389074 CFD Modeling of Bioreactor Designs

Tuesday, November 18, 2014: 4:55 PM
M102 (Marriott Marquis Atlanta)
Ronald Shaver1, Dinesh Arora1, Ralph Gillespie1, Earl Solis2, Josh Silverman2 and Luan Nguyen2, (1)Celanese Corp., Pasadena, TX, (2)Calysta Energy, Menlo Park, CA

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in industry in biochemical processes capable of converting gaseous raw materials such as natural gas, bio-gas, or syn-gas into useful products.  One of the main challenges to success in this area is the design and operation of large scale fermentation reactors that can provide for the necessary gas to liquid mass transfer while at the same time providing for the proper environment needed for a biological reaction system.  As part of an ARPA-E grant to study the characteristics of different bioreactor designs, a joint project between Celanese and Calysta has been investigating the design and operating characteristics of various bioreactor designs for the utilization of methane to produce bio-based chemicals and fuels using methanotrophs.  This presentation is focused on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations that have been done to aid in the understanding of the benefits of different designs.  The presentation will describe the modeling approach and share results from the work done to date in this effort.  The objective of the overall project is to provide guidance for improved commercial bioreactor designs to further the state of the industry. More importantly, the bioreactor technologies developed in this project will position methane as a new biological feedstock for the domestic, cost-competitive production of biofuels and biochemicals.

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