Project 3 Fermentation (2021)

Course manager

Simon Craige

Semester schedule

Spring (13- + 3-week period)



Language of instruction


Course type



Competences corresponding to participation in the courses – Project 2 Applied microbiology, Microbiology, Chemical Engineering, Chemical unit operations, Mathematics 1 and Statistics as well as General and organic chemistry – are recommended. It is also recommended to follow the course Mathematical modelling in parallel with this course.


The objective of the course is to provide the students with practical and theoretical experience in fermentation technological problems, thus providing the student with an understanding of processes and enabling them to design and characterize as well as measure on a fermentation process based on their knowledge of process kinetics and microbiology.

In addition, the students must acquire competences in project-oriented work with problems relative to industrial fermentation as well as be able to manage, design, execute, and document the progress of the project. Communication of the content and results of the project as well as perspectives of these in relation to relevant scientific literature. All aspects should be undertaken in the context of the Conceive, Design, Implement, and Operate (CDIO) principles.

Furthermore, the students must acquire knowledge about and competences pertaining to the application of general scientific-theoretical methods relative to the solution of the project paper. The course will provide the student with an insight into the engineering profession's culture and field of activity as well as its interaction with the surrounding world


Fermentation and fermentation technology:

  • Mass and energy balances
  • A mathematical description of fermentation processes
  • Mass transport
  • Microbial kinetics (growth, substrate absorption and product formation)
  • Reactor types, instrumentation, and control
  • Experimental design with a special focus on datacollection and -treatment
  • Statistical methods for the assessment of fermentation processes

Project work, laboratory skills and communication:

  • Project work with focus on management and resource administration
  • Introduction to stakeholder analysis
  • Team roles in relation to commitment and motivation
  • The planning and execution of experimental trials
  • Report writing with focus on method description, discussion, and use of references
  • Follow-up on oral presentation techniques


  •            Simple modelling and simulation of chemical and biological systems by the use of Python. For instance fermentations systems (batch, fed-batch, continuous, recirculation, and in-series)<o:p></o:p>

Theory of science:

  • Introduction to basic scientific methods and theories
  • The scientific method
  • Good scientific practice including trial design, documentation, source criticism, and use of references
  • The engineering profession and the engineer's field of activity

The practical element of the course will set up trials for different parts of a fermentation process; and data collection and calculations will constitute the foundation for a match between theory and practice. The project element will also include a practical part

Learning targets

On completion of the course, the student is expected to be able to:


  • Describe how temperature, total pressure, partial oxygen pressure and the presence of dissolved and suspended matter in growth media will exert an impact on the oxygen solubility and oxygen-mass transfer velocity in a fermenter
  • Describe techniques for experimental determination of K<sustrong>L</sustrong>a to steady state and dynamic oxygen transfer together with the limitations of the techniques
  • Describe the design of different reactors and the most important control parameters
  • Understand and explain principles in relation to stakeholder analysis
  • Describe and apply basic concepts within method, sociology, technology, and ethics within an engineering context


  • Prepare mass-balance calculations on the basis of stoichiometric principles of steady-state fermentations
  • Make energy-balance calculations on the basis of the heat-of-reaction applicable to aerobic and anaerobic cell cultures
  • Set up and solve simple unsteady-state mass-balance calculations for time-dependent system parameters
  • Make and assess calculations of microbial kinetics
  • Set up experimental design with focus on data collection and -treatment
  • Apply statistical methods in the assessment of executed fermentations
  • Perform online data collection of relevant control parameters (e.g. pH, OD and CO<sustrong>2</sustrong>)
  • In a project group, work together with a fermentation technological problem-orientated issue
  • Organise and plan resources for a project including the practical elements
  • Reflect on the project groups motivation and commitment in relation to team roles
  • Set up and apply mathematical models for calculation and simulation of relevant parameters for chemical and biological systems. For instance yield constants, rates of growth, substrate use or production by fitting data using Python
  • Predict the result of e.g. batch, fed-batch or continuous fermentation systems by simple modelling and simulation of the processes


  • Design, plan and independently execute experimental trials in laboratory-scale fermentation systems for the purpose of investigating fermentation technological problems
  • Prepare a technical project report that will assess and provide a perspective on the results of a practical process
  • Incorporate scientific literature in the technical project report and apply references pursuant to scientific standards
  • Explain applied methods, describe strengths and weaknesses, and compare with other acquired methods
  • Make an oral presentation of essential methods, results, conclusions, and perspectives relative to the project made
  • Explain the group's application of tools for project and resource management and reflect on potentials relative to future project work

Teaching method

Seminars, problem solution, project supervision, laboratory and project work as well as company visits.

Qualifications for examination participation

  • Fulfilment of the requirements for compulsory participation as given in the study programme part 2.4
  • Participation in all planned company visits
  • Participation in all planned activities with external lecturers
  • Participation in laboratory exercises and the acceptance of mandatory papers relative thereto

If a student does not fulfill the requirements for compulsory participation she/he can be excluded from the project group and hence, shall do an individual project. 

All project deliverables shall be performed and submitted pursuant to guidelines set out by the course manager.

Examination and aids

  • Submission of a written presentation of the project's application of scientific theory and method, comprising the choice of method
  • Submission of a project report
  • Written examination on fermentation technology and method. Duration of examination: 2 hours.

Permitted aids: Textbook, notes and mathematical program/spreadsheet. No access to the internet.  

  • Individual oral examination taking its point of reference in the project report. Duration of examination: 20 min. pr. student.

Permitted aids: Project report. No access to the internet.


In the final assessment, the following elements constitute:

Written examination (30%), oral examination (30%), project report (35%), and theory of science paper (5%).


External: Written examination, oral examination, and project report.

Internal: Theory of science paper


The 7-point grading scale

Fingers in the Fermentation
21. February 2019
Students from the biotech program in Kalundborg visits the mead brewery Petersen & Sønner to learn more…