Master’s thesis: The Potential of Biofuels for the Transport Sector

  • Contract
  • Germany
  • Posted 3 weeks ago


Fraunhofer ISI is a globally recognized center of excellence in innovation research. Key issues of innovation dynamics and system transformation are addressed in an interdisciplinary manner and from a holistic perspective through the different research focuses of the seven Competence Centers. The institute offers unique opportunities to apply and develop new approaches in innovation research. It has close ties to numerous universities and research institutions in Germany and abroad. 

The position is located in the Competence Center Energy Policy and Energy Markets and is to be filled as soon as possible.

What you will do

Background: Biofuels are a much discussed option to make the transport sector greenhouse gas neutral. They can be used in particular in transport sectors that are difficult to convert to electrification (e.g. aviation, shipping, heavy goods vehicles). However, the potential of sustainably available biomass for biofuel synthesis is limited. On the one hand, there are competing uses for the available land, especially for food and feed production, but also for climate-relevant forests and the cultivation of energy crops to bind CO2 from the air. On the other hand, technically available biomass is in demand not only in the transport sector, but also in industries that are difficult to decarbonise, for heat generation or as a material substitute for crude oil. One of the key unresolved issues for the competitiveness of biofuels as a climate-neutral energy source is the sustainable availability and cost-effective conversion of biomass.

Objective: The aim of this Master’s thesis is to investigate the influence of sustainable biomass availability on the economic viability of biofuels. In a first step, a literature review will be conducted to create an atlas of regionally available biomass potentials, including domestic potentials as well as import quantities, in order to be able to quantify the potential use of biomass for bioenergy. In addition, the state of research on conversion processes will be determined. Among other things, the parameters on which the future development of the technologies depends are to be investigated. Based on the literature review, the identified potentials and technologies will be used to map the competing uses of biomass. The results will be used to quantitatively assess one of the key problems for a potential hope for a turnaround in transport – synthetic biofuels.

A scientific publication is planned.

What you bring to the table

  • The call for applications is particularly aimed at enrolled students in the fields of economics and natural sciences, as well as mechanical engineering, industrial engineering or similar courses of study.
  • Basic interest in technical and economic issues
  • Accurate, independent and reliable working style 
  • Good verbal and written communication skills

What you can expect

  • working as a team: You work independently and take on responsibility in highly motivated teams. Our employees benefit from our flat hierarchy, which promoted an autonomous approach to work.
  • infrastracture: Our workplaces are aquipped with the latest technology.
  • flexibility: Fraunhofer ISI offers flexible working hours that are tailored to study needs.
  • health and fitness: We look after our employees and offer a range of sport and health-related options.
  • Equal opportunities and diversity: Different experiences and backrounds are the diving force behind creative ideas and concepts and thus for innovations. We consider diversity to be an enrichment for the work at Fraunhofer. We try to make our teams as balanced as possible – made up different genders, age, groups, cultures and disciplines.

The monthly working time is 30 hours. This position is limited for 6 months. We value and promote the diversity of our employees’ skills and therefore welcome all applications – regardless of age, gender, nationality, ethnic and social origin, religion, ideology, disability, sexual orientation and identity. Severely disabled persons are given preference in the event of equal suitability. Remuneration according to the general works agreement for employing assistant staff.

With its focus on developing key technologies that are vital for the future and enabling the commercial utilization of this work by business and industry, Fraunhofer plays a central role in the innovation process. As a pioneer and catalyst for groundbreaking developments and scientific excellence, Fraunhofer helps shape society now and in the future. 

Interested? Apply online now. We look forward to getting to know you!

Wolfgang Männer

Tel. +49 721 6809-353

Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI  

Requisition Number: 68171                Application Deadline: 09/22/2023

View or Apply
To help us track our recruitment effort, please indicate in your cover/motivation letter where ( you saw this job posting.

Job Location