An international project is being conducted at the Ruhstorfer Technology Center for Energy (TZE). It’s called “Photo2Fuel”: In this context, TZE works with researchers from Europe and China.
International research at a highly innovative level – funded by the European Union with regional participation: “Photo2Fuel” is the English title of the EU project, which has been running since September last year until August 2025 at the “Energy Technology Center” in Ruhstorf (TZE) at Landshut University of Applied Sciences Applied Sciences (HAW) is ongoing.
Energy from artificial photosynthesis
As Dr. Maria Bieringer explains, an innovative technology based on so-called artificial photosynthesis is being developed, which converts carbon dioxide into fuels and useful chemicals by non-photosynthetic bacteria in conjunction with organic materials. Only sunlight is used as an energy source.
“We are working with partners in the EU and China to use the photosynthesis model to produce fuels such as methane and basic chemicals such as acetic acid, using only light and carbon dioxide without an intermediate technical step such as electrolysis. This is currently our most innovative approach to future energy production and therefore to the success of the energy transition”, explained TZE General Director Dr. Reinhart Schwaiberger. Composed of eight international institutions and companies from China, Spain, the Netherlands, including Sweden and Switzerland, scientists participated in the meeting in person or partially virtually.
Close interdisciplinary collaboration
According to the local project manager, Dr. Maria Bieringer, initial results were presented on previous experiences of potential end users, which are crucial to ensure that the technology developed can be designed to be practical and easy to use. The “Ruhstorfer Meeting” was designed primarily for exchange and discussion in smaller research groups in order to promote closer interdisciplinary collaboration. According to its local director, the project works closely with basic research: biologists and chemists are networking with process engineers and companies, along with their economic implementation interests.
TZE as host of international consortium
The TZE meeting was organized by Dr. Maria Bieringer and Professor Raimund Brotsack guided project participants through the laboratories. In particular, the well-traveled project researchers were introduced to the TZE laboratory and technical center for “green gases”, where research is carried out on methane-producing microorganisms and their metabolism. According to Professor Brotsack, it is exactly with this research content that the local TZE participates in the “Photo2Fuel” project, focusing on the direct generation of energy from artificial photosynthesis. The basis for this is the “process know-how for so-called microbiological methanation”, which has been investigated at the Ruhstorfer TZE for years.
Innovative discoveries for biofuel production
“The common goal of the consortium is to implement innovative discoveries for the production of biofuels and biochemicals as quickly as possible in order to actively support the transition to a renewable energy-based society,” said Dr. Maria Bieringer and Prof. Raimund Brotsack recently analyzed the practice-oriented future of the “Photo2Fuel” project, in which the Ruhstorf TZE also participates in a research collaboration with renowned international scientists on technological progress towards sustainable fuels and chemicals with the help of solar energy. .