Chemical processes

This field of work focuses on the process-technological development of chemical processes to produce biobased basic and fine chemicals for further processing in the chemical, pharmaceutical or food industries. In addition to new process concepts, the optimization of the resource and energy efficiency of existing processes also plays an important role here. Established processes can be adapted and optimized from the ecological and economic viewpoint. In doing this, we both consider biobased raw materials and also examine conventional processes for manufacturing petrochemical products.

Fraunhofer electrolysis test and trial platform ELP

The Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP and the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructures of Materials and Systems IMWS in Halle are jointly breaking new ground in the sustainable production of hydrogen.

The ELP electrolysis test and trial platform at the Leuna chemical site is intended to link innovative technologies for the production of "green" hydrogen and its use in sustainable synthesis processes (e.g. for the conversion of carbon dioxide in platform chemicals and fuels) with an excellent infrastructure of gas pipelines and gas storage facilities.

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Current issues

  • Oxidation of lignin to obtain monomer aromatic building blocks
  • Catalytic hydrogenation of glucose and beechwood hydrolyzate to obtain polyols
  • Metathesis of fatty acid esters to synthesise dicarboxylic acids
  • Base-catalytic cleavage of lignin to obtain aromatic platform chemicals
  • Dehydration of biobased alcohols to generate olefins in the gas phase and the compressed phase

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Find out about our projects and research topics at the Fraunhofer CBP.



Information about the technical equipment in the field of chemical processes.


Brochures and product sheets

Here you will find the brochures of the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP.

Reference Projects

ALIGN – Biobased Aromatics from LIGNin

Duration: April 2018 – April 2021

In order to operate biorefineries sustainably and economically, the conversion of lignin into high-quality products is essential. Based on this motivation, the project aims to investigate and scale-up various lignin extraction and depolymerization processes that preserve the structure and functionality of lignin. Thus, novel, previously inaccessible aromatic structures with new functionalities and thus a new performance spectrum will be identified, which can be used in a variety of industrial applications.

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BioFAA – Bio isobutene derived fuel additives

Duration: August 2015 – August 2017

As part of the “BioFAA“ project, the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical‑Biotechnological Processes CBP investigated and developed a process for the production of fuels and fuel additives from biogenic isobutene on behalf of the German‑French company Global Bioenergies.

Isobutene is one of the key molecules of the petrochemical industry and is currently being produced commercially exclusively from fossil sources, mainly petroleum.

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SynLink – Synthetic e-fuels as key enabler for sector linking

Duration: January 2019 – December 2022 

The subject of the project is the production of renewable fuels such as methanol and long-chain hydrocarbons or alcohols. The entire value chain from the production of synthesis gas from renewable electrical energy and CO2 with subsequent chemocatalytic conversion to the fuels to application tests in passenger cars and trucks will be investigated technically and economically and demonstrated in TLR 5-6.

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EthaNa – Piloting the Ethanolic Native Extraction of Peeled Rapeseed

Duration: September 2017 - August 2020

Fraunhofer CBP is researching new processes for the treatment of rapeseed. In the “EthanNa” project, cell disruption and recovery of valuable materials are carried out with ethanol instead of the usual solvents. In this way, the quality of the products rapeseed oil and rapeseed concentrate is expected to be significantly increased. In addition, the project also aims to isolate novel recoverable substances that previously could not be obtained from rapeseed. The project's objective is the establishment of a pilot plant at the Leuna site.

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LignOx – Lignin oxidation for production of valuable oligomeric functional building blocks

Duration: May 2017 - April 2019

With the described investigations, the project will form a connection between the material use of Kraft-lignin and its theoretical potential in biomaterials. Simultaneously, by increasing the ratio of the material use of lignin fossil resources such as crude oil and natural gas can be saved and an impact on the greenhouse effect through development of CO2 neutral technologies can be reduced. In addition, the efficiency, competitiveness and sustainability of present and future pulp mills could be enhanced by the development of new fields of application for oxo-functionalized lignin oligomers.

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2GEnzymes – Enzymes for 2G Sugars

Duration: June 2016 - Mai 2019

The goal of this project is to design an integrated process for the production of second generation sugars using ligninolytic enzymes and novel cellulases. Basis for this is the organosolv process of Fraunhofer CBP, which is already established in pilot scale. The enzyme production will be integrated into the overall sugar production by using fractions originated from the organosolv process as fermentation substrates. The primary feedstock used in this project is beech wood. The overall process will be demonstrated in pilot scale.

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KomBiChemPro – fine and platform chemicals from wood by combined chemical-biotechnological processes

Duration: November 2015 - May 2018

The aim of the joint project KomBiChemPro is to combine various development activities for the material use of lignocellulose-containing biomass in an integrated biorefinery concept. The most important aspect is the production of marketable products using robust processes and efficient process management in order to ensure broad applicability and competitiveness against petrochemically produced materials and chemicals. On the basis of the work of the partners involved, the subprocesses are combined at one location, mapped in sufficient dimensions and accounted.

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FlexChem – Flexible processes in the chemical industry

Duration: May 2016 - April 2018

Within the framework of the project "FlexChem", the chemical production processes operated at a constant load should become more dynamic, so that in particular electricity consumers such as electric motors (for driving pumps, blowers or agitators) or electric heaters can be operated more flexibly without having a strong impact on the chemical production process.

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Bio-FAA – Bio isobutene derived fuel additives

Duration: August 2015 - August 2017

Isobutene is a key molecule for the petrochemical industry. It is currently produced exclusively from fossil sources such as petroleum. Using an alternative manufacturing process developed by Global Bioenergies, biobased isobutene is produced from sugars in a demonstration plant at the Leuna site. In the Bio-FAA project, biobased isobutene was successfully converted into fuels and fuel additives such as isooctane and ETBE for the first time ever.

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Integrated Bioproduction – Integrated chemical-biotechnological production of building blocks on the basis of renewable resources in a biorefinery

Duration: May 2009 - April 2012

The objective of the integrated project is to increase the use of renewable resources and, in the long term, to convert chemical production processes for the production of synthesized building blocks to renewable resources. By means of an integrated development along the whole value creation chain from the pilot scale through to production scale the aim is to implement an integrated production on the basis of renewable resources.

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