Save the Date 8th European Congress of Chemical Engineering and 1st European Congress of Applied Biotechnology

Editor: Dr. Jörg Kempf

From September 25–29, 2011, the 8th European Congress of Chemical Engineering and the 1st European Congress of Applied Biotechnology take place in Berlin, Germany — the place to be for engineers and biotechnologists.

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From September 25–29, 2011, the 8th European Congress of Chemical Engineering and the 1st European Congress of Applied Biotechnology take place in Berlin. (Picture: Dechema)
From September 25–29, 2011, the 8th European Congress of Chemical Engineering and the 1st European Congress of Applied Biotechnology take place in Berlin. (Picture: Dechema)

What is necessary for running a successful biotechnological process? Well, obviously it requires some kind of biotechnological “ingredient” like a free enzyme, a bacteria or another microorganism, a fermenter, and a procedure for isolating the product from the fermentation mixture. If one tries to visualize this, the answer to what kind of experts are needed becomes almost instantly obvious: Biotechnologists know how to find or develop the appropriate biological system, they know what kind of environment it needs and how it has to be treated so that the products are released at the highest possible concentration. Engineers know how to build the necessary apparatus, how to regulate the feed streams and the temperature, and what operations are available for product isolation. Thus, it seems quite natural that the two should be working closely together.

Yet, in practice, the two disciplines today often lack a common language. Biotechnologists and engineers use the same expressions but mean different things. To overcome these challenges, they need a common platform to define precisely the challenges they are addressing and create a base for cooperation. In Germany, this platform has been existing for almost a decade: Since 2001, DECHEMA’s Biotechnology Annual Meeting has been held together with the Annual Meeting of ProcessNet, the platform for chemical and process engineers.

Not Just Two Events Running in Parallel

This successful model will be rolled out to the European level in 2011: From September 25–29, 2011, the 8th European Congress of Chemical Engineering and the 1st European Congress of Applied Biotechnology take place in Berlin. These are not just two events running in parallel, they are closely connected: Several of the 19 parallel lecture sessions combine biotechnological and engineering expertise, especially in areas such as renewable energy, biomass refining and processing, process efficiency, and safety. Of course, there are also sessions addressing new insights in the classical foundations: unit operations and transfer processes. Both have changed with the computational skills and the new methods that have become available over the last decade and will change even more with the focus on nano scale, on biological or on interface dominated systems.

Almost 2,000 abstract submissions from 63 countries give prove of the overwhelming interest this concept has raised in the international community. Plenary speakers at this outstanding event are Dr. Konstantin B. Konstantinov, Genzyme Cooperation, Dr. Andreas Kreimeyer, BASF SE, Prof. Dr. Philippe A. Tanguy, Total S.A., and Prof. Dr. Rolf G. Werner, Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH.

The accompanying exhibition is an opportunity to discuss practical solutions on-site with experts from the industry. It is also featured in the students’ programme where young scientists can get first-hand information in workshops and lectures on career opportunities.

An attractive social program offers the chance to make useful connections outside the lecture rooms. One highlight will certainly be the sixth ChemCar competition: Students from all over Europe are called to design a vehicle only driven by (bio)chemical reactions. While ChemCar has a slight focus on engineering, the 2nd International Brewing Contest focuses more on biotechnological fermentation.

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