In collaboration with Continental and the University of Tübingen, Novis is working on scaling up PHB production in the PHBMAX project. The declared aim of the project is to develop and operate photobioreactors. The aim is to create reactors with a total volume of 10m³.

The biomass produced will be used by Continental vollständog to carry out test series.

One aim of the project is to utilize CO₂, which is generated as waste or residual material during production or in industrial processes. The recycling of this raw material and the associated return to the carbon cycle is economical and supports the fight against climate change.

Hop fibers

Since May 2019, Novis has been working together with the German Institute of Textile and Fiber Research (DITF), the company Hopfenpower and the Nuding joinery on the production of composite materials from fermented hop residues.

There is a growing market for sustainable and ecological products in the fiber composite industry. The use of natural fibers and bio-based plastics plays a decisive role in this. However, natural fibers must be specially cultivated and extracted from the plant for material recycling.

The aim of the project is to develop a process chain that leads to a high-quality composite material from fermented hop vines. In this context, Novis is developing the processes for processing the fibers from the biogas plant.

In another project related to hop fibers, Novis has been working together with the German Institute of Textile and Fiber Research (DITF), the Leipzig Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) and the company Hopfenpower since September 2022.

Cotton as a substitute for artificial bonding fibers is well known and is used worldwide. However, its cultivation requires a lot of space and, above all, water. Hop fibers can fill a raw material gap here. At the same time, the disposal of hop stalks is improved.

The aim of this project is to provide a process technology for making hop fibers available and ultimately to produce high-quality textile samples, such as shirts and blouses.


Project start: May 1, 2021

With the help of four innovations, CO2 generated during wine production is to be further utilized.

The production of wine produces gas that consists mainly of carbon dioxide. Each bottle of wine produces 40g of carbon dioxide. In total, wine fermentation produces 1.5 million tons of CO2 per year in the EU alone.

This CO2 is captured and analyzed with the help of a completely newly developed sensor array. The gas is then purified, compressed, liquefied and stored. A small proportion of the liquid CO2 is used in the wine cellar. However, the majority is then sent to a nearby algae production facility, where it feeds the algae. The algae are then used to produce raw materials for the cosmetics and food industries.

The project is being realized in cooperation with the association of wineries in Portugal. Novis GmbH from Tübingen is supplying the complete system for CO2 utilization. The developments are supported by the Tübingen-based companies JLM (development of the sensor system) and the Tübingen-based company 42aaS with the development of artificial intelligence.


Project start: June 1, 2023

The aim of the project is to equip three of the largest CO₂-emitting industries, namely the steel, concrete and chemical industries, with new CO₂-saving or CO₂-reducing concepts. To this end, a total of 18 partners in 0 different EU countries are involved in setting up 3 pilot plants - one for each industrial sector.

Novis is working on the development of a plant that aims to purify and concentrate the CO₂ in order to make it storable for further use. A novel approach is being used that combines technologies from other industrial sectors.

The CO₂ is then used to cultivate microalgae in order to produce bio-oils that can be used as a renewable energy source or as bioplastics. The plant is being built in Povoa de Santa Iria, Portugal.

Completed Projects

Fully compostable diapers from renewable resourses

Novis GmbH was awarded the contract for the PAWN project at the end of 2020. It is funded by the EU as part of the Horizon 2020 - Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) program. Together with partners from Germany, the Czech Republic and Israel, a diaper made from renewable raw materials is being brought to market maturity. The PAWN diaper is compostable. All plastic components that have not yet been produced from biomaterial - the cuffs, closure, adhesive and the liquid-absorbing core made of superabsorber - will be replaced by renewable components.

The project is linked to the EU's plans to reduce the consumption of plastics in Europe as far as possible. The project is worth 4 million euros.

As part of the project, Novis GmbH is responsible for the complete life cycle management of the ecological product, in particular for the successful composting of all parts of the diaper.

