Lignocellulose is the most abundant source of terrestrial fixed carbon comprising about 90% of all organic material on earth. It is found as a major structural element in all vascular plants – wood and non-woody tissues – and provides stiffness and rigidity against the forces of gravity and wind.

Wood is currently used mainly in construction, pulp and paper manufacture and as an energy source. In the context of construction, our working group currently focuses on the emission of so-called volatile organic compounds (VOC) from wood that we are measuring using test chambers and thermal desorption GC/MS. Wood as a natural source of VOC such as terpenes and aldehydes may have a significant influence on indoor air quality. As a scientific partner of WOOD Kplus, opens an external URL in a new window we are therefore working on methods for the measurement as well as reduction of VOC in wood and wood composites.

Due to the limited supply and environmental problems associated with fossil resources, lignocellulose will become increasingly important as a CO2 neutral and renewable carbon source for the production of biobased chemicals and materials in the context of “biorefinery”. Our working group uses lignocellulose from annual plants such as wheat straw to develop and characterize biorefinery processes for the production of cellulose fibers, sugars and lignin. Special emphasis is placed on the investigation of fractionation processes and depolymerization reactions to convert lignin to valuable intermediates for plastics and chemical industry.