Thermo-economic evaluation of biomass conversion technologies

Semester project

General Information

Type: Semester project (10 credits)

Period: Autumn 2017

Assistants: Theodoros Damartzis


The assessment of a number of biomass conversion technologies under the scope of simultaneous optimal thermal and economic performance is sought. The target is to identify the most suitable conversion pathways for a diverse range of biomass feedstock (woody, wet, etc.) and study the integration for energy services supply as well as power-to-gas applications. To this end, conventional technologies (e.g. gasification, digestion etc.), represented by existing process models, will be combined within a well-established modeling and optimization framework to create conversion routes that emulate the transition from raw biomass to services such as heat and/or power. Performance and suitability of the different generated processes will be assessed based on their energetic efficiency as well as the associated investment and operational costs.

Project tasks

  • Familiarize with biomass conversion technologies through a thorough literature review.
  • Update/modify existing biomass conversion models according to literature review (if necessary).
  • Synthesize biomass conversion routes for various biomass sources within the OSMOSE optimization framework.
  • Analyze/rank the design optimization results for the various examined conversion paths.
  • Report the results in a comprehensive manner.


Desired hard skills are:

  • Energy conversion systems knowledge (EPFL courses: Thermo I/II, Energy conversion, Advanced Energetics, or equivalent)
  • Programming skills: MATLAB, Lua or similar languages
  • Optimization (EPFL courses: Modelling and Optimization of Energy Systems or equivalent)

Other soft skills that are highly appreciated:

  • Motivation, autonomy and self-organization
  • Ability to communicate results (oral and written)
  • Very good English writing skills

How to apply

If interested please contact Theodoros Damartzis, including your CV, a cover letter and a transcript of records (Bachelor’s and Master’s).


As the IPESE research group is located in Sion, students will need to commute. A travel expense compensation of 600 CHF will be given to students for semester projects. The days of presence in Sion will be determined upon communication with the project supervisor.