Conversion of biomass through anaerobic digestion and hydrothermal methanation

The biomass to biogas routes which are explored in the SCCER BIOSWEET relate primarily to the use of household, food industry, and agricultural waste to produce biogas via anaerobic digestion and hydrothermal methanation. A strong focus is hold on manure as a feedstock.

Description of Research Area

The objective of this research area is to optimize existing and to develop new technologies for microbial anaerobic digestion and hydrothermal gasification. As a result, a higher bioenergy yield from wet biomass can be realized. The following innovation challenges are being addressed:

  • Increase the conversion efficiency through substrate specific pre-treatment
  • Develop new volatile fatty acids sensors and new digester feeding control algorithms
  • Develop new ionic liquids and absorber
  • Design and test thermally self-sufficient up flow anaerobic filter pilot systems
  • Adapt small scale anaerobic digestion to Swiss agriculture addressing the application of SOFC fuel cells
  • Identify and divert selected biomass streams to hydrothermal gasification for additional energy recovery
  • Initiate a paradigm change in sewage and sewage sludge treatment towards energy and carbon recycling by switching from aerobic to anaerobic treatment and full nutrient recovery technologies.

Research Partners

Michael Studer

Group leader and lecturer for energy engineering at the School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences of Bern University of Applied Sciences.

Research profile

Jan Van Herle

Lecturer in the Industrial Energy Systems Laboratory at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne. Large Expertise in the field Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Research profile

Frédéric Vogel

Head of the Catalytic Process Engineering Group at PSI and Lecturer at the School of Engineering of University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland

Research profile

Urs Baier

Leader of the SCCER BIOSWEET research area “biogas” and head of the Environmental Biotechnology Group at Zurich University of Applied Sciences

Research profile

Jeremy Luterbacher

Tenure-Track Assistant Professor and head of the Laboratory for Sustainable and Catalytic Processing at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne

Research profile

Roger Röthlisberger

Professor at the Institute of Thermal Engineering of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland

Research profile

Pamela Principi

Cooperation Partner of the SCCER BIOSWEET and research scientist in environmental microbiology at University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland

Research profile

Dominik Refardt

Cooperation Partner of the SCCER BIOSWEET and head of the Section Aquaculture Systems at Zurich University of Applied Sciences

Research profile

Outreach Material

Fachstelle Umweltbiotechnologie


This information is updated on a regular base. Please check back later.