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- Research interest:I have experience in research into the valorisation of by-products of agriculture, horticulture, food industry and forestry. This biomass is used as a raw material for the production of chemicals and biofuels. My expertise lies in the application of microbial or enzymatic catalysis in the various industrial process steps in this conversion and the optimization thereof. Because of increasing oil prices lignocellulose originating from plants as an alternative raw material is extensively investigated, both in industry and research institutes. The use of enzymes and micro-organisms in the production of chemicals results in environmentally friendly processes without or with limited use of organic solvents, acids or bases and at ambient conditions, i.e. no high temperatures and pressures. This technology is called Industrial Biotechnology. Because lignocellulose has a compact and recalcitrant structure, in a first step the biomass must be pretreated in order to remove the lignin and make the cellulose available for the next step. The cellulose is enzymatically hydrolysed to sugars which are then fermented to the desired end product. We investigate the mechanisms that occur to optimize the processes using reactor operation and design. The mathematical description of the kinetics and mass balances in models is a help in the scaling up.
- Keywords:FERMENTATION, LIGNOCELLULOSE, ENZYM KINETICS, SOLID STATE FERMENTATION, MODELLING BIOLOGICAL PROCESSES, Chemistry (incl. biochemistry)
- Disciplines:Biochemistry and metabolism, Microbiology, Systems biology, Catalysis and reacting systems engineering, Chemical product design and formulation, General chemical and biochemical engineering, Process engineering, Separation and membrane technologies, Transport phenomena, Other (bio)chemical engineering, Laboratory medicine, Medical biochemistry and metabolism
- Research techniques:Computer controlled bioreactors for solid state fermentation, submerged fermentation, high solids fermentationEnzyme reactions (hydrolysis, laccase, peroxidase, lipase)Bioprocess optimalisation and modelling (Matlab)Process intensification by high solids fermentation, cocultures, immobilised systemsReactor designFollow-up by HPLC, GC-MS, FTIR-ATR, UV-VIS spectrophotometry
- Users of research expertise:Bio-industry and chemical industry that wants to make use of enzymes and/or microorganisms and novel technology to improve and accelerate their process.