Sustainability Analysis in Food and Biobased Production

Environmentally-friendly and efficient production of high-quality products from our natural (agricultural) resources will be one of the key challenges for the coming decades.
It is surprising however that in the conversion from harvested crops to the products that the consumer uses or eats, the majority of the materials is lost, while large amounts of energy and water are consumed. At the same, large volumes of waste water and solid wastes are generated. That would change if we could process with more efficiency and more effectiveness. But how do you weigh energy consumption against water consumption? Raw materials usage against waste water production? There are many methods available to obtain an idea of sustainability and efficiency, but many of these require the evaluator to make many arbitrary choices. In this course we will follow a method which does not require that: exergy. This is a well-defined, thermodynamic concept that allows us to objectively judge the efficiency in a system.
The method allows to identify the efficiency of sub-processes on very small scale (heat transfer over one plate; individual reactions inside a cell), but also for a complete unit operation, a processing plant, and even total supply chains. Combined with the ability to connect different in- and outputs (energy, water, raw material, waste), it may be an important instrument to bring the conversion efficiency a step further.

Date: June 23-27, 2014

Target audience: The course is aimed at post-doctorate level: PhD students, researchers, but also at engineers working in industry. It is expected that people have a MSc in Food Technology, Biotechnology, Chemical or Mechanical Engineering or equivalent. Course participants should have a basis on thermodynamics.

Program: See course website.

Course website: