Biomass science and technology facilities

The biomass science and technology group has three main types of facilities: A preparation and processing laboratory, a chromatography laboratory and a spectroscopy laboratory.

Preparation and weighting of plant samples

Preparation and weighting of plant samples.

These provide experimental facilities for studying the core subjects of the group, e.g.:

  • Enzymatic or chemical transformation of biomass for production of fuel ethanol or chemicals
  • Biomass-water interactions
  • Material science of biomass or biomass based polymers.

The analytical equipment is flexible, and the subjects thus not necessarily limited to these. The facilities are equally accessible for staff, students and external visitors.  

The preparation and processing laboratory

The laboratory contains standard equipment such as a large range of glass and plastic ware, benchtop centrifuge, weights (down to 0.1 mg), fumehoods and work table areas. In association with the laboratory is a designated room with a large collection of chemicals.

Sugars, organic acids, alcohols etc. can be analyzed by an Ultimate 3000

Sugars, organic acids, alcohols etc. can be analyzed by an Ultimate 3000

The chromatography laboratory

The laboratory contains aqueous solution based HPLC’s from Dionex.

  • Sugars and oligosaccharides can be analyzed by an ICS5000 HPAEC (High Performance Anion-Exchange Chromatograph).
  • Sugars, organic acids, alcohols etc. can be analyzed by an Ultimate 3000, or a Summit UHPLC system.
  • In addition to these liquid phases systems the laboratory has a Varian 3900 gas phase chromatograph GC-MS (Saturn 2000 MS) with MS detection.

The spectroscopy laboratory

The laboratory contains a range of spectroscopic analysis equipment, which can be used for liquid as well as solid samples (e.g. plant fibres, wood, powders, polymers).

  • A low field Bruker NMR mq20 spectrometer can provide information on water dynamics and relaxation.
  • NIR-Raman spectroscopy is possible with a BWTech i-Raman EX dispersive spectrometer (1064 nm laser excitation), which is equipped with a microscope.
  • FT-IR spectroscopy and microscopy is available with a Thermo Scientific Nicolet 6700 instrument equipped with a Continuum imaging microscope.
  • The FT-IR spectrometer can be set up with a temperature adjusted ATR unit or a photoacoustic detector.
  • In addition an Atomic Force Microscope (Veeco) is available for analysis of surface features at the nanoscale.

The low field Bruker NMR mq20 spectrometer can provide information on water dynamics and relaxation.

The low field Bruker NMR mq20 spectrometer can provide information on water dynamics and relaxation.

Routine instruments such as UV-Vis and fluorescence spectrometers are also available.

Laboratory equipment (in alphabetical order) includes:

