Automated compartment model development based on data from flow-following sensor devices

Jonas Bisgaard, Tannaz Tajsoleiman, Monica Muldbak, Thomas Rydal, Tue Rasmussen, Jakob K. Huusom, Krist V. Gernaey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Due to the heterogeneous nature of large-scale fermentation processes they cannot be modelled as ideally mixed reactors, and therefore flow models are necessary to accurately represent the processes. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is used more and more to derive flow fields for the modelling of bioprocesses, but the computational demands associated with simulation of multiphase systems with biokinetics still limits their wide applicability. Hence, a demand for simpler flow models persists. In this study, an approach to develop data-based flow models in the form of compartment models is presented, which utilizes axial-flow rates obtained from flow-following sensor devices in combination with a proposed procedure for automatic zoning of volume. The approach requires little experimental effort and eliminates the necessity for computational determination of inter-compartmental flow rates and manual zoning. The concept has been demonstrated in a 580 L stirred vessel, of which models have been developed for two types of impellers with varying agitation intensities. The sensor device measurements were corroborated by CFD simulations, and the performance of the developed compartment models was evaluated by comparing predicted mixing times with experimentally determined mixing times. The data-based compartment models predicted the mixing times for all examined conditions with relative errors in the range of 3–27%. The deviations were ascribed to limitations in the flow-following behavior of the sensor devices, whose sizes were relatively large compared to the examined system. The approach provides a versatile and automated flow modelling platform which can be applied to large-scale bioreactors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1651
Issue number9
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Automatic zoning
  • Compartment model
  • Flow-follower
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Mixing
  • Stirred bioreactor


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