BCT-32306 Advanced Biorefinery


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work20
Course coordinator(s)dr. K Nikiforidis
Lecturer(s)dr. K Nikiforidis
dr. ir. C van den Berg
dr. G Olivieri
A Kazbar
Examiner(s)dr. K Nikiforidis
dr. ir. C van den Berg

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Process Engineering Basics, Separation Processes, Biorefinery.


Biorefinery concerns the technology for sustainable processing of biomass from plants, organisms and biomass available in waste streams into a spectrum of marketable products and energy. Biorefinery is a key to the biobased economy and it is expected that the state of art methods for biorefinery will significantly progress in the next decades. To progress current technology, methods for biorefinery design must be developed. This course concerns approaches how to design biorefineries and to how to develop new conversion, extraction and separation concepts.
Efficiency of biorefinery increases by the production of a spectrum of products from the available biomass. Therefore, the course considers design methods of biorefinery processing systems for the usage of all components from biomass. The performance of the used technology is also affected by constraints which result from operational and investment costs and the scale of operation. Criteria to evaluate the biorefinery system with respect to these criteria are discussed and used to reconsider a biorefinery system.

Specific subjects in the course are:
- overview of the challenges to overcome in designing a biorefinery;
- overview of feedstock and biobased products;
- conversion of feedstocks to products and the role of physical treatments and catalysis;
- functional analysis for separation of resources and generation of solutions;
- development of mass and energy balances for unit operations;
- design of biorefinery process units and full system for a range of products;
- recovery of resources in the biorefinery system;
- the evaluation of the system with respect to economic criteria;
- criteria for successful implementation (operational and investment costs).

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be independently able to:
- identify chemical and physicochemical interactions between compounds in biomass;
- identify the required unit operations in order to design a biorefinery process;
- design and combine separation and conversion (chemical and/or biological) steps to produce valuable products;
- evaluate the performance of a biorefinery system for different processes and products;
- evaluate the overall biorefinery process and compare it with conventional fossil refinery.


The course consists of lectures, tutorials as an introduction for software use, design tasks, reporting and self-study.


Presentation/report (50%), written examination (50%).


Handouts, separate notes, articles.

Compulsory for: MBTBiotechnologyMScE: Environmental and Biobased Biotechnology5AF
Restricted Optional for: MBTBiotechnologyMScD: Process Technology5AF
MBEBiosystems EngineeringMSc5AF
MBSBiobased SciencesMScB: Biorefinery and conversion5AF