Institute of

Agricultural Technology


Cathleen Ascalic/Monika Klick
Institute of Agricultural Technology

Bundesallee 47
38116 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 531 596 4102/ 4103
Fax: +49 531 596 4199

 (c) Thünen-Institut/AT

Resource efficient and environmental friendly technologies for a bioeconomy – we actively working on

Technological progress is key to achieving sustainability goals on both a national and worldwide scale.  Understanding the implications and trade-offs of new and existing technology is integral to working towards a sustainable future.

We develop and evaluate both new and existing technologies for the production of bio-based chemicals and materials using comprehensive, big-picture techniques, including holistic stems-analysis, life cycle assessment and eco-efficiency analysis.

Simultaneously we develop and evaluate contactless sensor systems as well as soil protecting mechanical operations and for the sustainable production of food, feed and renewables. We improve techniques for fine particle, bioaerosole and odour reduction of livestock husbandry.

How does the transition to a bioeconomy impact climate change, environmental sustainability, and agricultural practices?  What are the trade-offs involved in a transition to a bioeconomy and how can the process be optimized? The Thünen Institute of Agricultural Technology (TI-AT) is tasked with addressing these and other complex research themes related to climate change, renewable resources, competitive production, and rural development. By engaging in the process of drafting scientific policy and guidelines as well as by providing scientific advice to policymakers, the TI-AT serves as an interface between science and policy. The research and development profile of the TI-AT reflects the holistic and multifaceted nature of our work:

  • Given the rapid pace of technological development, we are best positioned to advise and formulate national and EU guidelines when our research and innovation takes places at the technological forefront.  TI working groups are broadly involved in innovative research networks.
  • Our goal is to create increase the sustainability of production processes through integrated, whole-system solutions.  We develop and evaluate both new and existing technologies using comprehensive, big-picture techniques, including holistic systems-analysis, life cycle analysis and eco-efficiency analysis.

Our research groups address fundamental technological challenges, including:

  • Environmental engineering - soil/plant:  research conducted on agricultural fields focus on precision agriculture, a farming management concept that focuses on optimizing management of crops and soil, while taking into account soil conservation and irrigation, and reducing the need for farm machinery.
  • Environmental engineering - animal:  with the objective of recording, evaluating and reducing emissions from animal husbandry, research focuses on animal husbandry that is sustainable, animal welfare-friendly, socially accepted, and environmentally compatible.
  • Material use of renewable resources: with the ultimate goal of achieving a biobased economy, research focuses on developing and evaluating biobased chemicals, materials and products, competitive pathways of use, and biorefinery processes.

While policy advice, technology orientated research and development are the primary focus of our institute, staff training also takes a high priority.  More than a third of staff scientists have university teaching positions and additionally we conduct vocational training for chemical laboratory assistants. Our staffs are responsible for numerous patents, industrially implemented processes, two prizes for technology transfer, and a successful spin-off company.

Fields of Activity

Handling of anaerobic microorganisms (©  Thünen-Institut)
Products from Renewables
In the foreseeable future depleting fossil resources demand a change in the supply of raw materials. In order to bridge the gap from a petrochemical industry to a bio-based economy renewable resources can and are supposed to substitute fossil raw materials.
mais avling (©  Thünen-Institut)
Environmental Technology Soil/Plant
Soil, especially as crop growing habitat, is a scarce resource. For a sustainable crop production, we develop and optimize soil conserving procedures and irrigation management for entire working processes by the use of specific sensors.
Transportabeles Fluoreszenzmikroskop (©  Thünen-Institut)
Environmental Technology – Livestock husbandry
The operational range is focused on the recording, evaluation and reduction of emissions from livestock. Improvement of animal welfare and environmental protection are focal operating points.
Fotolia (©
Digitalization and Automation
Digitalisation offers great potential in agriculture for achieving positive effects on the environment and animal welfare. With the aid of a variety of digital measurement methods and their networking, we develop and evaluate sensor-assisted assistance systems for agriculture with the focus on sustainably controlling agricultural processes.