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PyFlex – Pyrolysis as an intersectoral flexibility measure in the German Energy System

Biochar can remove CO2 from the atmosphere and store carbon in the long-term. In the pyrolysis production process, biomass residues are converted into coal at high temperatures and in the absence of oxygen. Pyrolysis also produces usable energy carriers such as gas, oil, electricity, heat and, in the mid-term, hydrogen. The expected market ramp-up of pyrolysis plants therefore has the potential to support the energy sectors in the energy transition.

The PyFlex project is evaluating the cross-sector and flexible operation of pyrolysis plants from a holistic perspective. In the project, the Offenburg University of Applied Sciences is developing the digital twin of a pyrolysis plant in order to investigate the technical feasibility of such an operation using this virtual copy of the plant. This allows the simulation of how the technology could be optimized in the future - which saves practical test runs and therefore resources. The researchers are also using a model to work out how the systems can be flexibly integrated into the German energy system.

The IÖW is evaluating the economic and legal framework conditions for flexible pyrolysis plants in various business models and examining the environmental impact with a life cycle assessment. From the results, the research team derives recommendations for political decision-makers and practitioners for the further development and scaling up of pyrolysis technology.

IÖW Project Team