Trendsetting Technologies from Pirmasens-Winzeln Energy Park

Dr. Stefan DrögeDevelopment of energy storage technologies to counterbalance strong fluctuations in power production from renewable energy resources is one of the greatest challenges we face in successfully implementing the energy turnaround. Against this backdrop, PFI Biotechnology has spent the past few years investing enormous R&D effort in the fields of biological methanation and power-to-gas.

Inauguration of our novel Power2Gas plant in the summer of 2015 was an important step; it stood for industrial scale implementation of trendsetting technology in Pirmasens-Winzeln Energy Park. Commissioning of the biogas feed-in unit by the Pimansens municipal utility company in September 2016 opened the way to large scale trials of the biosynthesis of methane from biogas and regeneratively produced hydrogen. An important milestone marking PFI’s progress in establishing its reputation as one of Germany’s major research centres for this key technology of the future.

We have also made great progress in other key research areas associated with biogas and the development of new biotech processes and have successfully concluded a number of important projects.

“Roads grow out of going them.” Kafka was right.

We greatly appreciate your keen interest in the latest edition of this Newsletter and would like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy and refreshing holiday season and a good start to 2017.


Dr. Stefan Dröge, Head of PFI Biotechnology and Microbiology




Biomethane for the Gas Grid of Municipal Utility Companies

Energiepark Pirmasens-WinzelnAt Pirmasens-Winzeln Energy Park the Test and Research Institute Pirmasens (PFI) is operating Germany’s largest methanation unit.

The Power-to-Gas plant processing biogas and regeneratively produced hydrogen has been in operation since September 2016.

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DECHEMA Annual Meeting

The PFI Biotechnology and Microbiology Department presented conference papers at this year’s ProcessNet Annual Meeting, held together with 32nd DECHEMA Annual Meeting of Biotechnologists from 12 to 15 September 2016 at Aachen.

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Successful Participation in the 10th LfL Biogas Round Robin Test

The Bavarian State Research Centre for Agriculture (LfL) organised its tenth biogas round robin test in June 2016. Successful participation of our PFI laboratory testified to the quality of our analyses.

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HP4Drying Project Successfully Concluded

The transnational project «Energetic and Environmental Optimisation of Drying Processes by Integration of Heat Pumps», or HP4Drying for short, was successfully concluded on 30 June 2016 after more than two years’ research work.

In addition to PFI, two research groups from the University of Gent and five other German research organisations representing a wide range of industrial sectors participated in the project.

The project was concerned with the integration of heat pumps into drying systems for digestate and sewage sludge, spices and medicinal plants, bricks, wood, textiles, and laundries.

Successful coupling of two drying processes with a heat pump was demonstrated by PFI at Pirmasens-Winzeln Energy Park.

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Role of Lactic Acid in the Biogas Process

Webseite zur Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe

In their latest joint project PFI Biotechnology and the Microbiology Institute of Mainz University have been studying the complex microbial degradation pathways of organic materials in biogas fermenters.

The researchers working in the collaborative research project supported by the German Specialist Agency for Renewable Resources (Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe, FNR) were particularly interested in lactic acid as an intermediate; this degradation product of sugars and plant polymers is produced by numerous microorganisms. It is of significance at various interfaces of the biogas process.

For example, it is the most important organic acid in ensilated feed substrates. Moreover, earlier projects already indicated that this intermediate plays a key role in the degradation of starch. 

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PFI Biotechnology
Test and Research Institute Pirmasens e.V.
(Prüf- und Forschungsinstitut Pirmasens e.V.)

Marie-Curie-Straße 19
66953 Pirmasens | Germany

Phone: +49 6331 2490 0
Fax: +49 6331 2490 60

Internet: | | | | |

Chairman: Michael Tackenberg

Managing Director: Dr. Kerstin Schulte

Heads of the Biotechnological Department:

Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Benjamin Pacan | Technical Development, Research Plants, Project Management

Dr. rer. nat. Stefan Dröge | Biotechnology and Microbiology, Project Management

Authors: Dr. Stefan Dröge, Dipl.-Chem. Dr. Thomas Fiehn, Dr. Michael Müller, Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Benjamin Pacan,

Editor: Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Elisabeth Rouiller | Translation: Anthony J. Rackstraw B.Sc. (Hons)

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Read the German version of this newsletter

Read the December newsletter of PFI Group