Pressure Reactor and Reactor Calorimetry

  50 liter pressurized fermenter Copyright: © Volker Stevens

The 50 L pressure reactor of the Chair of Biochemical Engineering is a unique device in the research area of bioprocess engineering. By increasing the head space pressure up to 10 bar overpressure it is possible to increase the solubility of gases in the liquid phase and, therefore, to overcome transfer limitations from gas to liquid phase.

In case of aerobic processes a significant increase in the oxygen transfer capacity can be realized which ensures sufficient oxygen supply of extremely high biomass concentrations up to 240 g L-1 cell dry weight. As a consequence, fed-batch processes performed in the pressure reactor reach very high space-time yields, at least regarding biomass formation.

Moreover, the pressure fermenter is equipped with many different online measurement techniques. Beside of classical techniques like pH, dissolved oxygen tension and off-gas analysis, there are probes for the determination of conductivity and the torque, as well as a capacitance based measuring technology for viable biomass. In addition, the pressure reactor can be also used as a reactor calorimeter to quantify the heat generation during growth and product formation.