Modeling and system identification of an unconventional bioreactor used for single cell protein production

Leander A. H. Petersen, B. Wayne Bequette, Sten B. Jørgensen, John Villadsen, Ib Christensen, Krist V. Gernaey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In this study a model for an unconventional bioreactor, a U-loop fermentor is presented and compared to experimental data from a series of pH tracer pulse experiments. A good agreement between model and data, with very little error and computation time could be achieved when numerical diffusion combined with a carefully determined variable finite volume discretization method is employed to solve the system of partial differential model equations. The approach also overcame the obstacle posed by a constraint related to a complex pressure profile. An analysis of stability, controllability and observability if the reactor model is extended to include manipulated inputs, measured outputs and a complex validated bio-kinetic model revealed unstable process dynamics but good observability and controllability, even if very few sensors were functioning. A thorough investigation of the linearization effect suggested to perceive this result with caution but encouragement.
Original languageEnglish
Article number124438
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • SCP
  • U-loop
  • Modeling
  • Stability
  • Observability
  • Controllability

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