The RWTH Innovation Award 2020 goes to the AVT spin-off project "BioThrust"© Patrick Bongartz © Patrick Bongartz
The RWTH Innovation Award 2020 goes to the AVT spin-off project "BioThrust". The team develops aeration solutions for bioreactors. Two product lines are prepared: One line with stirrers that simultaneously introduce gas bubbles into the reactor and, due to their high porosity, lead to a better gas supply than previous systems. Another line is the development of bubble-free aeration of bioreactors. For this purpose, the BioThrust team developed a membrane-module that diffusively introduces gas in-situ, i.e. directly in the reactor, and at the same time mixes the broth. So even sensitive bioprocesses such as cell cultures can be supplied with sufficient oxygen. The BioThrust team, Moritz Meyer, mechanical engineering student and Patrick Bongartz, research assistant, work at the chair for chemical process engineering of Prof. Wessling. Together with partners in BioVT, FVT and the Institute for Applied Microbiology (iAMB, Prof. Blank), a complete process for the foam-free production of biosurfactants on a microbial basis has already been established. "This technology opens up a completely new ecological and economic perspective for the sustainable production of biosurfactants and biopharmaceuticals," says Bongartz. "We are very proud of our development and this award". It is not yet clear which of the three places the team finally achieved. The RWTH will announce the publication as soon as possible.
The team was supported by the RWTH Innovation Sprint in prototype construction as early as September. Together with the excellent infrastructure at AVT - S1 cooperation laboratory and 3D printing laboratory, supported by IT, workshops and a central analytical laboratory, the team was quickly able to increase the so-called "technology readiness level" and the scale-up in larger fermenters.
The next goal is to adapt the design with industrial partners and to obtain further funding for a spin-off.
If you are interested in this development, write to the team at email@example.com. Internships and theses in mechanical engineering and biotechnology are also possible in order to help shape this product development and testing.