Analysis and assessment of different carbonization processes for utilizing biogenic residues under technological and economic aspects

  • Project team:

    Leible, Ludwig (Project leader); Stefan Kälber; Gunnar Kappler; Christa Streitferdt

  • Funding: Stiftung Energieforschung Baden-Württemberg (Foundation for Energy research in Baden-Württemberg)
  • Start date: 2013
  • End date:


  • Project partners: KIT / Engler-Bunte-Institut, Bereich Verbrennungstechnik (KIT / Engler- Bunte-Institute, Division of Combustion Technology)
  • Research group:

    Research for Sustainable Energy Technologies

Project description

Carbonization is considered as a possibility to convert biogenic residues into biochar for a more efficient energetic or material use. At present, various carbonization processes are under development, which differ significantly regarding the selected process conditions. Within this project, Biomass Steam Processing (BSP), Hydrothermal Carbonization (HTC), slow Pyrolysis as well as a related process, Torrefaction, should be examined more closely.

The project aims at analyzing and assessing the selected carbonization processes for biogenic residues under technological and economic aspects. As a first step, all biogenic residues in Baden-Württemberg, which are relevant for these processes, should be identified. Then the carbonization processes are evaluated using both the assessment of literature data and pilot plant scale experiments for the conversion of the biogenic residues into biochar by steaming treatment (BSP process). On this basis the different carbonization processes are compared with the help of their technical and economic parameters. This includes the consideration of aspects and factors relevant for the decision on the production site and plant capacity.

In addition, these carbonization processes should also be contrasted with the direct thermal use of biogenic residues on the basis of literature data and alternative methods for a material use of biochars should be identified.

The project is carried out in collaboration with the Engler-Bunte-Institute / Division of Combustion Technology.

The system-analytical work of ITAS on this project focuses on the following areas:

  • Identification of biogenic residues relevant for carbonization
  • Techno-economic analysis and assessment of the selected carbonization processes


Conference Papers
Kälber, S.; Domnik, T.; Leible, L.
Biochar from Biogenic Residues and Waste: a Techno-economic Assessment of Carbonization Technologies
2019. Setting the course for a biobased economy : papers of the 27th European Biomass Conference (EUBCE) : extracted from the proceedings of the international conference held in Lisbon, Portugal, 27-30 May 2019. Ed.: M.d.G Carvalho, 1202–1212, ETA-Florence Renewable Energies. doi:10.5071/27thEUBCE2019-3BV.2.17
Kälber, S.; Leible, L.; Domnik, T.
Biochar from biogenic residues and waste: A techno-economic assessment of carbonization technologies
2019. 27th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition (EUBCE 2019), Lisbon, Portugal, May 27–30, 2019 


Dr. Ludwig Leible
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe