Research groups

Research groups

BioCo

The ‘Biosystems Control’ research group, focuses on efficient and sustainable process design and control. They study processes and reactors from a process engineering perspective, applying a combination of physical-based modelling and simulation, full-scale monitoring campaigns and lab-scale experiments. They have a specific expertise in biological wastewater treatment, considering innovative technologies (e.g. anammox-based nitrogen removal, granular sludge) and sustainability aspects such as greenhouse gas emissions.

BIOMATH

BIOMATH research focuses on the development and application of advanced techniques for modelling, optimisation and control of bioprocesses. We build models for (1) understanding and (2) optimisation of processes. In this way models can support decisions in bioprocess design and operation.

For model building, we use 3 modelling frameworks: (1) biokinetics (based on mass balancing), (2) Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD-detailed hydrodynamic system behaviour) and (3) Population Balance Modelling (PBM-describing dynamics of distributed properties). These frameworks can also be combined. This allows to build process models with different complexities, fit to meet different objectives (e.g. knowledge buildup, optimisation).

Next to this, we have a variety of modelling tools and expertise in using them available: sensitivity analysis (local/global), optimisation (local/global), uncertainty analysis, scenario analysis ("what if"), experimental design. We have those available in different platforms (WEST, Matlab, Python,...). WEST is a powerful environment for wastewater treatment modelling. The tool was originally developed at BIOMATH and later on commenrcialed through DHI. It comes with a historical modelbase, but models can also be added providing full flexibility.

In order to not loose realism, it is important to calibrate and validate models with experimental data. For this, we either use simple setups in our own lab or collaborate with groups that can collect information-rich data-sets.

In terms of applications related to R2T we have vast experience in: Activated sludge, MBR, filtration processes, gravitational sedimentation, electrochemical applications, anaerobic digestion.

Finally, computation-wise, we have access to a variety of software tools (WEST, Matlab, Python, Fluent, Comsol, OpenFoam) and hardware (own calculation cluster with 80 nodes and UGent High Performance Computing access)

 

CMET

The Center of Microbial Ecology and Technology (CMET) is a part of the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University. CMET is specialized in the study and application of mixed microbial cultures or communities. A microbial community consists of several populations which each represent a functional biological entity and thus a diverse metabolic capacity. The assemblage of these biological entities represents - when properly organised - a powerful resource. CMET focuses on the optimal management of these microbial resources (Microbial Resource Management, MRM) enabling us to develop novel products and processes to improve our environment or human health in the most sustainable way. More specifically, CMET applies this approach in the fields of applied microbial ecology, functional food and feed, medical microbial ecology, risk assessment, biomaterials and nanotechnology, water treatment, aquaculture, bio-energy, and soils and sediments.

CMET comprises a staff of about 65 academics and is part of the Department of Biochemical and Microbial Technology of the Ghent University. On this website you will find all information on CMET research, education and services. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Ecochem

The Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry and Applied Ecochemistry (Ecochem) focuses on the fate of trace and toxic elements in agricultural and natural ecosystems, environmental technologies and recycling of nutrients and technology-critical elements.

EnVOC

The Research Group EnVOC (Environmental Organic Chemistry and Technology), witihin the Department of Green Chemistry and Technology of the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering is represented by Kristof Demeestere. His research interests and activities deal with organic trace compounds in ecosystems with particular focus on high-resolution mass spectrometry based screening and (ultra-)trace analysis, new strategies for passive sampling and monitoring the occurrence, fate and behaviour of emerging organic micropollutants in the aquatic/marine environment, and ozone- or catalyst-based advanced oxidation processes for their removal from (waste)water.

LIWET

LIWET (short for: Laboratory of Industrial Water and EcoTechnology) is one of two research units in the Department of Industrial Biological Sciences (IBW; located at the Campus Kortrijk). LIWET focuses on the implementation and scale-up of sustainable technologies for the recovery of water, nutrients and energy.

This can be both high-tech and low-tech options, including aerobic biological and physical-chemical water treatment techniques, advanced oxydation processes, membrane filtration, anaerobic digestion, algae technology and constructed wetlands.

The research is performed both on the basis of experimental and pilot plants as well as mathematical models. The main goal is to optimize treatment plants in an economical and ecological way.

PaInT

The Particle and Interfacial Technology Group (PaInT) is a research group within the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University, which focuses on characterization and practical applications of particles and interfacial phenomena and technology.

The main application is physico-chemical treatment of water and wastewater streams, with the majority of the projects focusing on drinking- and process water treatment. PaInT has extensive expertise with membrane-based processes for separation and resource recovery (water, nutrients, organics, salts). Membrane processes studied include pressure-driven membrane processes such as microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis; osmotic processes such as forward, pressure-retarded and pressure-assissted osmosis; electrochemical processes such as (reverse) electrodialysis; and thermal processes such as membrane distillation.

The technologies and treatment concepts studied are applied in both industrial settings and public settings, in both developed to developing markets. The main intention of PaInT is to work towards more energy- and resource efficiency in the water treatment sector, by fundamental changes in process design and development through fundamental understanding and characterization of mechanistic phenomena occurring. PaInT strongly believes in combination of existing and developing technologies into synergistic hybrid processes.

PaInT is currently headed by 2 senior academic and has a combined research and technical staff of around 25. For more information on research topics, research infrastructure and external consultancy, please refer to the website below.

TCCB

The mission of the Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass research group is the development and optimisation of thermochemical conversion technologies to renewable fuels, chemicals and energy from biomass.

Regarding the thermochemical conversion technologies, the research is devoted to fast pyrolysis and catalytic fast pyrolysis for the production of liquid biofuels and chemical intermediates, to slow pyrolysis for the production of biochar and to torrefaction as a biomass pretreatment unit operation.

Other technologies of interest include hydrothermal conversion technologies, torrefaction, gasification and post-conversion treatment of bio-oil, which includes upgrading and fractionation.

The Department of Biosystems Engineering is also part of the UGent MRP (multidisciplinary research platform) ‘Biotechnology for a sustainable economy’ and plays a key role in studying production technologies of biochar out of agricultural and biorefinery residues. Biochar is the solid product from biomass pyrolysis and is intended to be used as a soil amendment.

Biochar is a carbon rich material that is resistant to biological decay, unlike the plant biomass from which it is produced. Consequently, biochar has the potential to store carbon which has been removed as CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and prevents the rapid release of CO2 which would originate by biological decay if the biomass would be kept untreated by means of thermochemical conversion (i.e. pyrolysis).