BCT-24306 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. RA Weusthuis
dr. EL Scott
dr. MCR Franssen
Examiner(s)dr. EL Scott

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Compulsory courses of the BSc Molecular Life Science or BSc Biotechnology.

Continuation courses:

BSc/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:
- remember 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;
- suggest suitable (bio)chemical routes to products from renewable resources based on the knowledge gained.


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


The final mark will be based on the result of a written examination and literature study. Each will contribute 50% to the final grade. A pass is required for both to pass the course. A pass is >5.5. During the exam, the course material may be used ('open book exam').


Lecture material, film clips and articals are distributed by the lecturers.

Restricted Optional for: BBTBiotechnologyBSc6AF