Birmingham - Fraunhofer Joint Research Platform Launch

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The purpose of the collaborative platform is due to the growing concerns of our global communities’ energy consumption. There is a need for clean, alternative sources of energy to meet these demands. There is also a persistent need to manage our resources better with more practical processing and exploitation of waste, with a greater focus on the production of energy and biofuels from waste.

The Birmingham Energy Institute and Fraunhofer UMSICHT combines academic expertise with industrial capability to deliver new approaches to energy and waste management. The beneficiaries are the cities and our communities. This collaboration addresses the practical challenges that sit at the heart of the energy waste nexus, applying academic insight to accelerate innovation to the market place. 

The collaboration has initially focused on the new Thermo-Catalytic Reforming (TCR®) technology, developed by Professor Andreas Hornung, Chair in Bioenergy at the University of Birmingham, and Director of the Institute Branch, Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Fraunhofer UMSICHT. The demonstrator for TCR® is based at Tyseley Energy Park in the city of Birmingham - a central hub for Energy Innovation as part of the Energy Capital vision for the West Midlands. 

The collaboration promotes the exchange of research staff and students between two organisations to encourage knowledge exchange and facilitate the development of new science. 

In the future, the collaboration will look to progress a chain of commercial-scale thermo-catalytic reforming plants around the city of Birmingham. This concept, developed by Professor Andreas Hornung, has been called the “Thermal Belt”. If developed, the technology will have the potential to transform the way that we think about waste and energy, and start providing a solution to the growing demand for clean energy and fuels on a global scale. 


TO-SYN-FUEL is a project funded by Horizon 2020 EU’s new research and innovation programme, with the aim to build-up, operate and demonstrate the production of Synthetic Fuels and Green Hydrogen from organic waste biomass, mainly sewage sludge.

The project meets the European Commission proposal for the RED II, the Renewable Energy Directive for the post 2020 period. This proposal introduces a gradual phase-out of conventional biofuels and sets a minimum target for advanced biofuels for transports. Therefore, there is an urgent need to bring innovative biofuels from sustainable raw materials to the market.