Advanced Course

Environmental Biotechnology

Course description

Environmental Biotechnology is a rapidly developing and increasingly important branch of science. It has implications for both the prevention and clean up of pollution in domestic and industrial waste streams in waste water treatment plants. 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. In 2018, this course was held for the 22th time.

26 September – 6 October 2023

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 a Waist Water 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

Study load

The course (including preparatory materials) is valued 75 hours of work.

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 of 2023

Tuesday 26 September 2023

Theme: Fundamentals of environmental biotechnology: basic microbiology, stoichiometry and kinetics

08:45             Registration

09:00             Brief introduction of using the Surface

                     Vincent Renken

09:10             Welcome: outline of the course

                    David Weissbrodt

09:15              Community systems microbiology in environmental biotechnology

                     David Weissbrodt

10:15              Stoichiometry of microbial growth

                    David Weissbrodt

11:15               Kinetic description of microbial growth in axenic and mixed cultures

                    David Weissbrodt

12:10              Lunch

13:15              Exercises: stoichiometry and kinetics of microbial systems

18:30             Social drink and buffet

Wednesday 27 September 2023

Theme: Fundamentals of environmental biotechnology: thermodynamics and competition

09:00          Set up and questions surface

09:15            Basic thermodynamics of biological systems

                     Robbert Kleerebezem

10:15             Bioenergetics of microbial growth

                     Robbert Kleerebezem

11:15              Microbial selection in engineered microbiomes

                     David Weissbrodt

12:00            Lunch

13:00            Exercises: thermodynamics, competition and growth of mixed cultures

                     Mark van Loosdrecht

17:00           Recent developments in anaerobic wastewater treatment

                     Robbert Kleerebezem

18:00            End of the day

Thursday 28 September 2023

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            Finding/hunting novel microorganisms

                     Mike Jetten

Friday 29 October 2023

Theme: Scale-up

09:00            Scale-up of environmental processes using regime analysis

                     Cristian Picioreanu

12:15              Lunch

13:15              Case study Scale-up: Aerobic granular sludge

                     Cristian Picioreanu

17:00             Social Drink

Monday 2 October 2023

Theme: Modelling microbial population dynamics: an engineering approach

9:00               Modelling and simulation of activated sludge

                     Bas Meijer

12.30             Lunch

13:30             Continuation

16:30             Anammox technology

                     Mark van Loosdrecht

17:15             Social drink

Tuesday 3 October 2023

Theme: Microbial conversions in environmental biotechnology

9:00              Meta-genomics

                     David Weissbrodt

10:00            Metaproteomics to study composition and functional diversity of
microbial communities

                     Martin Pabst

11:00             Metabolomics

                     Rebeca Gonzalez Cabaleiro

11:45              Exercises

                     to be announced

12:30             Lunch

13:30             Bus to excursion

16:30             Bus back to Delft and end of the day

Wednesday 4 October 2023

Theme: Case study

09:00            Case study: part I, analysis of problem

                     Robbert Kleerebezem/Maxim Allaart/Mark van Loosdrecht

11:30              Case study: part II, generation of process options

                    Robbert Kleerebezem/Maxim Allaart/Mark van Loosdrecht

12:30             Lunch

13:30             Recent microbiology of the N cycle

                     Barth Smets

14:15              Continuation Case study, Part IIa

15:30             Case study part IIb

                    Robbert Kleerebezem/Maxim Allaart/Mark van Loosdrecht

17:00-19:00 Visit to research projects

Thursday 5 October 2023

Theme: Continuation of the case study

09:00            PHA Production

                     Robbert Kleerebezem

10:00             Case study, part III: design and calculations on the chosen process

                    Robbert Kleerebezem/Maxim Allaart/Mark van Loosdrecht

12:30              Lunch

13:30              Extracellular polymeric substances in biofilm: analysis and application

                    Yuemei Lin

14:30              Continuation of the Case study

                    Robbert Kleerebezem/Maxim Allaart/Mark van Loosdrecht

17:00              Microbiology at the phosphor cycle

                  Per Halkjaer Nielsen

19:00             Course dinner

Friday 6 October 2023

Theme: Continuation of the case study

09:00            Continuation of the case study, Part III

                    Robbert Kleerebezem/Maxim Allaart/Mark van Loosdrecht

12:30             Lunch

13:30             Reporting of results

                    Robbert Kleerebezem/Maxim Allaart/Mark van Loosdrecht

15:15              Closing Lecture:

Turning environmental biotechnology into business

                     René Rozendal

16:00              Course evaluation

16:30              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


Deadline for registration is 5 September 2023

The course fee is:

Early Bird €3.000,-*
Regular Fee €3.250,-
Non-profit/Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME/Startups/scaleups) €2.100,-**
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME/Startups/scaleups) of Biotech Campus Delft €1.500,-**
PhD Students €1.500,-** 

*To be eligible for the reduced early bird fee you need to register before 18 July 2023. If this date is exceeded, the regular fee applies.

**A limited number of fellowships is available for PhD students and SME’s (small/medium enterprise). Fellowships will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis. To apply as to one of these fellowships, please include a copy either of your registration as a PhD student from your university or a proof of the SME-status of the company you work at.

The fee includes course materials, lunches and the buffets and the course dinners as indicated on the program. The fee does not cover other meals or lodging. Hotel accommodation can be arranged at your request.

The course fee is preferably paid by bank transfer. Payment by PayPal is possible. TU Delft employees can use their internal (project) code.

Preparatory texts will be sent one month before start of the course and after receipt of the course fee. The complete set of course books will be supplied at the start of the course.

In the event of your cancellation before 5 August 2023, a full refund will be granted. After this date, a 25% fee charge can be made.

Delay of payment past the final deadline as indicated on the invoice may result in cancellation of entry to the course. Re-entry is only possible in case of vacancies and the regular fee will be applied. Payment terms and deadlines will be indicated on the invoice and/or provided in an e-mail after registration, but the course fee should always be paid before the start of the course.

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.


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

KAUST, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia

David Weissbrodt – Assistant professor

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

Guest lecturers

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


Register for the course: Environmental Biotechnology

Deadline for registration is 5 September 2023.

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