Research institutions

With the appointment of a new professor for waste and resource management at the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in 2007, the establishment of a technical scale lab was initiated. Since September 2008, approx. 600 m² of hall and laboratory space has been available for this purpose. Due to the continuous expansion, the technical laboratory is now equipped with a wide range of equipment and laboratory technology.

The main area of work is currently a biogas test facility with 69 fermenters on a 60-litre and 30-litre scale. This is used to conduct batch tests to determine the biogas yield and the methane yield of biomass, organic waste and residues according to VDI 4630.

Since the beginning of 2011, 5 groups of four continuously operable laboratory fermenters have been available. The digesters have a nominal volume of 20 litres each. The 5 groups can be operated independently of each other and with different settings (e.g. for the temperature level or the stirring intervals). This provides great flexibility even with high numbers of repetitions in the parallel experiment.

Further equipment includes

  • 60 modules on a 0.5-l scale with rapid data acquisition for investigating the kinetics of the anaerobic degradation of organic substances (ORGA test)
  • Bomb calorimeter for calorific value determination of solid or liquid substances
  • Spectrophotometer for measuring environmentally relevant basic parameters in aqueous solutions (TOC, AOX, various heavy metals ...)
  • Gerhardt FIBRETHERM FT 12 for the determination of XF, ADF, NDF, ADL
  • System (12 modules) for measuring the respiration activity of solid samples (AT4)
  • GC/FID for the determination of organic acids and alcohols
  • Biogas Titration Manager for the determination of VFA/TAC and other parameters that can be determined by titration
  • Various field instruments for measuring pH, conductivity, redox potential and dissolved-O2

Processing technology

  • Mobile two-shaft shredder for on-site preparation of larger sample quantities
  • Cutting mill SM 1000: feed particle size < 50 mm
  • Centrifugal mill ZM 1000: feed size < 10 mm
  • Ball mill PM 100: Feed particle size < 50 mm
  • Knife mill Grindomix 300
  • Sieving machine d=400 mm for determining the particle size distribution of solid biofuels according to CN/TS 15149
  • Screening machine d=200 mm (wet and dry screening)
  • Large screening machine with 1 m² screening surface (120/40/8 mm) for sorting analyses
  • Drying cabinet 135 l, muffle furnace
  • Refrigerated/frozen cell with 7 m² floor space each for sample storage

There are currently three permanent employees at the technical scale lab. In addition, several doctoral students work within the framework of various third-party funded projects, and the experimental facilities are also used for bachelor's and master's theses.

The research focus is currently on the field of anaerobic methane fermentation of biogenic waste to produce biogas. Previous research topics were or are:

  • Investigations on the energetic optimisation of the supply chain of biogas substrates
  • Comparability, possibilities and limits of standardised biogas yield tests
  • Influence of trace elements on the process stability of NaWaRo biogas plants
  • Development of a test procedure to assess the biological activity of the biocenosis in NaWaRo biogas fermenters
  • Development of a model-based control concept for biogas plants
  • Experimental investigations on the anaerobic degradation of biopolymers
  • Integration of anaerobic treatment stages in the treatment of residual waste
  • Investigations on the fermentability of waste biomass and organic residual waste fraction and energetic comparison of different utilisation options

Address of the technical scale lab for waste and bioenergy

University of Rostock
Chair of Waste and Resource Management
Technical Scale Lab for Waste and Bioenergy
Mr. Dr.-Ing. Jan Sprafke
Tannenweg 22/Halle 1
18059 Rostock

Phone: 0381.403-4994
Mail:    jan.sprafke@uni-rostock.de