Biotechnological processes

The use of renewable raw materials by employing enzymatic synthesis of biobased chemicals and the fermentative production of biocatalysts or other metabolic products, for example organic solvents and acids, are objectives defined by the working group “Biotechnological Processes”.

The fermentation technology is supplemented by a cultivation platform for microalgae. As a natural and sustainable aquatic source of raw materials that makes available a wide range of basic chemical substances (e.g. essential fatty acids, vitamins or pigments) and provides an easily fermentable biomass, microalgae provide an ideal platform for coupled material/energetic processes.

The team possesses broadly based bioprocess engineering expertise in the feld of scale-up and process intensification.The processes developed on the laboratory scale in terms of their transferability to an industrially relevant scale are evaluated in the preliminary stages and are optimized repetitively during transfer and scale-up. This includes, for example, the adjustment of process control strategies (batch, fed-batch, continuous) and integrated product purification to reduce the number of process steps or the reutilization of the biocatalysts (e.g. by immobilization on carrier materials).


Current issues

  • Enzyme production and biocatalysis
  • Fermentative production of carboxylic acids (maleic acid, xylonic acid, itaconic acid) from lignocellulose sugars
  • Production of high-value compounds from microalgae (fatty acids, pigments, polysaccharides)
  • Process development and scale-up

R&D services

Enzyme production and biocatalysis

Fermentative production of carboxylic acids

We develop new processes for the production of maleic acid, xylonic acid and itaconic acid from lignocellulose sugars.

High-value compounds from microalgae

We produce fatty acids, pigments, polysaccharides from microalgae biomass in our greenhouse and outdoor cultivation plants.

Fermentative production of alcohols and solvents

Reference Projects

FDCAzymes – Lignocellulose based enzymes for the conversion of 5 hydroxymethylfurfural to 2,5 furanedicarboxylic acid

Duration: June 2017 - May 2020

2,5 Furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) is a biobased alternative to petrochemically produced terephthalic acid, which is used in the production of PET and polyesters for the packaging and textile industries. The FDCAzymes project aims to develop tailor made enzymes for the conversion of 5 hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) to FDCA, whereby the Fraunhofer CBP will supply the raw material (lignocellulose sugar and HMF) and is partner for process development and scale up.

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IBISBA 1.0 − Industrial Biotechnology Innovation and Synthetic Biology Accelerator

Duration: December 2017 – December 2021

IBISBA 1.0 is a H2020-funded project that aims at building a European distributed network of research facilities to provide innovation services and accelerate translation of bioscience research into industrial applications.

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FIP – Fermentative Production of Isobutene

Duration: October 2013 - July 2017

The aim of the project "Fermentative Isobutene Production" is to transfer the process to pre-industrial scale. In the FIP project, a demonstration plant with a nominal capacity of 100 tonnes per year will be designed and constructed and the production process will be scaled up to a fermentation volume of 5000 liters.

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2GEnzymes – Enzymes for 2G Sugars

Duration: June 2016 - May 2019

The goal of this project is to design an integrated process for the production of second generation sugars using ligninolytic enzymes and novel cellulases. Basis for this is the organosolv process of Fraunhofer CBP, which is already established in pilot scale. The enzyme production will be integrated into the overall sugar production by using fractions originated from the organosolv process as fermentation substrates. The primary feedstock used in this project is beech wood. The overall process will be demonstrated in pilot scale.

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KomBiChemPro – fine and platform chemicals from wood by combined chemical-biotechnological processes

Duration: November 2015 - May 2018

The aim of the joint project KomBiChemPro is to combine various development activities for the material use of lignocellulose-containing biomass in an integrated biorefinery concept. The most important aspect is the production of marketable products using robust processes and efficient process management in order to ensure broad applicability and competitiveness against petrochemically produced materials and chemicals. On the basis of the work of the partners involved, the subprocesses are combined at one location, mapped in sufficient dimensions and accounted.

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Bio-Solketal – Synthesis of 100 percent bio-based Solketal (Isopropylidene glycerol)

Duration: September 2014 - June 2017

The focus within this project is the synthesis of 100 percent bio-based Solketal (Isopropylidene glycerol) carried out in a semi-continuous reactor. Solketal can be catalyzed from glycerol and acetone under acidic conditions. This synthesis was developed in a laboratory scale by the GLACONCHEMIE GmbH using biogenic glycerol (purely vegetable, by-product from the biodiesel production).

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BioQED – Quod Erat Demonstrandum: Large scale demonstration for the bio-based bulk chemicals BDO and IA aiming at cost reduction and improved sustainability

Duration: January 2017 - December 2017

In the EU project Bio-QED, Fraunhofer IGB and its branch institute Fraunhofer CBP are conducting research into fermentative production processes to produce basic chemicals and regarding the scale-up of the processes. The Institute is concentrating in particular on the itaconic acid value chain. In 2017, the Fraunhofer CBP held a demonstration workshop on this topic in which project highlights and results were presented.

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Integrated Bioproduction – Integrated chemical-biotechnological production of building blocks on the basis of renewable resources in a biorefinery

Duration: May 2009 - April 2012

The objective of the integrated project is to increase the use of renewable resources and, in the long term, to convert chemical production processes for the production of synthesized building blocks to renewable resources. By means of an integrated development along the whole value creation chain from the pilot scale through to production scale the aim is to implement an integrated production on the basis of renewable resources.

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Duration: April 2009 - March 2012

As highly specific catalysts, enzymes play a central role in industrial biotechnology. They are also in demand for technical applications, for example as sensors and indicators.

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