The best possible use of resources is a central element of sustainable future development. The research focus lies in the intersection of energy and process engineering and deals with the multifaceted issues of these fields. Focal points are, for example, in the areas of energy supply from biogenic and renewable raw materials, the topic of water with its characteristics of waste water, process water and drinking water as well as an energy-efficient and resource-efficient use of snow-making systems (keyword: snow management).
The aim of the research projects in this field is to develop innovative solutions and concepts for current and future challenges, which are often developed together with partners from industry and research.
Bioenergy is one of the most important domestic sources of energy, reducing costly imports of natural gas and oil and making sustainable use of our own resources. Further strengthening of bioenergy requires the development of systems and facilities for the provision of electricity and heat from woody biomass. Not only is a decentralized, sustainable energy supply concept in the foreground, but also the maximization of the efficiency and above all the flexibility of the raw material used. In order to make complex biomass accessible in a way that is as efficient and consistent as possible, both the optimized storage to avoid substance losses and basic transformations of the materials are examined, as well as their drying, pelleting and valorization towards biochar.
Climate change, caused by the anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases, is one of the greatest challenges we are currently facing. Greenhouse gas emissions must be drastically reduced in the coming years in order to preserve the natural basis of life. In the research field of Decarbonization and Hydrogen Management, sustainable solutions for the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions in industrial processes are being investigated in close cooperation with industry. Fossil energy sources that are currently used are being replaced by renewable, future-oriented alternatives. Due to local conditions, hydrogen as an energy carrier will increasingly become the focus of the energy industry in the Alpine regions. Accordingly, there is a great need for research in the field of hydrogen management in order to use this energy carrier as efficiently as possible.
While the development of alternative energy sources is often relatively difficult for the end user of heating and cooling, centralized plants can be operated with high efficiency and minimal pollutant or CO2 emissions. The research focus here is therefore the investigation and development of corresponding energy distribution and storage systems at different temperature levels as well as for different producer and consumer technologies.
On the one hand, the research area Membrane Technology deals with the production and optimization of membranes for liquid and gaseous media and, on the other hand, with the application of membrane processes in technical processes. For new applications, there is often no in-house experience with membrane separation processes. The resulting questions regarding a suitable pore size, membrane material, operation mode, etc. can usually be answered by laboratory and pilot tests. The activities in water and wastewater treatment aim to further develop the underlying purification processes and reduce the necessary consumption of resources. To this end, established methods such as the activated sludge process or anaerobic sludge digestion in reactors are being optimized.