Advanced Course

Bioprocess Design

Course description

With recent advances in molecular biology and a growing biomass availability for use as industrial feedstock, the bio-based economy is getting a wider range of inputs. Scaling up the bio(techno)logy innovations and implementation in large-scale factories or biorefineries clearly is a present bottleneck: industries are struggling to get the bio-opportunities to the market, as experienced industrial bioprocess designers and operational experts are not readily available to meet the growing needs.

Teachers from universities and companies have joint forces and will present a program that centers around industrial fermentation processes, and is flanked by overviews on upstream and downstream processing. The focus of the course is on design of innovative microbial fermentations, for bio-products such as amino acids and monomers for bio-plastics, complemented with examples of marine and mammalian processes, for micro-algae products and bio-pharmaceuticals. A substantial part (ca. 40% of the time) will be dedicated to a case study, executed in teams of 4-6 participants, on the design of a bioprocess for the production of a chemical (1,4-butanediol). Basic theory on thermodynamic, microbial stoichiometry and kinetics, transport phenomena and scale up/down will be extensively applied and integrated. The team with the best design performance wins the Genomatica Bioprocess Design prize. There are several guest lecturers from leading universities and industries in the bioprocess field, providing latest insights in technology innovations, non-conventional feedstocks and new bio-product categories, complemented with views from the industrial practice.

The Advanced Course Bioprocess Design is cooperatively organised by BioTech Delft and graduate school VLAG.

19-23 March 2018

Delft University of Technology, Wageningen University, the Netherlands

A limited number of fellowships is available for PhD students (reduced fee) and specifically for PhD students from graduate school VLAG and the Department of Biotechnology of Delft University of Technology.


Advanced Course Bioprocess Design

This one-week course is intensive and has long days. To ensure active participation by those attending, a combination of theoretical (lectures) and practical (exercises, case study) work is offered. The course will be given in English. A pocket calculator is required.


The core lectures are mainly scheduled in the mornings and will focus on the following themes:

  • Rates, thermodynamics and metabolism of micro organisms
  • Transport processes in bioreactors
  • Fermentation processes and their scale up features

In the early evenings, invited lectures are scheduled on e.g. examples of successful bioprocesses, downstream processing, novel feedstocks and economic aspects of bioprocessing.

Exercises and case study

For a better understanding of the lectures, the theory is applied in exercises on the Monday and Tuesday afternoons. From Wednesday on, the practical work continues in a case study on a real-life bioprocess design question where all theory will be needed.

Who should attend?

The course is primarily aimed at academic and industrial specialists (MSc, PhD or equivalent experience)  that seek for refreshing and broadening their knowhow and practical insight in Bioprocess Design, to assist in progress towards the bio-based economy. A background in e.g. biochemical engineering, microbiology or biochemistry and a basic working knowledge of the other disciplines is expected.

Course registration

Please register clicking the tab Register to attend the course. Deadline for application is 5 March 2018. Applicants will be handled in order of the date of receipt.


Programme for 2018:

