Combining Experimental and Modelling Approaches for Spray Drying of High-Quality Powdered Food Ingredients


Processing of concentrated liquid formulations into dry powder is a common operation in food industry. You may think about spray drying of a concentrated dairy formulation into a powdered infant formula. While such an operation is common, it is often based on empirical knowledge and optimized via trial and error. In this presentation, I will share our experimental & modelling approaches to study and unravel underlying dynamic phenomena that are critical to spray drying. We ultimately aim to develop mechanism-based guidelines for spray dryer optimization that can result in breakthroughs in terms of product quality and/or energy efficiency. For this, we develop small-scale drying set-ups using sessile single droplets or thin films to study amongst others the process of particle morphology evolution during spray drying. Along with this, we model the drying and rheological phenomena responsible for particle structure formation. Finally, we validated our insights at the pilot-scale. We could relate drying conditions to particle structure formation with advanced morphology analysis.

Short Biography

Dr. ir. M.A.I. Schutyser is Associate Professor (UHD) at the Laboratory of Food Process Engineering of Wageningen University & Research. His research focuses on understanding behavior of concentrated and dry materials during (spray) drying, dry fractionation and 3D food printing. This helps to explore new operating windows for existing dry food processes and develop radical new dry processing routes. The aim is to deliver better quality & healthier foods with more environmentally friendly processes compared to traditional processing. Dewatering and drying technologies represent in some cases up to 50% of the total energy consumption of foods but are indispensable for food preservation and global distribution of food ingredients. Dry and hybrid fractionation technologies can save up to seven times energy compared to traditional wet protein extraction and at the same time provide highly functional and clean label ingredients. The emerging technology of 3D food printing offers the potential to create novel food textures and healthier foods. It is also well suited for personalized and on-demand food production leading to less food waste generation in the chain.

Maarten Schutyser (co-)authored over 100 scientific peer-reviewed papers. He obtained his Msc and PhD degrees, respectively in 1999 and 2003 (both cum laude) at Wageningen University & Research. After his PhD he was employed by Akzo Nobel Chemicals and NIZO food research, respectively as a research technologist and group leader predictive modelling of foods. Since 2008 he is leading the Dry Food Processing group at the laboratory of Food Processing Engineering. He is also chairman of the Netherlands Working Party on Drying, an independent society that connects drying experts via networking events (

Associate Prof. dr. Maarten Schutyser
AFSG: Wageningen University & Research
Laboratory of Food Process Engineering
Wageningen, The Netherlands

Towards the Development of Digital Twins for the Bio-Manufacturing Industry


The biomanufacturing industry has the opportunity to be engaged in the latest industrial revolution, also known as Industry 4.0. To successfully accomplish this, a physical-to-digital-to-physical information loop should be carefully developed. One way to achieve this is, for example, through the implementation of digital twins (DTs), which are virtual copies of a process that interact with the real process. Therefore, the focus here is on understanding the needs and challenges faced by the biomanufacturing industry when dealing with this digitalized paradigm. To do so, two major building blocks of a DT, data and models, are highlighted. Hence, firstly, data and their characteristics and collection strategies are examined as well as new methods and tools for data processing. Secondly, modelling approaches and their potential of being used in DTs are presented. Finally, the talk provides a vision on the future use of DTs in the biomanufacturing industry, aiming at bringing the DT a step closer to its full potential.

Short Biography

MSc (1993) and PhD (1997) from Ghent University (Belgium). Postdoc positions (1998-2005) at Ghent University, École Polytechnique de Montréal, the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and Lund University. First associate professor at DTU Chemical Engineering (2005-2012), then Professor in Industrial Fermentation Technology ("The Novozymes professor") since 2013. Head of the Process and Systems Engineering Center (PROSYS) since 2014. CEO of Bioscavenge ApS, a startup with focus on resource recovery from bio-based production systems, since 2017. Chairman of the board of Biomanufacturing Project House since 2020.

Current research with focus on large-scale fermentation, mathematical modelling, investigation of mass transfer issues across scales, Process Analytical Technology (PAT), continuous production, resource recovery, process simulation with applications to fermentation, pharma, wastewater treatment and resource recovery operations.

