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:
23 November 2017
A biological approach to using waste gasesScience funding body NWO-TTW and partners in industry are investing EUR 3.8 million in a consortium that will use micro-organisms to convert syngas into useful chemical building blocks in a sustainable way. By doing so, the consortium intends to contribute to the circular economy and reduce CO2 emissions.
07 June 2017
Bio-energy: not a bad ideaBiofuels don't have a particularly good reputation. Undeservedly so, says Professor Patricia Osseweijer from the department of Biotechnology. Bearing the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in mind, she is currently arguing the case for more investment in bio-energy. Not only because biofuels are renewable, but also because smart investment in bio-energy can play a part in the social development of deprived areas.
26 May 2017
Newly discovered ‘Siberian’ soda lake micro-organisms convert organic material directly into methaneResearchers from Delft and Moscow have discovered a new class of micro-organisms in Siberian soda lakes. These organisms grow in sodium carbonate brines with a pH 10 and convert methyl group of organic material into methane gas. On xxday May yyth they, together with colleagues from the US, UK, Germany and Spain, report on their findings in Nature Microbiology.
11 September 2019
Cable bacteria: Living electrical wires with record conductivityBacteria that power themselves using electricity and are able to send electrical currents over long distances through highly conductive power lines. It almost sounds like the way we charge our TVs and refrigerators, and may seem hard to believe, but it is a recent discovery by a team of scientists from the University of Antwerp (Belgium), Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) and the University of Hasselt (Belgium). Centimeter-long bacteria from the seafloor contain a conductive fiber network that operates in comparable way to the copper wiring that we use to transport electricity. The highly conductive fibers enable a completely new interface between biology and electronics, providing a prospect for new materials and technology.
18 July 2019