Mixing and mass transfer in a pilot scale U-loop bioreactor

Leander Adrian Haaning Petersen, John Villadsen, Sten Bay Jørgensen, Krist Gernaey

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A system capable of handling a large volumetric gas fraction while providing a high gas to liquid mass transfer is a necessity if the metanotrophic bacterium Methylococcus capsulatus is to be used in single cell protein (SCP) production. In this study mixing time and mass transfer coefficients were determined in a 0.15 m3 forced flow U-loop fermenter of a novel construction. The effect on the impeller drawn power when a gas was introduced into the system was also studied.Mixing time decreased and mass transfer increased with increasing volumetric liquid flow rate and specific power input. This happened also for a large volume fraction of the gas, which was shown to have only minor effect on the power drawn from the pump impeller.Very large mass transfer coefficients, considerably higher than those obtainable in an STR and previous tubular loop reactors, could be achieved in the U-loop fermenter equipped with static mixers at modest volumetric liquid and gas flow rates. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
Original languageEnglish
Article number344–354
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number2
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Mixing
  • Mass Transfer
  • Power input
  • U-loop
  • Loop bioreactors
  • SCP


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