Mass balances and programming (2024)

Course manager

Thomas B. Hansen

Semester schedule

Autumn (13-week period)



Language of instruction


Course type



Admission requirements for the Bachelor of Engineering in Biotechnology programme


Modern biotechnology relies on production in industrial scale equipment monitored with sensors. Computer-based methods are frequently applied for the purposes of analysis of such data and performing engineering calculations in chemical and biotechnological applications. Introduction to mass balances and data processing is aimed at introducing participants to calculations on mass flow to and from plants and processes and basic programming technique for writing smaller, structured programs. Course participants are taught to load different data formats, data organization, analysis and visualization and to present the results thereof in a report.


  • Mass balances
  • Loading, organizing and using data of different formats
  • Extracting basic statistics from a large data set in python
  • Design and implement a smaller program for solving a biotechnological problem
  • Writing smaller scripts and functions and documenting these in a report
  • Reading and understanding a computer code
  • Graphical visualization of data and information

Learning targets

On completion of the course, the student is expected to be able to:


  • Understand and explain principles of setting up simple stationary mass balances
  • Understand and explain the nature of a computer program
  • Understand and explain principles of data organization
  • Understand and explain principles of a plotting data


  • Explain and set up simple mass balances
  • Evaluate the format of, import and organize a large data set in Excel and python
  • Extract information and statistical descriptors for a large data set in python
  • Plot organized data with statistical descriptors
  • Write a script to retrieve data
  • Write a function to manipulate data and calculate descriptors


  • Plotting data with statistical descriptors in Excel and python
  • Writing a technical report on an engineering problem, documenting the code.

Teaching method

Seminars and problem solution. Work on small project.

Examination and aids

  • Submission of project report
  • Oral examination. Duration of the individual examination: 15 min.


Permitted aids: Project report. No access to the internet.




The 7-point grading scale