Institute of Chemical Engineering
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Quantitative Bioprocess Development for Methanogenesis from Gaseous Substrates

Project Content:

Emerging environmental concerns and possible climate change are key questions in the 21st century. Moreover, energy security urges to look for new energy sources, which can be stored safely and efficiently. Therefore our group aims to develop a microbiological based energy production system for high quantity production of methane (CH4) from gaseous substrates.

Process Analytical Technology (PAT) is used in order to characterize several microbial strains for revealing detailed information on the strains behaviour on several aspects of growth and methane production during bioprocess development: Influence of real gas effect as promoters and inhibitors, dynamic effects due to changing feed composition and scale up. Quantification will be assured by evaluation of stoichiometric balances kinetic and metabolic models.

This work will provide our industrial partner with detailed information on the microbial process of methanogenesis concerning the strains growth behaviour, methane production and the strains response to several gaseous substrates, enabling mechanization to pilot plant scale. The technology which is aimed to be developed will be very important in respect to the global carbon cycle and renewable energy storage.



Scientific contributions:


  1. Martínez Porqueras, E., Rittmann, S., Herwig, C., (2012) Biofuels and CO2 Neutrality - An Opportunity. Biofuels 3(4), 413–426. doi: 10.4155/BFS.12.25.
  2. Rittmann, S., Seifert A., Herwig, C., (2012) Quantitative analysis of media dilution rate effects on Methanothermobacter marburgensis grown in continuous culture on H2 and CO2. Biomass and Bioenergy 36, 293-301. doi: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2011.10.038.
  3. Seifert A.H., Rittmann S., Bernacchi S., Herwig C., (2013) Method for assessing the impact of emission gasses on physiology and productivity in biological methanogenesis. Bioresource Technology 136, 747–751. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2013.03.119.
  4. Bernacchi S., Weissgram M., Wukovits W., Herwig C., (2014) Process efficiency simulation for key process parameters in biological Methanogenesis. AIMS Bioengineering 1, 53-71. doi: 10.3934/bioeng.2014.1.53.
  5. Seifert AH, Rittmann S, Herwig C. (2014) Analysis of process related factors to increase volumetric productivity and quality of biomethane with Methanothermobacter marburgensis. Applied Energy 132, 155-62. doi: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.07.002.
  6. Rittmann S., Seifert A., Herwig C., (2015) Essential prerequisites for successful bioprocess development of biological CH4 production from CO2 and H2. Crit Rev Biotechnol 35, 141-51. doi: 10.3109/07388551.2013.820685.
  7. Bernacchi S. and Herwig C. (2016) Challenges and Solutions For Development of Gas Limited Bioprocesses Illustrated By the Biological Methane Production (BMP) Process Development. Current Biochemical Engineering, 2016, 3, 000-000. doi: 10.2174/1570180813666160527114628#sthash.S8fJOVJl.dpuf.
  8. Bernacchi S., Krajete A., Herwig C., (2016) Experimental workflow for developing a feed forward strategy to control biomass growth and exploit maximum specific methane productivity of Methanothermobacter marburgensis in a biological methane production process (BMPP). AIMS Microbiology 2(3): 262-277. doi: 10.3934/microbiol.2016.3.262.


  1. Rittmann, S., Seifert, A., Sautaux, C., Denk, K., Martinez, E., Herwig, C., (2010) Quantitative Bioprocess Development for Production of Biofuels and cocurrent CO2 Fixation. Institut für Verfahrenstechnik, Umwelttechnik und Technische Biowissenschaften, Bioscience Technologies Day.
  2. Seifert, A.H., Rittman, S., Herwig, C., (2011) Biomethane Production from Gaseous Substrates Using Methanogenic Archaea, Poster, 19th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, Berlin.



Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Christoph Herwig


Dr. nat. techStefan Pflügl