Partner 7

Our research is aimed at providing the necessary support to evaluate and implement the next generation of more sustainable processes in the chemical, bio-based and pharmaceutical industries. We work at the interface between several disciplines, including biotechnology, process engineering, chemistry and systems engineering. The research is carried out in close collaboration with industry at three distinct levels:

  • Laboratory scale experimental evaluation of processes based on chemical, enzymatic and whole cell catalysis
  • Model-based evaluation of process technology and process alternatives, including economic and sustainability analysis.
  • Pilot-scale process validation.


 Prof John M. Woodley, PI

John Woodley is the head of the PROCESS research center. He started his position as Professor in Chemical Engineering at DTU in 2007, after 20 years at University College London. John is performing pioneering research within the scale-up and implementation of process technology for biocatalytic and chemo-enzymatic processes. His main areas of expertise are:
  • enzymatic synthesis of pharmaceuticals
  • chemicals from renewable resources
  • enzyme kinetics
  • process modeling and reactor design
  • catalytic enzyme cascades
  • in-situ product removal

John has published more than 100 peer reviewed journal articles and 9 book chapters, and has made more than 230 conference presentations as invited plenary, keynote, oral and/or poster presenter. Amongst his recently achieved honors/awards are Rita and John Cornforth Award and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. John is a representative in several national and international scientific committees and companies as well as scientific journals (Biotechnology Journal, senior editor; Journal of Molecular Catalysis B, editorial board and Biocatalysis and Biotransformation, editorial board).

P4FIFTY project in PROCESS

DTU The work performed at DTU within P4FIFTY will aim for development of process technology for biocatalytic P450 monooxygenase reactions. From a commercial point of view they are one of the most challenging groups of enzymes due to the difficulties to make the process economical. To enable this, engineering tools needs to be utilized. In general, cytochrome P450 monooxygenases introduce oxygen to a variety of molecules and besides oxygen they demand equimolar supply of the cofactor NAD(P)H and are also dependent on corresponding electron transport proteins. These demands make these biocatalytic reactions suitable for whole cell catalysis and the first step will therefore evaluate the economy and thresholds of P450 whole cell biocatalysis.

Selected model reactions and model systems within the project will be evaluated from a process perspective. Oxygen supply methods will be evaluated to address the need for sufficient oxygen supply as well as solvent systems to find suitable reaction media that does not limit the reaction regarding oxygen and substrate supply but on the same time does not affect the stability and lifetime of the biocatalyst.

An economic evaluation will be performed based on the experimental results and an appropriate reactor configuration and process model will be designed. Finally, the increased awareness of the environment will also be considered and for this reason a life cycle assessment of the process will be performed.

Staff undertaking the work

The PhD student working in P4FIFTY at DTU is Marie Lundemo with a MSc in Chemical Biology from Linköping University, Sweden. Her master thesis was performed in the lab of Claudia Schmidt Dannert at the University of Minnesota. Prior to the PhD studies she has worked with enzymatic biogas upgrading and fermentation pilot plant scale up studies in collaboration with Lund University, Sweden.