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Keywords:

  • Bioreactor;
  • Computational fluid dynamics;
  • Industrial;
  • Large-scale;
  • Scale-down

Abstract

For industrial bioreactor design, operation, control and optimization, the scale-down approach is often advocated to efficiently generate data on a small scale, and effectively apply suggested improvements to the industrial scale. In all cases it is important to ensure that the scale-down conditions are representative of the real large-scale bioprocess. Progress is hampered by limited detailed and local information from large-scale bioprocesses. Complementary to real fermentation studies, physical aspects of model fluids such as air-water in large bioreactors provide useful information with limited effort and cost. Still, in industrial practice, investments of time, capital and resources often prohibit systematic work, although, in the end, savings obtained in this way are trivial compared to the expenses that result from real process disturbances, batch failures, and non-flyers with loss of business opportunity. Here we try to highlight what can be learned from real large-scale bioprocess in combination with model fluid studies, and to provide suitable computation tools to overcome data restrictions. Focus is on a specific well-documented case for a 30-m3 bioreactor. Areas for further research from an industrial perspective are also indicated.