Bioeconomy Science Center
Forschung und Kooperation für nachhaltige BioÖkonomie

Bioeconomy Science Center
Forschung und Kooperation für nachhaltige BioÖkonomie

Incremental multi-scale and multi-disciplinary Modeling of Processes in Bioeconomy


The vision of a future bio-based economy heavily relies on integrated process chains for biomass production and processing followed by transforming biomass compounds into valuable products. Integrated bioeconomic processes can only become competitive if they are operated with highest efficiency and maximal utilization of all occurring material flows. Thus, effective systems integration is one of the great challenges in this research field. In this context, tools and methods for plant modeling, simulation and design play a crucial role.

The biorefinery plant at RWTH Aachen University that will be operated from 2016 on offers the unique opportunity to establish and apply novel integrated modeling concepts along with the technical development of the biorefinery itself. This, in turn, requires an incremental modeling approach which allows to start with coarse models and enrich them with more detail when new data becomes available.

The constraint-based modeling approach, which proved to be very successful in systems biology for dealing with missing information, will be merged with dynamic plant-level modeling and simulation and extended to dynamic nonlinear phenomena, which are essential for the design of chemical plants.

What is the relevance for bioeconomy?

Biorefineries are a promising approach to supply chemicals and fuels from sustainable natural resources without competing with the food market. However, it is not clear at the moment which biorefinery concepts will become competitive in future markets. In this context, modeling and simulation tools on the biological, technical, economical and ecological level are urgently needed for decision support.

Expected results/ project products

The major aim of this multi-disciplinary project is to establish a scalable modeling framework for processes in bioeconomy which anticipates future model refinements and adaptions. In this project, a highly sophisticated computational machinery for automatic model manipulation and numerical computing will be developed, which lies beyond present off-the-shelf software. The software will be delivered together with an example full plant biorefinery model including both technical and biological parts.

Participating Core Groups (CG)

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wiechert
(with Dr. Eric von Lieres and Dr. Stephan Noack)
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Institute of Bio- and Geosciences
IBG-1: Biotechnology
52425 Jülich
Phone: +49 2461 61 - 3118
Fax: +49 2461 61- 3870

Prof. Alexander Mitsos
, Ph.D.
Fakultät 4, Aachener Verfahrenstechnik, Systemverfahrenstechnik– SVT RWTH Aachen
Prof. Dr. Uwe Naumann
Fakultät 1, Informatik, Software and Tools for Computational Engineering – STCE RWTH Aachen

Funding period
01.07.2014 – 30.06.2017

The total budget of BEProMod is € 618.648 .00. BEProMod 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.


Lotz, J, Naumann, U, Hannemann-Taḿas, R, Ploch, T and Mitsos, A (2015). Higher-order discrete adjoint ode solver in c++ for dynamic optimization. Procedia Computer Science 51: 256-265.

Lotz, J, Schwalbach, M and Naumann, U (2016). A case study in adjoint sensitivity analysis of parameter calibration. Procedia Computer Science 80: 201-211.

Safiran, N, Lotz, J and Naumann, U (2016). Algorithmic differentiation of numerical methods: Second-order adjoint solvers for parameterized systems of nonlinear equations. Procedia Computer Science 80: 2231-2235.

Zhao, X, Noack, S, Wiechert, W and Lieres, EV (2017). Dynamic flux balance analysis with nonlinear objective function. J Math Biol