Biomass is the only renewable feedstock which contains the carbon atoms needed to make the molecules to create chemicals, materials and fuels. However, the majority of our current scientific and industrial knowledge on conversion is based on processing fossil feedstocks. In this course we explore the relevant fundamental knowledge on (bio)catalytic conversion in order to produce (new) biobased building blocks, chemicals and products.
The design of an effective (catalytic) process for the conversions of biobased feedstocks to desired products is the core of this course. Unique for bioconversion is the presence of the elements O,N, P, S and the large quantities of water.
We therefore will explore:
- microbial, biochemical and chemical (i.e., catalytic) conversion routes.
- how to use catalysts, either heterogeneous, homogeneous or biocatalysts function in order to optimize the process of conversion. We discuss how these catalysts can be tuned and their specific advantages and disadvantages for biobased conversions.
- the influence of the reactor choice as an inevitable asset in the process. We discuss how to describe the productivity of catalytic processes depending on the choice of the reactor and how the choice of the reactor can add to the stability of the conversion process.
The knowledge you gain allows you to design processes specifically targeted on biomass based conversions as well offering an opportunity to interact with chemist, engineers and scientists who mainly focus on the traditional fossil based conversions.