Mushroom compost as a peat substitute

The extraction of peat is problematic: on the one hand, it destroys protected moorland biotopes and, on the other, the draining process releases greenhouse gases that are harmful to the climate.

 Novis GmbH has developed a process for producing a peat substitute based on used mushroom soil (Champost). To this end, Novis is building a test biogas plant on the farm of a local farmer with the support of the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE). Here, the Champost is fermented and further developed in an in-house process. The process should be ready for the market within the next two years - by June 2022. The peat substitute product is to be used in plant cultivation and as cover soil in mushroom production. Other partners in the project are the State School of Horticulture in Stuttgart-Hohenheim and the mushroom producer Rhein-Neckar-Pilze GmbH. 

Biogas plant for slaughtering waste in Macchiareddu, Sardinia

In Sardinia, a disposal problem for slaughtering waste exists. The latter is many times not disposed in a correct manner but instead buried. Through the biogas plant “Macchiareddu”, Novis contributes heavily to solve this problem. The plant is developed for a throughput of 30t/d of slaughtering waste. In a combined heat and power unit, electricity and heat are generated. The heat is used for the sanitation of the slaughtering waste according to European standards as well as for heating the digesters. The generated electricity is fed into the public grid at current tariffs. 

roject Status: Under construction

Capacity: 200 kWel, 30t/d throughput

Substrate: Slaughtering Waste

Main components:

  • Sanitation
  • 2 digesters
  • Digestate container
  • Separator
  • Gas storage
  • Combined heat and power unit     

Biogas plant “Smartmushroom” for spent mushroom substrate

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 820352

The biogas installation “Smartmushroom” is built in La Rioja, Spain’s biggest production area for mushrooms. The plant is fed with Spent Mushroom Substrate (SMS). The process was individually designed for a big mushroom growers association. In collaboration with the university of applied sciences Hamm-Lippstadt Novis had tested which composition of the mushroom compost together with which co-substrates and additives achieve the highest biogas yield. With the biogas generated by the SMS, fresh SMS can be dried. Then it can be processed to fertilizer pellets, easy to transport and to merchandise. For the purpose of the project, Novis has developed a fully containerized and pre-assembled biogas plant, which allows an easy installation process. Here is the link to the project's webpage.

Construction start: November 2019

Start of operation: January 2020

Output: 100 - 150 kWth

Substrate: Spent Mushroom Substrate

Main components:

  • Hydrolysis
  • Two digesters
  •  Digestate container
  • Separator
  • Dryer with lost heat recovery
  • Gas storage  

Biogas - Installation with 100% sheep manure in the south of France

The biogas installation "Grimal" in the province of Aveyron, France, is technically seen, one of the most sophisticated biogas plants ever built. This plant is fed solely with sheep manure, which demands a substrate conditioning and a liquid substrate concentrator.

The process was individually designed for a costumer and was evaluated and tested in our labs for several months. The installation is running for several years now.

 Start-Up: 01.2015

Output: 250 kWel

Substrate: 6000 t/a Sheep Manure

Main Components:

- Hydrolysis 100 m³

- Main Digester 1000 m³

- Post Digester 900 m³

- Vacuum Evaporator


Process Development: Treatment of Waste Incineration Slag

Bottom ashes from municipal solid waste incineration are a serious disposal problem for plant operators, due to high contents of heavy metals. Novis has developed a unique leaching-process ("Bioleaching") in the company lab, to extract metals with a wet bacterial-chemical treatment. Recovered metals can be sold. The remaining minerals are suitable as substitute for coarse aggregates in the concrete production. A successful transformation from waste with high disposal costs to precious raw materials.


