Sustainable Bioprocess Technology

Master of Science

Manufacture environmentally friendly products which are economical on resources

Sustainability — a global challenge

We are experiencing the effects of climate change to an increasing degree. Hot spells, water shortages, crop failure and forest fires are occuring ever more often, even in our region. At the same time, CO² emissions, environmental pollution and the plundering of resources are rising worldwide. In 2019, Earth Overshot Day fell on 29 July - so after only 7 months, all the resources which the world can regenerate in a year were used up.

We have a lot to do, not only out of fairness to the next generation. The bio-economy offers a solution. This economic model is based on biological resources, using biological systems for processes, products and services in a sustainable way across all fields of application and economic sectors.

Biotechnology, above all Industrial Biotechnology, plays and important role in this. It gives us the knowledge we need to design technical processes, and the products we manufacture, in a more sustainable way, bringing modern, environmentally friendly methods out of the lab and into industrial use. Biotechnology also plays an important role in environmental protection: for example, with the help of bioprocesses, waste water in sewage plants can be purified, contaminated earth can be decontaminated and waste eliminated.

Manufacture products which are both environmentally friendly and economical on resources

Sustainable bioprocess technology means:

  • using renewable raw materials instead of fossil fuels
  • the energy required for processes comes from renewable sources
  • residual and waste materials are used to produce further products, materials and energy
  • raw materials are thus used efficiently and ideally result in zero wastage

The products manufactured in this way are varied. The spectrum ranges from foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, to plastics, base chemicals and biomass fuels. Enzymes or micro-organisms, which convert the raw materials into these products in a process know as biocatalysis, are used their production.

Sustainable Bioprocess Technology - study for the future

In the "Sustainable Bioprocess Technology" master's programme you will learn how to plan, set up and operate processes and plants so that they are as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible and how to continually improve and optimise them. The focus is on the use of biocatalytic systems in the manufacture of products or in the reduction or use of residual and waste materials.

The assessment of such processes is highly complex, therefore we value a holistic approach such as, for example, the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), a systematic analysis of the effects on the environment during the complete life cycle of a product. We will also be considering economic aspects. In the "Sustainable Business Studies" module you will learn to take both ecological acceptability and economic viability into consideration.

More than boring theory

Studying with us means studying for "real life". Scientific methods, the implementation of challenging development projects and teamwork are all an integral part of our teaching, which is often carried out in the form of seminars. During the project semester, the theory you learn will be put into practice in your own research projects. The choice of whether to focus more on technology or on biology is up to you. If you wish, you can also carry out your projects in close cooperation with industry.

At the University itself, lab and pilot-testing experiments can be carried out. In our technical centre you can set up the entire process from manufacture (upstream) to product purification (downstream). Modern process analytics, e.g. in the form of HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography), GC (gas chromatography) and online measurements are also available.

The following are some examples of the projects our students work on:

  • Can fungae break down plastic waste?
  • How can the development of new processes in a bioreactor be shortened and optimized using process simulation?
  • Can micro-organisms from sewage waste help to extract useful materials (for example organic acids) from waste materials?
  • Is it possible to use residual products from foodstuffs manufacture, such as sunflower press cake (residual material from sunflower oil extraction), as the basis for further foodstuffs?
  • Can one remove harmful substances from water using microplastics?

And after graduation?

The career opportunities of our students are as varied as the projects they carry out at university: in any kind of work which involves the planning, running and optimisation of biotechnological processes. This can be across a range of sectors, from the pharmaceutical or chemical industry, to environmental technology. Whether you plan and build plants, ensure compliance with environmental regulations, or want to work in a research institute on the development of new technologies — multiple career pathways are open to you!

Some potential employers are, for example:

  • industrial operations
  • supply and disposal organisations
  • universities and research institutions
  • engineering offices
  • consulting firms
  • approval and inspection authorities

A master's degree in Sustainable Bioprocess Technology will get your career off to a flying start ­— and you will be ready to make our world a better place!

  • ECTS 90 ECTS
  • Programme duration 3 Semesters
  • Location Villingen-Schwenningen
  • Faculty Medical and Life Sciences
  • Programme begins Winter semester (October), also possible in summer semester
  • Application deadline 15 July (winter semester), 15 January (summer semester)
  • Entry requirements Practical experience or period of practical work in previous degree required, German proficiency: minimum level required, DSH 2, DaF TDN4, CEFR B2 or equivalent, English proficiency: minimum level CEFR B2 or IELTS over 6.0
  • Teaching Language German and English
  • Accreditation Yes (system accreditation)