Advanced Course

Environmental Biotechnology

Course description

Environmental Biotechnology is a rapidly developing, increasingly important branch of science that has implications for both the prevention and clean up of pollution in domestic and industrial waste streams. This international training course will introduce mixed microbial culture theory and reactor technology in relation to the design and scale-up of advanced treatment processes from the laboratory to the full scale implementation. The course will be given in English. A pocket calculator is required. In 2016, this course was held for the 20th time.

13 – 23 June 2017

Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands

A limited number of fellowships is available for PhD students (reduced fee).


Advanced Course Environmental Biotechnology

For a better understanding of the lectures and to enhance active participation by those attending, this intensive training course consists of lectures, exercises, computer simulations (existing, widely used simulation programs) and an excursion to the Dokhaven Sewage Treatment Plant (including Anammox and Sharon process). A three-day case study will offer the participants the opportunity to practice on the integration of the different topics and to design a process for the treatment of a C , S and N containing industrial waste stream. The results and conclusions will be discussed in a plenary session.

The course is based on the expertise of the microbiologists and process engineers within the Environmental Biotechnology Group and the BioProcess Technology Group at Delft University of Technology. Internationally known experts from other universities and industry will present the guest lectures. The course integrates fundamental aspects of microbiology and biochemical engineering with consideration of practical applications towards process design and scale-up. The advantages and pitfalls of applying biotechnological methods to environmental problems will be emphasized.

Microbiological topics:

  • Thermodynamics, kinetics and ecophysiology of pure and mixed cultures
  • (Geo)biochemical element cycles and biofilm formation

Biochemical engineering subjects:

  • Mathematical modelling
  • Biomass retention by various separation techniques
  • Mass transport in biofilms and three phase reactors
  • Scale up/scale down
  • Integration of processes and process control
  • Process design from flask to full scale and back

Who should attend?

This Advanced Course is aimed at professionals (MSc, PhD or equivalent experience) in microbiology, biochemistry or biochemical engineering with a basic working knowledge of the two other disciplines. Also, molecular biologists with a microbial background may apply. The course is primarily aimed at those already employed in industry who wish to up-date their theoretical knowledge and practical insight in this field. In addition, this Advanced Course is an option in the two-year postgraduate programs of Delft University of Technology.


Program, 13 – 23 June 2017

Tuesday 13 June 2017
Theme: Fundamentals of environmental biotechnology: basic microbiology, stoichiometry and kinetics
08:45              Registration (Van der Maasweg 9, Delft. Room: Kronigzaal (second floor))
09:00              Welcome: outline of the course
                     Mark van Loosdrecht
09:15              Community systems microbiology in environmental biotechnology
                     David Weissbrodt
10:15              Stoichiometry of microbial growth
                     Mark van Loosdrecht
11:45              Kinetic description of microbial growth in axenic and mixed cultures
                     Mark van Loosdrecht
12:45              Lunch
13:30              Exercises: stoichiometry and kinetics of microbial systems
18:00              Social drink and buffet

Wednesday 14 June 2017
Theme: Fundamentals of environmental biotechnology: thermodynamics and competition
09:00              Basic thermodynamics of biological systems
                     Robbert Kleerebezem
10:15              Bioenergetics of microbial growth
                     Robbert Kleerebezem
11:30              Microbial selection in engineered microbiomes
                     David Weissbrodt
12:30              Lunch
14:00              Exercises: thermodynamics, competition and growth of mixed cultures
                     Mark van Loosdrecht/Robbert Kleerebezem
17:00              Aerobic granular sludge: scaling-up a new technology
                     Mark van Loosdrecht
18:00              End of the day

Thursday 15 June 2017
Theme: Fundamentals of environmental biotechnology: (bio)process engineering principles
09:00              Basic principles of transport processes in bioreactors
                     Cristian Picioreanu
10:00              Gas-liquid interphase transport
                     Cristian Picioreanu
11:00              Biofilms and flocs: diffusive transport and modelling of the structures
                     Cristian Picioreanu
12:30              Lunch
13:30              Exercises on the integration of microbial conversions (zero and first order kinetics) and transport
                     Cristian Picioreanu
17:00              Visit to research projects at the Department of Biotechnology
19:00              End of the day

Friday 16 June 2017
Theme: Scale-up
09:00              Scale-up of environmental processes using regime analysis
                     Cristian Picioreanu
12:30              Lunch
13:30              Case studie Scale-up: Aerobic granular sludge
                     Cristian Picioreanu
17:00              Integrative approaches to remove of compounds of emerging concern from municipal wastewater
                     Thomas Ternes
18:00              End of the day

Monday 19 June 2017
Theme: Modelling microbial population dynamics: an engineering approach
9:00               Workshop BioWin: Modelling and simulation of activated sludge systems
                     Bas Meijer
12.15              Lunch
13:30              Continuation of workshop
16:30              Anammox technology
                     Mark van Loosdrecht
17:30              Social drink

