MSc in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
Novo Nordisk A/S
Investigation of sustainable sludge re-use from API fermentation
A typical process for the core production of an API – Insulin consists of three main stages: fermentation, recovery, and purification. The recovery stage separates the biomass from the fermentation mixture by a series of disc centrifuges. These centrifuges split the fermentation mixture into a light stream, containing the API, and into a heavy stream, containing the biomass sludge. In the current state, this biomass sludge is sent to a GMO waste treatment system before it is sent to Kalundborg Bioenergy plant and turned into fertilizer and biogas. However, it would be interesting to extend the limits of this process and re-use, sustainably, the sludge, to a more value adding product. Why should this be investigated? The sludge is high in mass flowrate and consists mainly of yeast cells. This project aims to investigate if the possible future state can be an internal site recycle system, i.e., if the sludge can be processed and transformed into a new value-added product for Novo Nordisk.
What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?
Helix lab provides a firm network between students and experts in the industry. The equipment, infrastructure, and support they provide, besides the support from one’s own supervisors, is a very important factor for conducting high-quality research.
What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?
There are many exciting things one can experience during helix lab fellowship. For me, the thriving environment, and the human network that the program is trying to establish is the most exciting part of being in the program. The opportunity to meet other student from different universities and cities, talking about each other’s research, and familiarizing with their insights is very unique. Nevertheless, the scheduled events for visiting industrial sites and experts are also a part of the program that I am looking very forward to.
What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?
I can say helix lab have influenced my perspective from different angles. The most obvious one is the connections that I have found and will find during the program. The fact is all students during their thesis time plan for their future path whether they pursue a career in industry or in academia. I think Helix lab provides a chance to experience both being in academic environment meantime establishing network with industry experts. All this can lead to a better choice for future path.