    Digital ultrasonic sonifier used for the preparation and dispersion of cellulose nanofiber. Also has a variety of uses and comes with different types of horns and disrupters units for small volumes.
  • BWTech i-Raman EX dispersive spectrometer (1064 nm laser excitation) is equipped with a microscope
    The instrument is well suited for samples that show problematic autofluorescence. The low energy NIR laser excitation is usually sufficiently below sample electronic transitions so that Raman spectra with low fluorescence background can be obtained. However, the spectral resolution is only appr. 10 cm-1 covering the range 2000-200 cm-1. It is well suited for routine applications.
  • Dionex ASE 350 Accelerated Solvent Extractor
    The ASE 350 is built for automated extractions of biomass. It is applied with a 10 bar N2 overpressure used as a carrier gas. We can go as high as 200°C and we can control holding times and combinations of solvents. Often it is used to study content of extractives in different biomasses, where we can use various solvents (organic solvents, dilute acids, alkaline, water). Thus we can also use it for various biomass pretreatment methods (organosolve, hydrothermal, etc.). We have different sizes of extraction cells and different alloys as well, thus the ASE 350 is a very flexible tool.
  • Dionex ICS5000 HPAEC (High Performance Anion-Exchange Chromatograph)
    The ICS-5000 system is equipped with a PAD detector (Dionex, Sunnyvale, CA, USA) and a CarboPac PA1 column (2 x 50 mm guard column followed by a 2 x 250 mm analytical column). This setup allows for chromatographic analysis of oxidized oligosaccharides (aldonic acids). This can be modified to analyse native monosaccharides for, i.e. biomass composition analysis. 
  • Dionex Ultimate 3000 HPLC
    The Ultimate 3000 HPLC (Dionex, Germering, Germany) is equipped with a RI-101 refractive index detector (Shodex, Japan), a UV detector at 210 nm (Dionex) and a Phenomenex Rezex ROA column for the analysis of carbohydrates, i.e. glucose, mannose, xylose, cellobiose as well as products relevant for fermentation analysis, such as lactate, ethanol, acetate and glycerol.
  • Dusatech Thermokinetic Mixer for plastics compounding
    Used for blending of plastics for applications such as colour concentrates and wood fiber plastic composites (WPC). Batch compounder with the capacity to blend plastics with suitable materials from about 1 to 2.5 kg.
  • High throughput screening platform
    This platform integrates an automatic biomass grinding and dispensing system, a pressurized pretreatment setup, enzymatic saccharification and monomeric sugar determination utilities in 96-well plate format. It enables rapid high throughput screening of primarily lignocellulosic biomasses for assessing their recalcitrance and measuring their energy potential. This platform can also be applied to assist biomass sample preparation and pretreatment in high throughput manner for various application purposes.
  • HOT PRESS (OBEL-P-PRODUCTS, Copenhagen, Denmark)
    The hot press has two plates (upper and lower) that can apply pressure to compress substance between them. The two plates can be heated to specific temperature (maximum 400℃) and the press is controlled hydraulically with maximum 300 bar. The hot press is normally used to compress wood material or make biomass briquettes when equipped with a custom made die and piston. FOSS Near Infrared Instrument
  • Leica Rotary Microtome
    The Leica Rotary Microtome is a motorized microtome, for the preparation of very thin sample sections. These can be obtained in the range of 0.5 – 100 µm thickness and can be selected at a precision of 0.5 µm for very thin sections, and in 1, 5 or 10 µm precision for thicker sections. The cutting speed can be adjusted. For optimal cutting angles the sample holder can be rotated by up to 8° in the horizontal and vertical directions relative to the knife edge. The knifes are made of stainless steel.
  • Low field Bruker NMR mq20 spectrometer
    The low-field NMR spectrometer is equipped with a 0.47 T permanent magnet and can be used to detect hydrogen nuclei in liquid water. By standard 1D-NMR measurements, the dynamics of water in different confined environments can be detected. More information can be gained from available T1T2 correlation spectroscopy, which enables the distinction of effects on the water dynamics from pore size and chemical interactions.
  • Manual sliding microtome with disposable blades. WSL mikrotom
    The lab-microtome can cut micro-sections for microscopic investigations. The sample holder can be rotated around both axes in the vertical plane. The knife holder is designed for disposable blades and the angles relative to the upper face of the sample and the sample movement during cutting can be adjusted. The height of the sample holder can be mechanically adjusted by a micrometer screw.
  • PARR reactors, large + small
    For pressurised reactions, the lab has three stainless steel and one hastelloy Parr reactors of 100 ml.  Maximum pressure is 200 bar and temperature 350º C. In addition, there is a stainless steel reactor of 1 L, equipped with a stirrer, jacket heater, and a reactor controller (4848), maximum pressure is 345 bar and temperature 500ºC.
  • Shimadzu AGS-X Autograph
  • The Shimadzu AGS-X instrument can be used for a broad range of material testing. 20 N, 100 N and 10 kN load cells are available. The instrument can be fitted with several different types of tensile grips and fixtures, three-point-bending jig as well as compression plates.
  • SpectraMax® i3 Multi-Mode Microplate Reader for measuring absorbance (wavelength range: 230–1000 nm), fluorescence (wavelength range: 250–850 nm), and/or luminescence (wavelength range: 300–850 nm).
    A combination of Xenon flash lamp and LEDs provides high signal strength and sensitivity. Operates with a variety of micro titer plates. There are options for heating and shaking. There are many possibilities for supplementing the apparatus with additional measures (e.g. western blot, imaging, nano drop, cuvette holders, etc.).
  • Summit UHPLC system
    The Summit HPLC instrument is equipped with an OHpak SB-800 size exclusion column and RI detector. The system is suited for the analysis of a wide range of water-soluble polymers, proteins and enzymes.
  • Thermo Scientific Microm HM 450 microtome
    The sliding microtome is equipped with stainless steel knifes. The microtome is semi-automatic meaning that the sample is automatically moved into a position corresponding to the selected thickness when the knife is returned to the starting position, but the cutting is done by hand as this microtome has no motor.
  • Thermo Scientific Nicolet 6700 FT-IR instrument equipped with a Continuum imaging microscope
    The Thermo Scientific Nicolet 6700 FT-IR instrument can be used as an IR spectrometer with a temperature adjusted Diamond ATR or in transmission mode. Different beam splitters and detectors are available, among them a photoacoustic detector. Alternatively, the instrument can be used together with the Continuum imaging microscope in either transmission, reflectance, transflectance or ATR mode. The spatial resolution in standard transmission mode is about 100 µm. The instrument is affiliated with CAB (Center for Advanced Bioimaging).
  • UV-VIS spectrometer
    Ocean optics DH-2000-BAL, UV-VIS-NIR
    Hach spectrophotometer 1900
  • Veeco Atomic Force Microscope
    Atomic Force Microscope (Veeco) is available for analysis of surface features at the nanoscale.
  • VIS-NIR instrument
    The instrument measures in reflectance mode in the wavelength range from 400 to 2500 nm. Several different sample cup sizes and shapes are available. All have quartz windows. The instrument is old and data has to be transferred using a 3.5” diskette.
  • WITec alpha300R Confocal Raman Microscope
    The Raman microscope is equipped with two lasers: 532 and 785 nm, each with a dedicated spectrometer. Several different types of objectives are available, making it possible to perform imaging with down to about 300 nm spatial resolution. The instrument is  affiliated with CAB (Center for Advanced Bioimaging).


Responsible researcher
Lisbeth Garbrecht Thygesen

Responsible laboratory assistant
Britta Skov
Laboratory coordinator


Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management
Rolighedsvej 23
1958 Frederiksberg C