Insights from Mathematical Modelling into Energy Requirement and Process Design of Continuous and Batch Stirred Tank Aerobic Bioreactors
Process & Chemical Engineering, School of Engineering, University College Cork, T12YT20 Cork, Ireland
ChemEngineering 2019, 3(3), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/chemengineering3030065
Received: 2 May 2019 / Revised: 4 June 2019 / Accepted: 11 July 2019 / Published: 13 July 2019
Bioreaction kinetics, oxygen transfer and energy modelling were applied to stirred tank aerobic bioreactors. This was done to investigate how key input design variables influence bioreactor size, feed and wasted substrate, and electrical energy requirements for aeration and cooling, and to compare batch and continuous modes of operation. Oxygen concentration in the liquid is a key input design variable, but its selection is challenging as it can result in design trade-offs. Reducing its value caused a decrease in electrical energy requirement, however this tended to increase the working volume of the bioreactor. The minimum or near-to-minimum total energy requirement for oxygen transfer occurred when operating at the onset of flooding throughout the bioreaction time. For typical KS values, continuous mode of operation required a much smaller bioreactor volume, due to higher operating cell concentration, and this is a major advantage of continuous over batch.