Michael Abt, M. Sc.

Michael Abt, M. Sc.


Research topic:

Magnetically enhanced electrochemical fluidized bed reactors for electro-enzymatic syntheses including gaseous phase


Traditional processes for chemical synthesis use fossil resources and cause emissions detrimental to the climate. An innovative and green alternative presents electro-biosynthesis that combines electrochemistry with biotechnology. The concept of electro-biosynthesis is to use electricity generated by renewable energy, green catalysts (e.g. enzymes) and renewable resources in order to produce chemicals “carbon neutral”. To achieve competitive electro-biosyntheses, we aim to reach high space-time yields which require electro-bio reactors with high volume specific electrode surfaces.

The main objective of the research project is the development, characterization and exemplary application of a magnetically enhanced electrochemical fluidized bed reactor for electro-enzymatic synthesis. The reactor will realize a novel variant of a particle based electrochemical reactor combining the advantages of the very high volume specific electrode surface of particle electrodes with the good mixing and mass transfer properties of e.g. bubble column reactors. The beneficial combination results from the fluidization of the particle electrode while at the same time keeping a conductance due to a magnetically induced chaining of the particles (see figure 1). In comparison to reactors applying numbering up of flat electrodes, the scale-up of a particle electrode is simple and economic.

The efficiency of the novel reactor concept for electro-enzymatic synthesis will be demonstrated by the in-situ generation of hydrogen peroxide which is required for oxyfunctionalisation reactions using peroxygenases (see figure 2). The whole project will be accompanied by a close feedback between experimental results and multiphysics modelling approaches. The reactor prototypes will be produced via 3D printing technology.


We assign Bachelor’s and Master’s theses. Possible tasks can be experimental or a simulation. Depending on your interests we can put more emphasis on biotechnology, on process engineering or on electrochemistry. Feel free to contact me via e-mail (see above).




Figure 1: Schematic illustration of a magnetically stabilized fluidized bed electrode operated with
three phases: magnetizable particle electrode (black particles), liquid phase (green/yellow) and gas phase (grey bubbles)



Figure 2: Simplified reaction schema of the electro-enzymatic model reaction. In the reactor we generate hydrogen peroxide in-situ (on demand) via a particle electrode. The enzyme, a peroxygenase, uses hydrogen peroxide as co-factor for the oxyfunctionalization of ethylbenzene to 1-phenethyl alcohol.