Thermal Energy Systems and Biomass

The working group Thermal Energy Systems and Biomass develops and evaluates innovative technologies for energy conversion and efficient methods for heat generation. Another research focus includes the experimental development of technologies based on combined heat and power generation of gasification processes with fuel cells. Furthermore, experimental research and development in the field of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) as well as solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOEC) is increasingly being conducted. One research focus in this field includes the development of degradation mitigation.

In cooperative research projects, combustion simulations of melting and annealing furnaces are carried out and the heat management of different systems is investigated by using numerical methods. The numerical simulations are performed using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Finite Element Methods (FEM) and Lattice-Boltzmann Methods (LBM).

© TUGraz/IWT

Burner test (NG/Air - 140 kW)

R&D focus

A selection of current research projects of the working group Thermal Energy Systems and Biomass are listed below:

  • Thermal characterization of industrial furnaces with multiphase flows
  • CFD based burner and process optimization
  • Numerical Simulation of particle laden combustion flows
  • Investigation of particle/fluid interaction in industrial furnaces
  • Numerical Investigation of the combustion process and heating characteristics of steel good in industrial reheating furnaces
  • Numerical Simulation of Gas/Solid Interaction in High Temperature Processes using coupled CFD/FEM Simulation
  • Development and validation of a numerically inexpensive simulation for the cooling process of steel tubes in a rake type cooling bed
  • Experimental investigation of combustion of low-calorific fuels with oxygen
  • Experimental development of a waste heat recovery system for oxy-fuel furnaces based on internal reforming of the fuel
  • CFD simulations of steam sterilization processes
  • Numerical investigation of next generation steam sterilizers
  • CFD investigations of the sterilization process of medical devices
  • Development of the reliability- and durability diagnosis tools for solid oxide fuel and electrolysis cells
  • Degradation monitoring and performance optimization of high temperature electrolysers
  • Reversible solid oxide cells for electrochemical energy conversion and energy storage
  • Experimental characterization and evaluation of special fuels (such as: ammonia, wood synthesis gas, biogas, diesel, ethanol, ...) for application in solid oxide fuel cells
  • Electrochemical characterization and performance assessment of SOC stacks in reversible operation
  • Industrial hydrogen combustion systems
  • Decarbonizing combustion systems by hydrogen enrichment


General test rigs:

  • Mechanical & electrical workshop
  • Chemical laboratory
  • Fuel cell laboratory
  • Reforming test rig
  • Burning chamber with chimney (up to 1,2 MW)
  • Central heat sink (water re-cooling system up to 5 MW)
  • Several (mobile ) heat sink & heat source systems
  • Climatic chamber (-20 to +40°C)
  • Vehicle air-conditioning test bench
  • Absorption heat pump system

 Measurement equipment:

  • all typical sensors required for flow rate, pressure, humidity, temperature, etc.
  • Flame ionization detector (FID)
  • Gas analyzer (GA)
  • Gas chromatograph (GC)
  • Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR)



Christoph Hochenauer
Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn.
+43 316 873 - 7300
Vanja Subotic
Assoc.Prof. Priv.-Doz. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. BSc
+43 316 873 - 7319
René Josef Prieler
Ass.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. BSc
+43 316 873 - 7810

Research Associates

Hannes Gerhardter
Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. BSc
+43 316 873 - 7810
Benjamin Königshofer
Dipl.-Ing. BSc
+43 316 873 - 4208
Michael Landl
Dipl.-Ing. BSc
+43 316 873 - 7815
Raphael Langbauer
Dipl.-Ing. BSc
+43 316 873 - 7812
Angelika Michaela Zachl
Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. BSc
+43 316 873 - 7808
Michael Höber
Dipl.-Ing. BSc
+43 316 873 - 4208
Simon Pletzer
Dipl.-Ing. BSc
+43 316 873 - 7802
Benjamin Ortner
Dipl.-Ing. BSc
+43 316 873 - 7314
Felix Mütter
Dipl.-Ing. BSc
+43 316 873 - 4206
Raphael Gergely
Dipl.-Ing. BSc
+43 316 873 - 7807
Johannes Hochenauer
Dipl.-Ing. BSc
+43 316 873 - 4202
Marina Orlic
Dipl. inž. tehnol. Mast. inž. tehnol.
+43 316 873 - 4209
Thermal Energy Systems and Biomass Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn.
Christoph Hochenauer

Sandra Oswald-Pauli
Mo-Fr: 09:00-12:00 Uhr
Raum: MB05 010 (5.OG)
Tel.: +43-316-873-7301
Fax: +43-316-873-7305