Review of Computational fluid dynamics applications in biotechnology processes



Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is well established as a tool of choice for solving problems that involve one or more of the following phenomena: flow of fluids, heat transfer, mass transfer, and chemical reaction. Unit operations that are commonly utilized in biotechnology processes are often complex and as such would greatly benefit from application of CFD. The thirst for deeper process and product understanding that has arisen out of initiatives such as quality by design provides further impetus toward usefulness of CFD for problems that may otherwise require extensive experimentation. Not surprisingly, there has been increasing interest in applying CFD toward a variety of applications in biotechnology processing in the last decade. In this article, we will review applications in the major unit operations involved with processing of biotechnology products. These include fermentation, centrifugation, chromatography, ultrafiltration, microfiltration, and freeze drying. We feel that the future applications of CFD in biotechnology processing will focus on establishing CFD as a tool of choice for providing process understanding that can be then used to guide more efficient and effective experimentation. This article puts special emphasis on the work done in the last 10 years. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2011