Chemistry, process design and sustainable economic development

The results of this project were to deliver the basics for chemical process engineering taking into account the requirements of sustainable development. The proposed results will have to be in conformity with ecological, economic and social requirements for sustainability. Hence the processes will mostly be based on renewable resources.

Short Description




Scientific work during this project aimed to create basic principles for a technical chemistry and process engineering in order to accomplish sustainable development. These areas of engineering have to fulfil following requirements in economic, ecologic and social dimensions.

  • Avoiding resource shortage and maximum usage of renewable resources (resource efficient syntheses and technologies)
  • Protection of renewable resources due to primarily using co products and waste from agriculture and forestry.
  • Adjusting process technology and resource logistics to requirements of sustainable development due to multi feedstock concepts and process technologies in regard of seasonal and regional changes in feedstock provision.
  • Avoiding the production of products or co products that accumulate in biosphere or cause changes in natural systems (e.g. ozone layer, climate, hormone balance)
  • No syntheses using problematic intermediates, catalysts or reaction medias (e.g. chlorine chemistry, heavy metals)
  • Application of separation and reconditioning methods with lower energy demands that can be provided by sustainable energy systems (e.g. solar energy, biomass)
  • Developing products that can be recycled or reused

These challenges however require new and/or adapted methodological approaches in planning and implementation, not only in the field of process engineering but also in other relevant sectors along the Life Cycle of products. Co-operation between actors is necessary to bring about the restructuring of industry to achieve sustainability. This co-operation however requires a consistent methodological base to which all the actors may refer in their work.

The goal of CHEVENA was to create such a methodological base for the early planning phase for processes on the base of renewable resources. The results of a workshop with relevant actors from industry, agriculture, regional planning and other fields linked to utilising renewable resources identified the main methodological gaps and thus directed the work within the project. According to these results, methods for a systematic identification of possible utilisation lines for biogenic raw materials, for the creation of optimised process networks for efficient utilisation of renewable resources and for ecological evaluation and optimisation of such networks have been developed.

Besides the development of methodological fundamentals user friendly software tools were generated in the project in order to support the practical work of relevant actors in the field. These tools comprise a process data bank to support systematic research into possible ways of utilising renewable resources and a program for ecological evaluation of process networks.

The results from the development of methods as well as existing knowledge have been combined to create a didactical concept to inform actors about the necessary knowledge for the first planning phase of such processes. This concept was structured in "course modules" that allow to tailor courses to the requirements of different stakeholders that contribute to the development and implementation of processes to utilise renewable resources. The structuring in modules also facilitates the integration of the material generated in the project into the curricula and courses of other educational institutions. For all these modules course materials have been developed.

A first round of courses for agricultural experts and process engineers was held in order to test the course structure and materials. Feed-back from participants to these courses supported the relevance and quality of the courses and has been a source for improving the course material.

The results of the project offers a consistent methodological base as well as a didactical concept for disseminate the necessary knowledge for the first planning phase for processes on the base of renewable resources. These results are available on internet under respectively

Project Partners

Project management

ao. Univ. Prof. Dr. Michael Narodoslawsky
Institut für Ressourcenschonende und Nachhaltige Systeme, TU Graz
Inffeldgasse 25, A-8010 Graz
Tel.: +43(0)316 873 7465
Fax: +43(0)316 873 7963

Head of the sub-project biotechnology:

ao. Univ. Prof. Dr. Gerhart Braunegg
Institut für Biotechnologie, TU Graz
Petersgasse 12, A-8010 Graz
Tel.: +43(0)316 873 8412
Fax: +43(0)316 873 8434


Sibylle Braunegg
Institut für Ressourcenschonende und Nachhaltige Systeme, TU Graz
Inffeldgasse 25, A- 8010 Graz
Tel.: +43(0)316 873 7465
Fax: +43(0)316 873 7963

Contact Address

Dr. Jochen Gassner (
DI Anneliese Niederl (
DI Günter Povoden (
Dr. Predrag Horvat (

Institut für Ressourcenschonende und Nachhaltige Systeme, TU Graz
Inffeldgasse 25, A-8010 Graz
Tel.: +43(0)316 873 7978
Fax: +43(0)316 873 7963