Tuesday 20 June 2017
Theme: Microbial conversion in environmental biotechnology
9:00               Microbial S-conversions
                     Gerard Muyzer
10:00              Microbial P-conversions
                     Mark van Loosdrecht
11:00              Microbial N-conversions
                     Maaike Hoekstra
11:45              Microbiology of methanogenic processes
                     Robbert Kleerebezem
12:30              Lunch in bus to Utrecht
13:30              Excursion to the full-scale Nereda® WWTP Utrecht
17:00              End of the day

Wednesday 21 June 2017
Theme: Case study
09:00              Case study: process and reactor design by integration of microbiology and chemical engineering (C-, S- and N-containing industrial waste stream)
                     Mark van Loosdrecht, Robbert Kleerebezem
12:30              Lunch
13:30              Continuation case study
16:00              How to discover “impossible” organisms
                     Mike Jetten
17:30              End of the day

Thursday 22 June 2017
Theme: Continuation of the case study
09:00              Recent developments in anaerobic wastewater treatment
                     Robbert Kleerebezem
10:00              Continuation of the case study
                     Mark van Loosdrecht, Robbert Kleerebezem
12:30              Lunch
13:30              PHA Production
                     Robbert Kleerebezem
14:30              Continuation of the Case study
                     Mark van Loosdrecht, Robbert Kleerebezem
17:00              End of the day
19:00              Course dinner

Friday 23 June 2017
Theme: Continuation of the case study
09:00              Continuation of the case study
                     Mark van Loosdrecht, Robbert Kleerebezem
12:30              Lunch
13:30              Reporting of results
15:15              Environmental biotechnology moving towards product formation
                     Lars Angenent
16:00              Course evaluation
16:15              Farewell drink


The course will be held at:

Faculty of Applied Sciences (building 58)
Department of Biotechnology
Delft University of Technology
Van der Maasweg 9
Room: Kronigzaal (second floor)
2629 HZ Delft
The Netherlands
P +31 (0)15 278 1922
F +31 (0)15 278 2355


The course fee is:

The course fee is € 3.000 in case the booking is made before 12 March 2018 or  € 2.750 in case the booking is made after this date. In the event of cancellation before 26 March 2018, a full refund will be granted, after this date, a 25% fee charge will be made. To facilitate enrollment of employees from non-profit organisations and universities, a limited number of fellowships is available with a reduced fee of € 2400 for employees of non-profit organisations and €1500 for PhD-students. To apply, please include a copy of your enrollment as a PhD-student from your university.

The fee includes course materials, lunches, the buffet on Tuesday, may 22nd and the course dinner on Thursday, May 31st. The fee does not cover other meals and lodging.

When the number of participants is too low to have a fruitful course, 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 at

Preparatory texts will be sent after receipt of the course fee. 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 board

Mark van Loosdrecht – Full professor

Mark van Loosdrecht is Professor in Environmental Biotechnology at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. He graduated from and did his PhD research at Wageningen University. He was appointed at Delft in 1988 and became Full Professor in 1998. His research is characterized by the combination of scientific understanding of complex systems and development of new processes. Prof. van Loosdrecht’s scientific interests are mainly related to biofilm processes, nutrient conversion processes and the role of storage polymers in microbial ecology. In particular, he is interested in new processes related to wastewater treatment and resource recovery. His research has resulted in several processes currently applied on full scale such as the Sharon process, Anammox process and Nereda process. He is active member of the International Water Association (IWA) and he is Editor in Chief of Water Research. He obtained several prizes for his work. He is member of both the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Dutch Academy of Engineering. He was awarded a knighthood in the order of the Dutch Lion. He has published over 500 scientific papers, has 15 patents and has supervised over 50 PhD students.

Robbert Kleerebezem – Assistant professor

Delft University of Technology, Environmental Engineering, Wastewater Treatment, Delft, the Netherlands

Cristian Picioreanu – Associate professor

Delft University of Technology, Environmental Engineering, Delft, the Netherlands

David Weissbrodt – Assistant professor

Delft University of Technology, Environmental Engineering, Delft, the Netherlands

Guest lecturers

Lars Angenent

Universitat Tubingen –  Environmental Biotechnology & Planck Institute – Developmental Biology, Tubingen, Germany

Maaike Hoekstra

Delft University of Technology, Environmental Engineering, Delft, the Netherlands

Mike Jetten

Radbout Universiteit, Department of Microbiology, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

Bas Meijer

ASM Design, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Gerard Muyzer

University of Amsterdam, Department of Freshwater and Marine Ecology,

Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics , Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Thomas Ternes

Bundsanstalt fur Gewasserkunde, Koblenz, Germany


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