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Hydrodynamics and mass transfer in miniaturized bubble column bioreactors

Khanchezar, Sirwan, Hashemi-Najafabadi, Sameereh, Shojaosadati, Seyed Abbas, Babaeipour, Valiollah
Bioprocess and biosystems engineering 2019 v.42 no.2 pp. 257-266
bioreactors, hydrodynamics, mass transfer, microorganisms, oxygen, porosity
Miniaturized bubble columns (MBCs) have different hydrodynamics in comparison with the larger ones, but there is a lack of scientific data on MBCs. Hence, in this study, the effect of gas hold-up, flow regimes, bubble size distribution on volumetric oxygen mass transfer coefficient at different pore size spargers and gas flow rates in MBCs in the presence and absence of microorganisms were investigated. It was found that flow regime transition occurred around low gas flow rates of 1.18 and 0.85 cm/s for small (16–40 µm) and large (40–100 µm) pore size spargers, respectively. Gas hold-up and KLa in MBC with small size sparger were higher than those with larger one, with an increasing effect in the presence of microorganisms. A comparison revealed that the wall effect on the flow regime and gas hold-up in MBCs was greater than bench-scale bubble columns. The KLa values significantly increased up to tenfold using small pore size sparger. In the MBC and stirred tank bioreactors, the maximum obtained cell concentrations were OD₆₀₀ of 41.5 and 43.0, respectively. Furthermore, it was shown that in MBCs, higher KLa and lower turbulency could be achieved at the end of bubbly flow regime.