Alternative Fuels

Research Area Manager: Dr.-Ing. Ralph-Uwe Dietrich


The alternative fuels research area is focused primarily on thermochemical conversion processes for the production of hydrogen as a secondary energy carrier for decentralized power or mobile applications. As a secondary research topic, the chemical storage of regenerative power in liquid hydrocarbons is being investigated („Power to Liquid“).

Emphasis is put on the process development and techno-economic assessment using process simulation. The thermo-physical and chemical properties of the fuels and fuel mixtures are modeled. Based on detailed knowledge of the single process steps and their operating and boundary conditions, the complete process can be improved and cost-optimized with an intelligent design, integrating the thermal and physical properties.

Experimental investigations include a new process concept using fractionation of liquid hydrocarbons for obtaining a sulfur-reduced fraction and subsequent catalytic conversion in a hydrogen rich product stream. Operating conditions for reforming, partial dehydration and catalytic cleaning processes at high temperatures are characterized in lab- and bench-scale test facilities for a variety of renewable and fossil fuels. The characterization results are used in the process simulations for process optimization and process assessment.

Research Areas and Current Projects:

  • Hydrogen generation by reforming liquid biofuels (EU-Project NEMESIS2+)
  • On-board hydrogen production from kerosene by fractionation and partial dehydration (EU-Project GreenAir)
  • Process development and gas clean-up for decentralized power production from renewable biomass (Project G4Energy of the initiative DLR@UniST)
  • Process development and process assessment of chemical storage of renewable power in liquid hydrocarbons (Project SynKWS of the Helmholtz-Energie-Allianz

Dr.-Ing. Ralph-Uwe Dietrich
German Aerospace Center

Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics
, Thermal Process Technology
Tel: +49 711 6862-8251

Fax: +49 711 6862-747

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