About this online course


Discover how fossil fuels are being replaced by renewable resources to create sustainable and biobased products.

Have you ever asked what "biobased" means or wondered about the key aspects in developing and commercializing biobased products? This course will answer those questions and more; highlighting the opportunities, hurdles, and driving forces of the bioeconomy.

Today's industries face enormous global challenges when it comes to the fossil-based economy. Fossil resources are no longer a desirable feedstock for many products and governments' climate goals put various limitations to its usage. Moreover, consumer perception has become an increasingly important factor. With biobased products as an alternative to the fossil-based economy, the bioeconomy can provide viable solutions to these challenges.

The course describes the different types of biomass, the methods of refinery and typical conversion technologies used for biobased products. You'll also engage in a study of the practical and real-life examples emerging in the market: biopolymers, bioenergy, bioflavours, and biosurfactants.

The course has been developed by a team of experts from seven different institutions and universities in three different countries, all sharing their personal perspectives on the opportunities and challenges faced by the biobased industry. The three top-ranked institutions Delft University of Technology, RWTH Aachen University, and Wageningen University & Research offer additional, more advanced courses to continue your learning journey:

What you'll learn

  • How to judge the opportunities for biobased resources as alternative feedstocks compared to fossil resources
  • The challenges and opportunities of the bioeconomy and the basic elements of the value chain
  • Real life examples of biobased products of the bioeconomy, such as biosurfactants, bioflavours, bioenergy, and biopolymers
  • How biobased products are produced
  • The key issues that must be overcome for the commercialization of such products


Course Syllabus:

Week 1: Understand the need for sustainable innovation and how biorefinery, bioconversion, and biobased production can contribute to this.

Week 2: Introduction to the worlds of chemo- and biocatalysis, protein engineering and fermentation.

Weeks 3-6: Biobased products – learn about the production and commercialization of bioenergy, biopolymers, biosurfactants, and bioflavours in each of the four weeks featuring real-life examples.

Week 7: Hear personal perspectives on the development of the biobased economy from the teachers of this course.

Other instructors:

Juergen Rabenhorst
Professor of Industrial Biotechnology
OWL University of Applied Sciences

Manfred Kircher
Chairman Advisory Board

Lars M. Blank
Head of Institute of Applied Microbiology
RWTH Aachen University

Ulrich Schwaneberg
Chair of Biotechnology
RWTH Aachen University

Harry Bitter
Professor Biobased Chemistry and Technology
Wageningen University & Research

Wim Soetaert
Professor of Industrial Biotechnology and Microbiology
Ghent University

Sophie Roelants
Dr. Assistant in Industrial Biotechnology and Microbiology
Ghent University


This is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that runs on edX.


Basic knowledge of a natural science like biology

  • Starts: Future dates to be announced
  • Free | Earn certificate for $139
  • Group fee: contact us
  • Length: Self-Paced
  • Effort: 5 - 6 hours per week / 7 weeks

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