Start-up: 05.2015

Input: Waste incineration slag

Target 1: Energy efficient revocery of heavy metals as a resource

Target 2: Usage of the endproduct after Bioleaching for the production of concrete

Lab Installation: Small experimental installation for up to 100 kg slag per day

Pilot Plant: Semi-industrial pilot plant to treat up to 5 tons of slag per day

                         Construction fall 2017


Nine Biogas Plants for School Canteens in Ivory Coast

The town of Bouaké in Ivory Coast has a lot of typical problems for the Sub-Saharan region. To support its twin city, the city of Reutlingen approached Novis. Target: improving the life conditions in Bouaké. Within the framework of the project, nine small biogas plants are build at nine school canteens. Municipal organic waste is transformed into biogas for school cooking.  Our engineers were looking beyond the actual biogas plant: in addition a plant-based water purification station as well as a substrate storage are built. Furthermore an innovative operators concept was established to guarantee a successful long-term function. A mayor focus is set on education and multiplication of this promising and resource efficient technology in the surrounding region.

Start-Up: expected 11.2017

Substrate: Organic waste from households, restaurants and markets

Product: Biogas for cooking purposes, solid fertilizer

Target: Replacing fire wood for school canteen cooking

Services of Novis:

- Planning, commissioning and Project Management

- 50 m³ digester with mechanical stirring

- Plant-based waste water treatment (constructed wetland)

- 10 m³ gas storage with infrastructure

- Transfer of Know-How and support of the plants

- Co-operative planning and realization processes on a local level

Rural Electrification of a 1000-people Village in Senegal

In the framework of the international development aid, Novis has electrified the village of Kalom in Senegal. Core installation: a biomass pyrolysis plant, fueledby pelletised peanut shells. Because absolutely no electrical infrastructure was existing on site before, Novis installed: an earth grid, an island-grid control, household connections including counters, a battery park and the generator for power production. The fuel for operation - peanut shells - is a widely available production waste in the region.


Start-up: 06.2012

Power: 32 kWel

Substrate: Pelletised peanut shells


- Planning, commissioning and start-up of the pyrolysis plant

- Island grid implementation and controls

- Complete earth grid in the whole village

- All household connections with electronic metering for payments

Food-Upgrading - Transforming Cocoa Shells to Cocoa Powder

During the processing of cocoa beans large amounts of cocoa shells are created as a leftover. They have a similar composition as defatted cocoa powder from beans, but some negative properties prevent a direct usage for food purposes. Novis has developed a process to treat the cocoa shells with a specially developed mixture of bacteria and enzymes. The wet biological treatment step conditions and optimises the raw product.

The final product is a cocoa powder substitue for the food industry - food graded of course!


Start of Project: 08.2014

Substrate: Cocoa bean shells from cocoa bean processing

Target: Optimizing the cocoa shells, to use them as cocoa powder alternative

Process: Secondary fermentation with specific bacteria and enzymes

Pilot plant: Treatment plant with a capacity of 3.000 tons per year

                         Beginn of construction 11.2016

Biogas from Cocoa Shells

With a pilot installation Novis has shown that biogas can be obtained from cocoa shells. Operating a biogas pilot plant in Ivory Coast Novis has given the proof of concept for a mono digestion of cocoa shells. The mobile pilot plant was located at one of the biggest cocoa bean processors in Ivory Coast.

A detailed technical and economical simulation for a 2MW power plant has resulted in a pay back time of less than four years.


Start-Up: 11.2011

Power: No CHP, only proof of concept for a mono digestion of cocoa shells

Substrate: Cocoa bean shells


- Containerized digesterr 33 m³

- 2* Hydrolysis 5m³

- Gas storage 12 m³

Spent Mushroom Substrate

Spent Mushroom Substrate (SMS) - Synonym Champost - is the used growing substrate left from mushroom cultivation. Usually it is used as agricultural fertilizer. To increase its value, Novis has developed a hydrolysis process which allows the re-use of large quantities of the SMS for the production of new growing substrate.

As a side effect, the process water can be used for biogas production. Bacteria and enzymes make it possible!


Project: 2013-2014

Substrate: Spent Mushroom Substrate from mushroom growing

Product: Recycled raw material for the production of new growing substrat and biogas

Process: Selective Hydrolysis with material separation

Services Novis:

- Process development

- External lab coordination

- Process validation in own lab with a three-months continuous test