An international project is underway at the Ruhstorfer Energy Technology Center (TZE). It’s called “Photo2Fuel”: in this context the TZE collaborates with researchers from Europe and China.
International research at a high innovative level – funded by the European Union with regional participation: “Photo2Fuel” is the English-language title of the EU project, which has been running from September last year until August 2025 at the “Energy Technology Center” of Ruhstorf (TZE) at the Landshut University of Applied Sciences. Applied Sciences (HAW) is ongoing.
Energy from artificial photosynthesis
As Dr. Maria Bieringer explains, an innovative technology is being developed based on so-called artificial photosynthesis, which converts carbon dioxide into fuels and useful chemicals by non-photosynthetic bacteria together with organic materials. Only sunlight is used as an energy source.
“We are working with partners from 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 thus to the success of the energy transition,” explained TZE CEO Dr. Reinhart Schwaiberger. Consisting of eight international institutions and companies from China, Spain, the Netherlands, including Sweden and Switzerland, the scientists took part in the meeting in person or partly virtually.
Close interdisciplinary collaboration
According to the local project manager, Dr. Maria Bieringer, the first results of the previous experiences of potential end users were presented, which are crucial to ensure that the developed technology 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 network with process engineers and companies along with their economic implementation interests.
TZE as guest of the international consortium
The TZE meeting was hosted by Dr. Maria Bieringer and Professor Raimund Brotsack guided the project participants through the workshops. In particular, the widely traveled project researchers were introduced to the TZE laboratory and the technical center for “green gases”, where research is carried out on methane-producing microorganisms and their metabolism. According to prof. Brotsack this is precisely the content of the research with which the local TZE participates in the “Photo2Fuel” project, focused on the direct generation of energy from artificial photosynthesis. The basis is the “know-how of the processes for the so-called microbiological methanation”, which has been studied for years at Ruhstorfer TZE.
Revolutionary discoveries for the production of biofuels
“The common goal of the consortium is to implement breakthrough discoveries for the production of biofuels and biochemicals as quickly as possible in order to actively support the transition to a renewable energy society,” said Dr. Maria Bieringer and Prof. Raimund Brotsack recently examined the practice-oriented future of the “Photo2Fuel” project, in which the Ruhstorf TZE also participates in a research collaboration with well-known international scientists in technological progress towards sustainable fuels and chemicals with the help of energy solar.