Institute of Chemical Engineering
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Head of Research Group

Univ.Ass. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Walter Wukovits

Research Group: Sustainable Technologies and Process Simulation

Head: Univ.Ass. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Walter Wukovits

The research group Sustainable Technologies and Process Simulation focuses on the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass and residues in Biorefineries. Investigations cover different pretreatment methods for the fractionation of biomass (hot water extraction, organosolv process, steam explosion) as well as the isolation of valuable components (lignin, sugars, volatile organic acids, cellulose). By applying different Biorefinery concepts, further processing possibilities of lignocellulosic biomass to different products (nanolignin, sugar substitutes, pharmaceuticals, biofuels) are evaluated.

The necessary thermal, chemical and biochemical processes are investigated at laboratory and pilot scale including rigorous quantification applying different kinds of process analytics. The development of sustainable technologies is accompanied by:

  • Process simulation
  • Energy optimization (pinch analysis, heat integration, exergy analysis)
  • Economic assessment
  • Sustainability analysis

Detailed informationen about the Research Focus Biorefinery can be found here.


Process simulation is used to analyse single unit operations as well as their combination to complex processes. The obtained mass, energy, and exergy balances give insight into interdependencies of different process steps. The simulation results are valuable for design, improvement, optimisation, and scale-up of processes. Industrial standard process simulation software tools (Aspen Plus, IPSEpro and gPROMS) are applied. To provide necessary physical and thermodynamic properties, experimental methods as well as ab-initio calculations with the software tools COSMOtherm and TURBOMOLE are available.

For experimental planning, model validation and optimization mathematical/statistical methods of Chemometrics are applied to obtain and use a maximum of available information from the available data. Detailed information on Chemometrics research can be found here:



  • Thermal process engineering (extraction, membrane processes, rectification, absorption)
  • Chemical, biotechnological and environmental applications of thermal separation processes
  • Development of Biorefinery concepts
  • Process simulation - Mass and energy balances of complex processes (Biorefinery, metallurgy, chemical processes)
  • Process design and process optimization
  • Energetic optimization of processes via pinch technology, heat integration and exergy analysis
  • Calculation of thermodynamic properties and electrolyte equilibria
  • Process analytics und Chemometrics