Krist Gernaey
DTU Chemical Engineering/Bioscavenge ApS
Zealand, Denmark

DESIGN FICTIONS: Speculation, innovation and “worlding” through architectural design


Architecture has a long-established relationship with science fiction, the conjuring of future possible worlds. This presentation explores how architectural agendas are an important innovation space for these troubled times, as they can bring society together through emerging knowledge and practices to co-create a shared, liveable future. Fundamentally innovative and interdisciplinary, architecture has a broader capacity to disrupt the status quo by proposing new paradigms and relationships to frame how we live. Imagining the possibilities within a choreography of space, time, matter, along with appropriate modes of inhabitation, the practice of the built environment that forms the applied aspect of architecture, has the option to realise these proposals in practical terms through the construction of our homes and cities, setting the stage for new paradigms of inhabitation. The escalating climate crisis has compelled architectural designers to re-imagine the kinds of architecture that help us engage with 21st century challenges and prototyping new protocols for world-making. Alternative perspectives for reimagining and working beyond anthropocentrism are difficult to develop yet urgently needed, so that unconventional and presently, inaccessible aspects of our world can be enfolded into our worlding processes as alternative ontological frameworks. If we are to escape the binary traps, hierarchies, and silos within our present logic, then we must develop knowledge that links us with other kinds of bodies so we can forge productive relationships that reconfigure and strengthen our ecological networks. This is as equally important to the sciences as it is to arts, the humanities, and design. Constituting agile knowledge-making toolsets the “worlding experiments” proposed in this presentation are not proposals for new Utopias but enable our present Babel to thrive and adapt to rapidly changing circumstances so that we can collectively remake the world together in many different ways.

Rachel Armstrong
Professor of Regenerative Architecture
Faculty of Architecture | Department of Architecture
Campus Sint-Lucas, Ghent/Brussels, Belgium

Liquid Robots - Robots Without Sheet Metal and Wheels


Artificial life is a very interdisciplinary field investigating artificial systems that exhibit the behavioural characteristics of natural living systems. Our research belongs to so called wet artificial life, which aims for example to synthesize artificial cells from chemical precursors. The challenge of creating an artificial cell composed of all attributes of living counterparts (such as growth and development, homeostasis, movement, energy use) is one that is yet to be solved. Our ambition is to create a system that will at least partly mimic cell behaviour. We focus on the investigation of organic droplets in the presence of aqueous solutions of surfactants. We have found that in a similar way to living cells, these droplets are able to perform chemotactic movements in concentration gradients of chemoattractants, change their shape or behave collectively. Recently we proposed to call such droplets with life-like behaviour “liquid robots”. The relation of liquid robots to the origin of the word “robot” and Čapek's play "R.U.R. - Rossums' Universal Robots" will also be discussed.

Jitka Čejková
University of Chemistry and Technology Prague
Droplet Laboratory
Prague, Czech Republic

Optimisation principles in microbial physiology: theory, models and practise
Bas Teusink, Frank Bruggeman, Douwe Molenaar, Bob Planque and colleagues


For unicellular organisms the average specific growth rate, i.e. the rate of biomass production per amount of catalyst – the biomass itself- is a direct measure of fitness. Hence, many approaches exist in microbial physiology and metabolic engineering that use growth rate optimisation as an organisational principle to predict growth strategies from mechanistic models and biological (omics) data. Back in 2009, inspired by work by Uri Alon in 2005, we have proposed that protein costs must be weighted against the functional benefits of specific growth strategies. This is now know as resource allocation and it has become quite a powerful paradigm to explain metabolic regulatory strategies.

In this talk I will discuss to what extent the premise of optimality in resource allocation may hold, and provide experimental evidence for its relevance. I will discuss the mathematical properties of the constrained optimisation problem that corresponding computational models try to solve, and will illustrate their use (and limitations). I hope to convince that, although not everything is optimal in biology, evolutionary optimisation provides a powerful force through which biological systems have been shaped, and thus a useful perspective to understand biological designs.

Bas Teusink
Systems Biology Lab, AIMMS/A-LIFE
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Unraveling the Social Complexity of Biofilms using Individual-based Modeling and Evolutionary Game Theory


Recent research is shedding new light on the rich social life a microbe can have. The most common mode of microbial life is as biofilms, communities of microorganisms that grow on surfaces and are characterized by an especially high population density. Living in dense communities, where resources are relatively scarce, creates a competitive environment where cells must engage in advanced social behaviors, such as communicating and cooperating with their clonemates, to outwit their opponents from other species, and survive the competition. This level of social sophistication makes biofilms resilient, able to survive wide range of conditions, and in process, become the most successful and widespread communities on earth. Using a theoretical framework that combines Individual-based Modeling and Evolutionary Game Theory, this thesis offers novel insights and explanations to a number of microbial growth-related phenomena, through the light of their role in the social interactions a microorganism can engage in.

Ihab Hashem
KU Leuven/BioTeC+
Ghent, Belgium