Microalgae Process Design: from cells to photobioreactors

The waters of the world, oceans, seas, rivers, creeks, lakes and even ice, house a tremendous variety of microorganisms able to use light as the only source of energy to fuel metabolism. These unicellular organisms, microalgae and cyanobacteria, have the potential to produce a variety of products.

Organised by Graduate School VLAG and BioSolar Cells

Fri 8 July 2016 until Fri 15 July 2016

Among them are therapeutic proteins, polyunsaturated fatty acids and pigments. In addition to these high-value products, microalgae are regarded as one of the most promising resources for the production of bulk products such as food and feed lipids, food and feed proteins, base chemicals and energy sources for the industry, and possibly even biofuels.

To make economical large-scale production of such bulk products possible, the cost price for production needs to be reduced, the scale of production needs to be increased substantially and the biomass value should be maximized.

In this course “Microalgae Process Design: from cells to photobioreactors” the biology and cultivation part are covered. In a second course Microalgae Biorefinery (18-20 July, Wageningen), the next process step, i.e the biorefinery, will be in focus. The two courses together will cover the entire microalgae process chain. When taking both courses we can offer a reduction in total course fee.

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Target group

The course is aimed at PhD students, postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers, as well as professionals, that would like to acquire a thorough understanding of microalgal metabolism and photobioreactor design. An MSc level in bioprocess technology, or alike, is recommended.

Course contents

Course aim

This course provides the essential skills for designing optimal microalgae-based production processes, for both research and commercial purposes.

Course design

Through lectures, digital cases and a photobioreactor practical, the participants will learn: 1) how to describe microalgal metabolism quantitatively, 2) how to apply basic design principles and set up mass/energy balances for photobioreactors, 3) how to cultivate microalgae in fully controlled photobioreactors, and 4) how to integrate all acquired knowledge into optimal production strategies for microalgae biomass or secondary metabolites.

The daily programme is divided in approximately 5.5 hours of lectures and digital cases, and 2.5 hours of practical work. On Saturday and Sunday, 1.5 hours will be spent on practical work (microalgae do not stop growing in the weekends...). Saturday will also feature an excursion to AlgaePARC (, followed by a barbecue.

Programme topics

  • Fundamentals of photoautotrophic growth and light
  • Quantifying light-limited microalgae growth
  • Predicting productivity of photobioreactors and raceway ponds
  • Micoralgal metabolism and secondary product formation
  • Metabolic (flux) modelling
  • Metabolic engineering strategies
  • Mass transfer in photobioreactors
  • Photobioreactors cultivation strategies for optimal yield
  • Going large scale: experiences and challenges


    Course coordinators

    • Dr. Packo Lamers, Bioprocess Engineering, Wageningen UR
    • Mrs. Chantal Doeswijk, Graduate School VLAG

    Other faculty

    • Prof. Olaf Kruse, Bielefeld University, Germany
    • Prof. Jérémy Pruvost, University of Nantes, France
    • Dr. Luc Roef, Proviron, Belgium
    • Prof. René Wijffels, Bioprocess Engineering - AlgaePARC, Wageningen UR
    • Dr. Maria Barbosa, Food and Biobased Research - AlgaePARC, Wageningen UR
    • Dr. Marcel Janssen, Bioprocess Engineering - AlgaePARC, Wageningen UR
    • Dr. Arjen Rinzema, Bioprocess Engineering - AlgaePARC, Wageningen UR

    General information

    Date & duration

    8 days, 8 - 15 July 2016

    Study load

    The study load of this course is 2.3 ECTS credits.


    The course will be conducted in English.

    Location & accommodation

    Lectures and practicals will be given at Wageningen University.

    A number of hotel rooms have been blocked at the hotel Hof van Wageningen from 10-15 July for course participants. The rooms are blocked for the course until 26 May 2016. After this date accommodation is no longer guaranteed. Accommodation costs are € 75 (single room; incl. breakfast, excl. tax) per night. There are possibilities to share a room. The price when sharing a room is € 47,50 per person per night. Hotel reservation is handled by hotel Hof van Wageningen. Participants have to book their own hotel room by sending an email to

    Please mention booking code MPD-2016.

    Please note that from 7-10 July the hotel is already fully booked. To bridge the first nights we advise you to contact Short Stay Wageningen ( or use the link to find a B&B in the neighbourhood

    Contact information

    More information concerning the course content can be obtained from Dr. Packo Lamers (
    For organisational matters please contact Mrs. Chantal Doeswijk, phone: +31-317-485143 (

    Registration & course fee

    To be able to fill in the registration form, you need a "VLAG-events account".
    To create this account, please click here: create account.
    If you already have a "VLAG-events account" you can directly go to the course registration form.

    The number of participants to the course is limited to 32.

    The final registration date is 7 June 2016.

    Applicants will receive a confirmation of their registration within one week and will be informed about their acceptance to the course 9 June 2016 at the latest. When accepted to the course they will receive instructions for payment and further course details. To secure their place in the course the applicants have to arrange payment of their course fee within 30 days after invoicing.

    The course fee (which includes materials, coffee/tea during breaks, lunches, two dinners and one BBQ but does not cover accommodation) depends on the participant's affiliation:

    Industry / For-Profit € 2750
    University staff / Non-Profit / Postdoc € 1500
    PhD candidates € 800

    VLAG participants are requested to contact Chantal Doeswijk to arrange their participation.

    Cancellations may be made free of charge until 7 June 2016. After this date the charge will be 25 % of the fee paid or due. Substitutions may be made at any time.

    We can offer a discount in total course fee when taking the consecutive course on Microalgae Biorefinery from 18 - 20 July 2016.
    Please contact Chantal Doeswijk ( for more information.

    VLAG website