Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) was established through the merger of the Research Centre Karlsruhe and Karlsruhe University (TH) in 2009. KIT combines the tasks of a university of the state of Baden-Württemberg with those of a Research Centre of the Helmholtz Association in the areas of research, teaching, and innovation. With about 9,400 employees and close to 25,000 students, KIT is one of the big institutions of research and higher education in natural sciences and engineering in Europe.  At KIT, various biomass conversion processes are researched and developed to produce energy carriers and basic chemicals. The focus is on the thermochemical process pyrolysis, solvolysis, combustion and gasification. In addition to biotechnological processes (LBT) holistic concepts for the use of microalgae are also being developed associated by overall cost, life cycle and social assessment. KIT built and operates the 2-5 MW bioliq® pilot plant for synthetic fuel production from biomass residues.

The mission of the Institute of Catalysis Research and Technology (IKFT) is to bridge the gap between fundamental and applied research and the development of new technologies and products in the field of catalysis and process technology of catalyzed processes. The focus of the work is the sustainable utilization of alternative carbon feedstocks and their conversion into energy carriers intermediates. This includes the development of new catalytic systems based on a fundamental understanding of processes on a molecular level.

At IKFT, specifically, processes for direct thermal liquefaction of biomass are developed including  fast pyrolysis, hydrothermal liquefaction and hydrosolvolysis in the department of Prof. Dahmen. Also, product conditioning and upgrading are investigated by different physical and chemical and catalytical methods.

Research Focus:

  • Fast pyrolysis process development from lab to pilot scale
  • Reactor modelling combining particle and fluid dynamics
  • Thermodynamic modelling of multi-component bio-oil
  • Hydrothermal liquefaction of lignin, lignocellulosic biomass and microalgae
  • Hydrosolvolysis of lignin and lignocellulosic biomass
  • Kinetic modelling of solvolytic lignin decomposition
  • Catalytic upgrading of bio-oil and bio-crude


PartnerLocationRig CodeRig NameRig StatusRig Contact
KITGermanyKIT1Fast Pyrolysis process development unit (PYTHON)AvailableAxel Funke
KITGermanyKIT2Hydrothermal liquefaction unit (PAUL)UnavailableAxel Funke
KITGermanyKIT3Continuous reactor for upgrading of biogenic intermediates (KRABI)
Available Axel Funke


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Nicolaus Dahmen

Nicolaus Dahmen

Lead Partner & TA Contact

Axel Funke

Axel Funke

Researcher & TA Contact

Biofuels Research Infrastructure

This website is produced and edited by the European Bioenergy Research Institute, Aston University, UK on behalf of BRISKII, which is funded by Horizon 2020. Grant Agreement Number 731101. Any opinions or material contained within are those of contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of EU Horizon 2020, Aston University or any other organisation.

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