One day, resources based on fossil fuels will be exhausted. This is why VITO aims to create value from renewable raw materials, such as biomass (wood, organic waste, etc.) and gases (biogas, waste gas, flue gas, etc.).
From complex raw materials to valuable products: industrial biotech
VITO develops and optimises processes to generate (bio)chemicals via enzymatic and biological conversions from biomass or from gaseous streams.
In a biorefinery approach, valuable products present in complex waste streams or cells are extracted and isolated as such. Then, a bioconversion can be applied. Enzymatic treatment has the potential to generate valuable products such as food additives. Functional oligomers (e.g. pectin oligomers) are obtained through reduction of the chain lengths of complex natural polymers (e.g. present in sugar beet pulp). Combination with membrane technology allows to introduce a selective separation of the product from the starting material. The enzymatic conversion may also form part of a new sequence of chemical and/or biological steps, resulting in the reduced complexity or increased sustainability of a production process. VITO has many years of experience in the design, application and optimization of (enzymatic) membrane reactors. Biorefinery approaches have been investigated on agro-industrial waste streams.
In the area of carbon capture and conversion (CCU), VITO focuses on the conversion of CO2 into biobased chemicals. We have already demonstrated the production of bioplastics (Polyhydroxybutyrate - PHB) on waste streams including CO2 and H2. Pure culture fermentations were optimized towards maximal PHB productivity in dedicated infrastructure.
Our trump cards
- proven track record in feasibility studies, process engineering and optimisation
- in-house design, assembly and testing of prototypes
- lab facilities with class II Biosafety certificate
- gas fermentation setups with online gas-phase monitoring (ATEX-proof) and control
- infrastructure including lab-scale fermentors (1-20 l), minireactors (50 ml), dedicated membrane separation units that can be integrated with fermentors for cell retention or size-based separations (ultra-, microfiltration, ..), removal of volatile (pervaporation) or charged compounds (electrodialysis), or for extraction of target molecules (membrane contactor)
You can contact VITO for:
- Prototyping of various processes with a wide range of feedstocks and varying reactor configurations.
- Support for upscaling from lab to pilot scale, process design and optimisation and integration throughout the production chain.
- Techno-economic evaluation of research questions and process performance with identification of economic obstacles, using CHEMCAD and Matlab-based tools.We will be happy to convert our vision on a biobased economy into a concrete action plan for your company.