Bioeconomy Science Center
Research and cooperation for a sustainable bioeconomy

Bioeconomy Science Center
Research and cooperation for a sustainable bioeconomy
SEED FUND Project AquaPro

Using invasive alien aquatic plant biomass for bioenergy production


On the January 1st, 2015, the new EU Regulation 1143/2014 came into effect. It regulates the introduction and management of Invasive Alien Aquatic Plant species (IAAPs) within the European countries, with the aim of rapid eradication of already present populations and prohibition of future invasions. North Rhine-Westphalia is the federal state with the highest number of invasive alien aquatic plant species in Germany, and the required management of these species will produce high amounts of biomass, for which no options for economic utilization are known so far. Thus, the aim of this project is to analyze the potential of these IAAPs and to identify a further cascade usage after fractionation.
Calculations of whole lake biomass of IAAPs will be performed. For this purpose, contour plots of IAAPs infested water bodies will be prepared. In combination with data on the plant biomass density, the total biomass of IAAPs in water bodies will be calculated. Additionally, the dry biomass will be characterized for its composition. Depending on the composition a fractionation process will be developed in order to allow a separate usage of the polysaccharide and extract fraction. The polysaccharide fraction is investigated for hydrolyzability and integration in a bio-refinery process. The extractives are screened for valuable compounds. In order to utilize both extractives and polysaccharides, a cascade usage shall be examined. Furthermore, this process is investigated for its economic potential.


Impact on Bioeconomy

A major goal of bioeconomy is the change from a fossil-fuel based to a sustainable economy that relies on naturally re-growing resources. The AquaPro project aims at identifying options for the economic use of plant biomass that due to legal requirements is produced in the management of aquatic neophytes. The use of new biomass sources for bioenergy production is one of the key requests outlined by the German National Research Strategy “Bioeconomy 2030” (BMBF 2010). Furthermore, North Rhine-Westfalia is the hotspot of Invasive Alien Aquatic Plants (IAAPs) in Germany and thus the project fits perfectly into the needed management plans for IAAPs and potential ways for processing the harvested plant material.

Expected results/ project products

The AquaPro project generates new options for the economic use of plant biomass of IAAPs. Besides providing a new insight in the utilization of the polysaccharide fraction from IAAPs in a biorefinery process the identification of valuable compounds will increase the economic potential of the system.

Participating Core Groups

Dr. Andreas Hussner / Prof. Dr. A. Weber, Biochemie der Pflanzen, HHU Düsseldorf
Dr. Nico Anders / Prof. Dr. J. Büchs,
Aachener Verfahrenstechnik, RWTH Aachen

Contact (Coordinator)
Dr. Andreas Hussner
Institut für Botanik
Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
Tel.: +49 211 811429

Project duration


Funding budget

The total budget of AquaPro is € 128.683. AquaPro is part of the NRW-Strategieprojekt BioSC and thus funded by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.


Hussner, A, Stiers, I, Verhofstad, MJJM, Bakker, ES, Grutters, BMC, Haury, J, van Valkenburg, JLCH, Brundu, G, Newman, J, Clayton, JS, Anderson, LWJ and Hofstra, D (2017). Management and control methods of invasive alien freshwater aquatic plants: A review. Aquatic Botany 136: 112-137.