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Thermochemical treatment of biomasses and development of bio-char utilization routes (TCHAR)

This project area develops solutions for product innovation through the application of the Thermo Catalytic Reforming (TCR) technology developed by Fraunhofer UMSICHT and the application of new materials such as biochar from pyrolysis.

Thermo Catalytic Reforming

The TCR technology enables the enhancement of agro-industrial residues (especially digestate, sewage sludge, waste lignocellulosic, organic waste, residues of oleo-chemical industry processing and casting) with the triple advantage of producing renewable energy, reducing the volume of waste and generating biochar.

The group has experience and works with the prestigious Fraunhofer UMSICHT to find synergies and integration within the current industrial processes.

In addition to direct application to industry, the project area drives the research and development of technology towards innovative aspects such as exploiting the high quality of the syngas to methanol synthesis and the use of hydrogen.
The development of applications related to biochar as soil improver adsorbent substrate is also pursued.
The integration of these aspects is performed with dedicated instruments (ASPEN +) for calculating and optimizing the processes.

Customer segment

  • Energy industries
  • Waste management industries
  • Utility companies
  • Anaerobic Digestion plants
  • Plant engineering
  • Environmental technology companies


Innovation, Thermochemical Processes, Biofuels, Waste treatment


Biochar is a Carbon sequester with high persistency in soil, reduces soil acidity, has a unique ability for attracting and holding moisture and agrochemicals, even retaining difficult to hold nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous.
UNIBO and RES-Italia are developing a biochar value chain to support novel agro-ecology systems.

The research group fosters the diffusion of biochar through:

  • exclusive relations with a large-scale (1500 tons/y) Biochar provider in the Ravenna region, meeting Italian (1) and REACH regulations;
  • availability of an industrial analysis laboratory (up to 20 biochar samples/day);
  • research on biochar as a compost improver together with compost producers (ENOCHAR);
  • dedicated plot with 5 years long biochar applications.

(1) Ministerial Decree 12 August 2015, concerning the amendment to the annexes to Legislative Decree No 75 of 29 April 2010, 'Reorganisation and review of guidelines in relation to fertilisers pursuant to Article 13 of Law No. 88 of 7 July 2009

Customer segment

  • Compost producers
  • Agri-farms


Biochar, Soil improver, Nutrients recovery



Stefano Macrelli

Cat. D - area tecnica, tecnico - scientifica ed elaborazione dati a tempo determinato

Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca per le Scienze Ambientali - CIRSA

Via Sant'Alberto 163

Ravenna (RA)

tel: +39 0544 937356

Diego Marazza

Junior assistant professor (fixed-term)

Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia

Via S.Alberto 163

Ravenna (RA)

tel: +39 0544 937334