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Delft University of Technology

Industrial Biotechnology

Delft University of Technology via edX


This course provides the insights and tools for designing biotechnological processes with sustainability advantages, where choices of product and feedstock determine the specific process requirements. As fossil-based fuels and raw materials contribute to climate change, the use of renewable feedstocks, materials and energy as an alternative is in full swing.

This transition is not a luxury, it is a necessity. We can use microorganisms to convert organic streams (‘waste’ or residues) and/or CO2 into biomaterials, chemicals, nutrition products and biofuels.

Eight experienced course leaders will unfold the basics of industrial biotechnology and how to apply these to the design of fermentation-based processes to produce a wide range of bioproducts. Throughout the course, you will be challenged to design your own biotechnological process and evaluate its performance and sustainability.

The course includes guest lectures from industry and universities. By following this course, you will be able to contribute up-to-date ideas in the biotechnology field.


Getting started/Introduction is included in Week 1

Unit 1. Biotechnology for Biobased Products

  • Why develop a biobased/circular economy?
  • Industrial biotechnology
  • Feedstocks - renewable sources of biomass/CCU for biobased products
  • Process to produce bio-PDO (1,3-Propanediol)
  • Benefits for society and sustainability - evaluating the effects of biobased production

Unit 2. Fermentation Essentials (PDO focus)

  • Microbes and interaction their environment
  • Rates and balances
  • The process reaction and the black box model
  • The PDO case
  • Introduction fermentation technology
  • Scale-up via scale-down

Unit 3. Downstream processing principles and design

  • Separation equipment and principles
  • Concentration
  • Drying and formulation
  • Process Systems Engineering

Unit 4. Integral, Zero-emission Bioprocess Design

  • Towards an integrated bioprocess
  • 1st and 2nd generation feedstock and pre-treatment: producing high quality feedstock
  • 3rd to 5th generation feedstock: Alternative carbon, electron and energy sources
  • Bioprocesses using 3rd to 5th generation feedstock
  • Overall process - syngas fermentation to ethanol

Unit 5. Process design and Sustainability assessment

  • Conceptual process design
  • Mass and energy balances
  • Process economics
  • Environmental impacts analysis and life cycle assessment
  • Social sustainability
  • Sustainability in a global context

Unit 6. Wrap-up

  • Closing lecture: Industrial Biotechnology outlook (preliminary title)
  • Final assessment


4.3 rating, based on 10 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Industrial Biotechnology

  • Malena Amézquita
    This MOOC is perfect for people that want to become better fermentation scientists/engineers. It was so captivating and interesting that it motivated me to keep the pace throughout the course. By the time it was over, I felt really motivated beca…
  • Anonymous
    Industrial Biotechnology MOOC from TU Delft is a well-planned course focussing on the theoretical and application aspects of Bioprocess/Biochemical engineering. The course proved highly beneficial for me as it helped to refresh some of the basic con…
  • Anonymous
    This is a first-class top-quality course given by experts in the field of industrial biotechnology and bioprocess engineering. As a chemical engineer I really enriched myself with the content of the course which was lacking in my previous formation. I really appreciate the fact that this course is available on-line and for free from one of the best and most well-known universities out there.

    All in all, it is quite challenging and time consuming, with many exercises to fulfill and learn, but all the content is well posed and it enlarges the vision about bioreactors and bioprocess design. I strongly recommend this course to any chemical/process engineer student or professional working on this field.
  • Anonymous
    Very complete MOOC that goes deep into Bioreactor design, from engineering the air requirements to calculating the economic and environmental impacts of a bioprocess. The level was challenging, so I had to spend some good amount of time on solving the exercises. All in all, really worth the money, as you get very fitting practice exercises and in general a lot more out of the course.

    The instructors were always clear, and the forum was generally quite quick. So I recommend this course for anyone who is perhaps a Master student, who wants to catch up on Bioprocess Engineering, as it helped me tremendously.

  • Profile image for Ronaldo Rodrigues
    Ronaldo Rodrigues
    This online course was very important for my professional development. I was hired to work as a researcher in a Biotechnology Lab (my background was in the traditional chemical industry). It was essential for me to obtain such precise knowledge in MOOC Industrial Biotechnology offered by TU Delft. The content was dense and very well organized; teachers explore the themes logically and progressively; the presentation of lectures is attractive, and the extra-activities are challenging. A must-see for all people interested in Industrial Biotechnology. Highly recommended.

    Ronaldo Rodrigues/National Institute of Technology/Brazil
  • Profile image for Edgar Sebastian Gomez Hinostroza
    Edgar Sebastian Gomez Hinostroza
    I found this course utterly amazing, as it covers a wide range of topics, from the basics to a complete design of a biosynthetic process. Even when there were complex topics such as metabolic flux analysis, I could understand everything thanks to excellent lecturers with plenty of years of experience in their fields. Both examples and exercises are challenging, thus allowing us to understand real-life conditions. I consider this course an excellent complement to my formal training as a biotechnology engineer.

  • Profile image for Benjamin Honorio
    Benjamin Honorio
    The best course I ever took about industrial biotechnology online. So challenging and with a case study that makes you go all the way from studying bacteria phisiology to the large scale production of a bioproduct. All with the pace of the best researchers in the field of biotechnology. Full of examples and excercises. If you work with bacteria, you better enroll on it. It will broaden your view about this fascinating subject.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent course to discover or refresh the fundamentals of bioprocess engineering! The time commitment was accurate, the content was challenging but accessible. The lecturers were responsive and helpful.
  • Tareq Abdulaziz Abdullah RAWEH
  • Patrick E.

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