Computational Fluid Dynamics Study of Full-Scale Aerobic Bioreactors: Evaluation of Gas Liquid Mass Transfer, Oxygen Uptake, and Dynamic Oxygen Distribution

Jonathan Stickel, Hariswaran Sitaraman, Mohammad Rahimi, David Humbird

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus Citations

Abstract

Hydrodynamics, oxygen transfer, and oxygen uptake in bubble-column and airlift bioreactors were studied using multiphase Euler-Euler computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. Interphase mass transfer of oxygen was modeled with a liquid mass-transfer coefficient and sustained driving force provided by a phenomenological model for microbial oxygen uptake rate (OUR). Laboratory-scale reactor simulations of a bubble-column (0.15 m diameter and 0.75 m initial liquid height) showed reasonable agreement with gas holdup and mass transfer experiments reported in the literature. Commercial-scale bubble-column and airlift reactor simulations (5 m diameter and 25 m initial liquid height) were simulated using this validated model. Similar trends for the variation of overall gas holdup and oxygen concentrations with superficial velocity were observed for both of the commercial-scale reactors. However, the simulation results indicate differences in hydrodynamics, such as better recirculation in the airlift reactors that enables favorable distribution of oxygen in the reactor.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)283-295
Number of pages13
JournalChemical Engineering Research and Design
Volume139
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Institution of Chemical Engineers

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-68269

Keywords

  • Aeration
  • Bioreactor
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • OpenFOAM

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