Department of Chemical Engineering

Biochemical Engineering

Faculties working in Biochemical Engineering, Chemical Engineering Department – BITS Pilani, Pilani Campus –

Prof. Suresh Gupta
Prof. Smita Raghuvanshi
Dr. Amit Jain
Dr. Abhishek S Dhoble
Prof. Arvind K Sharma

Biochemical engineering is a branch of chemical engineering which applies technological advancements amalgamating chemical engineering with concepts from biological engineering. It mainly deals with the design, construction, and advancements of unit processes that involve living organisms and organic molecules finding various applications in development of biofuels, food, biotechnology, and few more processes. Biochemical engineers combine knowledge of biology, chemistry, and engineering aspects to create from raw materials and develop overall processes. In a very specific way, biochemical engineering or bioprocess engineering incorporates upstream process involving microbiology, sterilization, isolation of strains; leading to bio reaction process, carried out in different types of bioreactors for conversion of substrate into product; and this is where chemical engineers play a huge role in design and scale up of bioreactors. This is followed by downstream processing, which mainly deals with the separation and purification of the desired product.

Furthermore, the use of microbes in the production of chemicals in modern chemical industries has been gaining attention in recent years. Thus, a traditional classical Chemical and Biochemical Engineering approach might need to be revisited for effective bioprocess operations. Additionally, the need of the hour of modern businesses is a shifted focus on the triple bottom line with 3Ps: People, Planet, on top of Profits. This demands modern executives to be aware of trendy strategies on incorporating sustainability-driven practices into decision-making. Ideally, such individuals require a combination of technical knowledge and expertise in biotechnology, biological and environmental sciences in addition to their formal training in physical sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

Mathematical representations of microbial systems are one of the emerging areas with biochemical engineering. “Data is the new oil”! Data-driven quantitative approaches backed by inter and cross-disciplinary approaches like machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), and the internet of things (IoT) is significantly reshaping the discipline of biochemical engineering and soon there would be a dearth of suitably trained individuals equipped with necessary skills to work at the biology - engineering interface to meet the growing and changing demands of industry. Particularly India's bioindustry ecosystem is expected to offer huge opportunities for investments with stimulating growth in the food & agro processing, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, biotechnology-based abatement techniques in process industries, renewable energy, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) retail sectors with favorable economic policies and attractive fiscal incentives.

The faculties have worked on several projects with undergraduate students, some of them are:

  • Bioremediation of heavy metals using biosurfactants produced from waste-engine-oil as a substrate
  • Optimal production and characterization of biosurfactants using hydrophobic substrates
  • Utilization of Municipal Solid Waste
  • Model Predictive Control of a Bioreactor
  • Mass transfer and hydrodynamic study on a stirred tank bioreactor
  • Hydrodynamic Aspects of Loop Reactor
  • Thermodynamic Analysis of Bioprocesses
  • De fluoridation studies using nano-adsorbent in drinking water
  • Design & development of biofilter-system for removal of SOx and NOx
  • Product extraction studies of leachate obtained from bio-mitigation of CO2 using algae
  • Comparison of biodiesel production using Umberto-LCA tool from Jatropha & algae
  • Application of Data Analytics in Biochemical Engineering Problems
  • Modeling and Simulation of sequential bioreactor
  • Applications of CFD in bioreactor
    • Integrated biorefinery approach for treatment of flue gases
    • Comparison of biodiesel production from Jatropha & algae using Umberto-LCA too
    • Study of Flow Cytometry Data Generated from an Anaerobic Digester to Design a Model to Predict Soil Properties
    • Milk-Quality Evaluation and to Predict the Adulteration in Milk Sample Using Machine Learning Algorithms on Milk Foam
    • Design and Testing of a Functioning Large-Scale Anaerobic Digester
    • Applications of Machine Learning in Chemical and Biosystems Engineering (ChemBioSys)
    • Data Mining and Data Analytics for Microbiomes
    • Novel Approaches for Revamping Anaerobic Digestion Technology using low cost sensor and/or data processing techniques
    • Degradation of Pectin by Hollow Fiber Membrane Immobilized Pectinase
    • Self-Healing Concrete
  • Self-Assembly of Biomaterials

Separation Processes

Faculty involved in the research:

Dr. Hare Krishna Mohanta, Dr. Suresh Gupta, Dr. Bhanu Vardhan Reddy, Dr. Somak Chatterjee,

Separation processes is a broad term used to describe several processes that are involved in removing, separating, recovering or concentrating on any feed. The area covers several of processes such as Distillation, Absorption, Adsorption, Leaching, and Membrane separation