Cluster of Excellence „The Fuel Science Center - Adaptive Conversion Systems for Renewable Energy and Carbon Sources“

The Cluster of Excellence „The Fuel Science Center – Adaptive Conversion Systems for Renewable Energy and Carbon Sources” (FSC) is an unique and interdisciplinary research cluster aiming towards the integration of renewable electricity with the joint utilization of bio-based carbon feedstocks and CO2 to provide high-density liquid energy carriers (“bio-hybrid fuels”). These fuels enable innovative engine concepts for highly efficient and clean combustion for a sustainable future. Of the total number of 63 projects that are part of this cluster, two projects will be conducted in the Department of Ecosystem Analysis. Moreover, one Junior Research Group (Dr. Miaomiao Du, „Toxicity assessment and prediction“) will be established and funded by the FSC.


The effects of bio-hybrid fuel exhaust on human health (Dr. Miaomiao Du)

 Biofuels are considered to be potential alternatives for fossil fuels due to their promising benefits, therefore the research activities on biofuels are increasing rapidly during last few years. Recently, concerns have increased regarding the potential adverse impacts of biofuels on the environment and human health. However, limited publications are available regarding the effects of biofuels or their emissions on the environment and human health. One main reason for developing renewable bio-hybrid fuels (derived from biomass and CO2) in the CoE “FSC” is to reduce the harmful effects of fossil fuel on both the environment and human health. The long-term vision is to find a sustainable approach for the production and usage of bio-hybrid fuels as well as to develop bio-hybrid fuels with no adverse effects to human health. The exhaust emissions from biofuels have been extensively characterized under field and laboratory conditions, but there are a limited number of studies regarding the effects of biofuel exhaust on human health. The goal of this project is to establish a rapid, in vitro and relatively inexpensive method for the early identification and characterization of adverse effects of biofuel exhaust on human health.

FSC aims to develop new and innovative technical solutions to valorize renewable energy and alternative carbon feedstocks into liquid energy carriers for CO2-neutral and near-to-zero emission propulsion systems. Our subproject will generate fundamental knowledge as well as reliable test strategies for assessing the potential effects of bio-hybrid fuel exhaust on human health. Additionally, this project will provide invaluable supporting information needed to achieve near-to-zero human health impacts from emission, and will aid in the incorporation of human health impacts into Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) for bio-hybrid fuels.


Green Toxicology for the Prediction of Fuel Mixtures (Dr. Sebastian Heger)

 Compared to the ecotoxicological investigations of single biofuel candidates in the TMFB, this project will target the ecotoxicological investigation of biohybrid fuel mixtures and subsequent prediction of mixture effects of varying fuel mixtures. In first proof-of-concept experiments, insight on mixture effects for binary biofuel mixtures could be generated, revealing the high relevance of mixture toxicity for bio-hybrid fuels. However, the investigation of biohybrid fuel mixtures and the prediction of varying composition of biohybrid fuels differ from the approaches for investigation of environmental samples. In particular the fast and prospective prediction of varying (fuel) mixtures during the fuel development requires a novel approach and represents a challenge.

Ecotoxicological information obtained either by experiments or by predictions will then be integrated in a predictive design method for a sustainability assessment based on Life-Cycle Assessment. This combination of experimental and predictive data, as well as a LCA-based prediction method could lead to a so called “Comprehensive Environmental Assessment”, which enables an early and comprehensive evaluation of potential environmental impacts of bio-hybrid fuels.

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