DAB was founded in 2014 as a TU Delft spin-off, after devoting ten years to research into the unique bioreactor technology. As part of this, Kirsten developed the FASTer Biochemicals and Fuels project in 2018, for which she participates in regional innovation program Energy & Climate. This program, made available by several public partners in greater Rotterdam – The Hague, stimulates sustainable innovation with cash, knowledge-sharing and stimulating new partnerships. In particular, efforts are focused on strengthening the regional field lab infrastructure. For example, DAB is interlinked the Delft field lab Bioprocess Pilot Facility (BPF), which provides lab facilities and testing options. This innovation program propels DAB’s research ahead.
New separation method
FAST technology builds on the age-old process of fermentation: bacteria, fungi and yeasts are used to convert substances, changing the taste, smell, shelf life or appearance. In this way, for example, yoghurt and beer are made. “The micro-organisms are a kind of mini-factories,” explains Kirsten. “You put sugar in it and the organism turns it into product x or y.” But in order to do that, the product must first be separated from the medium in which it is located, for example, water. And that separation makes the fermentation process so expensive.