Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


After the course, the student

  1. understands the most important pretreatment processes for the successful fractionation of lignocellulose.
  2. knows about the transport processes underlying the pre-treatment processes.
  3. understands the chemistry and technology of existing and novel fractionation processes and, based on this knowledge, can describe the principles of a forest biorefinery.
  4. understands the principles of kinetics of degradation and depolymerization reactions.
  5. can make well-founded predictions about chemical reactions during biomass refining under different conditions.
  6. can explain the basics of the chemistry of novel solvents for lignocellulose and is able to describe the interactions of solvents with biomass components using semi-empirical solvent parameters.
  7. understands the shortcomings in the sustainability of existing fractionation processes and can make concrete proposals as to which process steps need to be further developed and improved in order to achieve future environmental goals (e.g. avoiding global warming of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius).

Credits: 5

Schedule: 13.01.2020 - 29.05.2020

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Herbert Sixta

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Herbert Sixta

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    At the beginning of the course the physical-chemical phenomena of lignocellulose impregnation, typically wood, are presented and later deepened in exercises.
    Subsequently, the most important technical pre-treatment methods will be presented, before the main part of the lecture will be continued with the chemistry and technology of the most important fractionation methods. Among the fractionation methods are Kraft pulping, Acid Sulfite pulping, Hydrothermolysis and the most important Organosolv fractionation methods.
    An integral part of this course are Matlab exercises, in which selected examples such as heat transfer during the steaming of wood chips, the kinetics of xylose formation in the dilute hydrolysis of lignocellulose, the diffusion of ionic species in a wood chip, the fluid mechanics within a wood chip and the Donnan equilibrium are presented and calculated in detail. An important concern is to discuss the sustainability of new processes in comparison to conventional processes and to identify differences and potential for improvement. The prerequisite for the course is a general understanding of wood chemistry with a focus on cellulose and lignin chemistry. In addition, students should have a basic knowledge of Matlab in order to solve and understand the prepared examples.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Depending on the number of students, both written and oral examinations are held. The written examinations can be performed in the form of a quiz.
    In addition, 5-10 homework assignments must be completed.  

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    135 h in total, Lectures 32 h, Matlab assignments 10 h in class, 40 h home assignments, 53 h studying.



Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Lecture notes, text books on wood chemistry, pulping technology, biorefineries and green chemistry.

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Courses in inorganic and organic chemistry

    Matlab fundamentals

SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    4 Quality Education

    5 Gender Equality

    6 Clean Water and Sanitation

    9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

    13 Climate Action

    14 Life Below Water

    15 Life on Land