process design with the addition of a link to its main resource input, i.e. woody biomass residues from the forest and wood processing industry.

Project publications

Sorda G., Voll A., Madlener R., Marquardt W. (2012). FITT – Forests in the Tank, E.ON Energy Research Center Series, Vol. 4, Issue 5, December (ISSN: 1868-7415). [Download]



Reinhard Madlener

Institutsleiter FCN


+49 241 80-49820