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VITO – Flemish Institute for Technological Research


VITO is a leading European independent research and consultancy centre in the areas of cleantech and sustainable development, elaborating solutions for the grand societal challenges of tomorrow: climate change, food security, sustainable energy supply, the ageing population and scarcity of resources. The Business Unit of Separation and Conversion Technology (SCT) focuses its research on Sustainable Chemistry, and specifically on the use of alternative feedstocks as well as process intensification through the integration of separation technology with biotechnological of chemical processes.

Infrastructures made available to IBISBA 1.0


VITO’s biotechnology team is expert in bioprocess intensification, with specific focus on integration of membrane technology with processes for various purposes. These include:

Coupling of micro- or ultrafiltration membranes to lab-scale fermenters for high cell density fermentations. The setup can be tuned to any type of continuous fermentation process.

Coupling of membrane filtration (cascades) to enzymatic conversion processes at lab-scale. The setup has been optimised in (semi-)continuous mode with single or cascade membrane filtration design. Applications can be easily extended to any enzymatic conversions that benefit from the combination of conversion, enzymatic retention and product fractionation or separation.

Coupling of membrane skids to lab-scale enzymatic or whole cell conversions for in-situ product recovery (ISPR): bioprocesses can suffer from substrate or product inhibition or from unstable end-products. Yields and/or productivities can then be improved through the integration of a suitable ISPR technique. The technology choice will depend on the properties of the molecule to be added or removed and on the environmental conditions. 

Coupling of pervaporation skid to pilot-scale fermenter for ISPR. The installation has been tested in pilot-scale continuous fermentation runs for recovery of aceton-butanol-ethanol during trials of several weeks.