Fossil fuels still cover 80% of our energy demand. We will continue to depend on such fuels well into the future. Heavy transport using ships or trucks also requires energy densities that can only be achieved with hydrocarbons. That’s why we need to master technologies for a zero-impact use of fuels.
Novel fuels and engines
For really sustainable transportation, you need to match new fuels with new engine techniques. That’s why we do both within this research theme.
Our fuel research focuses on second-generation biofuels from agricultural waste, such as straw. Gasification, followed by a Fischer-Tropsch step, is one means of producing fuels, but we're also researching more direct chemical processing. A more distant research goal is to cut out biological photosynthesis altogether, making fuels directly from sunlight. Catalysis is a core technology for most of the fuels that we develop.
The other research track is about optimizing engines and gas turbines. We have developed a new diesel additive, which reduces the emissions of NOx, soot, and particles. It can be made from biological materials.