Monday, 19 March 2018
Theme: Micro-organisms: Rates, process reaction and metabolism
08.45 Registration
09.00 Introduction and outline Henk Noorman
09.30 Downstream Processing Michel Eppink
11.00 The process reaction for bioprocess design: a thermodynamic approach Sef Heijnen
12.15 Lunch
13.30 Calculation of fermentor in- and outflows broth mass using the process reaction Sef Heijnen
14.00 Exercise: obtaining the process reaction
15.45 Continuation of the exercise
17.30 Advances in pretreatment of biomass Gerrit Eggink
18.30 Social drink and buffet
Tuesday, 20 March 2018
Theme: Fermentors: transport
09.00 Gas transport Henk Noorman
09.45 Heat-transport Henk Noorman
10.30 Mixing Henk Noorman
11.30 Animal cell cultures Dirk Martens
12.30 Lunch
13.30 Exercise: design of in-/outflow, fermentor volume and transport processes
15.15 Continuation of the exercise
17.30 Bioprocess design: quick and dirty in 10 steps Sef Heijnen
18.30 End of day
Wednesday, 21 March 2018
Themes: Fermentation processes and their scale-up features
09.00 Industrial microbial fermentation Henk Noorman
09.45 Algal processes Rene Wijffels
10.45 Animal cell cultures Dirk Martens
11.30 Metabolic design: example and exercises (1) Ruud Weusthuis
12.30 Lunch and excursion to Algea Parc
14.30 Metabolic design: example and exercises (2) Ruud Weusthuis
15.30 Introduction to the case
Case study part 1: Calculation of the process reaction stoichiometry
Henk Noorman
17.30 Scale-up/scale-down approach Henk Noorman
18.30 End of day
Thursday, 22 March 2018
Theme: Case study
09.00 Case study part 2: Quantification of in- and outputs (rates, composition) and fermentor broth mass
10.45 Microbial synthesis of reduced compounds for the chemical industry Gerrit Eggink
12.30 Lunch
13.00 Case study part 3: Vessel geometry and quantification of transport processes inside the fermentor
Strategies for improvements
Reporting results
17.00 C1 feedstocks fermentation Liang Wu
19.00 Course dinner
Friday, 23 March 2018
Theme: Case study
09.00 Scale-up / Scale-down: characteristic times and gradients  Sef Heijnen
09.45 Case study part 4: Full scale conditions for scale-up/scale-down
11.45 Ruber as cell factory for lactic acid production at low pH Ruud Weusthuis
12:45 Lunch
13:45 Case study: final presentations by the design teams
Genomatica design prize
15.15 Process design and development: lessons from the industry Jason Crater
16:15 Farewell drink

The course will be held at:

Wageningen University & Research
Hof van Wageningen
Awickse Allee 9
6701 AN Wageningen
The Netherlands

Contact course organisation:

Department of Biotechnology
Delft University of Technology
Van der Maasweg 9
2629 HZ Delft
The Netherlands
P +31 (0)15 278 1922 / 8311


The course fee is:

The course fee is € 2.500 in case of registration before 8 January 2018 or € 2.750 in case of registration after this date. In the event of cancellation before 22 January 2018, a full refund will be granted. After this date, a 25% fee charge will be made. To facilitate enrollment of young PhD-students from universities, a limited number of fellowships is available. The course fee with fellowship is € 1250. To apply, please include a copy of your registration as a PhD-student from your university. In addition, there is a limited number of places available for PhD students from graduate school VLAG and the department of Biotechnology of Delft University of Technology. VLAG PhD students are requested to contact Yvonne Smolders ( prior to registration.

The fee includes course materials, lunches, the buffet on Monday and the course dinner on Thursday. The fee does not cover other meals and lodging.

When the number of participants is too low to have a fruitful course, the Institute BioTech Delft will cancel the event no later than six weeks before the start of the course. The course fee will be reimbursed within three weeks after cancellation. In case a speaker will not be able to present his/her lecture, due to unforeseen circumstances, BioTech Delft will arrange an equivalent replacement.

Hotel accommodation can be arranged at your request addressed to

The complete course book will be supplied at the start of the course.

Course fees can be paid by bank transfer or credit card (we are required to charge extra costs for this option; please contact us). TU Delft employees can use their internal (project) code. Customers are requested to pay the course fee within 30 days after the invoice date, but at the latest six weeks before the course starts. In case of payment before this date, the reduced course fee applies. After this date, we charge the full course fee. The course fees need to be on our bank account before the course starts.


Course leader

Prof. Henk Noorman

Henk Noorman was trained as Chemical Engineer from Groningen University (NL). He obtained a PhD in Bioprocess Technology from Delft University of Technology (NL, 1991), on microbal systems modeling. He became a post-doc fellow in a Nordic research consortium, and co-ordinated a fermentation scale-up project among academic groups in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. He then joined Gist-brocades and DSM in Delft (NL) and worked on fermentation development and implementation projects, mainly in the area of antibiotics and bio-based products. He also has been project manager for innovation projects, and received the DSM R&D Award 2010. Henk Noorman is currently working as Senior Science Fellow Bioprocess Technology in the DSM Biotechnology Center and involved in numerous projects in Industrial Biotechnology, Food Specialties, Anti-Infectives, and the Corporate Research Program. In addition he is honorary professor at Technical University Delft working on Bioprocess Design and Integration. Teaching activities include courses in Delft, Wageningen (NL), Brac (Croatia) and Shanghai (China).

