Electrifying biotechnology for the production of chemicals and feed.

Post date: Friday, 24 May, 2019 - 10:41

Abstract of the doctoral research of Ir. Kristof Verbeeck:

Human distortion of the Earth’s long-term carbon cycle has by far exceeded the sustainability boundaries of our planet. The indispensable transition to a CO2-neutral world economy involves a massive deployment of low-carbon energy technologies and the use of renewable carbon feedstocks, like carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted at point sources, and methane (CH4) produced through anaerobic digestion of organic (waste) streams. (Bio)catalytic technologies for the production of food, fuels and chemicals from these two gaseous raw materials are emerging as potential approaches to restrain climate change, though tremendous scientific and technological challenges remain to ensure that their implementation can be realized within the foreseeable future. In this work, several value chains based on the valorization of biogas and CO2 into value-added products were explored. First, the conversion of grid-injected biomethane to carbon monoxide (CO) and syngas, two key platform chemicals in the chemical industry, was investigated, where it was found that by coupling decentralized biomethane production to large-scale chemical synthesis via the existing natural gas infrastructure, chemical plants can reduce their CO2 emissions in a cost-effective way, or, alternatively, increase the production capacity without considerably increasing CO2 footprint. Second, microbial protein production was proposed as a way to upgrade the value of biogas and recovered ammonia while enabling partial self-supply of animal feed at farm scale. It was shown that microbial protein production opened up opportunities for a cost-efficient treatment of livestock manure. Finally, a reactor system for electricity-driven bioproduction from CO2 was developed, enabling simultaneous production, extraction and concentration of acetic acid as a fermentation product in a solid-free extraction liquid.

Dissertation Supervisors:

Prof. Dr. Ir. Korneel Rabaey

Event location: Het Pand, Conference Center, Ghent.
Event date: Friday, 21 June, 2019 - 17:00 to 22:30

Towards a detailed understanding of oxygen transfer in wastewater treatment: the effect of bubble size distributions.

Post date: Tuesday, 11 June, 2019 - 09:26

Dissertation Supervisors:

Prof. Dr. Ir Ingmar Nopens, Prof. Dr. Ir. Ramiro Joaqium De Jesus Neves & Dr. ing. Youri Amerlinck

Event location: UGent
Event date: Tuesday, 2 July, 2019 - 16:00

Tying up loose ends: optimization of data treatment and hydrodynamic model structure of the Eindhoven wastewater treatment plant model.

Post date: Tuesday, 11 June, 2019 - 09:23

Dissertation Supervisors:

Prof. Dr. Ir. Ingmar Nopens & Dr. Youri Amerlinck

Event location: Auditorium E5, Coupure Campus, UGent
Event date: Friday, 5 July, 2019 - 16:00

Electroactive biofilms: novel tools and insights towards charge storage

Post date: Tuesday, 4 June, 2019 - 16:46

Abstract of the doctoral research of Xu Zhang:

Electroactive bacteria ‘catalyze’ bioelectrochemical reactions and can form electronically conductive biofilms on polarized electrodes. Envisioned applications for electroactive biofilms (EABs) encompass small power production (e.g. for sensor systems), bioproduction, biosensing and bioremediation. However, their technical applications are often hampered by the low current densities achieved with comparison to abiotic systems.

In this research, we have applied an alternative electrochemical method to rapidly assess the charge transport ability of Geobacter-dominated anodic EABs to better understand the underlying electron transport mechanisms. We also demonstrated that an appropriate periodic polarization of the electrode during the growth of anodic EABs can substantially improve their electroactivity. The periodic polarization induced development of EABs with a higher concentration of charge carriers compared to continuously polarized EABs, which favors faster electron transport across the EAB and the generation of higher catalytic current densities. Periodically polarized EABs also produced more electric charge than continuously polarized EABs, even when taking into account the time-intervals under open circuit. The EABs grown under periodic polarization presented mushroom-like structures on their top layer in comparison to the flat biofilms grown under continuous polarization. The EAB enhancement was reversible in only few days after polarization modes were shifted. Periodic polarizations also impacted biofilm adhesion and current production under substrate-limiting conditions. We investigated the polarization signal (frequency and duty cycle) to optimize the EAB electroactivity and the rate of charge production. This electrochemical engineering of EAB opens new routes for enhancing the performance of microbial electrochemical systems.

