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Master Thesis - HIPSTERS – High value Proteins via Sustainable Technologies from Residual Streams Experimental lab tests

AEE INTEC

AEE – Institut für Nachhaltige Technologien (AEE INTEC) ist eine außeruniversitäre For­schungs­ein­richtung, die im Jahr 1988 gegründet wurde. AEE INTEC beschäftigt derzeit in Gleisdorf rund 80 Personen aus 14 verschiedenen Nationen. Mit 4 Dissertationen, 5 bis 10 Diplomanden, Praktikanten und studentischen Hilfskräften, leistet das Institut auch einen Beitrag zur Ausbildung von hochqualifizierten Fachkräften. Aktivitäten:

  • Grundlagen- und anwendungsorientierte Forschung
  • Nationale und internationale F&E-Projekte
  • Kooperationen mit Universitäten, FHs, anderen Forschungseinrichtungen und der Industrie

AEE INTEC arbeitet in den Bereichen „Thermische Energietechnologien und hybride Systeme“, „Bauen und Sanieren“, sowie „Industrielle Prozesse und Energiesysteme“.

Background

With the increasing population and the forecast of 9 billion people in 2050, the need for resources (for food and technical applications) and concepts for the utilization of valuable raw materials from biogenic residue streams is also increasing. These contain high-value components, such as amino acids, proteins, lipids, acids and sugars. The sustainable valorization of plant-based protein fractions is of particular importance to increase the competitiveness of biogenic value chains in Europe.

The globally increasing demand for plant protein and amino acids is evident due to their diverse potential applications. On the one hand, as a food additive in "super foods", but also in animal feed products with targeted amino acid requirements, especially for monogastric animals (poultry, pigs). On the other hand, proteins are used in technical applications in paints, lubricants, adhesives and polymers. 

However, it is a great challenge to isolate proteins from residual material streams of the food industry in an ecologically and economically reasonable way and to make them accessible as valuable materials. There is a lack of scientific studies on which extraction agents can be used to extract which proteins in the best possible way, on the exact definition of the achievable protein purity, amino acid patterns and yields, as well as on simple technological approaches to extract proteins directly from the residual materials (mostly suspensions) without a large number of process steps.

Master-Thesis

This diploma thesis will be embedded into the framework of the national project HIPSTERS on developing of an energy- and resource-efficient key technology for the extraction of isolated proteins and amino acids with high yields from biogenic residues of the food industry, in particular brewer's grains as an example substrate. An oscillating flow reactor (OFR) is used as a key enabling technology (new extraction technology) in order to carry out the chemical and enzymatic extraction routes in the best possible way, i.e. with direct use of the biomass and continuous process control.

In this master thesis lab studies in the fully equipped OFR laboratory at AEE INTEC in Gleisdorf shall be conducted with brewers spent grain as substrate for protein valorization with beforehand evaluated best suited extraction agent.

In the beginning commissioning of the OFR laboratory will be assisted. Stable and reproducible operating conditions shall be ensured. The defined KPI´s shall be recorded. Experimental design and the execution of experiments according to plan with flexible adjustment for continuous optimization will be the main part of the thesis.

The Design of Experiments (DoE) will be performed in detail for the 6 months experimental period according to the selected extraction media. This includes experiments with (if necessary) pretreatment/crushing (milling/screening) of spent grains and without pretreatment, at different temperatures (°C) , experimental durations (h), flow rates (l/h), amplitudes (mm), frequencies (Hz), concentration ratios (g spent grains/extractant) of spent grains substrate and extractant (Deep eutectic solvents or ionic liquids). In addition, the sampling strategy and extractant regeneration/recycling play an important role, and will be worked out accordingly. All experiments will be performed at least twice under the same conditions. In order to be able to perform an appropriate evaluation of the results, only one parameter is changed at a time and the effects on product quality/quantity are evaluated. The modular design of the OFR system allows selected tests to be carried out at different scales in order to obtain information about the scale-up behavior of the reactor. Batch experiments as well as continuous experiments are performed. During the tests, heat transfer and energy demand (via temperature measurements; flow measurements; pump energy measurements), as well as rheological parameters (residence time measurement, velocity ratio, viscosity measurement) are continuously recorded.

  • Set of lab tests at OFR
  • Reprocessing of experimental data and available
  • Literature research on recently published data
  • Elaboration of optimization concepts
  • Elaboration of the thesis

We request…

Thesis written in English or German

Solution-oriented, creative, independent and reliable operation-mode

Interest in sustainable technologies, biorefineries, Oscillatory Flow Reactors

Desirable: knowledge on literature research, preparation of well-structed word document

We offer...

  • Paid thesis, integration into ongoing project
  • Start: June – Sep. 2021
  • Duration: 6 month
  • Location: AEE INTEC Gleisdorf

Contact:

DI Judith Buchmaier
Bereich: Industrielle Prozesse und Energiesysteme
AEE - Institut für Nachhaltige Technologien
A-8200 Gleisdorf, Feldgasse 19
Tel.: +43 (0)3112 5886-452, Fax: DW 18
E-Mail: j.buchmaier@aee.at

 

Dr. Bettina Muster-Slawitsch
Bereich: Industrielle Prozesse und Energiesysteme
AEE - Institut für Nachhaltige Technologien
A-8200 Gleisdorf, Feldgasse 19
Tel.: +43 (0)3112 5886-471, Fax: DW 18
E-Mail: b.muster@aee.at