Course board

Prof. Gerrit Eggink

Gerrit Eggink  obtained his PhD in 1987 from the University of Groningen based on biotechnological research  carried out in Groningen and at the University of Chicago. After a postdoc position  at the University of Groningen on protein engineering, he was employed by ATO (currently Institute for Food and Biobased Research) in 1990 as senior scientist. In 1995 he was awarded with the position of excellent researcher of DLO organisation. He developed  a large expertise in microbial synthesis of polymers and high added value metabolites. Research projects are always aiming at development of microbial processes and products via an integration of scientific disciplines like genetic engineering, microbiology and bioprocess technology.  In 2004 an appointment as Professor of Industrial Biotechnology followed at Wageningen University. Prof. Eggink is author of over 100 papers and patents and he teaches MSc and PhD courses in the areas Industrial Biotechnology and Biopolymers.

Prof. Sef Heijnen

After his MSc studies in Chemical Engineering, Sef Heijnen worked at DSM (then: Gist Brocades) for 15 years and in this period he also completed his PhD thesis in bioprocess technology at Delft University of Technology. In 1988, he became full professor and group leader in Cell Systems Engineering within the Department of Biotechnology of Delft University of Technology. He has an impressive track record: he is (co-) author of over 400 scientific publications, has supervised nearly 60 PhD students and is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). He is recipient of several science and education awards. His research interests are (1) metabolic engineering and systems biology applied to industrial microbial processes using Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Penicillium chrysogenum and Escherichia coli, (2) metabolome measurement and 13C-tracer analysis in steady state and dynamic conditions, and (3) thermodynamic and kinetic modelling of metabolism, fermentation design and scale-up and scale down of industrial processes. Prof. Heijnen teaches a wide variety of courses, and was elected at TU Delft’s 2003 ‘Leermeester’ (best lecturer).

Dr. Ruud Weusthuis

After studying Biology in Groningen (1984-1989) R. A. Weusthuis obtained his PhD in Microbial Biotechnology at the Delft University of Technology (1989-1994). He joined Wageningen University and Research and headed the Bioconversion group (2004-2008). In 2007 he started working at the Wageningen University, and is active as Associate Professor Microbial Biotechnology. He focuses on the design of breakthrough technologies for the production of chemicals by microorganisms, integrating reactor and cell engineering.

Guest lecturers

Jason Crater

Jason obtained his BS in Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, graduating with highest honors in 2010. He has 7 years of industrial experience, the last 6 years with Genomatica where he is a Sr. Scale-up Engineer. Jason’s core expertise is in fermentation process development and scale-up. Most recently, he was the R&D leader for all process scale-up and technology transfer of Genomatica’s 1,4-butanediol (BDO) process to a licensee plant in Bottrighe, Italy. This plant, owned and operated by Novamont, successfully started up in late 2016. It represents the first example of large-scale fermentation production of an established bulk petrochemical. Jason is also a 2015 graduate of the Advanced Course Bioprocess Design. Using learnings from the course, he collaborated with professors at TU Delft to develop a ‘black-box’ fermentation model of Genomatica’s 1,4-BDO process in large-scale fermentors. The model was used to design scale-down experiments to assess organism and process performance ahead of scale-up, and it demonstrated excellent predictability of fermentation performance at scale.

Dr. Amit T. Deshmukh

Amit studied Chemical Engineering from 1996 to 2000 at the University of Pune, India. In 2005, he traveled to Germany to pursue MSc. in Chemical Engineering with specialization in Bio-chemical engineering at Technische Universität Dortmund. From 2008-2012, he did his PhD in the group of Prof. J.J. (Sef) Heijnen at the Delft University of Technology, Delft. During his PhD, he worked on elucidating in-vivo enzyme kinetics in P.chrysogenum. For last four years, he working as a lead scientist at DSM Biotechnology Center, Delft, carrying out R&D activities for industrial scale fermentation. His work involves scale up/down of fermentation processes, specifically for production of penicillin and cephalosporin antibiotics. He is also part of teaching activities that include courses in Delft (NL) and Shanghai (China).”

Prof. Michel Eppink

Synthon Biopharmaceuticals BV, Nijmegen and Bioprocess Engineering & Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands

Dr. Dirk Martens

Bioprocess Engineering, Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands

Prof. René Wijffels

Bioprocess Engineering, Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands

Dr. Liang Wu

DSM Biotechnology Centre, Delft, the Netherlands


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