Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Delft University of Technology

Industrial Biotechnology

Delft University of Technology via edX


As fossil-based fuels and raw materials contribute to climate change, the use of renewable materials and energy as an alternative is increasingly important and common. This transition is not a luxury, but rather a necessity. We can use the unique properties of microorganisms to convert organic waste streams into biomaterials, chemicals and biofuels. This course provides the insights and tools for the design of biotechnology processes in a sustainable way. Six experienced course leaders will teach you the basics of industrial biotechnology and how to apply these to the design of fermentation processes for the production of fuels, chemicals and foodstuffs.

Throughout this course, you will be encouraged to design your own biotechnological process and evaluate its performance and sustainability. This undergraduate course includes guest lectures from industry as well as from the University of Campinas in Brazil, with over 40 years of experience in bio-ethanol production. The course is a joint initiative of TU Delft, the international BE-Basic consortium and University of Campinas.


Unit 1. Biotechnology for Biobased Products

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

Unit 2. Balances and Microbial Rates

  • Microorganisms and their function in nature
  • Functional understanding of nutrient requirements for microbial growth
  • Learning about the process: Broth balances
  • Learning about the process: Gas phase balances
  • Learning about the microorganism: q-rates and chemostat
  • Learning about the process and organism

Unit 3. The Black Box Model and Process Reaction

  • The process reaction
  • Basics of the black box model
  • Energy consuming and energy producing products
  • A PDO black box model: experiments for parameter identification
  • Black box models: The PDO process reaction as function of μ
  • PDO continuous process design: calculation of inputs and outputs using the process reaction
  • Aerobic PDO process: improving sustainability
  • Introduction to Metabolic Flux Analysis

Unit 4. Fermentation Design

  • Introduction to fermentation technology
  • The large-scale fermenter
  • Fermenter operation
  • Gas transport
  • Heat transport
  • Mixing
  • Basic approach to design and then optimize a PDO fermentation process

Unit 5. Up- and Down-stream process integration

  • Towards an integrated bioprocess
  • Pre-treatment
  • Separation and formulation
  • Separation principles
  • Conceptual process design for 1,3 PDO production
  • Process integration for 1,3 PDO production

Unit 6. Process Evaluation and Sustainability

  • Designing a sustainable business case
  • Economics of a process design
  • Environmental assessment of a process design
  • Social sustainability
  • Sustainability in a global context


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 because...
  • 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 concepts....
  • 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

    Tareq Abdulaziz Abdullah RAWEH completed this course.

  • Patrick E.

    Patrick E. completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.