. .



Flyer available

There is a flyer for the project TherChem available now. It contains all important information about the project and the project partners. The flyer can now be downloaded. Please click here to download the flyer (pdf).


“Thermo-chemical pre-treatment of ligno-cellulosic residues to improve anaerobic digestion process”
28th of October, 2014 - 10:45 to 13:00 (free entrance)
Schönbrunn Palace (Apothekertrakt Schloß Schönbrunn, 1130 Vienna, Austria, Room 3 Leopold)
Programme lectures
- Waste management in breweries (DI Gunther Pesta, Atres)
- Energy supply in breweries (Dr. Ulrich Buchhauser, Krones AG)
- TherChem process (Dr. Günther Bochmann, BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences)
Content of the workshop: Lignocellulosic residues such as brewers’ spent grains or corn stalks have a large potential to be used as substrate in the biogas process. Unfortunately, due to their chemical composition these substances cannot be fully utilised.
The innovative TherChem process offers the possibility to break down the complex chemical structure by thermal-chemical pretreatment and thus better exploit the potential of bio-methane.

Group leader Günther Bochmann (University of Natural Resources and Life Science Vienna)

Consortium and Advisory Board Meeting

On the 28th of October 2014 the project consortium and the Advisory Board was invited to a meeting to a presentation of project results. The status of the results and troubleshooting was presented for every work package. There was room for discussion of results, problems and solutions.


A lot of international fairs and congresses were visited. The project TherChem was actively promoted to interested visitors (industry, R&D field) in several oral presentations, poster sessions and talks. Furthermore all SME-partners have already had opportunities to promote the TherChem project to interested clients.

Project leader Markus Ortner (Bioenergy 2020+)

Project partner Gunther Pesta (ATRES)

Project employee Seye Gorter (University of Natural Resources and Life Science Vienna)

Project employee Lydia Rachbauer (Bioenergy 2020+)

Operation of demonstration plant

The innovative TherChem-process comprises the following three sub-processes:
1. Pretreatment based on a thermo-chemical process
2. Anaerobic digestion process
3. Desulphurisation process
All three sub-processes were demonstrated at lab scale. The next challenge was the combination of these three sub-processes to one process and the scaling up to demonstration scale. A mobile demonstration plant was constructed within a 20 ft.-container. Project partner Aigner designed and built a special reactor for the pretreatment step. To check the progress of the treatment, the reactor is equipped with both a barometer and a thermometer. The combined acidification and sulphate reduction is being conducted in a stirred stainless steel reactor which was provided by ATRES. The methanogenic reactor, made of stainless steel, was built by partner AAT. The temperature inside the reactor was regulated with the help from a temperature sensor and an electrical heating coil, which was wrapped inside the reactor.


The chosen TherChem substrates are:


The substrate "cut grass and green waste" is a mixture of different plants:

Construction of a demonstration unit

One project aim is the construction of a demonstration unit by using gained information due to laboratory data. The research institutes and the project partners AAT, Aigner and S&H designed a container unit. The construction will be finished soon. A pilot scale test will be run at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences. Afterwards the container will be operated at at a brewery to gain information about profitability and process technology.

recycling of the catalyst

In pre-treatment sulphuric acid is used as catalyst. It shall be extracted and reused for pre-treatment by a trickling filter. The aim is to reach the highest possible concentration of sulphuric acid without inhibiting the bacteria in the biogas reactor. Experiments with the trickling filter in lab scale showed good results. Currently there is a scale-up to a demonstration unit.

list of substrates

In the TherChem project brewer’s spent grains are pre-treated thermo-chemically and digested anaerobically to produce biogas. The TherChem research also deals with the thermo-chemical pre-treatment and anaerobic digestion of other lignocellulosic.
A list of other possible substrates was compiled by the project consortium together with the advisory board. 5 substrates were chosen, which will be tested within the TherChem project: Brewer’s spent grains from wheat, maize straw, wheat straw, bagasse and mixed grass and plant cuttings.

2nd project meeting of the consortium

On the 27th May 2013 the second project meeting of the consortium tool place in Vienna within the Ottakringer brewery. Also members of the advisory board were present.

Kick-Off Meeting

On the 4th February 2013 the Kick-Off Meeting of the TherChem Project took place. ATRES, one of the project partners, invited all the members to Freising near Munich, Germany for the Kick-Off Meeting. The project partners introduced themselves and got to know each other. Project aims and tasks as well as time schedule and budget for the project were discussed. The Kick-Off Meeting was successfully finished when all the members were allowed to have a look at ATRES laboratories. At the end the organic brewery Wädi Brau Huus, another project partner, provided their special organic beer for the closure of the Kick-Off Meeting.