BCT-50306 Renewable Resources and the (Bio)Chemical Production of Industrial Chemicals


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper4
Course coordinator(s)dr. EL Scott
Lecturer(s)dr. MCR Franssen
dr. EL Scott
dr. RA Weusthuis
Examiner(s)dr. EL Scott

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

BSc Molecular Sciences or Biotechnology.

Continuation courses:

MSc Thesis


The depletion in fossil feedstocks, increasing oil prices and the ecological problems associated with CO2 emissions are forcing the development of alternative resources for energy, transport fuels and chemicals: the replacement of fossil resources with CO2 neutral biomass.
What plant materials are needed and what technologies are required to develop sustainable production routes to chemicals? Here we investigate the use of molecules and materials (obtained by biorefinery) and the application of enzymatic, chemical and fermentation conversion processes to produce (industrial) chemicals. The (bio)chemistry and microbiology will be discussed in depth at a molecular level. Examples of how specific aspects of these conversions can lead to more sustainable production routes compared to current methods, what the limitations are and the perspectives for future science to improve these. It will also be described how bio-chemical conversions can help play a vital role in integration with both the upstream (biorefinery) and downstream (separation and isolation) of the whole process chain.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- appreciate and describe the role of certain renewable raw materials and biorefinery technologies with regards to the biobased production of industrial chemicals;
- describe in detail the (bio)chemistry and microbiology behind conversions of bioderived molecules to (industrial) chemicals;
- explain the pros and cons in the use of (bio)catalysis and microorganisms in making industrial chemicals;
- identify bottlenecks and opportunities in chemical and biotechnological synthesis route and provide logical suggestions to improve them.


The students must follow the lectures, study the relevant theory and carry out an assignment (literatur study or perform several case studies).


The final mark will be based on the result of a written examination and the literature study. During the exam, the course material may be used ('open book exam').


Hans Langeveld; Johan Sanders; Marieke Meeusen. (2012). The Biobased Economy: Biofuels, Materials and Chemicals in the Post-oil Era. ISBN 978-1-84407-770-0.
Other cocuments (articles and course material) will be made available.

Compulsory for: WUBBSBSc Minor Bio-Based Technology6WD