The ATB has a powerful research infrastructure. We can provide services for external research partners that include primary research data, bacterial strain collections, analytical instruments and methods, as well as application laboratories. ATB operates facilities for biotechnological and physico-chemical conversion processes to produce materials (lactic acid, a base chemical for bioplastics, and biochar) and energy (biogas) persuing biorefinery and cascade concepts for the utilization of biomass.
Some of the large research facilities at a glance:
Pilot plant for producing lactic acid:
From plant raw or waste materials lactic acid, a basic chemical for bioplastics, is produced in a continuous fermentation process . The practical scale of the pilot plant enables optimization of the entire process: from testing various feedstocks to conversion and the production of product samples with specific characteristics. The aim is to make the process on basis of a wide range of raw materials stable and economically competitive.
Pilot plant for processing plant fibers:
The process line starts from fresh harvest and processing of preserved fiber plant material up to the final, applicable product. The aim is to significantly reduce process costs and machinery investment while ensuring high product quality. In addition, new applications for plant fibers are being developed and tested.
The technical labs allow research along the entire process chain - from the optimization of the substrates to the microbiology in the fermenter, development of new reactor types, process monitoring and control, to the utilization of the digestate.
ATB operates its own technical laboratories in the lab and pilot plant scale for producing biochar using different mechanisms such as pyrolysis and hydrothermal carbonization (HTC). The biochar laboratory has adequate facilities for characterizing physical, chemical, and biological properties of biochar.
Boundary layer wind tunnel:
With 2.3 m height and 3.0 m width, the wind tunnel permits studies on flow and dispersion processes outside and in agricultural buildings.
Excellently equipped laboratories (e.g. MALDI-TOF/MS, flow cytometry, confocal laser scanning microscopy) allow the study and evaluation of fresh foods as well as new methods for treatment, transportation, storage and presentation – from laboratory-scale to practice.
Center for drying:
The center for drying comprising a drying lab for conducting tests on semi-technical scale and an analytical laboratory forms the experimental basis for research and development of energy efficient as well as quality ensuring processes for preservation (drying, cooling and ventilation) and refinement of agricultural products.
Since July 1, 2015, ATB has a modern research station northwest of the institute in Marquardt that offers on more than 20 ha extensive options for research on a wide range of topics. The TechnologyGarden, a model system for sensor-based precision horticulture, is operated on this site since 2011. Moreover, since 1994, a 3-hectare plantation for fast-growing tree species grown in short rotation is operated in direct neighbourhood to the institute.
(See departments for more details on infrastructure.)