Processing of raw materials

The focus in the field of raw materials processing is on the pulping of raw materials containing lignocellulose and their fractionation into their basic chemical components lignin and sugars or fibers. To investigate and develop processing and fractionation technologies an integrated pilot plant is available that permits pulping using organic solvents under pressure and temperature, the so-called Organosolv technique.

The facility models a large number of individual process steps for manufacturing fibers, concentrated sugar solutions and lignin. Up to 70 kg of wood can be processed every day. The facility was designed in such a way that the substance and energy cycles form closed systems and can therefore be completely balanced.

In addition to the Organosolv process, the universal design of the pilot plant also enables other pulping methods for lignocellulose to be optimized on the pilot scale, for example aqueous hydrolysis, pulping by means of acid or the soda process. Comprehensive analytics are available for balancing the processes. Questions in the area of thermal separation technology and extraction can also be answered using individual process-technological units in the plant. Here there is a strong interaction with the field of competence “Downstream Processing”.

Current issues

  • Development of the scientific-technical basis for the conception of an Organosolv demonstration plant in the region of Central Germany
  • Modeling of specially made-up lignins for the use with phenol formaldehyde resins and polyurethane as well as for producing carbon fibers
  • Provision of beechwood fiber material to produce fiber composites

Further information



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



Information about the technical equipment of the Fraunhofer CBP.


Brochures and product sheets

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

Reference Projects

UNRAVEL – UNique Refinery Approach to Valorise European Lignocellulosics

Duration: June 2018 - May 2022 

The UNRAVEL project aims to develop advanced pre-treatment, separation and conversion technologies for complex lignocellulosic biomass. The technology relies on pre-extraction, fractionation using low-temperature acetone and subsequent downstream processing to isolate and convert the lignocellulosic constituents into high-value applications. This will produce usable lignin fragments and monomeric sugars from the cellulose along with a hemicellulose fraction suitable for biochemical conversions.  

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GreenCarbon – Advanced Carbon Materials from Biowaste: Sustainable Pathways to Drive Innovative Green Technologies

Duration: October 2016 - December 2020

GreenCarbon is a project funded by the European Union in the framework of the H2020 Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions – Innovative Training Networks. GreenCarbon provides career development and training opportunities for 14 researchers who are in the first 4 years of their research careers (Early-Stage Researchers, ESRs). The research programme focusses on the production of carbon materials on the basis of renewable resources to further develop them as catalysts or adsorbent materials for high-performance applications.

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ERIFORE – Research Infrastructure for Circular Forest Bioeconomy

Duration: January 2016 – January 2018

ERIFORE is an infrastructure development project under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union. The aim is to establish an open access research infrastructure to facilitate the development of technologies enabling research and commercialization of new value added products from forest biomass.

More Info (Fraunhofer IGB)

Extension of the Organosolv pilot plant

Duration: March 2016 - September 2019

The planned conversion and expansion measures concern the further development and optimization of the Organosolv process with the aim of increasing the economic efficiency of the overall process and transferring the plant concept into a demonstration plant.

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SteamBio – Flexible Superheated Steam Torrefaction and Grinding of Indigenous Biomass from Remote Rural Sources to Produce Stable Densified Feedstocks for Chemical and Energy Applications

Duration: February 2015 - July 2018

The project “SteamBio”, which is coordinated by Fraunhofer IGB, aims to provide stable, densified feedstock for the process industries by upgrading lignocellulosic biomass (e.g. agro-forestry residues from remote rural sources) through a flexible superheated steam torrefaction and grinding process mounted on mobile units.

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Lignocellulose biorefinery

Duration: May 2010 - April 2013

Rising prices for raw materials and the increasing scarcity of mineral oil resources are boosting the interest in renewable resources and in strategies for the sustainable production of special materials, fine chemicals or platform chemicals. Emulating the concept from the petrochemical industry these biobased materials will in future be made available by biorefineries. Native hardwoods offer themselves as a chemical feedstock that is available sustainably and without competing with foodstuff production. For the conversion of wood or lignocellulose into platform chemicals for the chemical industry of the future, the wood first of all has to be broken down and separated into its basic chemical components.

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