Biomass is the only renewable carbon source and can therefore be used for production of renewable fuels and chemicals. Biofuels are foreseen as a promising alternative to today's fossil fuels, given their potential to substitute fossil fuels in the existing energy supply infrastructure. In contrast, intermittent renewables such as wind and solar energy are clearly more challenging considering the ways energy is distributed and consumed, particularly in the heavy transport sector.
Biotechnology is an essential technology for global health and value creation.
Biotechnological processes are used for production of a wide range of products such as pharmaceuticals, vaccines, biomaterials, enzymes, food, feed, chemicals and energy. Further development of biotechnology is key to solving the global challenges related to the need for new medicines, better utilization of raw materials, and replacement of petroleum derived products and fuels. SINTEF has for more than 35 years built up competence and infrastructure in biotechnology and contribute to these important developments.
Discovery, characterisation and production of biopharmaceuticals have been an important research area at SINTEF for more than 25 years. Main focus has been development of microbial production processes. We have established numerous methods, technologies, assays and laboratories to support this activity. Medical technology and Nanomedicine is rapidly growing research areas in SINTEF, where we focus on development of nanoparticles tailored for drug delivery, biosensors, and new solutions for therapy and diagnostics.
Department of Biotechnology and Nanomedicine develops processes for fractionation and purification of products produced by fermentation, and from biomass. The department has experience and infrastructure for purification of small, bioactive molecules, as well as macromolecules such as proteins and virus.
Microbial bioprocesses is an important research area at SINTEF Materials and Chemistry. Department of Biotechnology and Nanomedicine has for the last ten years worked with microbial processes related to environmental technology. Examples are conversion of various types of feedstock to biofuel and platform chemicals, expertise within degradation of crude oil and other unwanted and recalcitrant chemicals in nature and bioreactors, and microfouling/biofilm formation on various surfaces from water systems to ship hulls.
Food and feed products may undergo both wanted and unwanted microbial, biochemical and chemical processes and changes during production and storage, e.g. lactic acid fermentation of milk products, microbial and enzymatic ripening of cheese, meat and fish products, and microbial, enzymatic and chemical deterioration of food products during storage. Different strategies may be used to control, promote or prevent these processes. Biotechnological processes may also be used to produce food and feed ingredients, e.g. polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Fuel characterization is the primary and a critical step in the evaluation of biomass and waste feedstocks' suitability for a thermal conversion process. Detailed and accurate characterization is especially important for proper utilization of inhomogeneous and low quality biomass and waste feedstocks, to prevent operational related problems, optimize conversion processes and design conversion systems.
Functional Metagenomics R&D is a relatively new and rapidly growing research area at SINTEF. Building on a long tradition of Marine Bioprospecting at SINTEF and NTNU, it aims at accessing and exploiting the metabolic potential of the entire microbial biodiversity in natural habitats, including the great majority of microorganisms that cannot be readily cultivated under laboratory conditions.
SINTEF has advanced facilities for high throughput screening and is working with lab automation and high throughput screening in a range of projects. The robotic screening facility at SINTEF has state of the art equipment for efficient automation of assays and cultivation in microplate format. Several thousands of samples and cultures are processed per day on a regular basis in the screening facility.
Industrial biotechnology is a key research area at SINTEF Materials and Chemistry. Industrial biotechnology uses enzymes and micro-organisms to make biobased products in sectors such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food and feed ingrediens, detergents, paper and pulp, textiles and bioenergy.
Department of Biotechnology and Nanomedicine has several projects focusing on increased value creation and generation of novel products from marine biomass and marine organisms. Marine microorganisms produce a range of components with biological activity.
Biological and biotechnological systems are often very complex, containing a large number (hundreds to thousands) of distinct chemical compounds. The use of mass spectrometry (MS) coupled to chromatographic separation (GC, LC, IC, FFF) allows for sensitive and robust quantification (ng/ml and below) of one or several selected compounds. This can be done even when the compound(s) of interest is present at very low concentration and in complex mixtures with closely related molecules. No other analytical technique can provide the same combination of sensitivity, selectivity and specificity for biological systems.
SINTEF Materials and Chemistry, Department of Biotechnology and Nanomedicine has been and currently is coordinating and participating in several transdisciplinary national and international projects aiming at systems scale understanding of microbial cells. The aim is to develop them into efficient microbial cell factories by means of metabolic engineering and applying top-down Synthetic Biology and metabolic engineering approaches.
Fermentation laboratory at SINTEF
SINTEF has a nationally leading research laboratory for development of microbial and cell based production processes. The laboratory has robotic equipment for miniaturized cultivation, large capacity incubators for shake flasks, laboratory fermentors (1-3 L) equipped for extensive process control and monitoring, and a pilot plant with two fermenters (50 and 300 L) for scale-up studies and small productions.
High throughput screening facility, Trondheim
The robotic screening facility at SINTEF are optimized for high throughput analytical and cultivation work and enables us to process of thousands of samples or cultures per day.
Mass spectrometry - Advanced research-based analyses
We perform research-based mass spectrometric (MS) and high-throughput (HTS) analyses for SINTEF, academia and industry.
Molecular biology laboratory
We have state of the art equipment for molecular biology, including an Illumina MiSeq sequencer, droplet digital PCR (ddPCR), Agilent Bioanalyzer, CHEF Mapper XA pulse field gel electrophoresis system and a Bluepippin cassette-based gel electrophoresis system for DNA and protein separation, in addition to ÄKTA FPLC equipment for protein purification. Our co-workers have several years of experience and master most topics and protocols related to genetic modification of bacteria.
The thermal engineering laboratories is the nation's leading laboratory in the field of combustion, refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump, low-temperature and bio processes, CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) and processing, storage and transportation of food products.
DAFIA - Biomacromolecules from municipal solid bio-waste fractions and fish waste for high added value applications
The main objective of DAFIA is to exploit municipal solid wastes (MSW) and marine rest raw materials (MRRM) as feedstocks for higher value products. Municipal solids wastes represents more than 500 kg/capita (EU-27 average) and 300 million tonnes overall every year in the EU-32. Currently, approximately 50% of this volume is landfilled, while the rest is incinerated for energy production.
CO2BioPEC - CO2 utilization by formate dehydrogenase biocatalyst in a PhotoElectrochemical Cell
The main objective of CO2BioPEC is to demonstrate a bio-hybrid photoelectrochemical cell, in which solar energy is efficiently captured and at the same time, CO2 is converted to energy-rich compounds in the presence of formate dehydrogenase enzymes as biocatalyst.
BubbleCAN – Microbubbles for Ultrasound-Mediated Cancer Treatment
BubbleCAN addresses the optimization of a product for the delivery of very high local concentrations of drugs to tumors using non-invasive focused ultrasound. The product is based on SINTEF owned technology platforms.
Towards a bioeconomic future
Can our forests, seaweed, grass and fisheries waste be transformed into new and valuable raw materials? Researchers are asking 1500 Norwegian companies what they're currently doing with their resources, and what they see themselves doing in 2030.
SINTEF Energy Lab opening
2. September HRH The Crown Prince Haakon Magnus opened our new SINTEF Energy Lab.
Bacteria from the sea join the fight against cancer and infections
Norwegian scientists are opening the gates of nature’s secret medicine factories, with the aim of giving us new weapons against cancers and resistant bacteria.