Development of a Process Simulation Software for Bioengineering

From 2006 to 2008, the Technical University Dortmund (Department of Bio-Chemical and Chemical Engineering, Chair for Plant and Process Engineering) in cooperation with INOSIM and bitop AG (Witten, Germany) put through a research project. It aimed at the development and practical application of a simulation software for bioprocessing.

In common, biotechnology is seen as an environment-friendly variation on conventional industry, and in principle that is true. On the practical side, though, this new branch often produces high amounts of effluent and waste, causing a need for expensive disposal or reconditioning. The reason for that: Up to now, biotechnology has been lacking instruments to achieve a more ecological production, which in conventional industries have been the standard for years.

New production methods call for new solutions

Hence, for a simulation software it makes a big difference whether to picture the processes at a chemical plant or the much more complex procedures of bioengineering, where often living structures and organisms are the subject of work.

For this reason, within the research project the Technical University Dortmund developed models fit for the simulation of bioprocesses. INOSIM integrated the results into its process simulation environment. The outcome was an innovative process simulation software to be practically tested directly afterwards at bitop AG’s bioengineered production. The new application helped to a more sustainable design of their ectoin production, lowering the consumption of resources through the production process (38 % less effluent, 17 % less salt and 16 % less energy). Last but not least, the production costs sank by 26 %.

The research project made evident the optimization and sustainability potentials of bioprocessing. The application of innovative bio-simulators will provide a bioprocessed production which is more environment-friendly, thus improving the ecological and economical aggregation of value.

Funding: Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, code digit AZ 13175

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