Dissertation Supervisors:

Prof. Dr. Ir. Korneel Rabaey & Dr. Antonin Prévoteau

Event location: UGent
Event date: Friday, 28 June, 2019 - 17:00

Anaerobic Digestion Conference AD16

Post date: Friday, 24 May, 2019 - 10:49

The theme of the 16th issue of the AD conference is “Accelerating natural cycles with anaerobic digestion.” We accelerate natural cycles from small to large scale on sewage,  sludge, manure or agrowaste. We increasingly treat industrial wastewater anaerobically, and these engineered digestion systems allow recovery of energy and resources including carbon and nutrients. AD16 will further strengthen this evolution, by bringing together and activate debate across the multiple disciplines needed to understand the processes related to anaerobic digestion. We invite engineers, biotechnologists, microbiologists, chemists, physicists, mathematical modelers, and technology innovators to participate. All pioneers, freshmen, and leaders in the field, and other interested parties, are welcome to critically discuss the state-of-the-art of anaerobic digestion and learn about new developments. Attendants can join our pre-conference workshops, visit latest-generation installations and anticipate future breakthroughs and developments.

Specialized short courses will be offered before the conference to reinforce knowledge on certain innovative aspects. These courses will be organized by Ghent University, University of Leuven, Wageningen University and Delft University. All are conveniently located in The Netherlands and Belgium, all within less than 3 hours by train from Delft.

Event location: Delft University of Technology
Event date: Sunday, 23 June, 2019 - 16:00 to Thursday, 27 June, 2019 - 17:00

Eindcongres IMPROVED

Post date: Friday, 24 May, 2019 - 10:45

10:00    Registratie, ontvangst en welkomstkoffie

10:30    Welkomstwoord

10:45    IMPROVED: van alternatieve waterbronnen tot kwaliteitsvol industrieel proceswater

11:00    Resultaten van de waterzuiveringstesten bij Yara Sluiskil, BASF en Dow

11:45    Q&A

12:00    Walking lunch

13:15    Drie roterende workshops van telkens een uur

(De deelnemers worden in drie groepen verdeeld)

    Workshop 1: Pitches van 5 bedrijven actief in de sector van waterzuivering

    Workshop 2: Onderzoekers van IMPROVED stellen de verschillende modules voor

    Workshop 3: Meer info volgt weldra

16:30    Einde congres

Event location: Terneuzen
Event date: Thursday, 26 September, 2019 - 09:00

Lecture Mark van Loosdrecht: ‘From microbial adhesion studies to Nereda technology and beyond’

Post date: Tuesday, 5 March, 2019 - 10:46

FROM MICROBIAL ADHESION STUDIES TO NEREDA TECHNOLOGY AND BEYOND
On bacteria growing in granules and purifying wastewater as well as on the importance of curiosity-driven and interdisciplinary research.

Professor in Environmental Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology
Doctor Honoris Causa Ghent University 2015

Granular sludge gives the opportunity to have strong process intensification of wastewater treatment plants. Recognizing the fundamental drivers for bacteria to form biofilms has not been a straightforward development. This lecture will follow the career path of Mark van Loosdrecht intertwined with how granular sludge has been developed into a grown-up technology for aerobic wastewater treatment. This will underline that curiosity-driven research is the foundation for innovations while modern sciences thrives at the interphase of disciplines. Combination of process engineering and microbiology has been instrumental in granular sludge development while currently the combination of biotechnology and materials science leads to new potentials for resource recovery based on granular sludge.

Event location: Faculty of Bioscience Engineering (FBE), Campus Coupure
Event date: Thursday, 21 March, 2019 - 18:00

R2T / CAPTURE-Water yearly Showcase 2019

Post date: Wednesday, 19 December, 2018 - 16:24

In good tradition, the R2T consortium is having it's yearly showcase and advisory board meeting where all involved professors and companies will interact.

Event location: Academieraadzaal, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Gent
Event date: Wednesday, 27 February, 2019 - 10:00 to 18:00

Bridging the gap between membrane modelling and applications

Post date: Wednesday, 19 December, 2018 - 16:03

Four speakers will share their view on the role of modelling for membrane processes, its inherent connection to experimental data and its influence on the field of applications. Please find the programme via this link.

Registration is free but required via this link.

Event location: Auditorium A2, Blok A, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Gent
Event date: Wednesday, 9 January, 2019 - 13:30 to 15:30

Hoe (afval)water opwaarderen tot proceswater van de juiste kwaliteit

Post date: Friday, 7 December, 2018 - 11:21

Water is een cruciale grondstof voor de procesindustrie. Maar, zoetwater is schaars. Daarom onderzoekt de testinstallatie van IMPROVED of het mogelijk is om ook andere watersoorten, zoals brak water en afvalwater, op te waarderen tot proceswater van de juiste kwaliteit. De testinfrastructuur die bestaat uit twee mobiele containers, verhuisde midden november van BASF Antwerpen naar de site van Dow Terneuzen. De vierde workshop van IMPROVED gaat dan ook door bij Dow. Deze keer kan je kiezen uit een bezoek aan de containers in werking of een bezoek aan de DECO-waterzuiveringsinstallatie van Evides Industriewater.

Gratis inschrijving voor 24 januari 2019 via deze link

Event location: Dow Terneuzen: Communicatiecentrum "De Boerderij"
Event date: Tuesday, 29 January, 2019 - 12:30 to 17:30

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