Institute for Technology Assessment and  Systems Analysis (ITAS)

SYNCON - Novel synthesis process concepts for efficient chemicals / fuel production from biomass

  • Project team:

    Patyk, Andreas (Project leader); Julia Seimetz

  • Funding: KIC InnoEnergy SE
  • Start date:


  • End date:


  • Project partners: KIT ITCP, IMVT and IKFT
    GIG - Central Mining Institute (Poland)
    TU/e - Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands)
    Uppsala University (Sweden)
    KTH - Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden)
  • Research group:

    Research for Sustainable Energy Technologies

Project description

Micro-processing technology is applicable in numerous process chains, sectors, and fields of need and can contribute substantially to efficiency improvement. In micro-scaled reactors, heat exchangers, and other components the efficiency of chemical, and energy processes is increased (process intensification by bigger surface / volume ratios). The modular design of the components allows not only the employment in plants of common industrial size but also in much smaller decentralized plants - depending on the process - down to at-home employment. With that, micro-process technology develops efficiency potentials and, additionally, offers the opportunity, e.g., to exploit so far unused decentrally occuring material flows, and to industrialize regions with a less developed transport- and energy infrastructure.

The project financed by KIC InnoEnergy SE is aiming at new types of micro structured reactors, catalysts, and processes for the efficient production of fuels and chemicals from biomass, especially in small scale plants (possible products: methane, methanol, DME, ethanol, hydrocarbons, fine chemicals and hydrogen).

Beside cost assessments of the R&D partners of KIT ITAS, a study of sustainability aspects as per systems analysis goes along with the research, and is carried out within the scope of the work package "Market investigation and business opportunities". This study is aiming at defining the position of the SynCon concepts in comparison to other technologies and at optimizing the SynCon concepts. The focus is on environmental aspects. The objects of study, hereby, are, among others, resource potentials, weak point analysis, and variants of configuration. Based on the results of the analysis, the fields of application and of business areas which contribute to a sustainable energy system will be identified.

In the first two quarters of the project duration, assessments are carried out on the availability of biomass and, based on that, the possible number of plants for fuel production is estimated. By implementing a life cycle assessment (LCA) the environmental characteristics of the Fischer Tropsch synthesis of fuels based on biogas are investigated. The main processes of the material flow model developed for the project are provided by means of the R&D partners’ data. These and the LCAs of other SynCon product lines form the basis for the positioning of the SynCon lines in relation to competing technologies.


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

Tel.: +49 721 608-24606