Project meeting of STEP at the site of the company ATS - Agro Trading & Solutions in Hardegsen (Photo: DBFZ)

Validation market potential System studies Biofuels

Project ID 03EI5412

PyroMar - Marine fuels, made by pyrolysis of bio-based residues and esterification with higher alcohols

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  • 01.01.2020 - 31.12.2022


Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT
Osterfelder Straße 3
46047 Oberhausen

Dr.-Ing. Volker Heil - project leader
Telephone: +49 (0)208 8598 1163

Tim Schulzke - direct contact pyrolysis, esterification
Telephone: +49 (0) 208 8598 1155

Martin Peters - direct contact alcohol-condensation
Telephone: +49 (0) 208 8598 1511

Dr.-Ing. Esther Stahl - direct contact feedstock and pretreatment
Telephone: +49 (0) 208 8598 1158

Venkat Aryan - direct contact economic analysis
Telephone: +49 (0) 208 8598 1163


03EI5412B - Universität Rostock
  • Address:
  • Universität Rostock
    Lehrstuhl für Kolbenmaschinen und Verbrennungsmotoren (LKV)
    Albert-Einstein-Straße 2
    18059 Rostock

Dr. rer. nat. Ulrike Schümann - project leader
Telephone: +49 (0) 0381 498 9156

Dr. rer. nat. Fanny Langschwager - direct contact fuel analytics
Telephone: +49 (0) 0381 498 9040

Dipl.-Ing. Karsten Schleef - direct contact engine tests
Telephone: +49 (0) 0381 498 9419

03EI5412C - ifeu – Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg

Nils Rettenmaier - project leader
Telephone: +49 (0) 6221 4767 24

Associated partners

Cooperation partners



Planned Results:

  • Plant level: procedure, pilot plant
  • Concept level: plant concept
  • Data level: Measurement series/program
  • Publications: scientific papers (ISI, peer-reviewed)


The project is about producing “defossilised”, low-sulphur maritime bunker fuels from bio-based residues. Deep-sea vessels without exhaust gas cleaning systems (“scrubbers”) are required to use fuels with sulphur contents of no more than 0.1 wt.-% within coastal Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs) outside the SECAs, the limit is 0.5 wt.-% since 2020. In PyroMar, we will produce a blendstock for bunker fuels, based upon waste biomass like straw, autumn leaves, low-intensity grassland herbage, residual forest wood and brush cuttings. Ablative fast pyrolysis will turn these residuals into bio-oil. Esterification with medium-chained alcohols, derived from to straw-based ethanol in a catalytic process, turns the bio-oil into a biofuel. Testing blends of the generated biofuels and fossil bunker-fuels in a research marine engine will validate the process concept. Studies like Life Cycle Assessment, biomass and sales-market analysis, legal framework survey, scale-up concepts and market-entry concepts will support the experimental work.


PyroMar aims putting into practice the integrated approach of producing an affordable bunker-fuel blendstock from residual biomass. Designed to be used within and outside the SECAs, they will contribute to both solving the Sulphur related challenges and reducing fossil CO2-emissions in this transport sector. Experimental work targets on defining suitable recipes and operating parameters for the chemical operations, preparing subsequent scale-up and validating the overall process on Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4 to 5 with first engine tests. Furthermore, the project aims at paving the way towards later commercialization with commercial, engineering and sustainability studies, an industry board accompanying the project and an industry workshop.


Fraunhofer-Institut für Umwelt-, Sicherheits- und Energietechnik UMSICHT

  • Putting the process-chain into practice (ablative fast pyrolysis, catalytic condensation of alcohols, esterification), validation in testing facilities, production of the blendstock, analytics, profitability analysis, scale-up concepts

Universität Rostock, Lehrstuhl für Kolbenmaschinen und Verbrennungsmotoren (LKV)

  • Preparing blended fuels, analytics, motor tests

ifeu – Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung Heidelberg GmbH

  • Life Cycle Analysis, biomass- and sales-market analysis, preparing recommendations for action for politics and public authority


Fraunhofer-Institut für Umwelt-, Sicherheits- und Energietechnik UMSICHT

  • Research and development, project development, process development, testing facilities, analytics, biofuels

Universität Rostock, Lehrstuhl für Kolbenmaschinen und Verbrennungsmotoren (LKV)

  • Research and development, engine tests, validation, analytics, bunker fuels, industry workshop

ifeu – Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung Heidelberg GmbH

  • Potential studies, Life-Cycle Assessment


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