Consultancy on Large-Scale Submerged Aerobic Cultivation Process Design - Final Technical Report: February 1, 2016 -- June 30, 2016

James McMillan, Jason Crater, Connor Galleher, Jeff Lievense

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


NREL is developing an advanced aerobic bubble column model using Aspen Custom Modeler (ACM). The objective of this work is to integrate the new fermentor model with existing techno-economic models in Aspen Plus and Excel to establish a new methodology for guiding process design. To assist this effort, NREL has contracted Genomatica to critique and make recommendations for improving NREL's bioreactor model and large scale aerobic bioreactor design for biologically producing lipids at commercial scale. Genomatica has highlighted a few areas for improving the functionality and effectiveness of the model. Genomatica recommends using a compartment model approach with an integrated black-box kinetic model of the production microbe. We also suggest including calculations for stirred tank reactors to extend the models functionality and adaptability for future process designs. Genomatica also suggests making several modifications to NREL's large-scale lipid production process design. The recommended process modifications are based on Genomatica's internal techno-economic assessment experience and are focused primarily on minimizing capital and operating costs. These recommendations include selecting/engineering a thermotolerant yeast strain with lipid excretion; using bubble column fermentors; increasing the size of production fermentors; reducing the number of vessels; employing semi-continuous operation; and recycling cell mass.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages27
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Genomatica, Inc., San Diego, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-5100-67963


  • aeration
  • bioreactor
  • bubble column
  • heat transfer
  • microbial kinetics
  • modeling
  • oxygen transfer
  • stirred tank
  • strain selection


Dive into the research topics of 'Consultancy on Large-Scale Submerged Aerobic Cultivation Process Design - Final Technical Report: February 1, 2016 -- June 30, 2016'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this