Environmental Biotechnology Research Group

Environmental Biotechnology is a joint research activity at the University of South-Eastern Norway, directed by Professor Rune Bakke. EB is a sub-group of the Energy and Carbon Capture (ECC) research group. EB team has a role in the Water research group (Aqua-HiT).


Contribute to the development of more efficient processes for water and waste treatment through deeper understanding of biological, chemical and physical phenomena in bioreactors and integration of bioreactors with other processes and the surrounding environment.

Thematic research areas

Environmental Biotechnology research areas

Expertise, key words

Biological process design, optimization, monitoring and control, suspended & fixed biological aggregates, water chemistry, biochemistry, microbial ecology, mass transfer phenomena, process intensification, multivariable data analysis, mathematical modelling.

Applied activities

Pollution removal through recovery of resources is a core approach of our environmental biotechnology research. Our activities are focus on waste (sludge, wastewater, gasses) treatment processes that can be optimize both in local and global environmental perspectives. Advanced mechanistic mathematical models are used extensively to interpret experimental data, simulate various scenarios and in model based process monitoring and control. Anaerobic bioreactors developed to recover energy, nutrients and water from wet organic waste is our main experimental activity, carried out in lab scale and at full-scale plants in cooperation with industries and public institutions. Several full-scale applications are based on our research: Especially biogas generation plants based on food waste, sludge, manure, industrial wastewater and landfills.

Our research is based on facilities that include analytical, water, bioprocess laboratories:

  • Design & operation of bioreactors (CSTR, UASB, EGSB, MBBR, hybrid reactors, etcetera), at laboratory scale (0.1L – 4L), pilot scale (200 L- 10 m3) and full scale (10 – 103 m3).
  • Chemical analysis (HPLC, GC, GC-MS, IC, FIA, MP-AES), determination of sludge physical properties, microscopy.
  • Identification of key process parameters (for monitoring and control).
  • Monitoring and control by use of real sensor, soft-sensors and self-learning model based regulators.
  • Standard modeling tools based on the continuity principle to study physical process phenomena through computational fluid dynamics and microbial processes though adaptation of standard mass balance models for the cases investigated.

Core scientific interest

  • Microbial aggregates, especially Biofilm and Granular sludge: Focused on how, why and where they form and how they behave, can be influenced, enhanced, limited, removed and monitored.
  • Micro-ecology, syntrophic phenomena: Study microbial associations with impact on the overall performance & stability of bioreactors.


We have extensive cooperation with the three Norwegian universities interest in EB.

International activities include cooperation with Nordic institutions working on EB related to agriculture. University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka; Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China; Harbin Institute of Technology, China; Kathmandu University, Nepal are our main research partners in Asia.



See the full list of publications (peer-review Journals) 2005 - 2018.





The team

M.Sc. student assistants

  • Jitendra Sah
  • Vasan Sivalingam
  • Vibeke Bredvold Karlsen
  • Sondre Holt Tangen
  • Ebrahim Qaredaghi