BCT-23306 Biorefinery


Studiepunten 6.00

Group work4
Excursion (one day)10
Course coordinator(s)dr. EL Scott
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. MHM Eppink
dr. EL Scott
dr. ir. DPBTB Strik
T Haasterecht
Examiner(s)dr. EL Scott
dr. ir. DPBTB Strik

Language of instruction:


Mandatory knowledge:

ZSS06100 Laboratory Safety

Assumed knowledge on:

BPE-12806 Process Engineering Basics BT, BCT-10305 Process Engineering Basics and/or BCT-22803 Physical Transport Phenomena, or similar from other educational programmes.

Continuation courses:

Advanced biorefinery.


Biomass has enormous potential for the production of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, energy, food and feed. For these applications the relevant chemical constituents of biomass have to be accessed and isolated. Biorefinery is the technology for sustainable processing of biomass into a spectrum of marketable products and energy. Biorefinery takes place using sequential (bio)chemical and mechanical process steps together with separation and isolation techniques. Every step needs resources (chemicals, energy, water) and produces byproducts. The degree of sustainability and the economic benefits of a biorefinery chain depend on the type and amount of biomass, types of processing steps, separation and isolation efficiency as well as efficient use of all biomass components and their application. This course is an introduction to biorefinery and gives a descriptive overview on state of the art technology and the separation principles used in biorefinery of plants, organisms and waste streams. Moreover, the course discusses methods to evaluate the efficiency and sustainability in terms of energy and water usage and indicators for economic evaluation.
Specific subjects in the course are:
- overview of biomass resources for biorefinery, their chemical composition and characteristic properties relevant for biorefinery;
- chemical and biocatalytic treatment, separation and conversion; overview of the used chemical reactions and how they are facilitated/catalysed by enzymes or microbes;
-properties for physical separation and physical separation methods;
- basic chain analysis of succeeding steps in a biorefinery chain by using basic overall mass and energy balances on products and resources as energy and water;
- overall evaluation of the refinery efficiency and indicators for sustainability and economic performance.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- remember the chemical composition of classes of biomass and the chemical/physical characteristics in order to carry out biorefinery;
- describe the physical separation principles which are applied in state of the art biorefinery;
- describe the chemical and enzymatic methods that are applied in state of the art biorefinery;
- discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the methods;
- analyse which (bio)chemical and physical treatment, separation and isolation techniques can be applied to devise a methodology to convert biomass to a certain product;
- perform basic mass and energy balances for each step in the biorefinery chain;
- evaluate the overall refinery efficiency for water and energy usage;
- describe methods used in practice of biorefinery;
- apply basic principles of biorefinery in a lab practical setup.


The course consists of:
- lectures;
- excursions;
- experimental practical including group work and reporting;
- supervised tutorials.


- attendance of the experimental practical is compulsory. Reporting during this practical is also used to evaluate the practical knowledge level on the used techniques and the student must pass this report;
- excursion is compulsory 
- written examination (partial closed book); the book Biotechnology, Downstream by Wesselingh and Krijgsman maybe used
- the written examination will account for 50% of the final grade. The mark for the practical will account for 50% of the final grade. The practical is based on 80% lab practical and 20%  the computer practical. A pass in both is required to pass the course. A pass is 5.5.


The book Biotechnology, Downstream by Wesselingh and Krijgsman is required.
Other course material will be distributed at the start of the course.

Keuze voor: BBTBiotechnologyBSc3WD
Verplicht voor: WUBBSBSc Minor Biobased Sciences3WD