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Sustainable Bioprocess Solutions - Group members

 

For applications and general inquiries, please contact:

stefan.pfluegl@tuwien.ac.at

Group members

Group leader

Univ.Ass. Dipl.-Ing.(FH) Dr. nat. techn. Stefan Pflügl

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Stefan PFLÜGL holds a University assistant position in bioprocess engineering at TU Wien and is affiliated with the Institute of Chemical, Environmental and Bioscience Engineering. He obtained his PhD from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences working on developing bioprocesses for microbial chemical production based on renewable resources. He completed stays abroad at the University of Kent and Technische Universität München. At TU Wien, his research focuses on the development of processes and microbial hosts for converting complex raw materials into value-added products. One focus is the use of gaseous substrates from industrial sites to produce fuels and chemicals.

He has experience in engineering of bacteria using state-of-the-art tools and the use of advanced, continuous cultivation techniques to develop efficient microbial bioprocesses but also to gain basic knowledge on the performance of microbes and identify targets for strain improvement.

The overall vision of his research is to contribute sustainable bioprocess solutions that could help the transition towards a circular bioeconomy.

Postdoc

Dr. Rémi Hocq

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Rémi did his PhD at IFP Energies Nouvelles in Paris, studying C. beijerinckii as a model for the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into propanol. He then moved to Vienna for a postdoc at BOKU University in Michael Sauer's team, to work on cocultures approaches permitting the production of propanol. His focus is on converting one-carbon compounds into value-added chemicals via acetogenic fermentation.

 

PhD students

Projektass. Dipl.-Ing. Josef Horvath

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Josef Horvath is doing his PhD in the SUJECO project (Research). Currently, he is working with the anaerobic bacterium Thermoanaerobacter kivui, a very promising strain that shows practical features like simple medium requirements and fast growth on gasses such as H2, CO2 and CO. Since every bacterial strain is unique, it is first important to find the right process parameters where the strain can be optimally utilized. This journey starts with a couple experiments in very small volumes that will be scaled up to 20L fermentations. Next, with genetic modification of the strain, it can be brought to produce valuable chemicals and biofuel.​ 

 

Univ.Ass. Ivo van den Hurk MSc

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Acetogenic bacteria are promising microbial catalysts for fixation of CO2, CO and other one-carbon compounds into value-added products. During my project, I will explore the possibilities to genetically engineer these acetogenic strains for industrial applications to increase productivity and expand natural product spectra. I will also focus on developing continuous bioprocessing strategies for acetogenic utilisation of gaseous compounds for commodity production. My project is placed within the doctoral school ‘CO2Refinery’ which aims to develop techniques to efficiently utilise CO2 as substrate for value-added chemical production.

Projektass.in Dipl.-Ing.in Regina Kutscha BSc

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The major part of my research is comprised of developing an E. coli process converting sustainable acetate to isopropanol (SUJECO project, Research). This includes genetic engineering (pathway construction, knockouts, silencing), strain screening and process development in lab-scale bioreactors. Implementing a model-based approach for process design, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of the production strain and set up a (semi-)continuous process for isopropanol production.

Next to E. coli, I am also studying Vibrio natriegens as an alternative, fast-growing microbial host for chemical production as well as alternative substrates such as cheese whey.

Student co-workers

Uliana Smirnova BSc