Innovation is crucial to fulfil the potential of industrial biotechnology for sustainable production of fuels, chemicals, materials, food and feed. Similarly, scientific and technological advances in environmental biotechnology are needed to enable novel approaches to water purification, and ‘waste-to-product’ processes thus contributing to a circular economy. Increased fundamental knowledge encompassing enzymes, microorganisms and processes are essential for progress in this field. The Department of Biotechnology covers this research area and, based on new insights, selects, designs and tests new biobased catalysts, micro-organisms, and processes.
The department encompasses five research sections:
24 February 2022
Mark van Loosdrecht wins Novozymes Prize for 25 years of revolutionary wastewater treatmentThe development of new technologies for biological wastewater treatment is turning our view of sludge upside down. Microbiologist Mark van Loosdrecht receives the 2022 Novozymes Prize for his pioneering work in copying and reusing nature’s mechanisms in wastewater treatment and resource recovery. Van Loosdrecht: “Treating wastewater will become good business in the future.”
23 December 2021
Super-fast technique measures heme enzyme reaction as it happensResearchers from TU Delft found an unexpected new enzyme intermediate at work in enzymes that contain heme, a cofactor that’s vital for many processes in our body such as the breaking down of toxins in the liver. The researchers used new, rapid techniques, which are less invasive than existing methods. The results, published in ACS Catalysis, increase our understanding of heme proteins and enzymes and how they can be engineered.
27 October 2021
Making artificial leather while processing wastewaterLeather is a strong product but has been getting bad press lately due to the fact that it is made of animal skins and the production process is a burden on the environment. The TU Delft student team WaterSkins has come up with a very sustainable alternative: artificial leather made during the treatment of wastewater.
04 November 2022
Making salt water fresh on LampedusaSince last week, a large-scale demo installation in Lampedusa is producing drinking water, salts and chemicals from seawater in an environmentally friendly way. Project leader Dimitris Xevgenos: “This is the first time that we’re producing these marketable products at pre-commercial scale in Europe together with the right actors, including the use of waste heat. People can come and actually see it running.”
24 October 2022
Dutch government confirms €60M investment into cellular agricultureThe Dutch government has confirmed that it will allocate €60 million to support an ecosystem around cellular agriculture, the technology to produce animal products such as meat and milk proteins directly from animal and microbial cells.
28 June 2022